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Written Answers

Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 26 February 2003

Prime Minister

Bali Bombing Report

To ask the Prime Minister when he will respond to the Intelligence and Security Committee's Inquiry into Intelligence, Assessments and Advice prior to the terrorist bombings on Bali on 12 October 2002. [99878]

I am today laying before the House the Government's response to the Intelligence and Security Committee's Report.

Defra

Combined Heat And Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the level of grant which would need to be provided to householders to enable them to install a micro-combined heat and power plant instead of a high-efficiency boiler without incurring additional costs; what the carbon dioxide savings from such an installation would be; and what the savings to the householders' fuel bills would be [98668]

At present it is not possible to accurately estimate the level of grant needed or the savings in carbon dioxide or fuel bills as, to date, no manufacturer has brought a fully trialled and tested micro combined heat and power product on to the market.

Energy Generation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on encouraging industry to invest in developing (a) micro combined heat and power, (b) domestic heat pumps and (c) other technology that could reduce emissions of CO2 in the long term [98670]

Government is keen to encourage the development of low carbon technologies. We are working closely with industry in fora such as the Distributed Generation Co-ordination Group to remove any technical or legislative barriers to the development of micro-CHP. We will also support field trials designed to evaluate the benefits of micro-CHP. In addition, the Carbon Trust supports the development of a low carbon economy in the UK and their Low Carbon Innovation Programme provides loans, grants and financing for a wide range of innovative low carbon projects, which can include domestic heat pumps, micro-CHP and other technologies.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has also taken vigorous action for the promotion of renewable energy generation, including the introduction of the Renewables Obligation, the setting up of substantial capital grants schemes, expanded provision for research, and the promotion of regional plans and targets.

Agricultural Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 20 January to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George), Official Report, column 93W, on agricultural exports, if she will place a copy of (a) the letter from the Minister of State for International Trade and Investment and (b) the ERM Consultancy report in the Library. [97925]

I have been asked to reply. I have placed a copy of the ERM Consultancy Report in the Libraries of the House. However I will not publish the letter from my noble Friend, Minister of State. It is not the practice to publish such letters, under Exemption 2—Internal advice and discussion, of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Cetaceans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with which European fisheries ministers she has had discussions regarding cetacean bycatch in the last 12 months; and what the outcome of each communication was. [96734]

I have raised this issue several times with Commissioner Fischler, both in person and in writing. Most recently, I wrote to him earlier this month, reinforcing the intervention made by the UK at the January meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council and pressing in particular for wider observer coverage off the South West coast where a number of other member states' vessels pursue the pelagic fishery. I have also written to the French minister and spoken individually to ministerial colleagues from Spain, Germany and Denmark. The outcome has been, progressively, the inclusion of action on cetacean bycatch firstly in the Commission's roadmap on CFP reform and secondly in the action plan on environmental matters under the CFP, and publication of the Commission's discussion paper on the reduction of cetacean bycatch in December 2002. I shall continue to fund our scientific work and to press for action, with a view to securing concrete proposals from the Commission and then their adoption by the Council.

Flooding

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial assistance is available to councils in which areas are flooded in 2003. [98286]

I have been asked to reply.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has in place financial arrangements known as the Bellwin Scheme to assist Local Authorities, including police and fire authorities, in England in emergencies. (In Wales these arrangements are dealt with by the National Assembly for Wales which operates similar arrangements). Assistance is available to authorities to help with uninsurable clear-up costs following a disaster or emergency in their area which involves destruction of, or danger to, life or property. In March last year the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister wrote to all authorities reminding them of the existence of the scheme and advising them how to go about getting assistance under it.Under this scheme authorities are themselves responsible for the first tranche of expenditure on emergency work. The amount each authority affected will be expected to find is just 0.2 per cent. of its annual budget. Expenditure above that will be eligible for 85 per cent. assistance from Government.

Radioactive Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the volume of reprocessing radioactive waste that will arise over the next 10 years from the reprocessing of British Energy-owned spent nuclear fuel at Sellafield. [95267]

There are contracts for the reprocessing of about 65 per cent, of the spent fuel from British Energy's advanced gas-cooled reactors. If all of the spent fuel was reprocessed, conditioned waste volumes are estimated to be a maximum of about 28,000 m3 of low-level waste, 14,000 m3 of intermediate-level waste and 470 m3 of high level waste. An estimate of the amounts to be reprocessed in the next 10 years is not available.

Sharks

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the populations of (a) white, (b) hammerhead and (c) thresher sharks in each of the last 15 years; and what measures her Department is taking to protect shark populations. [98001]

The Department has made no assessment of populations of white, hammerhead or thresher sharks, as these species are rare in UK waters. I am concerned at the decrease in shark populations, and so have been working to protect sharks at national and international level. In particular I have pressed for early adoption of a strict measure based on the Commission's welcome proposal to restrict shark finning; I have also introduced measures to protect the basking shark under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and secured improved international protection for basking sharks through strengthened CITES listing.

Tangerine Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on European Union funding for the advertising of tangerines. [98419]

In 2001 a programme for the promotion (including advertising) of oranges, Clementines, and mandarins in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Romania and Bulgaria was approved under Council Regulation 2702/1999 (measures to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products in third Countries). In 2002 a programme for the promotion, within the European Union, of oranges and Clementines was approved under Council Regulation 2826/2000 (information and promotion actions for agricultural products on the internal market). The Community contribution will have been 50 per cent. of the costs for both programmes.

International Development

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian consequences of war against Iraq, with special reference to medical aid. [98733]

The Iraqi people are already very vulnerable, their coping strategies worn away by years of misrule. Any disruption to their current situation could lead to a serious humanitarian crisis. The Government is committed to minimising the suffering of the Iraqi people. In the event of military action a key priority will be to re-establish critical humanitarian infrastructure as quickly as possible, including the Iraqi hospitals, clinics, sanitation facilities and water treatment plants which already suffer from a terrible lack of maintenance. The medical risks of the use of chemical and biological weapons are horrendous. Most traditional deliverers of medical aid are not adequately prepared for the worst case scenarios.

11.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she last met representatives of the Kurdish people to discuss human rights in Iraq. [98737]

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office regularly meets with representatives of the Kurdish people to discuss a wide range of issues, including human rights.

Southern Africa

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on humanitarian aid to southern Africa. [98734]

Southern Africa continues to suffer from a major humanitarian crisis. 14.4 million people in six countries receive help from the international community. More than half of these are in Zimbabwe, where UK programmes alone are feeding almost 2 million people.The international response to this crisis has prevented large-scale deaths and we are now confident that adequate supplies are available until the April harvests and that the position in many of these countries will improve. However, the disastrous economic policies in Zimbabwe mean that massive food aid will still be needed there.

10.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she next expects to meet Commonwealth colleagues to discuss international aid efforts to Zimbabwe. [98736]

I have no current plans to discuss international aid efforts with commonwealth colleagues. The international community is responding to the humanitarian crisis within the context of a UN coordinated effort. I have recently discussed the crisis with the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Mr James Morris. I have also written to OECD colleagues to urge further support.

Afghanistan

12. Mr.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the level of aid pledged by the international community for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. [98738]

The needs assessment done quickly in late 2001 has now been refined in the National Development Framework (NDF). A sustained international effort is required.At the donor conference held in Tokyo in January 2002, the international community pledged $4.5 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Pledges covered periods of between 1 and 5 years. Since Tokyo, almost $2 billion has been disbursed. The Development Forum scheduled for mid-March will present the NDF for the coming 2–3 years and provide an opportunity for renewal of international support and multi-year pledges.At Tokyo the UK pledged £200 million over five years for both humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We have already disbursed £65 million in the current financial year, and remain committed to Afghanistan in the long term.

Water Supplies (Developing Countries)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to improve the availability of clean and affordable water in developing countries. [98739]

(a) in pounds sterling (£ million)
1997–981998–991999–002000–012001–022002–03
4547457010050
and
(b) as a percentage of DFIDs annual budget
1997–981998–991999–002000–012001–022002–03
2.22.22.02.63.21.5

Fair Trade Fortnight

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to support Fairtrade Fortnight. [99360]

My department is providing £120,000 to the Fairtrade Foundation over three years(2001–2003) in support of its efforts to target new groups through its annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaigns. These help to

My Department recognises the key role that water plays in poverty reduction and is committed to assisting those in the developing world to assess and manage their water resources in a more equitable and sustainable way. Currently, 1.2 billion people globally have inadequate access to safe water and the situation is likely to worsen by 2025 when nearly two-thirds of the world's population will be living in countries of significant water stress. My Department along with other members of the international community have strongly committed to improving access to drinking water and sanitation while working to strengthen the management of water resources for effective and equitable service delivery and these must now be implemented.

Education Projects

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding her Department is giving to education projects in overseas countries in 2002–03. [98740]

Figures for expenditure for this financial year—2002/03—are not yet available. However, it is expected that they will be comparable to expenditure for 2001/02.Of DFID's bilateral aid programme allocable by sector, the amount spent on education projects in 2001/02 was £112 million. This figure represents expenditure on projects specific to the education sector but does not capture the full extent of our efforts as it excludes multi-sector projects and programmes, strategic funding to civil society organisations and budget support and balance of payments. Also excluded are activities funded through multilateral channels.

