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Written Answers

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 21 May 2003

Trade And Industry

Companies Bill

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects to introduce the proposed Companies Bill. [114379]

The Government are carefully considering the comments made in response to the White Paper 'Modernising Company Law' (Cm 5553), including those in the Trade and Industry Committee's report on the White Paper (HC 439) published last week. A further announcement will be made to Parliament in due course.

Mental Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of her staff have taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last year. [111976]

In the financial year 2001–02 164 staff took sick leave attributed to mental health problems.

Regional Development Agencies (Budgets)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria she has used in determining the budget allocations to individual regional development agencies in 2003–04. [114899]

The budget for Regional Development Agencies is allocated between RDAs using a formula which takes into account nine weighted indictors of need and opportunity. Provision has also been made to ensure that no RDA will receive less in 2003–04 than in previous years.The nine indicators are:

An allocation for each RDA to cover common administrative overheads;
Population size;
Gross Domestic Product per head, where the richest regions get zero;
Research and development expenditure per head with the weakest regions benefiting most;
Population in rural areas with low productivity;
The number of people living in the most deprived 10 per cent. of wards;
The 100 poorest authorities in terms of unemployment rate;
The amount of derelict land and pre-used land with planning permission;
The proportion of the working age population classed a partly skilled or unskilled.

The three indicators with the highest weightings are unemployment, deprivation and gross domestic product.

Transport

Low Cost Airlines

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to encourage the use of spare capacity at regional airports for low cost airlines. [114796]

The Government support the growth, subject to it being sustainable, of regional airports to meet local demand for air travel and we anticipate low cost airlines will make a major contribution to achieving this. Chapter 3 of our regional consultation documents sets out a range of possible policy mechanisms for delivering our objectives. The consultation closes on 30 June, and we will publish the Air Transport White Paper in late 2003.

Sizewell

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aircraft have flown over the power stations since the airspace over Sizewell A and B power stations was invaded 18 months ago. [112883]

Aircraft are not permitted to fly within two nautical miles of Sizewell below a height of 2000 ft. There have been no confirmed breaches of this restriction since November 2001.

Airport Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on plans to change overnight security arrangements at UK airports. [113524]

The department's aviation security requirements do not differentiate between day time and night time operations. I will draw to the attention of colleagues in the relevant departments the hon. Member's particular concern about late hours coverage at airports by Customs and Immigration staff, so that they may respond direct.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials within his Department are engaged in examining the Crossrail proposals; when he will announce the Government's preferred option for Crossrail line 1; and if he will make a statement on the Crossrail project. [113719]

Currently, around half a dozen Departmental officials are substantially engaged on Crossrail-related work, among other duties, involving a range of other officials within the Department as necessary. As regards an announcement on Crossrail, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Transport to the hon. Members for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey), and for Ilford South (Mike Gapes), on 13 May 2003, Official Report, column 149.

Cyclists

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what regulations are in force governing cyclists' conduct when using joint cycle and pedestrian paths;[115044]

(2) what requirements there are for cyclists to warn other road users of their presence when using joint cycle and pedestrian paths. [115043]

On cycle tracks, cyclists and pedestrians may be segregated or they may share the same space. Highway authorities use signs and markings from the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 to indicate the part of the route which is allocated for cyclists and for pedestrians. On segregated tracks, cyclists must keep to the side intended for their use.The Highway Code advises cyclists to take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, elderly or disabled people on cycle tracks, and allow them plenty of room. The code also advises that cyclists should slow down and stop for pedestrians if necessary. The law applying to dangerous and careless cycling applies on cycle tracks as it does on the road. Under the Road Traffic Act 1991, the two worst cycling offences attract maximum fines of £2,500 (for dangerous cycling) and £1,000 (for careless cycling).There are no specific requirements for cyclists to warn other users of their presence on a cycle track. However, the Highway Code advises cyclists that they should be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians, and to let them know of their presence by ringing their bell. In April this year, the Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2003 were published, coming into force on 1 May 2004. These will make it a requirement for a bell to be fitted on a bicycle by manufacturers at the point of sale. The Regulation will enhance the safety of pedestrians sharing space with cyclists, and had been requested for some time by groups representing pedestrians and disabled people.

