Skip to main content


Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information his Department holds on the deaths of migrants to Europe and the Mediterranean in the last 12 months; and what discussions his Department has held with relevant officials in (a) Spain, (b) Italy and (c) Greece.[129912]

Statistical information on the deaths of migrants to Europe and the Mediterranean is not collated centrally in the UK. Such incidents are appalling, and we know that a significant number of those that have died have had their journeys facilitated by organised criminal gangs. The Government are committed to working with our EU partners to combat this exploitative trade by targeting people smugglers and traffickers through joint operations across Europe. During the last 12 months, officials in the Home Office have held discussions with their counterparts across the EU, including Spain, Italy and Greece, to ensure that such operations are appropriately targeted and rigorous action is taken to combat people smuggling and its inherent risks to life.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the amount paid in taxes by migrants to the UK in each of the last five years.[130497]

Information does not exist on the precise amounts paid in taxes by migrants to the UK each year. However, a Home Office research study, published in 2002 (RDS Occasional Paper 77 "The migrant population in the UK: fiscal effects"), estimated that for the fiscal year 1999–2000 migrants paid £31.2 billion in taxes. By comparison they received an estimated £28.8 billion in public expenditure and services—making a net fiscal contribution to the UK of £2.5 billion.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the new detection technology used in the management of migration to the UK.[130498]

The deployment of people detection technology is one of the many initiatives the Government have taken to significantly reduce the number of unfounded asylum claimants arriving in the United Kingdom.We have deployed people detection technology at ports in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Ireland.In France, we have deployed technology in Calais and Coquelles and negotiations on deployment are at an advanced stage with the ports of Dunkirk, Cherbourg, Le Havre and Caen, and preliminary scoping visits have been made to Dieppe, Roscoff and St. Malo. At Calais there is the capability to screen 100 per cent. Of embarking freight vehicles. Following the tightening of security at Calais, we are taking steps to deploy at other continental ports vulnerable to the displacement of clandestine activity.In Belgium, operations have commenced at Ostend where United Kingdom provided technology screens on embarking freight. Initial operations have commenced at Zeebrugge and deployment continues at other terminals within the port. A gamma scanner has been trialed in a joint operation with the Belgian authorities since August 2003.In the Netherlands, deployment has now commenced at the port of Vlissingen and negotiations continue with other Dutch ports.In Germany, technology has been operational on the German border with Poland and the Czech Republic since late August.In Ireland, technology has been deployed since late July.