Contingency Reserve

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's Contingency Reserve was (a) in pounds sterling and (b) as a percentage of the annual DFID budget for each year from May 1997. [99315]

The size of DFIDs Contingency Reserve for each year since 1997 was:raise consumer awareness of development issues in international trade as well as highlighting ways in which consumers can act to make a difference.In addition, DFID has provided £168,930 over three years (from 1999 to 2002) in support of Fairtrade Foundation's year round media work, helping it to raise awareness of the "FT mark" and what it stands for.

Last year DFID also approved a project (at a total cost of £300,000) designed to address a recognised bottleneck within Fair Trade—namely the limited number of products for which international Fair Trade standards exist. The project aims to develop new Fair Trade product standards, secure the registration of new producer groups and help bring additional Fair Trade products to supermarket shelves over the next 2 years. The target is to increase the retail value of Fair Trade sales in the UK to over 100m per annum by 2004 and by so doing extend the benefits of Fair Trade to a greater number of producers in developing countries. By expanding the scale of Fair Trade activities, the project also aims to secure a sustainable future for the Fairtrade Foundation, so that its core operational costs (including the cost of subsequent promotional activities) can be fully funded from the income it receives from licensees.

Owing to travel commitments, I am unable to attend the launch of the Fairtrade Fortnight this year. However, the Fairtrade Foundation has invited the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Ministerial Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many times since 2001 she has taken flights on departmental duties in the UK; how many of these were (a) charter flights, (b) first or club class and (c) by helicopter; and who accompanied her on each trip. [95387]

Since January 2001 I have taken three flights on departmental duties in the UK. They were business class. I have not taken any flights by charter or helicopter.I was accompanied by my departmental Private Secretary in each case.All travel was undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the French government regarding the sale to France of UK aircraft carrier designs; and if he will make a statement. [93348]

[holding answer 27 January 2003]: We have made clear to the French Government our view that the best way forward for United Kingdom/French co-operation on a range of carrier issues is at the industry-to-industry level. To facilitate the transition to such industry-to-industry co-operation, three official groups have been established and their work has been carried forward since the France/United Kingdom summit on 4 February 2003 and the UK CVF down-selection decision. This work includes potential future co-operation on procurement issues and information interchange. The last such meeting took place on 13 February 2003. During the course of discussions, we have provided France with some basic design information, to help them decide the best way forward for their own programme.The carrier is also regularly mentioned in more general discussions between Ministers and other members of our two Ministries of Defence.

Camouflaged Clothing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the amount of camouflaged clothing that has been issued to members of the Armed Forces that are on standby to go to the Gulf; and what the Government's policy is towards members of the armed forces purchasing driving licences prior to finding out if they will be driving vehicles. [98973]

We are taking measures to ensure that our Armed Forces have all the equipment they need to do any tasks required of them. The specific information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.Where a member of the Armed Forces is required to drive as part of his or her duties and does not already hold an appropriate licence, the cost of any licence or permit required will be met or reimbursed from public funds.

Depleted Uranium (Dundrennan)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many rounds of depleted uranium ammunition are due to be fired during the current testing programme at Dundrennan firing range; over what period of time this firing will take place; what calibre of ammunition the DU rounds will be; what environmental safeguards have been projected and been implemented for this kind of testing; and if he will make a statement. [97046]

192 CHARM 3 depleted uranium rounds (120 mm anti-tank rounds) were fired at the Dundrennan range on 3–6 February 2003. With regard to environmental safeguards, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 February 2003, Official Report, column 463W, to the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Duncan).

Fleet Readiness

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy warships (a) are and (b) are due to be placed in a state of extended readiness; and for what purpose in each case. [98232]

HMS Bridport and RFA Sir Geraint are currently in extended readiness. HMS Triumph and HMS Glasgow are currently planned to go into extended readiness in 2004, and HMS Invincible in 2006. Decisions to place vessels in extended readiness reflect the capabilities that are required to meet current and contingent operational requirements. These plans are subject to regular review, and vessels that are in extended readiness may be reactivated periodically to cater for unforeseen contingencies and thus allow efficient maintenance of current fleet outputs.

Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters he plans to buy in the next three years, broken down by (a) type and (b) arm of the armed forces. [98293]

We will take delivery of the outstanding 31 Apache Helicopters for the Army Air Corps during 2003 under an existing contract. In addition, contracts for the RAF to operate four Bell 412s in Cyprus and for the Army to operate three Bell 212s in Belize will come into effect this year, on a commercially owned, military registered basis.It is likely that a number of further helicopter acquisition programmes will be approved over the next three years, but decisions have yet to be taken on the number and type of platform to be purchased or on their delivery schedules.

Smart Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with European allies on collaboration on targeting of smart weapons. [87929]

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the Airborne System for Target Recognition, Identification and Designation (ASTRID), the embryonic European collaborative defence programme involving the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. In September 2002 signature was obtained on the four nation Statement of Intent, this expresses a commitment to create a common programme through the development of a Joint User Requirement Document and a Memorandum of Understanding. Working level discussions to further both these initial objectives are continuing.

Solicitor-General

Electricity

To ask the Solicitor-General what changes in unit payments for electricity have resulted from the switch by her Department to purchasing renewable energy which is exempt from the Climate Change Levy. [96483]

A holding reply was given on 11 February 2003.None of the departments for which the Attorney General is responsible—the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, the Treasury Solicitor's Department, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers—have yet switched to purchasing renewable energy.

Service Delivery Agreement

To ask the Solicitor-General when the (a) Crown Prosecution Service's, (b) Serious Fraud Office's and (c) Treasury Solicitor's Department's service delivery agreements for 2003 to 2006 will be published. [94110]

[holding answer 4 February 2003].The Crown Prosecution Service will publish its Strategic Plan for the period 2003–2006, and a Business Plan for 2003–2004, before the end of March 2003. These plans set out what the CPS will be doing to deliver its Public Service AgreementThe Serious Fraud Office will publish agreed service delivery targets before the end of March 2003.The service delivery agreement for the Treasury Solicitor's Department will be published in April 2003 alongside its Business Plan for 2003–2004. The service delivery targets and how they will be met is a key feature of that Business Plan.

Trade And Industry

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his Answer of 10 February 2003 to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk), Official Report, column 620W, on world oil prices, what estimate he has made of the effect of (a) a short conflict in Iraq and (b) a prolonged conflict in Iraq on the underlying supply and demand situation for oil. [99133]

No decision has been taken to launch military action against Iraq. Iraqi oil production currently stands at around 2.5 million barrels per day only 3 per cent. of total world oil production and of which only around 1.5 to 2 million barrels per day is exported. There are a number of other factors such as the weather, supply from other countries, etc which affect the underlying demand and supply balance of the oil market: e.g. OPEC producers are likely to increase their production to cover any loss of Iraqi supply; seasonal oil demand is reducing; and the International Energy Agency has general arrangements in place to take international action, including release of stocks, in case of a supply disruption.

Severn Barrage

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research has been completed on the Severn barrage. [98287]

Between 1978 and 1994 the Government supported a number of studies under its Tidal Energy Research and Development Programme. Specifically, an assessment of the feasibility of a Severn barrage was published in 1981 as Energy Paper 461. Between 1983 and 1985 an Interim Study2 assessed the technical and financial viability of a Severn barrage leading to a further programme of research reported in 1989 as Energy Paper 573.Between 1990 and 1993 further environmental and regional studies were carried out. In 2001 a study was commissioned to examine the merits for a re-appraisal of the Severn barrage. The report was published in early 2003 and can be seen at www.dti.gov.uk/energy/renewables/severn.shtml

1 Energy Paper 46 HMSO 1981 (ISBN 011 4109168 and 410919 2)

2 Tidal Power from the Severn, STPG, 1986 (ISBN 07277 03587 and 0368 4)

3 Energy Paper 57 HMSO 1989 (ISBN 0 11 412952 5)

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the impact on the environment of the working time directive in respect of carbon dioxide emissions; and if she will seek a derogation from this Directive in respect of the quarrying and construction industries. [99142]

I have made no such assessment, having received no representations on the matter, and do not intend to seek any derogations on these lines.

Credit Cards

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she is taking to ensure transparency in the credit card market. [93835]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Lazarovicz), on 22 January 2003, Official Report, column 366W.

Fireworks

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what areas have been targeted for the pilot scheme targeting over-18s throwing fireworks in the street; and how many fixed penalty notices have been issued. [96972]

I have been asked to reply.Penalty notices for 11 disorder offences, including that of throwing fireworks in the street, are being piloted in four police force areas: West Midlands, including the British Transport Police; Essex; North Wales; and Croydon division of the Metropolitan Police. The pilots will be evaluated prior to a decision being made on rolling out the scheme nationally. Detailed data on the numbers of penalty notices issued will be included in this report, which will be published.

