§ Mr. Edward Davey
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants for asylum to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate are awaiting decisions on their cases; how many refused applications are awaiting appeal; what is the date of the oldest application still to be processed; what is the date of the oldest refusal still awaiting appeal; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
As at 31 December 1997, there were 51,795 applications for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, awaiting an initial decision. As at the same date, there were 25,555 asylum related appeals awaiting determination. A large backlog of cases has developed over a decade and the Government are reviewing all aspects of asylum law to make the handling of cases faster. This year we are also computerising the case handling procedures which should help speed it up in the future.
I regret that reliable data for the other information requested are not available.