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Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many safe cells will be installed in (a) prisons and (b) police stations in (i) the current and (ii) the next financial year. 
Beverley Hughes: A total of 681 safer cells will be installed in prisons in 200102, and there is at present financial provision for a further 531 in 200203. These include 576 in 200102, and in 200203, in Design, Construction, Management and Finance (DCMF) prisons in which elements of the safer cell are being incorporated.
Safer cells are not fitted at police stations, but each of the 43 forces will continue to upgrade cells to reduce ligature points. There are no figures available for the number of cells to be improved in this manner either for this year or the next financial year.
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Beverley Hughes: The table shows the numbers of safer cells installed in prisons in each of last five years. These include 2,441 cells in Design, Construction, Management and finance (DCMF) prisons in which elements of the safer cell are incorporated. Safer cells are not fitted at police stations, but each of the 43 forces will be upgrading cells to reduce ligature points as and when funds allow.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners committed suicide in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many were (a) male, (b) female, (c) on remand and (d) aged under 21 years. 
|Year||Total||Male||Female||On Remand||Under 21 years|
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued under the fast track scheme for shortage occupations in the period since the introduction of this scheme; how many permits were issued for shortage occupations as a proportion of the total; and if he will make a statement. 
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Angela Eagle: The number of work permits issued for Tier 1 applications can only be given from 1 October 1999 which are 120,750 of which 65,002 are shortage occupations. The shortage skills occupation category was first introduced into the work permit arrangements in February 1990. The number of work permits issued for shortage occupations since that date are not available as the way in which work permit management information is collected was changed on 1 October 1999.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued to IT professionals in (a) the last year and (b) in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: The number of work permits which were issued to Information Technology professionals in the last year, from 1 October 2000 until 30 September 2001 was 28,191. The number of work permits issued in the period 1 September to 30 September 2001, which is the latest period available is 1,477.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued in the last 12 months to immigrants from India and Pakistan seeking employment in the IT industry. 
Angela Eagle: The number of work permits approved in the last 12 months for Indian nationals seeking employment in the Information Technology (IT) industry was 16,575. The number approved for nationals from Pakistan seeking employment in the IT industry was 342.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for the period between the commencement of the home detention curfew scheme on 28 January 1999 and 30 September 2001, what are (a) the total number of prisoners released on the scheme, (b) the number of prisoners convicted of each specific offence who were released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the offences committed, including the specific 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 (1) received and (2) served, and the average period spent on the scheme, in respect of each specific offence, (d) the number of prisoners released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the offences committed, who (A) breached the conditions of the curfew, (B) disappeared and were recaptured, (C) disappeared and remain unlawfully at large and (D) had their licences revoked, and for what reasons, (e) a breakdown of the specific offences committed by prisoners released on the scheme while on the scheme, including all 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 convicted, including all offences committed by prisoners who committed more than one offence; and if he will make a statement. 
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Angela Eagle: We do not presently envisage any changes to the operation of the employment concession for asylum seekers. Under the terms of the employment concession adult asylum seekers can apply for permission to work if their application has been outstanding for longer than six months without a decision being made on it.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost per week of detaining an asylum seeker (a) in prison and (b) in a closed reception centre; and if he will make a statement. 
|Location||Cost per place||Cost per prisoner|
(b) The current weekly unit cost of housing an asylum seeker at Oakington, the only closed reception centre currently operating and based on an average occupancy of 170 in September, is estimated at £1,620. This is a higher figure than quoted in earlier replies but the unit cost is subject to variation because of changes in occupancy and, during September, this was significantly lower than during any of the previous six months. This was as a result of the contingency arrangements required in the light of legal proceedings on the legality of detaining asylum seekers at Oakington.
The weekly costs quoted are not comparable as they compare an average cost for a prison with the specific costs of a unit designed to take quick asylum casework decisions. Oakington was set up to fast track asylum applications and this has resulted in significant savings in the time taken to process applications and therefore in asylum seekers support costs, which offset operating costs.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the organisations involved in asylum seeker support and advice who have expressed to him their views on the voucher scheme; what proportion of them opposed it; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: We have undertaken to place a list of the organisations that contributed to the review in the Library of the House, together with copies of their responses. A summary of the responses will be published in the review report.