Grant Allocations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) the grant schemes operated by her Department, and (b) the sums of money made available to stimulate new technology in (i) solar power, (ii) heat pumps used for space and water heating purposes, (iii) combined heat and power and micro-chip, (iv) micro-wind power, (v) bio-mass driven electricity generation and (vi) other low, or zero-carbon technologies used for generating heat or electricity. [98671]

The technology stimulation schemes being operated by the Department and the sums of money available are set out as follows:

£million
Offshore wind electricity generation: (including £10 million from the New Opportunities Fund)74
Biomass driven electricity and heat generation (including £36 million from the New Opportunities Fund; and £34 million for biomass heat)66
First phase of Major Solar Photo voltaics (PV) Demonstration Programme20
"Clear Skies" scheme for community and household projects (including solar water heating, heat pumps, micro-wind and micro-hydro)10
Wave and Tidal Energy Demonstration Projects5
The Department is also making available £19 million per year for the New and Renewable Energy programme which provides research grants for renewable energy projects.DEFRA leads within Government on combined heat and power (CHP) and provides support, as set out as follows:

£million
Community Energy to install and refurbish community heating networks, mainly based on CHP50
Energy Crops Scheme to establish energy crops for biomass heat, CHP and electricity generation and to set up producer groups for growers of short rotation coppice29
Bio-energy infrastructure scheme to develop biomass supply-chains3.5
In addition, the Carbon Trust's Low Carbon Innovation Programme can provide, inter alia, grants across a wide range of innovative low carbon projects.

Lpg

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received on the future growth of the market for automotive liquid petroleum gas. [98642]

Ministers and officials have regular contact with representatives of the Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry, (including those concerned with automotive LPG such as the LP Gas Association) vehicle manufacturers, and other stakeholders.In the UK we have over 75,000 vehicles running on LPG, and the market is currently growing at a rate of some 30,000 vehicles per year.

Transport

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will respond to the request from the right hon. Member for Wokingham of 17 June 2002 for information held on the right hon. Member by the Department. [98715]

The information requested was sent to the right hon. Member on 21 February 2003.

First North Western

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has collected about cancellations of rail services by First North Western Trains during the past 12 months. [99353]

In the last 12 months First North Western were scheduled to provide 438,735 train services of which 12,937 or 2.95 per cent. were cancelled. This figure does not include services which were withdrawn as part of a published emergency timetable.

Strategic Rail Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he reconciles the Strategic Rail Authority's goal of a 50 per cent. growth in passenger traffic between 2000–01 and 2010–11 with the Strategic Rail Authority's planning forecast, as reported in their Strategic Plan, that passenger rail travel will be 25 to 35 per cent. greater in passenger kilometre terms than it was at the beginning of the 10 year plan period. [98978]

50 per cent. is a target. The SRA's Strategic Plan gives a snapshot of potential growth. 25–35 per cent. is a current forecast. It is liable to change.

Thames Gateway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional allocations for transport infrastructure he has made to support the increase in the numbers of homes and new communities planned for the Thames Gateway London area, as set out in the Deputy Prime Minister's Sustainable Communities Plan. [98621]

Substantial improvements in transport in the Thames Gateway have already taken place, and significant additional resources are already committed or planned for further improvements.We are now considering how far and to what timescale we should seek to develop the Thames Gateway further, including the funding implications of the infrastructure required and how those who benefit from new development might contribute to the cost of this infrastructure. We will set out in due course the level of development the Government would like to see in the Gateway and is prepared to support.

Wales

Annual Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much producing his Department's latest Annual Report cost; how many copies were printed; how many copies of it were sold at its cover price; to whom copies of the report have been provided free of charge; and how many copies were provided free of charge. [90893]

The cost of producing the Department's latest Annual Report was £20,200; the number of copies printed is a matter for the Stationery Office; most copies which were sold are believed to have been bought at a discount by libraries and similar institutions with subscriptions for Command Papers; copies of the report have been provided to hon. and right hon. Members representing Welsh constituencies and some hon. and right. hon. Members with particular Welsh interests, some other Government Departments, the Welsh Assembly and internally within my Department; fewer than 100.

Departmental Consultations

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list consultations his Department has conducted since it was established; and when each consultation (a) opened and (b) closed. [97429]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) on 26 September 2002, Official Report, column 209W.Since that date consultations have taken place on:

the Department's draft Welsh Language scheme, opening on 19 August 2002 and closing on 11 October 2002
ombudsmen's services in Wales, opening on 4 December 2002 and closing on 7 February 2003

E-Mail Addresses

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what e-mail address members of the public may contact (a) him and (b) each of the Ministers in his Department; and for each e-mail address if he will state (i) the date it became active and (ii) the number of e-mails received in each month since activation. [97446]

Both I and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State may be contacted at wales.office@wales.gsi.gov.ukThis address has been active since 1 November 2000. Statistics for the amount of mail received are not routinely kept. However in January 2003 it received 131 e-mails.

Gwydyr House

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when and by whom Gwydyr House headquarters were valued for the purposes of the National Asset Register; what his latest valuation of this property is; and if he will make a statement. [91700]

Gwydyr House was valued on 31 March 2000 by GVA Grimley, Chartered Surveyors; £1.7 million.

Heritage Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what sales of heritage assets and antique assets have been made by his Department since May 1997; if he will list other assets; and if he will estimate the total sales proceeds. [92411]

No such sales have taken place since my Department was created in July 1999. As a non-executive Department, the Wales Office assets are restricted to its headquarters accommodation (a listed building) and furniture and other office equipment.

It Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list IT contracts in his Department and its predecessors above £50 million in each of the last 10 years; what the inception date for each system was; when it became fully functional; when it became fully debugged; and what the cost of over-runs has been. [98998]

1 refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on 17 July 2001, Official Report, column 125W.The total cost will now be £64.4 million, reflecting the growth in the number of users over the life of the system.

Laptops

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many laptop computers were used by (a) Ministers and special advisers and (b) officials in his Department in each year since 1995; how many were (i) lost and (ii) stolen; what their cost was; and if he will make a statement. [98706]

Since the creation of the Wales Office in 1999 there have been no losses or thefts of laptops. During the time of the Welsh Office, there was the loss of ancillary cabling equipment for a laptop total cost of which was £107.00.There are currently two laptops allocated to Ministers and special advisers; two allocated to officials and one available for use when the Cabinet Office Briefing Room COBR has been convened.

Ministerial Meetings

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which overseas delegations and overseas ambassadors met Welsh Office Ministers in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [89950]

Since the Wales Office was established on 1 July 1999, Ministers have met the following overseas delegations or ambassadors:

  • 1999
  • Japanese Ambassador
  • American Ambassador
  • Belgian Ambassador
  • 2000
  • Belgium Ambassador
  • Delegation from Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Delegation from Nigeria
  • Delegate from the American Embassy
  • Bavarian State Minister for Euro Affairs
  • 2001
  • Delegations from the Government of the Czech Republic
  • Delegate from American Embassy
  • Hungarian Ambassador
  • Delegation from the Spanish Government.
  • Delegation from Slovakia
  • 2002
  • Spanish Ambassador
  • Danish Ambassador
  • Slovakian Ambassador
  • Delegate from American Embassy
  • 2003
  • Canadian High Commissioner
  • Delegation of Polish MPs
There were also receptions and other occasions where informal meetings may have taken place with overseas representatives, but no record of these meetings has been kept.

Ministerial Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his estimate is of the total expenditure by his Department on ministerial travel (a) in the UK and (b) abroad, in each year from 1995–96 to 2002–03(estimated); and if he will make a statement. [92486]

The information is as follows:

  • (a) Detailed information requested in respect of UK travel is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
  • (b) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 22 January 2003, Official Report, column 334W.
  • Online Sales /Purchases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) products, (b) goods and (c) services were (i) bought and (ii) sold online by his Department in each of the last five years. [97447]

    Press Releases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each (a) year and (b) quarter from 1995–96 to 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [92487]

    The Wales Office does not record its press release count on a quarterly basis.

    In 1995–96, the Welsh Office issued 581 press releases; in 1996–97 549 press releases; in 1997–98 650 press releases; in 1998–99 774 press releases; in 1999–2000 776 press releases.

    Since its creation in July 1999, the Wales Office has issued 30 press releases in 1999–2000; 100 press releases in 2000–01; 86 press releases in 2001–02; and 129 in 2002–03.

    Public Spending

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his estimate is of the real rise in the total of public spending on the Welsh Office between 1999–2000 and 2001–02; and if he will make a statement. [89959]

    Expenditure at 1999–2000 prices (as measured by the GDP deflator at market prices) was £1.485 million in 1999–2000 and £3.368 million in 2001–02, an increase of £1.883 million.This increase primarily reflects the fact that the Wales Office was only in existence for three-quarters of 1999–2000 and was still recruiting its staff for much of the year.

    Service Delivery Agreement

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the Wales Office's Service Delivery Agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published. [94107]

    Rather than producing a separate Service Delivery Agreement, the Wales Office will cover its main elements in its departmental reports, which are published each spring.

    Statutory Instruments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many statutory instruments have been issued by his Department in each calendar year since 1979. [89843]

    The Wales Office was formed on 1 July 1999. The information from 1999 onwards is as follows:

    Number
    19991
    20001
    20014
    20022
    This excludes a number of Orders in Council the drafting of which is the responsibility of my Department and a number of statutory instruments of which my predecessor was a joint signatory.

    Welsh Office Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the expenditure of his Department on (a) the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal and (b) the expenses of the Lord Lieutenant in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [89923]

    In 2001–02, expenditure on (a) the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was £66,000 and (b) Lords-Lieutenant's expenses were £17,000.

