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Members from various Muslim organisations were appointed to the HAG. The composition of the group reflected the diversity of traditions within the Muslim community. Our records do not hold the details of which organisations were consulted when the HAG was established. However, they show a variety of Muslim organisations were consulted reflecting the diversity and geographic locations of the Muslim community in the UK.

The permanent members of the HAG were drawn from the following organisations:

Islamic Cultural Centre;

Union of Muslim Organisations;

Muslim Council of Britain;

Muslim Association of Britain;

World Federation of Khoji Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Community;

Association of British Hujjaj;

Muslim College; and

Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The charter established four working groups as follows:

Fund Raising;

Publicity;

Strategic Planning; and

Medical and Social.



24 Feb 2009 : Column WA48

The primary aim was to act as a fund-raising body to finance the important work of the British Hajj Delegation (BHD) from voluntary contributions by members of British Muslim communities. By 2004 it was clear that the HAG was unable to raise these funds, necessitating further investment from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to ensure the maintenance of exceptional medical support to British pilgrims, in addition to the FCO provision of core consular support to this event.

In 2004 and 2005, the FCO provided a grant of £20,000 to the HAG. The grant was administered by the group's secretariat based at the Islamic Cultural Centre in London. The secretariat received £12,000 to cover its administrative costs. Funding was withdrawn in 2006 when the group was abolished.

In the past five years the FCO has provided the BHD with £40,000 in 2004, £60,000 in 2005, £70,000 in 2006, £80,000 in 2007 and £90,000 in 2008.

Logistical and administrative support is provided for the BHD from FCO administrative resources (eg organising meetings, circulating documents, answering letters from members of the public etc).

The FCO currently funds a full-time Hajj desk officer to support arrangements for the BHD.

Health: Irish Community Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There have been a number of analyses of health status by the Irish ethnic category from the 2001 census. These analyses include: infant mortality; self reported health; long-standing limiting illness; heart disease; prevalence of diabetes; smoking; obesity and mental health.

These analyses confirm that people of Irish descent living in England are at risk from infant mortality, smoking and smoking-related illness, obesity, and mental health problems to a greater extent than the general population. Irish Travellers, along with Romany Gypsies, experience the worst health status of any disadvantaged community in England.

The department and the National Health Service have used this new understanding to help focus their efforts in addressing health inequalities. For example, improving the health status of Irish Travellers is a key part of the department's flagship Pacesetters programme, aimed at addressing health inequalities that arise from discrimination.

Homeless People

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno



24 Feb 2009 : Column WA49

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The department does not collect information on the numbers of rough sleepers that died on the streets of England.

On 18 November we published a new rough sleeping strategy, No One Left Out: Communities Ending Rough Sleeping where we promote prevention of rough sleeping in all areas through effective housing options and a strengthened safety net by promoting access to the private rented sector for rough sleepers and establishing best practice through our enhanced housing options trailblazer programme.

We will also further improve access to health for rough sleepers with multiple needs by developing a range of responses to people with the most chaotic lives and complex needs including the Department of Health's health trainers programme and also piloting improved hospital discharge processes for rough sleepers.

In 2007-2008, £18.8 million of Supporting People grant was spent by local authorities to provide hostel and other accommodation to rough sleepers and single homeless to ensure that they get the help they need to rebuild their lives and that no one has to sleep rough.

House of Lords Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Nomination for the creation of party-political life Peers, other than those appointed to serve as Ministers of the Crown, is a matter for the political parties. The Appointments Commission is an independent body accepting non-party political nominations and its remit has not changed.

In its response to the 2008 Government White Paper on House of Lords reform, the Public Administration Select Committee made a number of recommendations about the process of appointment to the House of Lords. The Government will respond in due course.

Human Rights

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton



24 Feb 2009 : Column WA50

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK regularly lobbies foreign Governments who have not ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) to take steps towards doing so. Our recent efforts have included, where relevant, lobbying in the countries with which we have memoranda of understanding regarding deportations with assurances, and countries with which we have extradition arrangements. Lebanon, with which the UK has a memorandum of understanding on deportation with assurances, ratified the optional protocol in December 2008.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): This would in theory be possible. Article 57 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which applies to the Fourth Protocol by virtue of Article 6 of that Protocol) permits a state to make a reservation in respect of any particular provision to the extent that any law then in force in its territory is not in conformity with the provision. Reservations of a general character are not permitted. However, under Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, any reservation to a treaty must not be incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty, so it would depend on the terms of the reservations required.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Lord Bach: In response to the Hirst (No. 2) judgment, the Government committed to undertake a two-stage consultation process. The first stage concluded in March 2007. The Government remain committed to carrying out this second, more detailed public consultation. An announcement will be made in due course.

Immigration: Sub-Saharan Africa

Questions

Asked by Lord Luce



24 Feb 2009 : Column WA51

Lord Patel of Bradford: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Luce, dated February 2009.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Question asking how many people originating from African countries south of the Sahara are living in the United Kingdom, broken down by country of origin. (HL 1491)

The Office for National Statistics collects data on country of birth on the Annual Population Survey (APS) which covers residents of the UK. Estimates from the APS for each country south of the Sahara can be seen in Table 1.



24 Feb 2009 : Column WA52

Table 1: Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom from African countries south of the Sahara3, by country of birth4,5,6, April 2007 to March 2008
thousands
EstimateCVCI +/-

African countries south of the Sahara

1,059

A

42

Angola

13

C

5

Benin

:

Botswana

2

D

2

Burkina

-

Burundi

2

D

2

Cameroon

11

D

4

Cape Verde

-

Central African Republic

1

D

1

Chad

-

Comoros

:

Congo

10

D

4

Congo (Democratic Republic)

14

C

5

Cole d’Ivoire

5

D

3

Djibouti

:

Equatorial Guinea

:

Eritrea

8

D

4

Ethiopia

13

C

5

Gabon

-

Gambia The

9

D

4

Ghana

94

B

13

Guinea

2

D

2

Guinea-Bissau

1

D

1

Kenya

128

B

15

Lesotho

1

D

1

Liberia

1

D

1

Madagascar

-

Malawi

20

C

6

Mali

:

Mauritania

:

Mauritius

31

C

7

Mozambique

3

D

2

Namibia

2

D

2

Niger

:

Nigeria

135

B

15

Reunion

:

Rwanda

3

D

2

Sao Tome And Principe

1

D

1

Senegal

1

D

2

Seychelles

3

D

2

Sierra Leone

22

C

6

Somalia

93

B

13

South Africa

209

A

St Helena

1

D

2

Sudan

11

D

4

Swaziland

:

Tanzania

26

C

7

Togo

:

19

Uganda

55

B

10

Zambia

28

C

7

Zimbabwe

97

B

13

Statistical Robustness1

Estimates are considered precise (a)

0 =

CV <

5

Estimates are reasonably precise (b)

5 =

CV <

10

Estimates are considered acceptable (c)

lo =

CV <

15

Estimates are not considered reliable for practical purposes (d)

CV <

20

Asked by Lord Luce


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