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Immigration Services

Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the regulation of immigration advisers and immigration services providers. [158181]

Mrs. Roche: I announced on 6 March 2001, Official Report, column 121W, that the scheme for regulating immigration advisers under part V of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 would be brought into force on 30 April 2001. I have now signed a commencement order to that effect. From that date, it will be a criminal offence to provide immigration advice or immigration services in the course of a business in breach of the requirements of the Act.

It has never been the Government's intention that Members of Parliament should be subject to the regulatory scheme. Our advice is that Members of both Houses of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament, Members of the devolved legislatures, local councillors, and their staff, are not subject to the regulatory scheme when providing immigration advice or services in connection with their parliamentary and constituency duties. Immigration advice and services given in other circumstances, however, may be subject to the scheme.

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I have also signed two exemption orders under section 84 (4)(d) of the Act, which will come into effect on 30 April 2001.

The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (part V exemption: educational institutions and health sector bodies) Order 2001 will exempt certain educational establishments and a number of public sector health bodies from the prohibition on giving immigration advice or services unless qualified. While there are some small differences between various parts of the United Kingdom, the main bodies exempted under the order are:






The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (part V exemption: eligible voluntary bodies and relevant employers) Order 2001 will give a temporary exemption from the prohibition until the end of January 2002 to:



Although these orders exempt the bodies concerned from the general prohibition on giving immigration advice and services and the associated criminal sanctions for breaching the prohibition, the exempted organisations, nevertheless, have to comply with the Code of Standards published by the Immigration Services Commissioner.

Home Detention Curfews

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list, for the period between the commencement of the Home Detention Curfew scheme and 31 March inclusive (a) the number of prisoners released on the scheme, (b) the number of prisoners convicted of each offence who were released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the offences committed, including offences committed by prisoners normally classified under the categories (i) other homicide and attempted homicide, (ii) other violence against the person, (iii) drug offences, (iv) assaults and (v) other offences, including a breakdown of the prisoners normally classified in the sub-category of other offences called other offences, (c) the average sentence (i) received and (ii) served, and the average period spent on the scheme, in respect of each offence, (d) the number of prisoners released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the offences committed who (i) breached the conditions of the curfew, (ii) disappeared and were recaptured, (iii) disappeared and remain unlawfully at large and (iv) had their licences revoked with reasons, (e) a breakdown of the offences committed by prisoners released on the scheme while on the scheme, including offences committed by prisoners who committed more than one offence and (f) a breakdown of the specific offences committed by prisoners released on the scheme who committed a further offence while on the scheme that was similar in character to that for which they were originally

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convicted, including offences committed by prisoners who committed more than one offence; and if he will make a statement. [157979]

Mr. Boateng: I will write to the hon. Member.

Electoral Register

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe), of 11 December 2000, Official Report, column 59W, on the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, when it is proposed that on-line access to the electoral register will be provided to registered political parties and the Electoral Commission to enable them to fulfil the requirements of Part IV of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000; and if he will make a statement about the progress being made in providing such access. [158035]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The project to provide such access has begun and bids to undertake the work have been invited. But it will take time to set up the necessary management mechanisms and put in place the technical requirements. We expect access to be available by 2003.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action he is taking to ensure that registered political parties and the Electoral Commission are provided with updates of the electoral register to enable them to fulfil the requirements of Part IV of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000; [158005]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We hope to publish, for consultation, draft regulations making further provision for the sale and supply of the electoral register towards the end of April. Subject to parliamentary approval, we anticipate that the regulations providing for the supply of updates of the full electoral register to registered political parties will come into force by the summer recess. The regulations will provide for updates to be supplied in data format unless the recipient requests otherwise.

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In the meantime, it is open to registered political parties to request a copy of each new revised version of the register as it is published or to make other appropriate arrangements to check whether a donor is registered at the time his or her donation is received by the party.

As the supply of the register to registered parties is currently governed by regulation 47 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001, we cannot instruct electoral registration officers to undertake any actions that falls outwith that regulation.

The supply of the electoral register to the Electoral Commission is governed by regulation 46 of the 2001 Regulation. Regulation 46 already provides for the Commission to receive copies of lists of amendments to the published registers.

Firearms (Police)

Mr. Corbett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the ACPO manual of guidance on police use of firearms which immediately preceded that issued in January. [157878]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The previous manual of guidance was, and must remain, confidential, because it contained numerous points of information which could have been valuable to criminals. The guidance has now been revised and has been placed in the Library, although some information must remain confidential for the reasons stated.

Prisoner Activity

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average amount of purposeful activity per week per prisoner in 2000-01; and if he will make a statement. [157982]

Mr. Boateng: The number of average weekly purposeful activity hours for the period April 2000 to the end of February 2001 was 23.7. The data for February included in these figures are provisional and subject to validation by prisons.


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