    Treasury

    Aggregate Tax

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which quarries in Northern Ireland are paying aggregate tax, broken down by constituency. [99331]

    There are 112 quarry companies in Northern Ireland registered for aggregates levy. A breakdown by constituency is not available but these are broken down by county as follows:

    • Belfast—4
    • Antrim—14
    • Armagh—12
    • Derry—15
    • Down—23
    • Fermanagh—9
    • Tyrone—35
    In addition there are quarries in Northern Ireland which are owned by companies in other parts of the UK for aggregates levy.

    Life Insurance

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports he has received on (a) the policy of insurance companies regarding people who have recovered from cancer and who are seeking life insurance and (b) the impact of such policies on securing a mortgage. [99343]

    None. But if the hon. Member has specific concerns perhaps he would he write to me.

    Retread Tyre Industry

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on discussions his Department has had with the retread tyre industry regarding the Climate Change Levy. [99232]

    As part of the normal process of contact with business, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury ministerial team meet a variety of businesses and business organisations and hear a range of representations. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his answer of 11 February 2003, Official Report, columns 114–15, in line with previous Administrations, it is not this Government's practice to provide details of the meetings and discussions they routinely have with a wide range of organisations.

    Student Finance

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the additional cost to the Treasury in each of the five years from 2006 if all Universities in England and Wales implemented the proposed graduate contribution at the highest level of £3,000 per annum in respect of all eligible students assuming (a) that student numbers remain at the current level and (b) that the Government achieves its target of 50 per cent. participation in higher education. [98631]

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 6 February 2003, Official Report, column 396W, on higher education, what research his Department commissioned to conclude that the proposals included in the White Paper would have a positive impact on the economy; and if he will publish the research. [99127]

    The Treasury has not commissioned any external research as part of the formulation of the White Paper proposals. However as part of the process of policy development, the Government makes various analyses. In accordance with Exemption Two (internal discussion and advice) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information such advice is not usually disclosed.

    Tax Returns

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Inland Revenue has made of the trends in revenues from (a) the special investigation, (b) late filing, (c) company non compliance, (d) pre SA intelligence work, (e) company aspect enquiries, (f) non business SA inquiries and (g) section SA investigations, non compliance and full business reviews; and if he will make a statement. [94879]

    The total revenue from the Inland Revenue's work in these areas increased from £865 million in 1999–2000 to £990 million in 2000–01 and again to £1,090 million in 2001–02. The trends in revenue are therefore firmly upwards.

    Tobacco Smuggling

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 4 February 2003, Official Report, column 185W, on tobacco smuggling, what the costs of the research undertaken for (a) the 2000 report on tobacco smuggling and (b) the 2002 reports were; and if he will make a statement. [97251]

    A mixture of internal and external research was undertaken for the 2000 report "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling" and the two reports published by Customs and Excise in November 2002. The estimated cost to HM Customs and Excise of the external research used in "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling" is £55,000. The estimated cost to HM Customs and Excise of external research used in the two reports published by HM Customs and Excise in November 2002 is £100,000. No estimate is available of the cost of the internal research. The measures announced in "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling" were expected to yield additional revenues of £435 million (in 2000–01), £1,120 million (2001–02), £1,630 million (2002–03), and £2,015 million (2003–04).

    Treasury Stress Audit

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of the HM Treasury stress audit carried out in 1999; and what plans there are to carry out another such audit. [93449]

    The stress audit carried out in 1999 cost 40,901.05. The Department will be carrying out a follow up audit in April 2003.

    Unpaid Tax

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the amount of tax unpaid each year since 1995–96, broken down by (a) tax avoidance,(b) tax evasion, (c) late payment and (d) other causes; and if he will make a statement. [95429]

    No reliable overall measure is available in relation to tax evasion and avoidance. In the last 10 years, in proportion to the tax involved, tax unpaid at the end of the Inland Revenue's accounting year has approximately halved, and tax remitted or written off has reduced from around 2 per cent. to around 0.3 per cent. The figures for tax unpaid and tax remitted or written off are set out each year in the Inland Revenue's Annual Report, copies of which are in the Library.

    Working Families Tax Credit

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the tax burden is on a single earner family on average earnings with two children, claiming the working families tax credit. [98254]

    As set out in Table 13.10 of the 2002–03 Tax Benefit Reference Manual, which is placed in the House of Commons Library, the direct tax burden on a single earner family on male mean earnings with two children was 18.7 per cent. in 2002–03, lower than it was in 1997–98 or any previous year since 1972–73.

    Zambia

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is his policy that increased multilateral debt relief for Zambia be dependent on the privatisation of (a) the Zambia National Bank, (b) the power utility Zesco and (c) the telephone company Zamtel. [98586]

    Multilateral debt relief for Zambia is provided through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Under the HIPC initiative a country receives interim debt relief on payments due when it reaches Decision Point and subsequently the debt is irrevocably cancelled at Completion Point. The UK supports this internationally agreed policy.To reach Decision Point and demonstrate its commitment to poverty reduction, a country must prepare an Interim-Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). To reach Completion Point it needs to develop a full PRSP, and usually make progress in implementing it for one year.The PRSP is drawn up by the country, with the participation of civil society, to show how debt relief and other resources will be targeted on reducing poverty. The country must also be on track with its IMF programme for which there will be a range of conditions, for example on macro-economic stability or public sector management. The IMF is committed to ensuring that the social impact of key macro-economic reforms is analysed to ensure that reforms are designed appropriately and negative consequences addressed. For example, the IMF carried out an analysis of the possible social impact of the privatisation of the Zambia National Bank and the Zambian Government plans to develop a strategic plan that will consider the future of rural branches and design an appropriate institutional structure for rural services, which might include seeking technical and financial assistance from donors for the purpose.Hence to reach Completion Point countries must demonstrate a commitment to poverty reduction and economic reform by meeting key conditions (or Completion Point triggers). These conditions may include privatisations or reforms that address the effectiveness and financing of parastatal companies, and thus support the country's strategy for reducing poverty.For Zambia the key conditions, for multilateral debt relief through the internationally agreed HIPC initiative, include progress in combating HIV/AIDs, education and health sector reform along with macroeconomic and structural reforms. The Completion Point triggers in relation to the Zambia National Bank and the power utility Zesco require the issuance of international bidding documents for the sale of a majority (controlling) interest. The telephone company Zamtel no longer has a domestic monopoly, and while the sale of a substantial share is part of Zambia's overall poverty reduction strategy it is not a Completion Point trigger.

    Home Department

    Bail Conditions

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders broke the terms of their bail conditions last year and were not recaptured; and what action he is taking to reduce this number. [96007]

    In 2001, about 77,700 people who had been bailed to appear at court failed to do so, representing 13 per cent. of defendants at magistrates' courts and 10 per cent. of Crown Court defendants (13 per cent. overall). Figures are not available for what proportion of those failing to appear were subsequently re-arrested and brought back to court, or how many defendants broke the terms of bail conditions.The Government is working with criminal justice agencies to reduce the number of defendants who fail to surrender to bail and to ensure that failure to surrender is dealt with robustly by the prosecution, the courts and the police. In particular we are examining what more can be done to ensure effective enforcement of bench warrants.It is important that bail should be used appropriately, and the Government keeps the legislation relating to bail under review in order to ensure that it does everything possible to ensure this. The Criminal Justice Bill now before Parliament makes several changes, including extending the prosecution's right to appeal against a decision by magistrates to grant bail.

    Asylum Seekers

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose applications are awaiting determination have received work permits in each of the last three years. [94481]

    Where an employer applies for a work permit for an overseas national who is already in the United Kingdom, the Home Office will first consider whether the application meets the criteria of the work permit arrangements before considering whether, under the Immigration Rules, the overseas national may be granted leave to remain for the purpose of work permit employment. If the overseas national has an outstanding application for asylum, the usual course would be to defer consideration of granting leave to remain for the purpose of work permit employment until the overseas national's asylum application was resolved.However, the outcome of the initial consideration of the application against the work permit criteria is recorded on a separate database to that which holds the immigration application against the work permit criteria is recorded on a separate database to that which holds the immigration status and it is, therefore, not possible to match the data on these separate databases in order to provide the information requested.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will conduct a review of persons granted (a) exceptional leave to remain and (b) indefinite leave to remain in the last five years; if he will assess whether any such persons have breached the conditions of their leave as part of the review; and if he will make a statement. [98644]

    [holding answer 25 February 2003]: Grants of exceptional leave to remain (ELR) are not normally subject to conditions, and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) cannot be made subject to conditions. The question of a breach of conditions attached to such leave does not therefore arise.The cases of those granted ILR are reviewed if they come to serious adverse notice. The cases of those granted ELR are considered when they apply for further leave, or if they come to serious adverse notice in the

    Offenders whose breaches1 of original community sentence or order were proved to the satisfaction of the court by type of sentence or order breached and the proportion breaching original orders—England and Wales
    Numbers and percentages
    20002001
    MaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
    Number of offenders breaching orders
    Community rehabilitation order210,6992,75913,45810,5122,81613,328
    Supervision order7411428839681701,138
    Community punishment order215,9561,37517,33114,8051,31416,119
    Attendance centre order1,3321271,459870105975
    Community punishment and rehabilitation order26,4576207,0776,2796386,917
    Curfew order4096447367487761
    Reparation order3854312742169
    Action plan order1021912134075415
    Drug treatment and testing order35338614109723
    Total community sentences35,7695,11440,88335,1895,35640,545

    meantime. It would be impractical to review all grants of ILR and ELR made in the past five years but we will continue to review individual cases where appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) other bodies are working (i) full-time and (ii) part-time in connection with the removal of rejected asylum seekers from the UK. [98647]

    [holding answer 25 February 2003]: The Home Office liaises with a number of different Government Departments and external agencies when dealing with the removal of failed asylum seekers. For example we have links with the Lord Chancellor's Department, Police, Inland Revenue, Department of Works and Pensions and local authorities.In total, 12,155 staff work within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. There are 3,969 staff working within the Integrated Casework Directorate, which deals with casework and decision making for asylum, after-entry, nationality and work permits, and 6,213 in the Immigration Service.We estimate that around 1,220 full time equivalents are working on direct operational activity and 1,260 providing support to operational activity. Around a further 170 full time equivalents are working on intelligence and 160 on contact management.A breakdown of how many staff both in the Department and in other agencies specifically dealing with failed asylum claims may be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Community Sentences

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of (a) men and (b) women serving community sentences in the last two years breached the terms of their sentence. [93303]

    The information requested for England and Wales for the years 2000 and 2001 is contained in the table.Data for 2002 is not yet available.

