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Whether they intend to legislate to reduce the scope of the investigative and law enforcement powers of (a) the Commission for Racial Equality; (b) the Equal Opportunities Commission; and (c) the Disability Rights Commission. [HL4433]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government are continuing to give careful consideration to the suite of investigative and law enforcement powers to be available to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, in the light of responses to the consultation launched by the White Paper, Fairness For All. Our aim is to provide the CEHR with effective powers to enable it fully to discharge its remit.
Whether they intend to comply with the advice given in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Return Advisory Regarding Iraqi Asylum Seekers and Refugees; and whether they will give the text of any necessary amendment to their Asylum Policy Instructions. [HL4623]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Each asylum claim from an Iraqi national, as with any other national, is considered on its own merits taking account of relevant country information; case law and factors specific to the individual claim. The country information is derived from many sources, including from UNHCR.
We do not agree with UNHCR's advice as set out in its Return Advisory Regarding Iraqi Asylum Seekers and Refugees and in previous position papers that some form of complementary protection should be granted to failed asylum seekers from Iraq and that there should be be neither enforced returns nor encouraged voluntary returns. Where a decision has been taken that an individual would not be at risk if returned to Iraq and that decision has been upheld by the appellate authorities we consider that it is safe for that individual to return to Iraq.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Dispersal to individual cluster areas may be suspended for a variety of reasons but generally speaking dispersal will be resumed within a short period. As at 21 October 2004 dispersal was suspended in the following areas:
|Cluster area||All or part of area||Reason|
|Doncaster||Part||Dispersal of single middle eastern males suspended at the request of the police|
|Nottingham||Part (Two properties only)||Dispersal suspended at the request of the police|
|Derby||All||Dispersal suspended at the request of the police|
|Burnley||All||Dispersal suspended at the request of the police|
|Nelson||All||Dispersal suspended at the request of the police|
|Bootle||All||Dispersal suspended at the request of the police|
|Manchester||Part||Dispersal suspended at the request of the local authority/police|
How many units of accommodation and places for asylum seekers are contracted out by the National Asylum Support Services (NASS) to (a) local private sector service providers, (b) local authorities; and (c) other accommodation providers, in England, Wales and Scotland respectively and how many of these units are now empty and unoccupied (i) in dispersal centres where dispersals have been suspended and (ii) in other dispersal centres. [HL4460]
|A Number of occupied bed spaces in all dispersal areas||B Number of unoccupied bed spaces in all dispersal areas|
Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they expect construction of the Bicester accommodation centre for asylum seekers to begin; and what payments they will make to Global Solutions Ltd under the 10-year contract to design, build and operate the centre.[HL4653]Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The construction programme for the accommodation centre near Bicester is dependent on the final resolution of the local authority's legal challenge of the planning process.
The terms of the contract with Global Solutions (GSL UK) Ltd are commercial in confidence.
Whether they will place in the Library of the House of Commons a copy of the Home Office reply to the questionnaire from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Financial Action Task Force on how they tackled cases involving bribery and corruption. [HL4733]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Home Office has not replied to any such questionnaire. The HM Treasury leads for the UK on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Financial Action Task Force. The Department for Trade and Industry leads for the UK on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Bribery Working Group.
How many persons, including dependants, have been granted indefinite leave to remain as a result of the concession announced by the Home Secretary on 24 October 2003 in respect of families who lodged a claim for asylum before 2 October 2000. [HL4713]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: An announcement detailing the results of the exercise including the available statistical information will be made when the exercise is completed and all those potentially qualifying applicants have had an opportunity to respond to our queries.
Whether there are differences between trespass on royal and government sites and trespass on sites owned or occupied by others which justify separate legislation in respect of each type of trespass. [HL4737]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: A variety of trespass-related provisions already exist for a number of different reasons. It is an offence to trespass on aerodromes or railways, and there are public order offences of trespass with the intention of obstructing lawful activity. However, most acts of trespass are not serious enough to warrant criminal sanctions.
Her Majesty's Goverment are currently considering whether it is necessary to create a separate offence of trespass for certain sensitive sites, including some royal and government sites, for reasons of national security. This was a recommendation in the report by Commander Frank Armstrong of 14 August 2003 following the breach of security at Windsor Castle on 21 June 2003. This recommendation was reinforced by the Report of the Security Commission of May 2004, following Ryan Parry's activities at Buckingham Palace.
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): A number of local authorities and agencies in the north-west are closely involved in taking forward programmes and plans to enhance or develop the waterfront and beaches of Merseyside. These include particularly the Mersey Basin Campaign, which is sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is a very successful water quality and waterside regeneration initiative, and the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park Programme, which is supported by the Government Office for the North West and the North West Regional Development Agency.
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