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Angela Eagle: The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) is only responsible for setting the support levels for the asylum seekers it is supporting directly. NASS has not increased its levels of support in 2001. Individual local authorities are responsible for setting the level of support paid to asylum seekers supported under the interim scheme and there is no central record of the amounts paid. But the grant paid by the Home Office is subject to unit cost limits.
Some asylum seekers remain eligible for support under the income support arrangements. It is understood that the rates for adults and children were increased in April and that there was a further increase in the income support rate for children yesterday. In most cases, asylum seekers in receipt of income support will also get their full housing costs paid through housing benefit.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of every £10 allocated for vouchers to asylum seekers is spent on administering the support arrangements; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: Of the total amount spent by the Home Office on supporting destitute asylum seekers just over 3 per cent. can be identified as administration costs. This includes grants to the voluntary sector for the provision of services associated with the current support arrangements.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers and dependants whose applications have not been determined have been detained in custody for (a) over 25 days, (b) over 50 days, and (c) over 100 days; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: The latest published information on the number of asylum seekers detained under Immigration Act powers relates to 30 June 2001. Information on the length of detention of persons detained as at this date is given in the table.
|Length of detention(3)||Number(4)|
|More than 25 days||850|
|more than 50 days||640|
|more than 100 days||365|
(3) Relates to current period of detention; where persons have been transferred to and subsequently from the Oakington Reception Centre, the time in detention prior to Oakington is excluded.
(4) Figures rounded to the nearest five, and exclude persons detained in police cells and the Oakington Reception Centre. Figures include 100 persons who are recorded as being detained under dual immigration and other powers.
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Information on the stage of application of detained asylum seekers is not available except by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost, so it is not possible to determine how many of these persons were awaiting an initial decision on their asylum claim on 30 June 2001.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers and dependants were held in detention on the last day of each of the last 12 months; and what proportion of these were detained in prison. 
Angela Eagle: As at 30 June 2001, 1,515 persons (to the nearest five) who are recorded as having claimed asylum at some point were being held in detention under Immigration Act powers. Of these, 880 (58 per cent.) were held in prison service establishments, which includes 400 persons detained in the dedicated Immigration Service wings at Haslar, Lindholme and Rochester, and 135 persons detained under dual immigration and other powers. Information on the number of asylum seekers held in immigration detention is not available prior to 30 June 2001. More recent information is not currently available.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) asylum appeals have (i) taken place and (ii) have failed and (b) failed asylum seekers, excluding dependants, were removed in (A) 1998, (B) 1999, (C) 2000 and (D) 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: The information requested is given in the table. The information on appeals relates to first appeals only (excluding appeals to the Tribunal, or a higher court). Appeal outcomes and removals in any given time-period do not necessarily relate to one another.
|Determined by IAA(5)||Of which dismissed(6)||Removals|
(5) Provisional figures rounded to the nearest 5.
(6) Immigration Appellate Authority.
(7) Estimates based on Presenting Officer's Unit data.
(8) Includes persons returned under the Voluntary Assisted Returns Programme.
(9) Covers the period January to June only. Excludes dependants.
Angela Eagle: We are reviewing the operation of the voucher scheme. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary intends to make a full statement on immigration and asylum policy later this month. The outcome of the voucher and dispersal reviews will be announced at the same time.
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Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) women, (b) children under 14 and (c) children aged between 14 and 18 asylum seekers and relatives of asylum seekers are detained (i) in prison and (ii) in closed reception centres; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: The latest published information on the number of asylum seekers detained under Immigration Act powers relates to 30 June 2001. As at that date, 25 females (to the nearest five) who are recorded as having sought asylum at some point were being held in immigration detention centres, and 10 females were being held in prison service establishments, most of whom were being held under dual Immigration Act and other powers. Information on the age of detainees is not available except by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost, so it is not possible to determine the number of children detained. The requested information is not available for the Oakington Reception Centre.
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