Departmental Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114436]

In 2001–02, my Department's total expenditure on advertising was £9.85 million to £8.62 million on the THINK! road safety campaign and £1.22 million to promote the Traveline public transport information line.In 2002–03, the total estimated expenditure on advertising was £10.195 million to 9.5 million on the THINK! road safety campaign, £299,000 on the Airports consultation exercise, £274,000 on Traveline and £122,000 on the new Vehicle Identity Checking scheme. These figures are subject to final audit.The planned expenditure for 2003–04 and 2004–05 is estimated at £10 million in each year.

Departmental Underspending

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reduce his Department's underspend in 2003–04 from that of 2002–03. [112771]

We will continue to monitor budgets very closely to ensure the most effective use of resources. I expect that, once the figures have been finalised, my Department's outturn for 2002–03 will have been very close to budget.

Foreign Flag Vessels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many foreign flag vessels were inspected by the Maritime Coastguard Agency in each of the last five years. [114836]

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) has inspected the following numbers of foreign flag vessels in each of the last five years.

YearNumber of foreign flagged vessels inspected under Port State Control
1998–991,980
1999–2000 1,801
2000–011,803
2001–021,765
2002–031,744

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the criteria will be for inspecting foreign flag vessels in UK ports when the port state control directive comes into force. [114837]

The UK will inspect foreign flag vessels in UK ports according to the criteria set out in the new Article 7 of EU Directive 2001/106/EC which comes into force on 22 July 2003. High risk ships posing the greatest threat to the safety of crew and passengers and to the environment will be targeted for inspection.The target factor is determined by ship type, Flag, Classification Society, ship age, and previous inspection record. High risk ships, based on type and age, such as oil tankers over 15 years of age with a high target factor, will have a mandatory expanded inspection every 12 months. Any ship with a very high target factor and one month since last inspection will also have a mandatory inspection.

Motorcycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings have been held in each of the last four years of the Government's Advisory Group on Motorcycling; and when a national motorcycling policy will be published. [114067]

Since its inception, the Advisory Group on Motorcycling has met as follows:

  • 1999–3 times
  • 2000–3 times
  • 2001–2 times
  • 2002–3 times
  • 2003–2 times so far.
The next meeting should be in September.The Government expect to determine their strategy for motorcycling next year.

National Museums Of Scotland (Concorde)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding the loan or donation of a Concorde by British Airways to the National Museums of Scotland. [114824]

The Department has not received any representations in relation to the approach of the National Museums of Scotland to British Airways.

Number Plates

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many number plate suppliers have registered under the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001; what checks have been carried out to ensure number plate manufacturers and suppliers are complying with the Act; how many vehicle identity check centres have been established and on what basis their location was decided; how many VIC checks have been completed to date; how many checks resulted in refusal to register a vehicle; and what the most common reasons for refusal to register a vehicle were. [114591]

Both the registration of number plate suppliers and vehicle identity checks (VICs) form part of the Government's programme to reduce vehicle crime. They are specifically designed to combat vehicle ringing and cloning (the practice of disguising the identity of stolen vehicles or vehicles used for unlawful purposes.)As of 16 May, 26,445 number plate suppliers representing 31,977 retail outlets were registered with DVLA.Since 1 March enforcement powers have rested with the police and local authorities. They have been fully briefed on the legislation. DVLA has received several requests for clarification from these authorities and reports that inspections of premises have been carried out. A DVLA team is being set up to provide support to the police and local authorities for those purposes.Since the introduction of the vehicle identity check (VIC) scheme on 7 April. 69 inspections have been carried out in Great Britain and one in Northern Ireland. Two vehicles tested in Great Britain have failed. A total of 54 test sites have been established.

