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Young Offenders (Cell Hours)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ask the Prison Service to collect separately the number of out of cell hours for (a) sentenced and (b) remand prisoners in young offender units. [148176]

Mr. Boateng: Time spent out of cell is one of a range of national key performance targets for prison establishments. Data on time spent out of cell are held in various forms at local level and discussed with area managers as part of the performance monitoring process. However, there are no plans to collect or collate such data centrally.

Feltham Young Offenders Institution

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the waiting time was for psychiatrically disturbed adolescents in Feltham young offenders institution to obtain placements in NHS beds or secure psychiatric places in (a) each quarter for the last two years and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available [148173]

Mr. Boateng: Historic information on waiting times for mental health transfers from Feltham young offenders institution (YOI) is not available. As of 31 January 2001, seven prisoners from Feltham YOI had been accepted for and were awaiting transfer to national health service mental health units. Of these, six had been waiting for under one month following acceptance and one had been waiting for two months. The individuals concerned are all over the age of 18.

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 432W

Prison Staff (Retention and Recruitment)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison staff of principal officer grade and above have (a) resigned and (b) transferred out of prisons in the Greater London area in each of the last three years. [148175]

Mr. Boateng: The information requested is provided in the table:

YearResignedTransferred
1998125
1999216
2000241
2001682

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies for prison officers were (a) advertised and (b) filled in each institution in the north-west of England between July 2000 and the latest date for which information is available. [148135]

Mr. Boateng: None of the establishments in the north-west of England has had advertised vacancies between July 2000 and 31 January 2001.

Criminal Records Bureau

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of funding the Criminal Records Bureau (a) centrally and (b) by charges for certificates issued. [148041]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Work on determining the bureau's costs is continuing. An announcement about charges will be made as soon as possible.

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he gives to voluntary associations which operate in England and Scotland on paying a contribution to the Criminal Records Bureau. [148694]

Mr. Charles Clarke: No such guidance has been issued, although detailed information and guidance on the operation of the Criminal Records Bureau will be made available before it begins to issue certificates. An announcement on the level of charge will be made shortly. Separate arrangements will apply in Scotland, where checks will be made by the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

Citizenship Applications

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he uses to decide when an application for naturalisation should be processed and determined (a) urgently and (b) otherwise than in date order of application. [147601]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 29 January 2001]: There are various criteria for giving priority, such as where a person needs British citizenship for a particular job, but these criteria are not intended to cover all the circumstances which may arise. Discretion may therefore be exercised in the particular circumstances of an individual case.

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 433W

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for naturalisation on grounds of residence were granted within (a) six months, (b) nine months and (c) 12 months of the date of application in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999 and (iv) 2000; and if he will make a statement. [147599]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 29 January 2001]: The information is given in the table. The data are not available for part of the years 1997 and 2000, due to intermittent problems with information technology and operator error, but nevertheless enables comparisons to be made. The table includes only applications made under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, based on five years' residence in the United Kingdom.

Applications decided within1997199819992000Total
Six months3314861,1121,3713,300
Nine months7587221,3451,8194,644
12 months1,9461,9351,8194,73310,433
Total3,0353,1434,2767,92318,377

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his policy that applications for naturalisation should be processed and determined in date order of application; and if he will make a statement. [147603]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 29 January 2001]: Applications for naturalisation as British citizens are normally given initial consideration in date of receipt order. It has long been the case that, in appropriate circumstances, initial consideration may be given out of turn. Some measure of priority may also be afforded to subsequent stages of the process.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what changes he has made to policy on naturalisation since 1 May 1997; when such changes took effect; and if he will make a statement; [147631]

Mrs. Roche [holding answer 29 January 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 22 December 1997 that henceforth reasons would be given in all cases where applications for British citizenship were being refused. In June 1998, it was decided that the benefit of the doubt should normally be given to applicants where there was a conflict of professional opinion over their ability to meet the full capacity requirement. In the same month, it was decided that where breaches of the immigration laws were due to invalidly completed applications for leave to remain they should normally be disregarded for naturalisation purposes. We have yet to give more detailed consideration to effecting the changes in the residence requirements outlined in paragraph 10.7 of the White Paper.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to require individuals seeking British citizenship to attend instruction on the rights and responsibilities that come with the grant of citizenship. [147102]

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 434W

Mrs. Roche: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has no plans to introduce such a requirement.

Rugby League

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the investigation by the Charity Commission into Rugby League. [148564]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 2 February 2001]: This is a matter for the Charity Commission, which will write to my hon. Friend. A copy of the Commission's reply will be placed in the Library.

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long it took to process Mr. S. Hinduja's application for citizenship; and how long the average case takes. [147795]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 29 January 2001]: On the time taken to process Mr. S. P. Hinduja's application for naturalisation, I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 29 January 2001, Official Report, column 75W.

For a breakdown of the number of applications processed within certain time periods, I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Aylesbury on 2 February 2001, Official Report, column 339W.

As at the end of December 2000, the average waiting time for all nationality applications was 13.1 months. In March 1999 it was 19.9 months.

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of his Department's Ministers were involved in considering the nationality application of Mr. G. P. Hinduja in 1997; which other Ministers made representations to his Department's Ministers about Mr. G. P. Hinduja in 1997; to which Minister these were made; and if he will make a statement and place the transcripts of all telephone conversations and officials' minutes of such representations, conversations and meetings in the Library. [148750]

Mr. Straw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) and the hon. Members for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) and for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley) on 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 166W.


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