    Offenders whose breaches1 of original community sentence or order were proved to the satisfaction of the court by type of sentence or order breached and the proportion breaching original orders—England and Wales

    Numbers and percentages

    2000

    2001

    Male

    Female

    Total

    Male

    Female

    Total

    Number of offenders sentenced

    Community rehabilitation order244,27112,18856,45946,29512,02258,497
    Supervision order9,7111,84511,5569,3301,75311,083
    Community punishment order244,5175,46649,98344,0525,71249,764
    Attendance centre order6,4595827,0415,3644605,824
    Community punishment and rehabilitation order217,3001,94119,24113,1991,46314,662
    Curfew order2,3252722,5973,4673963,863
    Reparation order3,3826023,9846,7461,2297,975
    Action plan order3,6786784,3567,2291,4218,650
    Drug treatment and testing order270513213,5666634,229
    Total community sentences131,91323,625155,538139,87825,119164,997

    Offenders breaching orders as a percentage of offenders sentenced

    3

    Community rehabilitation order2242323232323
    Supervision order77710910
    Community punishment order2362635332432
    Attendance centre order182019152015
    Community punishment and rehabilitation order2363135413741
    Curfew order222823232624
    Reparation order

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    Action plan order

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    Drug treatment and testing order

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    4

    Total community sentences282327282327

    1 Breaches cover the commission of further offences or the breaking of other conditions laid down in the orders. Examples of such "other conditions" include, among other things: Requirements as to residence; to participate in or refrain from specified activities; attendance at probation centre; to undergo treatment for medical condition or drug/alcohol dependency.

    2 New names for these community sentences came into force in April 2001. Community rehabilitation order was previously probation order, community punishment order was previously community service order and community punishment and rehabilitation order was previously combination order.

    3 An approximation to the breach rate because offenders breaching in one year may have been given the sentence or order in an earlier year. The average of the number of sentences for the year indicated and in the previous year has been used as the denominator to provide a better estimate.

    4 not available. (These orders have not been available for a sufficient length of time for a breach rate to be calculated. Such orders have also been excluded from the breach rate for 'Total Community Sentences').

    Joint Enterprise (Murder)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to propose amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill to deal with the use of joint enterprise to reduce a charge of murder by parents or carers of children to a charge of child cruelty. [97858]

    We are considering what measures may be needed to deal with Joint Enterprise, in addition to those already contained in the Bill. The legislative timetable may not permit the measures to be finalised in time for inclusion in the Criminal Justice Bill. If this is the case, we will legislate at the earliest opportunity.

    Memorials (Safety)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidance has been given to local authorities about the safety-testing of non-monolithic memorials without approved ground anchor fixing; [98951](2) what action he plans to take to ensure that new memorials are installed to the code of practice produced by the National Association of Memorial Masons. [98950]

    As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) on 27 January 2003, Official Report, Column 622W, we hope to be in a position to issue appropriate guidance later this year in the light of the consideration currently being given to these matters by a Home Office-chaired group of relevant representative and professional organisations.

    Overseas Students

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which overseas students paying the full overseas student fee are required to re-register home addresses under the foreign national rules; and why they are required to do so. [99091]

    Overseas students who are "relevant foreign nationals" and who have been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a period exceeding six months are normally required to register with their local police force, and to notify them of any subsequent change to their home address. The purpose of the registration scheme is primarily to provide the Security authorities with information about foreign nationals. Countries whose citizens are "relevant foreign nationals" for the purposes of the scheme are listed at Appendix 2 to the Immigration Rules (HC395), as amended by Cm3953.

    Police Authorities

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the budgets of police authorities over each of the last five years. [91884]

    1998–99(£m)1999–2000(£m)%change2000–01(£m)%change2001–02(£m)%change2001–02(£m)Adjusted2002–03(£m)%change
    Avon and Somerset164.8173.35.2181.24.6189.74.7185.6196.15.7
    Bedfordshire61.363.43.466.85.470.75.869.272.64.9
    Cambridgeshire70.875.26.279.55.784.15.882.390.810.4
    Cheshire105.0111.15.8115.13.6121.85.8119.1125.04.9
    City of London57.357.1-0.357.91.459.73.158.560.43.2
    Cleveland79.383.35.086.53.890.74.988.895.77.8
    Cumbria61.964.54.267.44.570.64.769.172.75.2
    Derbyshire98.8106.57.8111.14.3117.05.2114.4123.68.0
    Devon and Cornwall164.7175.96.8182.43.7191.14.8186.9198.46.1
    Dorset72.677.46.681.04.784.64.482.787.96.2
    Durham77.081.35.684.03.387.74.385.889.24.0
    Dyfed Powys52.855.75.559.05.962.96.662.365.34.8
    Essex163.6169.53.6183.18194.86.4190.6198.54.1
    Gloucestershire62.466.05.868.63.972.25.270.675.06.2
    Gr. Manchester365.7382.54.6393.62.9411.14.4402.3415.33.2
    Gwent67.971.45.276.16.680.7679.984.45.6
    Hampshire187.1196.55.0204.74.2216.25.6211.5227.57.6
    Hertfordshire96.0101.65.8121.219.3129.36.7126.5132.74.9
    Humberside110.0114.33.9118.94128.27.8125.4131.64.9
    Kent176.1184.24.6193.14.8206.77202.2214.66.1
    Lancashire174.4181.34.0189.64.6198.04.4193.7202.04.3
    Leicestershire101.1106.35.1110.23.7116.45.6113.9122.67.6
    Lincolnshire65.869.75.972.64.276.14.874.477.13.7
    Merseyside239.6247.03.1253.72.7271.77.1265.9268.61.0
    Metropolitan Police1,777.51,836.23.31,830.0-0.31,980.18.21,941.92,037.74.9
    Norfolk81.086.97.391.55.398.47.596.3104.48.4
    Northamptonshire66.170.46.573.44.376.84.675.181.68.6
    Northumbria202.6212.64.9218.42.7227.64.2222.7228.62.6
    North Wales75.279.65.984.05.589.56.588.593.55.6
    North Yorkshire74.478.04.881.03.885.968493.110.9
    Nottinghamshire122.9129.65.5133.93.2140.34.9137.2145.25.8
    South Wales166.9170.01.8179.15.4188.95.5187.0195.04.3
    South Yorkshire165.1173.35.0179.73.7187.24.2183.1191.44.5
    Staffordshire117.2122.24.3127.03.9134.35.7131.3137.04.3
    Suffolk65.869.96.272.94.377.66.475.981.26.9
    Surrey88.893.45.2119.928.4122.42.1119.7128.67.4
    Sussex161.4168.04.1174.53.9183.95.4179.9189.85.5
    Thames Valley217.4229.15.4238.34252.15.8246.6259.35.1
    Warwickshire52.855.95.958.95.462.45.961.65.87.8
    West Mercia110.3116.55.6125.77.9133.26130.3144.410.8
    West Midlands367.2380.93.7394.63.6410.74.1401.8415.53.4
    West Yorkshire278.2289.13.9301.44.3314.14.2307.3323.95.4
    Wiltshire65.668.95.072.04.575.65.074.077.64.8
    Total7,132.407,445.504.47,713.43.68,173.06.08,005.308,421.25.2

    Police Pension Funds

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the budget of each police force in England was spent on pension funds in 2002–03. [98903]

    The proportion of Net Spending Requirement of each police authority in England estimated to be spent on police pensions in 2002–03 is as follows. Information on civilian contributions is not held.

    Police Pension Expenditure as Proportion of Net Spending Requirement in 2002–03
    English authoritiesProportion (percentage)
    Avon and Somerset17.6
    Bedfordshire12.8
    Cambridgeshire12.8
    Cheshire14.1
    Cleveland15.6
    Cumbria16.6
    Derbyshire12.9

    Information on police authority budget requirements in England and Wales for the last five years and annual percentage changes are set out in the table. Police Authorities have until 1 March 2003 to set their budget requirements for 2003–04.