Pollution (Uk Waters)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the maximum penalty is for the (a) owners and (b) operators of vessels causing pollution in UK waters. [114840]

Pollution in UK waters can be caused by various substances. The following gives the maximum penalties for each different substance.

Type of pollutionMaximum penalty on summary conviction (£)Maximum penalty on conviction on indictment
Oil250,000 owner and managerA fine owner and manager
Garbage25,000 owner and managerA fine owner
Chemical25,000 ownerA fine owner

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vessels were prosecuted for pollution incidents in UK waters in each of the last five years. [114838]

Individual harbour authorities prosecute pollution incidents within harbour authority limits, and the Department has no figures regarding the numbers of their prosecutions. Outside of those areas, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) deal with prosecutions. They have conducted the following numbers of prosecutions.

Number of prosecutions
19986
19993
20002
20010
20022

Rail Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what level of subsidy Virgin West Coast Railways will receive over the remaining length of its franchise; and what the level was in the original contract. [113775]

The Strategic Rail Authority is currently in the process of re-negotiating the Virgin West Coast franchise. The level of subsidy to be paid to Virgin has not yet been determined.

Regional Airports Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reason is for the lower age limit of 16 for eligibility to complete the Regional Airports Consultation questionnaire; and if he will make a statement. [114355]

There is no age eligibility criterion for completing the airports' questionnaire. We welcome views from younger consultees, and many have already responded to the consultation in a variety of ways, including letters and petitions.

School Buses

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government have to introduce measures to prevent three children, under 14 years of age, sitting on two seats on school buses. [114974]

Three children under the age of 14 sitting on two seats is permitted by the Public Service Vehicles (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984. However, as this is a concession and not a requirement I have no plans to abolish this allowance. The use of this concession is declining as the modern interior designs of buses and coaches make it impracticable to use. It is also not permissible where seat belts are fitted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) the three-for-two rule on school buses is being enforced and (b) no children over the age of 14 are sharing a seat with two other pupils; and if he will make a statement. [115074]

Three children under the age of 14 sitting on two seats is a concession under the Public Service Vehicles (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984. It is the responsibility of the driver of any vehicle carrying schoolchildren to ensure that this concession is not abused. It is, however, becoming redundant. Sharing seats is not an option (no matter what the age of the children) in vehicles fitted with seat belts. All minibuses and coaches carrying schoolchildren must now be fitted with seat belts, except for those that pre-date the legislation and which are gradually disappearing from the road.

Sponsorships

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which of his Department's projects have received sponsorship in the last financial year; who the sponsor was in each case; what the nature of each project was; what time-period was covered by each project; what the total cost of each project was; how much money was involved in each sponsorship deal; and if he will make a statement. [112398]

The Department has not received any cash sponsorship support. Many companies, however, have linked with Think!, my Department's road safety campaign and carried road safety messages in their own activities. We have not quantified the value of this supportive activity but we welcome extension of our safety messages by companies. Examples are in my Department's annual report.

Staff Numbers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of regional variations in staff turnover in his Department. [112748]

The Department is yet to undertake an assessment of regional variations in staff turnover. The Regional Co-ordination Unit, as the corporate centre of the Government Office Network, collects data for the Government Offices. This data will be used to make assessments of regional differences in developing the Department's workforce strategies.The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget plans to examine relocation of public services with the aim of achieving best value for money. He has asked Sir Michael Lyons—Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies at Birmingham University—to advise on relocation by the next Spending Review.

Train Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government have plans to introduce measures to oblige train companies to provide seat belts for their passengers. [114990]

Cabinet Office

Civil Service

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to reduce the number of civil service posts for which passing the civil service examination is a key requirement; and if he will make a statement. [114280]

There is no single "Civil Service exam". With the exception of the Fast Stream, and recruitment to the most senior posts, recruitment to the Civil Service is the responsibility of individual government departments and agencies. In general their systems are based on the competences their businesses require, and their recruitment processes are determined by the needs of the post. Departments are free to choose the selection methods that best demonstrate the competences and skills they are seeking. These can include a variety of tests and exercises, interviews or assessment centres.My own Department recruits for the graduate Fast Stream Programme on behalf of Departments and reports annually to Parliament with details of the scheme, including numbers of applicants and successes at each selection stage. The tests, exercises and interviews are designed and validated with the aim of achieving the best possible prediction of suitability for, and success in, the job. The recruitment process for all jobs in the Civil Service must be consistent with the principle of selection on merit on the basis of fair and open competition, in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code.

