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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much the NHS has spent on the provision of electrically-powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs in each year since 1997; [27351]

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Jacqui Smith: Pursuant to her reply of 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 763W: I regret that my previous reply was incorrect. It should read:

Expenditure on electrically powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs (EPIOCs) are as follows.

Expenditure on powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs—England


Figures are not collected centrally for numbers of vouchers issued separated into manual wheelchairs and EPIOCs.

The following table gives the only data available centrally. A number of these figures are incomplete (as annotated):

Number of powered wheelchairs issued4,4644,0333,3883,279(25)
Number of vouchers issued for wheelchairs560(24)5,010(25)6,3056,250(25)

(24) Collection of data was not mandatory

(25) Incomplete figure (one return missing)


Race Relations Act

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to make changes to current authorisations under section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976, as amended. [61371]

Beverley Hughes: I have today revoked the authorisation signed by my hon. friend the member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) on 23 April 2001 which permits immigration officers to discriminate in the examination of passengers from certain specified ethnic or national groups. We have kept this authorisation under close review in the light of intelligence assessments from the Immigration Service. After a year's experience of operating the authorisations, the Immigration Service has found it sufficient to rely on the authorisation made on 27 March 2001 which permits it to prioritise certain passengers for additional examination on the basis of their nationality. We will keep under review the possible need for further authorisations permitting discrimination on grounds of ethnic or national origin where necessary in respect of specific targeted operations.

Community Police Officers

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to his answer of 11 April 2002,

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Official Report, column 565W, how many community police officers there are on the beat, broken down by division. [58344]

Mr. Denham: The information in the table has been provided by the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester police (D. Wilmot Esq QPM). The number of officers shown as on the beat comprises those carrying out the role of community beat constable or that of area/community sergeant.

DivisionCommunity Police Officers on the beat(26)
North Manchester Division48
South Manchester Division89
The City of Salford Division63
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Division29
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Division42
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Division54
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Division40
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Division27
Bury Metropolitan Borough Division21
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Division39
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Division31

(26) Figures are for 22 May 2002

Crime Statistics

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of crime is (a) committed by and (b) committed against young males between the ages of 14 and 24 years; and if he will make a statement. [56224]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 21 May 2002]: Statistics of recorded crime are not collected by age, principally because a part of it is unsolved and therefore details of suspects are not known.

The available information relates to persons convicted or cautioned for notifiable offences in England and Wales in 2000, 41 per cent. of whom were males aged 14 to 24 years.

The 2000 British Crime Survey estimates that 25 per cent. of all personal crime (wounding, assault, robbery, theft from the person and other personal theft) reported to the survey was committed against males between the ages of 16 and 24.

Lay Visitors Scheme

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many complaints have been made about the operation of the police station cells lay visitors scheme in each constabulary in each of the last three years for which records exist; [53927]

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Mr. Denham: During the most recent review of the Home Office guidance to the police on lay/custody visiting, representations were received from the following bodies:

The most common issues raised were the organisation, recruitment and conditions of service of lay/custody visitors, as well as the administrative support provided by police authorities. There were also concerns about the level of training provided and procedures for carrying out visits, such as frequency and visiting in pairs.

Records of numbers of visits, the costs of running schemes and the number of complaints received are not kept centrally and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Police Reform Bill before Parliament includes provisions for placing independent custody visiting on a statutory basis. Custody visiting schemes in each police authority will then be mandatory and a supporting code of practice will provide for consistent standards across England and Wales.

Asylum Seekers

Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Centrex site at High Ercall has been proposed as a site for an asylum seeker accommodation centre. [52353]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 25 April 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) gave on 14 May 2002, Official Report, column 597W, when she

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announced that the Home Office would shortly be submitting planning notifications for accommodation centres at three sites. My hon. Friend also announced that a further three sites required further work before a decision could be taken as to whether to proceed to planning notifications.

Alongside the competition for the design, build and operation of accommodation centres the private sector were invited to submit their own proposals. All of these will be given due consideration across a range of criteria.

On 18 April 2002, my hon. Friend told the hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson), Official Report, column 1168W, that the site at High Ercall had not been proposed to the Home Office. Since that time a proposal has come forward. This does not necessarily mean that the site has become a serious prospect; nor will we be in a position to know whether it has until a full evaluation has taken place.

However, the general position remains that we will not be putting details of potential new sites into the public domain unless and until they are considered to be a serious prospect for the siting of an accommodation centre.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what travel allowances will be paid to enable asylum seekers to comply with reporting requirements. [59995]

Beverley Hughes: The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill contains a provision which if introduced will allow the Secretary of State to meet the travel costs of asylum seekers required to report. The Bill does not provide that travel expenses will be met in all cases. It is intended to meet the reasonable costs of travel where appropriate.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the possible use of Sully hospital in Cardiff to house asylum seekers. [58837]

Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, North (Helen Jones) on 14 May 2002, Official Report, column 597W.

Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many residents of Glasgow, Cathcart constituency have successfully applied for asylum in the past two years; [58874]

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Beverley Hughes: Asylum applications data are not available at regional level except by port (for those applications made at port—these accounted for 36 per cent. of applications in 2001).

Corresponding information on initial decision outcomes, cases outstanding and removals relating to persons in particular areas of the United Kingdom is also unavailable. The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the purpose is of the new asylum registration cards; and what statutory limits will be placed on their use. [57996]

Beverley Hughes: The Application Registration Card (ARC) is being issued to asylum seekers and their dependants as an acknowledgement of their application for asylum. It replaces the Standard Acknowledgement Letter (SAL) that has been widely forged.

The card will be used to obtain access to the services and benefits to which many asylum seekers are entitled including support payment in cash from National Asylum Support Service (NASS)-enabled Post Offices. Asylum seekers will be expected to produce their ARC when reporting to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, as a means of identification.

Clause 117 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill introduces offences in relation to the fraudulent use or production of application registration cards.

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