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3 Dec 2009 : Column WA63

Written Answers

Thursday 3 December 2009

Asylum Seekers: Deportation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Information on asylum removals and voluntary departures in the last five years is available from Table 3.1 of the Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2008 bulletin (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1409.pdf ).

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons who were removed or departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's research, development and statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration- asylum-stats.html.

Asked by Baroness Warsi

Lord West of Spithead: It is not possible to provide an average figure for the cost of removing an individual, including failed asylum seekers, for either successful or unsuccessful removals. This is because there are many different factors which may or may not be involved in the cost of a case (such as detention costs, travel costs, and the cost of escorting the individual in question). We are unable to disaggregate the specific costs and any attempt to do so would also incur disproportionate cost.

British Citizenship

Questions

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency does not maintain statistics on the number of referrals to the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual).

However, we take the integrity of our immigration system very seriously and have put tough measures in place to prevent fraudulent activity. If someone is

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found to have met the language requirements for citizenship through dubious means, then their application will be refused for failure to meet the good character requirement. In order to satisfy the good character requirement, they must show that they have been open and honest with immigration officials. If this is found not to be the case, their application will be refused and they will be barred from reapplying for 10 years.

Asked by Baroness Warsi

Lord West of Spithead: To date only one centre has been removed from the network, City Wide Learning in Sheffield. The centre was found to be operating fraudulently and was the subject of a major fraud investigation by the police. The trial of those involved begins in January.

Crime: Domestic Violence

Questions

Asked by Lord Sheikh

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There are a number of alcohol arrest referral schemes in operation which aim to reduce reoffending among people arrested for alcohol-related offences. People who are arrested on suspicion of alcohol-related domestic violence in AAR pilot areas may be referred to a domestic violence specialist adviser and encouraged to address their behaviour and the consequences of their unsafe drinking. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to better understand the role that both alcohol and drugs play in contributing to incidents of domestic violence.

Asked by Lord Sheikh

Lord West of Spithead: On 25 November, the Government launched Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls: A Strategy. In relation to service provision, the Government have committed to ensuring that violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, is mainstreamed into the joint strategic needs assessment process, enabling the identification of joint or aligned commissioning strategies in response to local needs.

While central government have a role in the provision of some services, the main responsibility for local services rests with local statutory partners who administer the bulk of budgets and the now devolved commissioning responsibilities.



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We will continue to invest in specific domestic violence services such as national helplines, multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) and independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs).

Asked by Lord Sheikh

Lord West of Spithead: We support the introduction of community-based perpetrator programmes. However, it is local partners who have the main responsibility for the services in their area. In our recently published strategy, Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls, we set out our commitments over the coming year to assist local areas to ensure that they have the appropriate service provision in place. This includes developing tools to assist areas to assess need and clear guidance for commissioners.

Crime: Hate

Question

Asked by Lord Dear

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Association of Chief Police Officers is refreshing the guidance and intends to publish a new manual in March 2010. The details of the document are currently in development. The publication of the new manual is one of the actions within the recently published cross-government hate crime action plan, which includes a range of other activity to reduce hate crime.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/hate-crime-action-plan/

Many police organisations and the ACPO lesbian, gay and bisexual group have done work to reduce hostility from staff to homosexual colleagues and some forces have performed very well in the Stonewall employer index, including in 2006, when Staffordshire Police was awarded the Employer of the Year Award by Stonewall.

Cyber Security

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Office of Cyber Security was established in September 2009, and is already working in support of delivering the Cyber Security Strategy. Within the strategy it was felt sensible to plan for an initial operational capability-which included being staffed by approximately 20 people from different departments and agencies-by March 2010. They presently have 12 staff but are not waiting for an arbitrary initial operational capability; they are already making progress in their priority work areas. Other staff will be recruited over the remainder of the financial year.

Asked by Lord Patten

Lord West of Spithead: The UK has contributed valuable input over many years to the improvement of the elements of Cyber Security, both through ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) and other EU fora. This work takes place under the broad Commission headings of Critical Information Infrastructure Protection and Telecommunications Resilience, as well as the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (known as EPCIP). Actions include collaborative efforts aimed at increasing European co-operation on policy to enhance cyber security, such as developing European priorities, principles and guidelines on long-term internet resilience and stability, as well as enhancing co-operation with industry.

Department for Communities and Local Government: Meeting with MPs

Question

Asked by Lord Bates

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, met with Members of Parliament who have constituencies in ports and listened to their representations. The Government are currently considering the position and will reach their decision shortly.

The review of ports by the Valuation Office Agency was to ensure that all individual business properties within and outside ports are rated fairly to ensure that the burden of contributions to funding local government is shared fairly amongst businesses around the country.



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The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some businesses within ports. They have legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay immediately by 87 per cent.

Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Medical Research Council (MRC) awarded a one-year extension to the University of Newcastle for the project "Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer". The award, which is an extension to the duration of the study, was granted at no additional cost to the MRC to allow the completion of the planned research. Such a time-only extension is the standard mechanism employed by the MRC for allowing grants to fulfil their original objectives. As such awards involve no significant changes to the research plans they are not subject to additional peer review. The original award, which was made in 2007, was subject to the MRC's rigorous peer review process and was considered to be internationally competitive.

The MRC's peer review process includes an assessment of the importance of the scientific questions being asked, the research programme's potential for advancing biomedical science, and the justification for the resources requested; any ethical issues that need further attention are also identified. The process does not include a formal assessment of an applicant's previous research papers and any associated impact factors.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Reay



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The following table lists those appeals together with the decision where that has been published, and whether the inspector's recommendation was accepted or overturned in each case. Data on the reasons for recovery are not collected centrally, but most of these appeals will have been recovered under the criterion "proposals for major significance for the delivery of the Government's climate change programme and energy policies".

Name and location of appealDecisionWas inspector's recommendation accepted or not

Land adjacent to Alcan Smelter, Northumberland

Allow

Accepted

Land at Barmoor, between Ford and Lowick, Northumberland

Not yet published

N/A

Land at Berrier Hill, Penrith

Not yet published

N/A

Land at Crook Hill, Rochdale (4 appeals)

Allow

Accepted

Land at Grise Wind Farm, Penrith

Not yet published

N/A

Land at Hall Farm, Routh, Beverley

Allow

Accepted

Land at Reaps Moss

Allow

Accepted

Land at Todmorden Moor, Calderdale

Dismiss

Accepted

Land at Toft Hill, Northumberland

Not yet published

N/A

Land at Westfield Lane, Wakefield

Not yet published

N/A

Land between Clough Foot and Sharney Ford

Allow

Accepted

Land north-east of Swinford, near Lutterworth

Not yet published

N/A

Moorsyde Windfarm, Northumberland

Not yet published

N/A

Sober Hill Windfarm, York

Not yet published

N/A

Wadlow Farm, Cambridgeshire

Allow

Accepted

Wandylaw Far, Chathill

Allow

Accepted

Government Departments: Annual Reports


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