|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Charles Clarke: Crime reduction targets took effect from April 2000 and are measured against recorded crime statistics. The first opportunity to assess progress will be in relation to the recorded crime statistics for the period October 1999 to September 2000, due to be published on 16 January.
Mr. Charles Clarke: We have no such plans, but we would of course consider on their merits any proposals from police authorities for amalgamations which might lead to more effective policing. We will continue to encourage chief officers and police authorities to take advantage of opportunities for collaboration between forces where this will help deliver Best Value.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Last September the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales published a report "What the Public See is What They Think They Get", which included case studies of forces where increased and targeted beat patrolling was being used more effectively and efficiently.
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 118W
CFF grant payments to forces are paid on the basis of anticipated recruitment of CFF officers. Variations in actual recruitment may affect total amounts due to individual forces. Any overpayment may be reclaimed or offset against future payments.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Work is in hand to establish an improved and extended accelerated promotion scheme, combining and developing the two existing schemes for graduate entrants and for serving officers. This work is expected to be completed by the autumn.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the (a) residential and (b) non-residential training courses provided by the Police College at Hendon since May 2000 and the number of officers attending each course. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued to local authorities about the determination of the age of asylum seekers claiming to be minors; what plans he has to revise that guidance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: No such guidance has been issued to local authorities. National Asylum Support Service officials have discussed age dispute cases with local authority officials, who have responsibility for supporting asylum seeking children.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of housing asylum seekers who fall outside the dispersal scheme. 
Local authorities are required to house only those asylum seekers supported by local authorities under the interim scheme (which consists of in-country asylum applicants who claimed asylum before the roll-out of the new NASS support arrangements and port applicants who received a first negative decision before the NASS roll-out) and those who are eligible for social security benefits (having claimed asylum at port before 3 April 2000 and not having had an initial decision on their case) and have a priority need for accommodation under the
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 119W
homelessness legislation. Local authorities can recover these costs by way of Government grant which is subject to unit cost limits.
Based on unaudited grant claims submitted to the Home Office the net costs of local authorities in England and Wales of providing support to asylum seekers under the interim scheme, including housing and subsistence, for the first six months of 2000-01 was £7 million.
The latest figure available for net expenditure by local housing authorities in England on securing accommodation for households under the homelessness legislation (excluding administration costs) is £74 million in 1998-99.
Information about the number of households accommodated by local authorities in England under the homelessness legislation who are asylum seekers was not collected by central Government prior to the second quarter of 1999. Between June 1999 and September 2000, the proportion of such households was typically around 16 per cent.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has issued to local authorities about the duties of social services to asylum seekers who are unaccompanied minors when they reach the age of 18 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: No such guidance has been issued to local authorities. However, over the past 12 months National Asylum Support Service (NASS) officials have had discussions with local authority organisations on the most appropriate way of ensuring a smooth transition from care under the Children's Act 1989 to the NASS system of support.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Government's asylum policy following the judgment of the House of Lords in the case of Aitseguer and Adan. 
Mrs. Roche: We are disappointed that the House of Lords took the same view as the Court of Appeal in these cases, which raised issues about differing interpretations of the 1951 Refugee Convention in France and Germany.
Since 2 October 2000 section 11 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 has provided that all European Union member states are considered safe destinations for the purpose of transfers under the Dublin Convention. This applies to all current and future cases, but the cases of Adan and Aitseguer pre-date this provision.
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 120W
The judgment will affect how we deal with a group of about 300 cases seeking to rely on similar issues. We are now considering what action to take in those cases. We already know that many of them can be distinguished from the issues in Adan and Aitseguer. We will therefore continue to make arrangements where appropriate for their transfer to the member state properly responsible for considering their claims under the Dublin Convention.
The Government remain concerned about the effects of differing interpretations of the Refugee Convention in the different European Union member states. The United Kingdom will be actively involved in the forthcoming negotiations to establish minimum standards across the Union in respect of the qualification of nationals of third countries as refugees.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish his Department's (a) Business Plan and (b) annual report for 2000-01; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: In line with usual practice, the next Home Office Business Plan is scheduled for completion to coincide with the start of the 2001-02 financial year. The next Home Office Annual Report is planned for completion and publication shortly after the spring 2001 Budget.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish his Department's summary cash plans for 2000-01 and for future years following the Comprehensive Spending Review 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Summary cash plans for 2000-01 were published in the Home Office Annual Report 1999-2000 (Cm 4065) published in April 2000. Plans for 2001-02 to 2003-04 will be included as part of the 2000-01 Departmental Report to be published in spring 2001. These will be in resource terms with the introduction of resource budgeting from 1 April 2001.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|