    Police Pension Expenditure as Proportion of Net Spending Requirement in 2002–03
    English authoritiesProportion (percentage)
    Devon and Cornwall14.8
    Dorset15.2
    Durham13.3
    Essex13.4
    Gloucestershire15.5
    Hampshire12.3
    Hertfordshire10.9
    Humberside13.6
    Kent13.8
    Lancashire15.1
    Leicestershire13.6
    Lincolnshire17.5
    Norfolk12.7
    Northamptonshire10.7
    North Yorkshire17.0
    Nottinghamshire16.5
    Staffordshire14.1
    Suffolk15.0
    Surrey11.1
    Sussex15.7
    Thames Valley10.9

    Police Pension Expenditure as Proportion of Net Spending Requirement in 2002–03

    English authorities

    Proportion (percentage)

    Warwickshire16.7
    West Mercia13.5
    Wiltshire12.1
    Greater Manchester16.5
    Merseyside17.4
    Northumbria15.3
    South Yorkshire13.4
    West Midlands13.0
    West Yorkshire15.4
    City of London16.5
    Metropolitan Police13.1
    Total14.1

    Source:

    CIPFA Police Statistics 2002–03 estimates, published September 2002.

    Re-Registration Fees (Foreign Nationals)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the re-registration fees for relevant foreign nationals are in each police authority area. [99094]

    The standard police registration fee of £34 applies to each police authority area. Relevant foreign nationals will generally only be charged a £34 fee for re-registration if they have been absent from the UK for more than one year.

    Street Crime

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of street crime offenders with drug problems are fast-tracked into drug treatment services within 24 hours of their arrest or release from custody; [92111](2) what proportion of street crime offenders with drug problems who were fast-racked into drug treatment services within 24 hours of their arrest or release from custody have subsequently re-offended. [92115]

    Tackling the causes of offending is an integral part of the street crime initiative. To this end, provision exists for those who are arrested for a street crime offence and who are drug dependent, whose offence is linked to their drug dependency and who are willing to access treatment to do so within 24 hours of release into the community (whether on bail, following release from custody, or on receipt of a community sentence following a custodial remand). Participation is voluntary and not all those misusing drugs make use of the scheme. Delays in accessing treatment beyond 24 hours can be explained in some cases by release occurring over a weekend or by offenders simply not keeping initial appointments.Of those who have, to date 62 per cent. of the reported individuals entered treatment within 24 hours of release. 15 per cent. were seen within two to three days, and 21 per cent. were seen between four to seven days. The remaining three per cent. were seen between one to two weeks after release from custody.Information on re-offending by those accessing drug treatment under the Street Crime Initiative is not available.

    Work Permits

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 535W, on permits, if he will break down the figures for 1996 to 2001 by applications granted (a) in country and (b) in the UK; and whether the dates referred to are calendar years. [99115]

    [holding answer 25 February 2003]: The number of in-country and out-country work permits issued in the last seven years are given in the table:

    YearIn-CountryOut-Country
    199612,60925,647
    199714,21930,739
    199818,09635,866
    199921,04839,695
    200028,98259,669
    200147,75573,072
    200264,39671,755
    The dates referred to are calendar years.

    Young Offenders

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his Answer of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 542W, on the intensive supervision and surveillance programme, how many young offenders have taken part in the intensive supervision and surveillance programme since 2001; and what the re-offence rate is. [98907]

    3,570 young people have started on the programme. Reconviction rates are not yet available. The programme is being evaluated by Oxford University: the final report with reconvictions is due in March 2004.

    Education And Skills

    Education Spending

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the spending per head on pupils in Nottingham, North was in 1997; and what the spending per head was in the latest period for which figures are available [98326]

    The information requested is submitted to the Department according to local education authority areas. The available information for Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City local education authorities is contained in the following tables.

    Real Terms: net current expenditure (after recharges) 1 per pupil2 in the pre-primary sector, maintained primary schools and maintained secondary schools in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire local education authority areas, financial years 1996–97 to 2001–02 (real terms)

    3

    Local education authority areas

    Pre-primary and primary4per pupil spend(£)

    Secondary per pupil spend(£)

    Total spend(£000s)

    Total per pupil spend(£)

    Pre-LGR

    5

    1996–97

    Nottinghamshire2,2102,960384,5902,520

    1997–98

    Nottinghamshire2,1602,890376,1802,460

    Post-LGR

    5

    1998–99

    Nottinghamshire2,2502,820289,7702,510
    Nottingham City2,4403,520104,7302,770

    1999–2000

    Nottinghamshire2,3202,810299,4102,540
    City of Nottingham2,6103,160111,0202,800

    2000–01

    Nottinghamshire2,5802,890322,4002,720
    Nottingham City2,7403,510117,9203,010

    2001–02

    Nottinghamshire2,7103,170345,8022,920
    Nottingham City3,2003,880132,8373,450

    1 NCE includes expenditure within schools and also that incurred centrally by LEAs.

    2 Financial year pupils are used. These are calculated from Annual Schools' Census data.

    3 The real terms figures have been calculated at 2001–02 Prices, using December 2002 gross domestic product deflators.

    4 The spend per pupil figures for pre-primary/primary relates the net current expenditure (after recharges) in the pre-primary sector and maintained primary schools to the total number of financial year pupils who are educated in the maintained nursery and primary schools sector.

    5 Nottinghamshire LEA was subject to the Local Government Re-organisation (LGR) in April 1998, and therefore, pre-LGR and post-LGR and post-LGR Nottinghamshire are not directly comparable.

    Note:

    Figures have been rounded to the nearest £10.

    Source: 1996–97 to 1998–99 data were drawn from the education Revenue Outturn statements submitted to the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions. 1999–2000 and 2000–01 data were drawn from Section 52 (Table 3) outturn statements which LEAs submitted to the DfES.

    Cash Terms: net current expenditure (after recharges)1per pupil2 in the pre-primary sector, maintained primary schools and maintained secondary schools in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire local education authority areas, financial years 1996–97 to 2001–02 (cash terms)

    Local education authority areas

    Pre-primary and primary3per pupil spend(£)

    Secondary per pupil spend(£)

    Total spend(£000s)

    Total per pupil spend(£)

    Pre-LGR

    4

    1996–97

    Nottinghamshire1,9502,610339,2102,220

    1997–98

    Nottinghamshire1,9602,630342,0402,240

    Post-LGR4

    4

    1998–99

    Nottinghamshire2,1102,630270,7102,340
    City of Nottingham2,2803,29097,8402,580

    1999–2000

    Nottinghamshire2,2202,690286,4812,430
    City of Nottingham2,4903,020106,2242,680

    2000–01

    Nottinghamshire2,5202,830315,3072,660
    City of Nottingham2,6803,440115,3302,950

    2001–02

    Nottinghamshire2,7103,170345,8022,920
    City of Nottingham3,2003,880132,8373,450

    1 NCE includes expenditure within schools and also that incurred centrally by LEAs.

    2 Financial year pupils are used. These are calculated from Annual Schools' Census data.

    3 The spend per pupil figures for pre-primary/primary relates the net current expenditure (after recharges) in the pre-primary sector and maintained primary schools to the total number of financial year pupils who are educated in the maintained nursery and primary schools sector.

    4 Nottinghamshire LEA was subject to the Local Government Re-organisation in April 1998, and therefore, pre-LGR and post-LGR Nottinghamshire are not directly comparable.

    Note:

    Figures have been rounded to the nearest £10.

    Source:

    1996–97 to 1998–99 data were drawn from the education Revenue Outturn statements submitted to the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions. 1999–2000 and 2000–01 data were drawn from Section 52 (Table 3) outturn statements, which LEAs submitted to the DfES.

    Faith Schools

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his policy is on the establishment of new faith schools; and how many new faith schools within the maintained sector are proposed. [88892]

    The Government believes parents should have a range of schools to choose from, including faith schools.Decisions about opening new schools, including faith schools, are made locally by the School Organisation Committee for the LEA area, or by an independent Schools Adjudicator if the Committee cannot agree. We have been informed of proposals for 12 new faith schools that have been published since September 2001 and approved by School Organisation Committees.

    Higher Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what evidence was assessed on the effect on credit ratings of increasing levels of graduate debt, in drawing up the proposals in the policy document, The Future of Higher Education; and if he will make a statement. [98135]

    In setting the maximum level of the variable fee we considered carefully the level of contribution graduates would have to make after graduation. We did not commission specific research on the effect of credit ratings.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the net financial (a) gain and (b) loss per student of his proposals, for students with family incomes of £10,000 pa, and for each additional £1,000 pa up to £80,000 pa, for each university and higher education institution. [94700]

    Since this will depend on decisions by individual institutions over their fee levels and on students' own choices it is not possible to provide this kind of analysis.We are planning to introduce a Higher Education Grant of £1,000 a year for students from lower income backgrounds starting in autumn 2004. The Government will also continue to provide a grant for tuition fees worth £1,100 in 2002/03 for students with family incomes of up to £20,000 and a proportion of that for those students whose family income is between £20,000 and £30,000.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will estimate the required shortfall in higher education shortfall funding; and if he will assess the impact of expanding the provision of higher education on the funding for higher education. [98630]

    I have nothing to add on these matters to my statement on 22 January 2003 and the White Paper published on that day.