Kpmg

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many contracts his Department has awarded to KPMG since 1997. [113679]

Information on the number of contracts awarded by the Cabinet Office to KPMG in financial years 1997–98 to 2000–01 is available only at disproportionate cost. The numbers of contracts awarded in 2001–02 and 2002–03 were 2 and 4 respectively.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Bridleways

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many public inquiries and at what estimated cost are projected due to the applications from the Trail Riders Federation to upgrade bridleways. [114777]

I understand that information on public inquiries on rights of way is not held centrally in a form that makes it easy to provide an estimate of this sort. However I have asked officials to look at the level of applications and appeals and I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as clearer information is available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in relation to the upgrading of bridleways for off road vehicles. [114776]

I have asked officials to look at the level of applications for the upgrading of bridleways for off road vehicles under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Definitive map modification orders, which can amend the status of bridleways to byways open to all traffic, are currently dealt with by local highway authorities, and if an objection is made to a modification order, it is referred to the Planning Inspectorate to decide the case on behalf of the Secretary of State. I will write to the hon. Gentleman once I have the information.

Departmental Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of the publication of the 2001 Departmental Report. [112811]

ProjectConsultancy
Veterinary Medicines—Digitally signed pesticide approvals projectFujitsu Services/Consulting
England and Rural Development programmeSchlumberger Sema Consulting
Elan Computing
Yale Consulting
Cathedral Consortium
PA Consulting Group
Parity Resourcing Solutions
Sandfield Systems Ltd
Interlect
ARC Consulting Group
PMR Technologies
Office Government Commerce (OGC)
The Nesco Group
Sherwood International
Spring IT
Brian Farrington Ltd
e-Communications programmeSERCO Usability services
CEFAS MISW S Atkins
e-Science -online Research ContractsDelta -Sherwood International, Schlumberger Sema Consulting
Countryside Agency—Open Access: Restrictions and ClosuresBird & Bird
WS Atkins
Office Government Commerce (OGC)
Countryside Agency E-Business DeliveryLogica CMG
Agricultural Census e-forms projectKC3
Livestock Identification programmeCornwell Management Consultants Plc
Hedra Ltd
Accenture
Cattle Tracing SystemDelta—Sherwood International, Schlumberger Sema Consulting
Rural Payments Programme:Atos KPMG Consulting (AKC)
Programme MgmtPA Consulting (PA)
ProcurementOffice Government Commerce (OGC)
Bird and Bird
Giga Information Group
PA Consulting Group
IACS E formsPA Consulting Group
e-enablement of:Delta
Over Thirty Month Scheme and Data Processing SystemSchlumberger Sema Consulting
Sherwood International
Graphical Information Systems/Rural Land RegisterAtos KPMG Consulting (AKC)
Customer FocusRemote Sensing Applications—Consultants Ltd
Landmark Information Group Ltd
Handle With Care Ltd

The Defra annual report for 2001 was produced with the assistance of the Central Office of Information at a cost of £17,887, exclusive of VAT.

Description£ (excluding VAT)
Proofreading3,962
Design, layout and cover13,400
Production of web version525
Total cost excluding printing17,887
Defra did not incur any of the print production costs. The Stationery Office prints and distributes the annual report as a commercial venture.

E-Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list, by project, the consultancies her Department and its non-departmental public bodies have used on e-government projects since 1 January 2001. [112836]

The following table identifies consultancy companies which have assisted Defra (including agencies and non departmental bodies) on major e-government projects since 1 January 2001.

