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12 Jul 2005 : Column WA137

Written Answers

Tuesday, 12 July 2005.

Asylum Seekers

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

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Information on the number of asylum seekers who were detained in 2004 under Immigration Act powers and of those the number of mothers with young children is not available. It would be available only by examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost. Quarterly snapshots are published showing the number of people detained under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter, and they can be broken down by gender and by detainees who are under 18 years old. Those individuals were all detained as part of families whose detention as a group was considered necessary and include minors detained with their families under NSA provisions at Oakington reception centre. The power to detain is an essential part of protecting the integrity and effectiveness of our immigration control. The decision to detain is made on a case by case basis and may be appropriate in one or more of the following circumstances: to effect removal; to establish a person's identity and claim; where a person presents a risk of absconding; or where the application is capable of being considered quickly.


Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): There are eight areas designated as biosphere reserves in the UK. These are: Beinn Eighe; Braunton Burrows;. Dyfi; Loch Druidibeg; Moor House—Upper Teesdale; north Norfolk coast; Cairnsmore of Fleet, Silver Flowe and Merrick Kells; and Taynish. The reserves are established to promote and. demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere by preserving genetic resources, species, ecosystems and landscapes, and fostering sustainable economic and
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human developments. The Government will undertake a review of the suitability and effectiveness of the existing biosphere reserves between now and 2007.

Certificate of Identity

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: People who have been formally recognised as refugees or stateless persons by the United Kingdom are entitled to documents issued under the 1951 and 1954 UN conventions respectively. The certificate of identity, issued on a discretionary basis, is generally recognised throughout the world but does not confer an automatic right to re-enter the United Kingdom or other countries. There are no plans at present to introduce any other document to replace the certificate of identity.

Child Support Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information is not available in terms of the money collected from fathers and paid to mothers. However, information is available on the amounts collected from non-resident parents and paid to parents with care. The table below shows this information.
Total maintenance collected from non-resident parents and total maintenance paid to parents with care

Total maintenance collected from non-resident parents
(£ millions)
Total maintenance paid to parents with care (£ millions)
Great Britain
Northern Ireland

Source: Child Support Agency and Northern Ireland Child Support Agency.


1. The sums received and paid out above are taken from the agency's general ledger. These form the basis of the clients' funds account and notes to the account contained in the agency's annual report and accounts.

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There are four possible reasons why there is a discrepancy between the amount of maintenance collected and the amount of maintenance paid:

Council of Europe: Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The UK has not yet taken a decision on whether or not to sign the convention. We support fully all of its aims, and we too want to see widespread action to tackle that abhorrent trade at source, to protect and support the victims and to bring those responsible to justice. However, there are certain provisions in the convention that present concerns for the UK, and they remain under active consideration. We want to resolve those issues before taking a decision on signature. We have already put in place a range of measures to combat human trafficking. We intend to build on those and will continue to work nationally and internationally to ensure that we have in place the right policies to meet our responsibilities on the issue. We are looking at what further steps would be required, if the UK becomes a signatory, to ratify the Council of Europe convention. That work has not yet concluded, but our initial assessment is that full implementation would require some legislative changes.

Defence Programmes

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I am placing a list of collaborative equipment programmes (correct as at 31 March 2005) and research and technology programmes (as at June 2005) in the Library of the House. The information focuses on defence equipment programmes, including associated research and technology. Due to security constraints, a small number of programmes have been omitted from both lists. To provide a list of everything that might constitute a collaborative defence programme could only have been done incurring disproportionate time and effort.

House of Lords: Carbon Off-set Scheme

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Parliamentary Estates Directorate, which serves both Houses, has a partnership arrangement with the Carbon Trust in order to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, help reduce energy consumption and develop a corporate strategy for the management of carbon dioxide.

A carbon offset scheme is not among the initiatives currently being pursued. Efforts are being concentrated on savings at Westminster.

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