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Emigration

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, Director of Macroeconomics and Labour Market, to Lord Laird, dated 3 March 2008.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Question concerning how many people emigrated from the United Kingdom in each of the past five years. I am replying in her absence.

The most recent available figures are for 2002 to 2006. These are presented in the table below.

Table 1—Total international migration1 migrants leaving the United Kingdom 2002 to 2006
YearEstimate (thousands)

2002

358

2003

361

2004

342

2005

359

2006

400

Equatorial Guinea: Simon Mann

Earl Cathcart asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government sought feedback from the United States in relation to the ambassador's visit to Mr Mann.

United States officials visited Mr Mann in Black Beach Prison on 6 February 2008, at the invitation of the Equatorial Guinean authorities, before access was granted to UK consular officials. While the visit by the United States afforded an opportunity to check on Mr Mann's welfare, we nevertheless made clear to the Government of Equatorial Guinea that such a visit was not a substitute for UK consular access. We will remain in touch with the United States on this matter as warranted.

The Government made their own representations to the Equatorial Guinean authorities. In London, I met the Equatorial Guinean ambassador and subsequently spoke to him by phone. In Malabo, our consul, visiting from the Deputy High Commission in Lagos, met the Equatorial Guinean Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice.

UK consular access to Mr Mann was granted on 12 February. We will continue to visit Mr Mann in prison in line with our consular policy.

Firearms: Licensing Management System

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The rollout of the interface between the national firearms licensing management system and the police national computer was completed over the weekend of 22 and 23 September 2007.

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: There is no NFLMS link to Europe. However the SOCA international firearms tracing desk (IFTD) has been provided with read-only access to NFLMS to enable it to investigate the use of British-registered firearms used in international crimes. The IFTD will provides overseas law enforcement agencies with a point of contact through which checks on firearms believed to have provenance in the UK can be conducted.



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Fish

Lord Goodlad asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): We have no estimates of the proportion of fish eaten in the UK from illegal sources through the Canary Islands. Once inside the EU via the Canaries such products would be able to trade freely and are not recorded.

Discussions have been held between UK and Spanish officials proposing joint studies on understanding vulnerability of national entry points to illegal, unreported and unregulated fish. These studies are yet to start.

All member states are currently in negotiation with the Commission at Council Working groups regarding the Commission's draft regulation to establish a Community system to prevent deter and eliminate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. This includes provisions to improve the control of entry of illegal unregulated and unreported fish and fish products to the EU.

Fishing: Rod Licences

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In 2006-07, the cost of administering the rod licence scheme was £1.64 million.

The revenue from rod licences over the last five years is shown in the table below.

YearRevenue

2006-07

£20.5 million

2005-06

£19.7 million

2004-05

£18.6 million

2003-04

£17.6 million

2002-03

£16.1 million

Food: Supplements

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The majority of companies exporting goods from the Channel Islands to the UK apply to use the import VAT accounting scheme. For those goods which have a value over £18, the scheme provides for the VAT to be paid by the consignee at the time the order is placed rather than on delivery. The VAT is paid by each company to the Channel Islands postal authorities, and they, in turn forward this to the UK Exchequer.

Users of the scheme are required to enter monthly accounts to their customs authority, and provide details of the exports, both under and over the £18 de minimus level. This information is used by HMG to monitor the LVCR scheme and to assist in assessing the revenue consequences and impact on the UK market.

Forced Marriage

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government are working to implement the Act as speedily as possible. As the Government stated during the passage of the Bill, implementation of any legislation requires a significant programme of work. The programme of work includes the development of the necessary court rules and forms, the setting up of the appropriate court processing systems, guidance developed for staff and judicial training undertaken. The views of the public will also be taken into account and the Government have published a public consultation on who should be a relevant third party to forced marriage proceedings. The draft rules of court have also been published for consultation. The Ministry of Justice is working closely with other departments to decide the best ways in which to publicise the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 to victims and potential victims of forced marriage when it comes into force in Autumn 2008.

Hillsborough Castle

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Office takes seriously its duty to maintain this important historic listed building. In the calendar year 2007 the cost of maintaining Hillsborough Castle and its grounds was

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£835,669. This figure covers planned preventive maintenance, basic repairs and other works to the fabric of the building and its mechanical and electrical services, such as installation of solar panels and biomass heating systems.

Activities at the castle include departmental meetings, training courses and conferences, the annual garden party and citizenship ceremonies. In addition to its use by the Northern Ireland Office and other government departments, charities and local community groups can request to use the facilities, generally for fundraising purposes, and the castle and grounds are open at certain times of the year for guided tours.

The income generated by Hillsborough Castle from its range of customers for 2007 was £184,141.

Immigration: Crime

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There is evidence of Romanian children being trafficked into the UK for the purpose of street crime. The recent police raids in Slough on 24 January saw the arrests of 24 Romanian adults and the rescue of 10 children. These arrests were part of a wider police operation to disrupt Romanian organised crime gangs and rescue victims of the child traffickers.

The Government commissioned the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to scope the extent of child trafficking into and within the UK. Its report (2007) identified six children who had been trafficked specifically for benefit fraud. Where benefit fraud is suspected investigations are carried out on a case-by-case basis.

Where the Department for Children, Schools and Families has information that British residents have brought children into the UK for adoption which breach the requirements and conditions of UK adoption law, such information is referred to the relevant public authorities. These include the police in whose area the prospective adopters live and where there is reason to suspect the child is at risk of harm, the local authority is informed.

Immigration: Marriage

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Two consultation documents were published on 5 December 2007: one on proposals to tackle forced marriage, and the other on the proposal to introduce a pre-entry English language requirement for spouses. These consultations fulfil the promises made in our strategy “Securing the UK Border”, published in March 2007, to consult on new arrangements for marriage visas.

We are proposing a range of measures to address the problem of forced marriage. One of these proposals is that the minimum age at which a person can sponsor a marriage partner from overseas should be raised from 18 to 21. The same minimum age would apply to the person being sponsored. The Government's strong view is that those who intend to come here to marry should have a knowledge of English. The consultation on the proposal to introduce a pre-entry English language requirement for spouses discusses the key issues around how a requirement of this nature might work in practice.

The consultation periods will run for 12 weeks and the final date for responses is 27 February 2008. The results of the consultations will be published shortly.

Justice: Sharia Law

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government have not received any representations. Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales. There are, however, a number of Sharia councils in England and Wales which, on a private basis where the parties consent, deal with the mediation and resolution of personal and contractual disputes. These councils are not part of the court system. In all cases, parties will always have recourse to the national courts.

The Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002, which amended the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, allows a court to refuse a decree absolute until a religious divorce is granted. It applies to members of the Jewish faith or to any other prescribed religious group, including Islam. The option does, however, depend on the religious community itself deciding to make use of the provisions of the Act and then asking the Lord Chancellor to prescribe the religious group for that purpose. No application has been received from any Islamic group requesting such recognition.



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