ProjectConsultancy
RPA Change ProgrammeSchlumberger Sema Consulting
PA Consulting Group
Accenture
Exotic Disease ControlHedra Ltd
Customer RegistrationCornwell Management Consultants Delta/Schlumberger Sema
Consulting
Atos KPMG Consulting (AKC)
PA Consulting Group
MAGIC—Multi AgencyLandmark Information Group Ltd
Geographical Information for the CountrysideESRI (UK) Ltd
GeoWise
Phoenix1—Bird import and registration systemsAmtec Consulting Group
Emissions Trading RegisterDelta—Sherwood International, Schlumberger Sema Consulting Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
Environment AgencyLogica CMG
Science systems
British Telecom
In addition to the above, the following projects were undertaken by the Delta public/private partnership of Defra's IT Directorate/ Schlumberger Sema and Sherwood International. In all cases the consultancy element was in excess of £100,000Schlumberger Sema and Sherwood International
Animal Health Group (AHG): Date Based Exports Scheme
AHG: Scrapie Control System
Animal Movements Licensing Scheme
BSE CENTAUR
Pig Tracing
Scoping Study for the new Veterinary Surveillance System
State Veterinary System (SVS) Generic Disease Control System and other veterinary investigations systems
SVS:Mobile Computing in the Field
SVS:Non—BSE Enhancements
SVS: Vetnet
FAS project
Grants and Subsidies Management Project
Web Based E-Science
Cattle Tracing System
Electronic Delivery for the Plant Health Services
e-Plants Varieties and Seeds
HTR Datacapture and HMI E-forms
Arable Area Payment Scheme E-Forms
Beef Special Premium Scheme Combined Risk Analysis
Extensification Premium Scheme
IACS Aggregated penalties
Monitoring Field Inspections
Suckler Cow Premium Scheme
Sheep Annual Premium Scheme
Sheep Quotas
Sheep Quotas Purchase Scheme
Slaughter Premium Scheme

Note:

1. The projects shown in this list are Defra's larger e-government projects (total cost £100,000 or more) which contribute towards the central target of making 100 per cent. of central Government services available by 2005.

2. Under existing arrangements Defra's application development services are normally provided by the 'Delta' public/private partnership involving Schlumberger Sema and Sherwood International.

3. Other consultancy services will also have been provided under the terms of a framework contract with Fujitsu.

4. To provide a breakdown of consultancy companies/support by cost, or to provide details for smaller projects, would incur
disproportionate cost.

European Union Directives

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the procedure her Department follows to transpose an EU directive into United Kingdom law. [113770]

Defra's policy is to transpose in such a way as to achieve the objectives of the European measure on time and in accordance with other UK policy goals, including minimising the burdens on business. A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) is started before the Commission formally publishes its proposal, and is then developed as the proposal goes through negotiation and at the transposition stage. A Risk Management approach is used, ensuring that the risks are identified and evaluated for Ministers.The normal procedure is that a project plan for transposition is developed, and a draft legal text of implementing regulation is prepared. Collective ministerial agreement for implementing regulations is sought, and the implementing regulations are laid before Parliament. Defra works closely with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations and where applicable, the Government of Gibraltar, to ensure effective and timely transposition of the Directive throughout the UK.

Foot And Mouth

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects Lord Haskins to report. [115182]

Lord Haskins expects to submit a full report in the summer. Publication will follow as soon as possible after due consideration by Ministers.

Gm Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) biotechnology companies and (b) health and environmental campaign and voluntary groups regarding the scale and scope of farm scale trials of GM crops. [114025]

I announced the programme of farm-scale evaluations of GM herbicide tolerant crops in October 1998. In February 1999, the then Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions consulted stakeholders, including biotechnology companies and health and environmental campaign and voluntary groups, about the proposals for the evaluations, the hypothesis to be tested and scale and scope of the field trials. Following this, in May 1999 the then Secretary of State appointed an independent Scientific Steering Committee to oversee the conduct of the evaluations. This Committee provides on-going advice to Ministers on all aspects of the design and methodology. Their advice is publicly available on the farm-scale evaluations website (www.defra.gov.uk/environment/fse)Since the evaluations were set up, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have had various meetings with representatives from biotechnology companies and health and environmental campaign and voluntary groups at which the farm-scale evaluations have been mentioned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 12 May 2003 to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), Official Report, column 6W, on GM field trials, what form the forthcoming public debate on GM field trials will take. [114251]

