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Asylum and Race Relations: PolicyCo-ordination

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: As Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, I work closely with my right honourable friend the Home Secretary and my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Europe, Community and Race Equality (Angela Eagle) to ensure effective co-ordination between the Government's policies on asylum and race relations. The Government have frequent contact with a range of representative bodies on the treatment of asylum applicants, and potential community relations implications are always carefully assessed before Immigration Service enforcement activities are carried out.

In addition, the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 has extended the Race Relations Act 1976 to cover the administration of immigration and asylum laws and other law enforcement activities. In managing the asylum system, the Home Office has a statutory duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote good relations between people of different racial groups. The Act provides a right of action for those who allege that the immigration authorities have discriminated against them unlawfully on racial grounds. The Act provides appropriate safeguards for necessary and legitimate activity by immigration staff which is required by law or properly authorised by Ministers.

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Asylum Seekers: Voucher System

Lord Judd asked her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will now replace the voucher system for asylum seekers with cash payments; if not, why not.[HL299]

Lord Rooker: A review of the operation of the asylum voucher scheme is ongoing and we will announce our conclusions in due course.

Disturbances in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to combat the spread of racial prejudice and violence, incitement to racial hatred and disorder in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham.[HL246]

Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to the Statement I made to the House on 10 July 2001, Official Report, col. 1038, which set out the earlier statement made by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on the disturbances in Bradford.

Voluntary and Community Organisations: Central Government Funding

Baroness Wilkins asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish a report on central government funding of voluntary and community organisations.[HL502]

Lord Rooker: We are today announcing the publication of the latest research into central government funding of voluntary and community organisations. It reveals that total government funding for the year 1999-2000 was £2.2 billion--a rise in real terms of 5.4 per cent over the last two years. A copy of the report Central Government Funding of Voluntary and Community Organisations 1982-83 to 1999-2000 has been placed in the Library.

The amount spent by each department in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 was as follows:

Departments1998-99 (£)1999-2000 (£)
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food346,400368,265
Cabinet Office2,473,7612,473,761
Crown Prosecution Service5,0000
Department of Culture, Media & Sport219,286,178247,449,533
Ministry of Defence15,638,72515,099,220
Department for Education & Employment96,055,271167,393,594
Department of the Environment, Transport & Regions950,353,8341,042,711,540
Foreign and Commonwealth Office7,707,4599,645,839
Department of Health59,992,31360,273,422
Home Office73,210,51179,790,487
Inland Revenue030,000
Department for International Development181,577,000195,269,000
Lord Chancellor's Department22,497,4673,285,565
Department of Social Security14,535,77513,508,767
Department of Trade & Industry17,328,00016,106,000
Northern Ireland ExecutiveNot availableNot available
Scottish Executive282,129,574289,888,456
National Assembly for Wales110,107,44195,104,573

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Benefits Policy: Research

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that a specific budget should be established for research into the adequacy of income support and other benefits.[HL308]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): We do not believe there should be a specific budget. The department has a large programme of research to meet the information needs of Ministers, the department and its agencies. Priorities are reviewed annually and a programme is devised to assist the department in the development, implementation and evaluation of policy.

School Ancillary Workers: Poverty Trap

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the view expressed by Lord Scott of Foscote in his dissenting speech of 28 June 2001 in Chief Adjudication Officer v. Stafford and Another that the effect of the relevant social security legislation on school ancillary workers who are single and not eligible for Family Credits is that they are "firmly caught in a poverty trap", if so, whether they will introduce amending legislation to eliminate the poverty trap; and, if not, what are their reasons for disagreeing with his conclusion.[HL147]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The Government are considering the House of Lords judgment of 28 June.

Child Poverty Reduction Target: Assumptions

Lord Higgins asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Baroness Hollis of Heigham about child poverty on 10 July, what assumptions have been made about the take-up of each benefit and credit in calculating that 1.2 million children will be lifted out of poverty by 2001.[HL288]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: This is calculated using HMT's policy simulation model. The estimate assumes full take-up of income-related benefits for non-pensioners and is consistent with the estimate that around 5 million families will benefit from the introduction of the Children's Tax Credit and that up to 1.4 million families will benefit from the Working Families' Tax Credit.

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This estimate has been corroborated by independent research carried out by Holly Sutherland at Cambridge University.

New Deal: Numbers Moving into Work

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many young people have moved off welfare into work since the beginning of the New Deal; and how many of them were fathers and how many were mothers.[HL88]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Latest figures to the end of April 2001 show that just over 299,000 young people have left the New Deal for Young People for work. Of these, around 221,000 were young men and 78,000 were young women.

Information on parental status is not available.

Westminster Foundation for Democracy: Annual Report

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Annual Report of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy will be available.[HL488]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The foundation has continued its crucial work in building democracy overseas, through a variety of targeted programmes ranging from the fostering of good governance, to the promotion of civil society. The demands have been great, and the foundation has had some notable successes. The highlight was its work in Serbia, where, through a wide-ranging programme of work, it helped the Serbian people to assert their democratic rights. Work elsewhere in the Balkans, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe has also continued to bear fruit. In 2000-01, the foundation received a grant-in-aid of £4,155,000 from the FCO. Copies of the Annual Report have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Diplomatic Personnel: Serious Offences

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many serious offences were allegedly committed in 2000 by persons entitled to immunity by virtue of their employment by a diplomatic mission or an international organisation, and how many such offences were committed by their dependants.[HL483]

Baroness Amos: From a community of over 19,500 persons entitled to immunity, 19 serious offences, allegedly committed by such persons, were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth

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Office in 2000. "Serious offences" are defined in accordance with the 1985 White Paper on Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges--i.e. as offences that would, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months' or more imprisonment.

Hong Kong and the Sino-British Joint Declaration: Report

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the next report to Parliament on Hong Kong and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.[HL480]

Baroness Amos: The ninth report in this series, covering the period January-June 2001, was published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website ( The report includes a foreword by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

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