    It Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will set out the training given for the teaching of IT skills in the Post Graduate Certificate of Education (a) for IT specialists and (b) for general certificates. [98695]

    All teachers should be competent in the use of information and communications technology (ICT). Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools' Annual Report has confirmed that most generalist courses of initial teacher training prepare trainees appropriately to make best use of ICT in the classroom and all newly-qualified teachers are required to pass a skills test in ICT before their qualification is recognised. It is also a requirement that candidates taking specialist courses of initial teacher training for secondary teachers of ICT must achieve degree-equivalent knowledge of that subject before Qualified Teacher Status can be awarded.On 24 January, the Teacher Training Agency announced that it was making an additional £5 million available to support the training of teachers in ICT offered by schools, colleges and universities.

    Online Sales/Purchases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) products, (b) goods and (c) services were (i) bought and (ii) sold online by his Department in each of the last five years. [97451]

    [holding answer 10 February 2003]: During the last five years my Department has bought the following products, goods and services online:

    • official publications and books;
    • travel tickets via the framework contract;
    • hotel accommodation via the framework contract;
    • mobile phones;
    • PC's, laptops and computer servers;
    • installation of a computer network link;
    • maintenance of video conferencing equipment;
    • recruitment of temporary administrative and secretarial staff via the framework contract;
    • budget air/rail tickets direct from providers.
    Additionally 17 per cent. of Departmental publications are ordered by the public via email, although the vast majority of these are free publications.

    Secondary Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of (a) generic skills and (b) specialist learning in 14 to 19 secondary education. [98909]

    (a) Generic skillsOur recent statement '14–19: opportunity and excellence' set out our vision for a 14–19 phase where all young people can choose from a range of courses and qualifications covering a wide range of general and specialist subjects and skills. Our statement specifically included the following measures on generic skills.To help ensure that all young people are well equipped in literacy, numeracy and computer skills we will introduce (from 2004–05 onwards) an entitlement for them to continue studying up to age 19 until they reach the standard of a good GCSE or the corresponding Level 2 key skill qualification. Those going on to higher education or professional study after 19 should be encouraged to achieve a Level 3 qualification in at least one of these skill areas.We will invite the 14–19 working group, chaired by Mike Tomlinson, to look at how young people can develop the essential practical skills for life, and how the content of individual subjects and programmes could place a greater emphasis on analysis, problem solving and thinking skills, as well as the presentation and argument of conclusions. Practical and analytical skills are equally essential in adult life and in the workplace. Existing programme and subject requirements do not always sufficiently emphasise these skills.In addition, "Skills for Life", the Government's strategy for improving adults' literacy and numeracy skills, identifies young adults as a priority group. We are determined to bring young people who leave school with poor literacy, language and numeracy skills back into learning. These skills are important prerequisites for young adults to find and keep work and overcome potential barriers to participating fully in society.

    (b) Specialist learning

    We have also asked the 14–19 working group to consider the appropriate balance between specialist and general skills in learning programmes for this age group. At present, we believe that for many young people who follow an academic path, particularly at ages 16–18, the range of studies is too specialised and narrow when compared with advanced level students in other countries. We want young people to be able to combine a broad range of studies with more specialist choices that meet their own individual interests and aspirations.

    Specialist Schools Programme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the relationship between the specialist schools programme and the aim of diversity of provision; and if he will make a statement. [98906]

    Specialist schools are a key driver of the Government's plans to create a more diverse secondary education sector. Schools can currently apply for one of eight specialisms (or they can combine any two). In the secondary strategy document 'A New Specialist System' we introduced two new specialisms—Music and Humanities—and an option for rural schools to add a rural dimension to an existing specialism.The Specialist Schools Application Guidance encourages headteachers and governing bodies to investigate which specialism is appropriate for them in the context of collaboration with other local secondary schools and their local education authorities (LEAs) in order to increase diversity and maximise the impact of specialist schools in the locality.A significant number of LEAs have been working with their schools on developing a strategy for increasing their specialist provision. Excellence in Cities partnerships in particular, have played a significant role in nominating and deciding when schools should go forward for specialist status. The Diversity Pathfinders LEAs are developing and implementing models of diversity based on the Specialist Schools Programme.At the beginning of February, 217 new specialist schools were designated across all eight specialims: 29 Arts, 28 Business & Enterprise, 4 Engineering. 14 Language, 26 Mathematics & Computing, 40 Science, 40 Sports and 29 Technology Colleges, and 7 schools with combined specialisms.However, our aim of increasing diversity in the secondary sector goes beyond the Specialist Schools Programme. Academies, again with a special curriculum emphasis, will also contribute to diversity of provision. The first three academies opened in September 2002. We expect at least 33 to be open by 2006 and further academies to be opened beyond that. The Department are also encouraging new providers to come forward and offer new types of schools as they are needed. These providers will include: parents and community groups; private and charitable companies; voluntary groups including church and faith communities; those offering distinctive educational philosophies; and existing schools or consortia of schools.

    Teacher Numbers (Derbyshire)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers (a) left and (b) joined the teaching profession in (i) Derbyshire and (ii) England and Wales in each year since 1997. [98886]

    The table shows the numbers of teachers leaving1 full-time or part time2 service in the maintained schools sector and teachers entering or returning3 to full-time or part-time teaching in the maintained schools sector.The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for the supply of teacher data in Wales.

    1 Leavers are those who were in full-time or part-time teaching in the maintained schools sector immediately before the period shown, who were not in service in that sector at the end of the period shown. Teachers leaving are based on pension returns. Some teachers may have moved from known service to service not recorded on the teacher pension return. Some leavers will be taking career breaks and will return to service at a later date.
    2 Around 10 to 20 per cent. of part-timers may not be included.
    3 Those in service in the maintained schools sector at the end of the period shown who were not in service in that sector in England immediately before the period shown. Includes newly qualified entrants, those who deferred entry and those returning from breaks or transferring from outside the maintained schools sector in England.

    Leavers

    Entrants/returners

    Derbyshire
    1 April 1997 to 31 March 19981640500
    1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999340500
    1 April 1999 to 31 March 20002540480
    1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001n/a2n/a2

    Leavers

    Entrants/returners

    England
    1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998139,05037,900
    1 April 1998 to 31 March 199931,91036,470
    1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000234,93037,030
    1 April 2000 to 31 March 200135,44040,260

    1 Higher than usual numbers of premature retirements, following changes to the retirement regulations, contributed to the high levels of leavers in 1997–98.

    2 The most recent data available at LEA level are for 1999–2000.

    Note:

    n/a = not available.

    Truancy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of persistently truant schoolchildren in Lancashire in the last year for which figures are available. [90975]

    It is not possible to estimate the number of persistently truant school children in Lancashire from the data we have available at present. The data for the national pupil absence survey is collected at school level and there is only one set of figures for each school, so that we cannot identify which children were persistently absent. Information on the characteristics of individual pupils cannot be deduced from this data. However, in 2001/02 there were 17,934 pupils that were absent for at least one half day due to unauthorised absence and the average number of half days they missed was 15.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Arms Exports (Algeria)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to reintroduce a de facto embargo on the sale of military equipment and arms sales to Algeria. [98820]

    The Government closely scrutinise all export licence applications for Algeria according to the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the circumstances prevailing at the time. In particular, we would be likely to have concerns with any export that might be used for internal repression or affect regional stability.

    British Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the cost to the British Council of the programmes (a) UK Today, (b) The Edge, (c) Beyond Babel-English on The World Stage, (d) London Fashion Week, (e) Breaking the Trade—The Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire and (f) Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [99123]

    They were made available to the British Council free of charge in order to use overseas for English language training and for the promotion of the UK.

    British Prisoners Overseas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in how many cases of British nationals convicted abroad since 1997 the Government have intervened to seek release or reduction in sentence; and how many of these people were (a) white and (b) non-white. [98456]

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) changed its clemency policy towards British nationals detained overseas in May 2001. Under the new policy, HMG will now consider supporting appeals on compassionate grounds, where there is prima facie evidence of a miscarriage of justice, or where the prisoner is a minor. An appeal for clemency is a request to the detaining state to release the prisoner unconditionally, not reduce the original sentence. Since the new policy came into effect, we have supported appeals on behalf of 15 British nationals. The FCO does not hold statistics on representations made before the introduction of the new clemency policy. Nor does it record the ethnic origin of those who are offered consular assistance.As a general rule, HMG will lobby against the death penalty imposed on any British national overseas. In this instance, HMG is not appealing for unconditional release, but for the death penalty to be commuted to imprisonment. We have supported 11 such cases since May 2001.Other than lobbying against the death penalty, HMG would not normally appeal for a reduction in sentence. This is on the basis that states must recognise the rights of other sovereign states to sentence according to their own laws. However, HMG would consider making representations to a sentencing state if a British national appeared to have been harshly sentenced purely because of nationality. There have been no instances of this since at least May 2001.The welfare of British nationals detained overseas is of primary concern to the FCO. We ensure that prisoners are visited regularly and we raise any concerns that we, prisoners or their relatives may have about their treatment or the conduct of their trial. As a last resort, when all other options have failed, we will consider supporting an appeal for clemency under the criteria outlined above.

