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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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the UK Border Agency has referred concerns over the delivery of citizenship examinations to the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator. [HL230]
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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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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will assist other local authorities to introduce domestic violence schemes similar to the Living without Violence programme provided by Brighton & Hove City Council. [HL196]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes they intend to make to the document Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service-Good Practice and Tactical Guidance of March 2005, in particular to the handling of complaints of homophobic conduct. [HL203]
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.
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 12 November (WA 205), what were the conclusions of the meeting between the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, and Members of Parliament who have constituencies in ports; what meetings he has had with the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, on the ports' tax; and on what dates. [HL244]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 12 November (WA 207-8), which recent publications demonstrating research excellence the Medical Research Council relied on in awarding an extension to the research project entitled "Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer"; and what were the impact factors associated with those publications. [HL255]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which planning appeals on wind farm applications have been recovered for decision by the Secretary of State since June 2008; and for each case (a) why it was recovered, (b) what the outcome was, and (c) whether the Inspector's recommendation was accepted or overturned. [HL151]
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 appeal||Decision||Was inspector's recommendation accepted or not|
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