Previous Section Index Home Page


Departmental Research Projects

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 1999, Official Report, column 373W, what restrictions were

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 165W

placed on contractors carrying out research projects funded by his Department in 1999 in respect of them discussing their findings with journalists (a) before and (b) after publication. [108197]

Mr. Straw: The terms and conditions with regard to publicity about research projects undertaken by contractors on behalf of the Home Office vary depending upon the detailed circumstances of the contract. As a rule, research contracts with the Home Office require contractors not to make public statements concerning the work without the prior consent of the Department. In practice, this usually means that contractors do not discuss findings of research before publication but are free to do so afterwards. I am committed to ensuring that any research commissioned by my Department is published once it has been properly validated (save in subject areas where the protection of national security or the prevention of serious crime require that the research can only be used for internal purposes). I have agreed a protocol with my Director of Research governing the publication of the Home Office research reports. I have placed a copy in the Library.

Body Armour (Female Officers)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is given by his Department to police forces on the provision of suitably designed body armour for female officers. [109000]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Suitable body armour for female officers, designed and approved to standards set by the Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 166W

(PSDB) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), has been available since May 1999. The new PSDB Stab Resistance Standard for Body Armour 1999 also includes provision for testing female armour.

The results of all body armour tested to PSDB standards are published in the "Manual of Ballistic and Stab Resistant Body Armour", a joint PSDB/ACPO publication. The manual is available to all police forces and contains information on how to select appropriate body armour from among almost 200 commercially available armours. PSDB also gives presentations on female body armour to individual forces.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers who are (a) single adults, (b) families with children and (c) unaccompanied children in each London borough were being supplied through (i) the Social Services departments and (ii) other housing departments on 31 January. [108797]

Mrs. Roche: Central Government do not collect information in the form requested. I understand that the Association of London Government collates data on the numbers of single adults, families and unaccompanied minors being supported by London boroughs each week. A breakdown between those persons supported by social services departments or other housing departments is not available.

The latest figures available from the Association of London Government, for the week ending 7 January 2000, are set out in the table.

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 165W

Table showing the number of asylum seekers being supported by London boroughs(1) at 7 January 2000

BoroughTotal number of asylum seekersUnaccompanied minors (2)Single adultsNumber of families (3)Number of people in families
Barking and Dagenham2,4401408005301,500
Corporation of London170--902070
Hammersmith and Fulham(4)2,4001806704701,550
Kensington and Chelsea1,790130810260850
Tower Hamlets66010230130420
Waltham Forest2,250--1,1504901,100

(1) A significant proportion of the single adults live in other areas of the country but the accommodation is organised by London local authorities.

(2) Unaccompanied children under 17.

(3) Families include cases with only dependant adults.

(4) Updated figures not yet reported, figures taken from previous report.

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 167W

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 167W

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has taken to ensure that current overstayers will not lose the right to a suspensive appeal against a decision to remove them taken after 1 October. [109544]

Mrs. Roche: Section 9 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides for a minimum three month period during which overstayers can apply to regularise their immigration status. If they do so, and the application is refused after the new removal procedures are implemented, the old procedures will apply to their case after 1 October and a suspensive right of appeal will be retained.

The Immigration (Regularisation Period for Overstayers) Regulations 2000 came into force on Tuesday 8 February. The period runs from now until 1 October 2000, which is the day before the Human Rights Act 1998 is expected to come into force, and thus lasts for a minimum of almost eight months.

I shall shortly write to all Members, giving details of the scheme and how an application should be made under it. I shall place copies of the information leaflet we have produced in the Library. We shall be discussing further publicity with relevant interest groups, but as a first step the leaflets are being distributed to local community groups through the Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

The scheme is solely intended to retain a suspensive right of appeal to the Immigration Appellate Authority for those overstayers who make a specific application to us during the period. It is by no means an amnesty: the same considerations apply whether an application under the scheme is made or not. All overstayers should be aware that a decision to remove them from the United Kingdom is, and will, remain the normal response to their unlawful behaviour. Only when the compassionate circumstances outweigh the public interest in maintaining an effective immigration control will we allow them to remain.

Women's Refuges (London)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women's refuges there are in each Greater London borough. [108729]

Mr. Boateng: Refuges operate independently of Government, and such data are not collected centrally. The most comprehensive and up-to-date information available is contained in "The Gold Book: the Women's Aid Directory of Domestic Violence Research and Helpline

9 Feb 2000 : Column: 168W

Services 1999", published last year by the Women's Aid Federation (England). Information is also available on the Women's Aid website,

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding has been made available to (a) open and (b) support women's refuge projects in the Greater London area in each of the last three years. [108723]

Mr. Boateng: Refuges are funded by a range of sources, rather than directly by central Government. In some cases, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, through the Housing Corporation, provides capital and revenue funding. Other income comes from the rents paid by users (who may be relying on Housing Benefit support), local authorities, charities, trusts, private donations and their own fund-raising activities. Some refuge projects work in partnership with Housing Associations. Because of this the information requested is not available.

The paper "Supporting People" outlined plans to introduce a new policy and funding framework for the provision of supported accommodation for all who need it, including the survivors of domestic violence, from April 2003.

Next Section Index Home Page