    British Victims Overseas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases the British Government have dealt with involving British nationals abroad since 1997 who have (a) disappeared,(b) been murdered or suspected of being murdered,(c) been kidnapped or held hostage and (d) been incarcerated, broken down by country. [98458]

    The information is as follows:

  • (a) Data on cases of British nationals who have disappeared abroad since 1997, broken down by country, cannot be easily obtained and the cost of doing so would be disproportionate.
  • (b) In respect of British nationals murdered overseas, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office (Mr. Bradshaw) to the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Fallon) on 16 January 2002, Official Report, column 318W. This sets out the number of murders by country from 1996 to 2001.
  • British nationals kidnapped or held hostage overseas between 1997–2003
    Country1997199819992000200120022003Total
    Angola11
    Bangladesh11
    Cambodia11
    Chechnya233
    China11
    Colombia2114
    Cyprus11
    Czech republic22
    Democratic Republic of Congo112
    Ecuador11
    Ethiopia11
    Gaza (Occupied Territories)11
    Georgia1113
    Greece11
    Indonesia11
    Liberia44
    Nigeria441815643
    Philippines —22
    Russia33
    Sierra Leone31316
    Slovenia11
    Somalia1134
    South Africa11
    Sudan11
    Tajikistan11
    Turkey44
    Uganda66
    Yemen2154120
    Totals112841322061141

    Correspondence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a substantive reply to his letter of 10 December 2002 regarding a constituent, ref: GV100/79888/NS. [98396]

    [holding answer 24 February 2003]: We have learnt that passports were issued to the subjects of the inquiry on 13 December 2002. A substantive reply will be sent to my noble Friend the Baroness Amos shortly.

    Ethnic Monitoring

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ethnic monitoring is undertaken by his Department of the recipients of the delivery of its services to UK citizens abroad. [98453]

    (c) The following table gives details of British nationals kidnapped/held hostage broken down by country since 1997.

    (d) In respect of British nationals incarcerated abroad, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office (Mr. Bradshaw) to my hon. Friend the Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox) on 13 May 2002, Official Report, column 456W. This sets out the number of British nationals imprisoned abroad who have asked the local authorities to inform the British Consulate of their arrest and sentence. The figures are broken down by country, and represent the total on 30 April 2002. To obtain similar data for all years since 1997 would incur disproportionate costs.

    I am told we do not monitor the delivery of our services on the basis of ethnicity.

    Eu Enlargement

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answers of 15 January 2003, Official Report, column 630W, on EU accession states, and 7 January 2003, Official Report, column 136W, on the EU, whether the Government plan to give non-financial support to campaigning groups or individuals within the 10 EU accession states; and if he will make a statement. [93586]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 7 January 2003, Official Report, column 136W.

    Gibraltar

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to commemorate 300 years of British sovereignty in Gibraltar. [94866]

    The Government of Gibraltar has established a 2004 Tercentenary Committee. We will carefully consider any suggestion for UK Government participation in commemorative events.

    International Criminal Court

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will resume negotiations with the United States on the proposed Article 98 bilateral agreement concerning the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement. [98213]

    [holding answer 24 February 2003]: Officials met at US request on 17 October 2002 for preliminary discussions. We await a further approach from the US side. The statute of the ICC provides for Article 98.2 agreements in specific circumstances. We will not enter into any agreement with the US unless it is in strict conformity with the statute and the guiding principles agreed with EU partners.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what mechanism is available for determining the legality of a bilateral treaty concerning the Charter on the International Criminal Court. [98385]

    Article 98.2 of the ICC statute provides that the court may not ask a state for surrender of a suspected person if the request would require that state to act inconsistently with its obligations under a relevant international agreement. If the prosecutor nevertheless made such a request, Article 97 would require the state concerned to consult with the court in order to resolve the matter. The statute also makes provision for a case where a state fails to comply with a request from the court, contrary to its obligations under the statute: in such a case the court may refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council has referred the case, to the Council.

    Iran

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Iran's announcement that it intends to produce and reprocess nuclear fuel. [98546]

    There are long-standing international concerns about Iran's ambitions to pursue a nuclear weapons programme. The Director-General of the IAEA has just returned from a visit to Iran to evaluate the concerns that have been raised by a number of reports. We look forward to his report to the IAEA Board of Governors.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Kingdom has passed all evidence it has on Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction to the (a) UNMOVIC and (b) IAEA inspectorates in Iraq. [98510]

    We have regularly briefed the UN inspection teams on such matters. Such briefings have covered all relevant information.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the trilateral French-German-Russian proposals on Iraq. [98517]

    The proposal made by France and Germany, and subsequently endorsed by Russia, has been carefully considered. Its central principal is that inspections should be allowed to continue without a specific time-limit. The UK believes that the key issue with regard to the UN inspections programme is that Iraq must demonstrate a willingness to co-operate fully and actively with the inspectors.Without that full and unconditional Iraqi cooperation, the mandate of the inspectors, established under UNSCR 1284 and reiterated in UNSCR 1441, would be seriously undermined.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the provision of peacekeeping forces within Iraq in the event of military action being taken against that country. [98953]

    No decision has been taken to launch military action against Iraq. We have been in recent contact (including at the 17–18 February European Council) with all our EU and other major international partners on the role of the international community in the event of military action against Iraq.

    It Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list IT contracts in his Department above £50 million in each of the last 10 years; what the inception date for each system was; when it became fully functional: when it became fully debugged: and what the cost of over-runs has been. [99000]

    The contract for the FCO's telecommunications network (FTN) (signed in 2000) is worth £165 million over 10 years. The main contract for Prism, which provides an integrated world-wide financial and management accounting and human resources system is worth £53 million (and was signed in 2002).The FTN rollout will be completed in summer 2003. The Prism system is scheduled to go live in the UK in mid-2003. Spend to date on both has been within budget.

    Lobsang Dhondup

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions his Department has had with the government of China following the execution of Lobsang Dhondup; and what the outcome was; [98821]

    (2) what representations his Department has made to the government of China following the execution of Lobsang Dhondup. [99359]

    I issued a statement on 28 January 2003 expressing strong concern at the execution of Lobsang Dhondup. We also supported strongly worded EU demarches and an EU declaration on the case.We have raised Lobsang Dhondup's case three times with the Chinese MFA. They explained that Lobsang Dhondup was a Chinese citizen who had committed very serious crimes which merited severe punishment. China had the right to put him to trial and to pass verdict on him. The legal proceedings were, according to the MFA, in line with the regulations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).We shall continue to raise our concerns about this case and the treatment of Tibetans more generally with the Chinese.

    Middle East

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions are taking place with the United States Government about problems of the Palestinian people. [98415]

    My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, FCO officials and I are in constant touch with US colleagues on Israel/Palestine. The UK Government believe that a secure and stable two-state solution, as called for in President Bush's speech of 24 June 2002 and reached through early implementation of the Quartet roadmap, is the only credible way to deliver to both Israelis and Palestinians the peaceful future they both need.

    North Korea

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of human rights abuses in North Korea. [98268]

    [holding answer 24 February 2003]: Our diplomatic relations with North Korea and a British Embassy in Pyongyang allow us to express our concerns about reports of widespread and serious violations of human rights in DPRK directly to the North Korean authorities on a regular basis. But a lack of hard evidence and access for independent monitors makes it difficult to substantiate allegations, most of which come from defectors' reports. Freedom of expression is curtailed and criticism severely punished (there are reports of up to 200,000 political prisoners). Freedom of movement is restricted within the country and foreign travel is only permitted for a select few. There are reports of widespread use of the death penalty and detention without trial. The DPRK does not participate in international refugee fora, nor is it in contact with the UNHCR. It is at least six years since a UN rapporteur was allowed into the country. The UK has financed human rights training courses for North Korean government officials, and we will continue to request access for international observers, including UK diplomats, to verify negative reports circulating internationally about the situation in DPRK. We are also pressing North Korea to co-operate fully with UN mechanisms and to fulfil its UN reporting obligations.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the South Korean Government on the heightened security situation facing the Korean Peninsula. [98830]

    During the last week I have discussed these issues with a delegation of visiting South Korean MPs. I will also discuss them when I meet the new South Korean President in Seoul on 26 February 2003. We have made clear in all our contacts with the South Korean Government, that we support a peaceful resolution of the security problem on the Korean Peninsula through multilateral dialogue.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made on behalf of the Christian community in North Korea. [98829]

    Reports of human rights abuses, including religious persecution, in North Korea are of grave concern to the Government. Diplomatic relations with North Korea and an Embassy in Pyongyang enable us to express our concerns about reports of widespread and serious violations of human rights in DPRK directly to the North Korean authorities on a regular basis. Our Ambassador expressed concern about the situation during his high-level introductory calls in December 2002. The FCO has financed a human rights training course for North Korean Government officials in the UK, and hopes to build on this through further contacts with the DPRK authorities this year.

    Robert Mugabe

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the French Government and to President Chirac regarding Robert Mugabe's possible visit to a Franco-African summit in Paris; and if he will make a statement; [94905](2) what the policy is of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the attendance by Robert Mugabe at a Franco-African summit in Paris to be held on 19 February 2003; and if he will make a statement. [94906]

    [holding answer 3 February 2003]: We did not want Robert Mugabe at the France/Africa summit in Paris on 20 to 21 February 2003. We made this clear to the French Government, at various levels as well as to other EU partners. The meeting took place two days after the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe were due to expire. Our priority then was to ensure a roll-over of those sanctions. The roll-over required a consensus among EU member states. This was achieved on 18 February 2003.

    Romania (People Trafficking)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Romanian authorities regarding the trafficking of women. [98822]

    We talk regularly to the Romanians about the problem of organised crime, including the trafficking of women. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office,