The Government are sponsoring a public debate on GM issues, which is being managed by an independent Steering Board at arms' length from Government. The Steering Board will be launching a series of events on 3 June 2003, through which the public will have the opportunity to debate the issues surrounding genetic modification, including those related to the GM field trials. Members of the public can get involved either by attending one of the regional or local meetings or by accessing the website.Once the scientific papers reporting the results of the GM field trials are published and in the public domain, there will be a further opportunity to comment on the implications.

Nappies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the life-cycle analysis of nappies being carried out by the Environment Agency. [114263]

The life cycle analysis will consider the environmental costs and benefits of both disposable and re-usable nappies. The work should be completed in the summer. I look forward to seeing the results of the study and hope it will provide clarity from an independent source on the environmental impacts of both types of nappy.

Organic Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's budget is for research and development into organic farming; and if she will make a statement. [114852]

The budget for research and development on organic farming was £2.029 million in 2002–03, and is £2.229 million for 2003–04. These figures include £200,000 spend via the Organic LINK programme.The planned/target Organic LINK spend, which is dependant on successful bids being co-funded from industry, is £400,000 in 2003–04, £700,000 in 2004–05, and then £1.3 million for the next three years—a total of £5 million.In addition, the organic farming sector also benefits from much of the other research the Department undertakes, for example, its planned spend of over £12.8 million on biological control techniques, plant health, animal welfare and wildlife conservation on farms this year.

Performance Targets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the targets in respect of environmental matters which have been set for her Department. [114265]

The Department has published its environmental Public Service Agreement targets (along with all other Public Service Agreement targets) in the Departmental Report—(ref Cm 5919).Environmental targets are also published in Defra's departmental website, which can be viewed at the following address: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/busplan/sda/sda0306.pdf

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of households she estimates will have doorstep or kerbside collections of recyclable material by 2010. [114253]

No estimate has been made of the percentage of households that will have doorstep or kerbside collections of recyclable material by 2010. The proportion of households served by some degree of kerbside recycling collection schemes in England in 2000–01 was estimated at 51 per cent. and I would expect this figure to rise as local authorities introduce arrangements to achieve their statutory recycling targets.

Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of collection and management of (a) household and (b) municipal waste was in (i) England, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Wales in each year since 1997–98 for which figures are held by her Department. [114790]

The following figures show net revenue expenditure on municipal waste collection and disposal in England since 1997–98 to date, and in Scotland and Wales prior to devolution. Data are not available on the separate costs of household and municipal waste. The figures include income received in respect of charges to outside organisations. Data for Northern Ireland are not held centrally.

Waste collection and disposal
£million
England1Scotland2Wales3
1997–981,198.9149.972.8
1998–991,281.914875.8
1999–20001,423.3
2000–011,521.3
2001–021,653.9
2002–0341,818.9
11997–98 to 2001–02 outturn figures are taken from local authority returns on expenditure (RO6 forms) and for 2002–03 planned expenditure (RA02 form).
2 Data provided by SERAD, reported by local authorities.
3 Data provided by NAWAD, from archive publications.
4Budget.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when an announcement will be made on the award of the through-life maintenance contract for the two aircraft carriers to be built under the CVF programme. [114520]

The current intention for CVF is to include an option for an Initial Support Period for the carriers, of approximately six years, as part of the main build contract, which is due to be awarded in spring 2004. This will be dependent on the development of a sufficiently mature and acceptable proposal by the CVF alliance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the allocation of work on the CVF programme between the UK shipyards will be announced. [114521]

An initial proposal on the allocation of work will be submitted by BAE Systems and Thales UK at the end of this year as part of their offer for the Demonstration and Manufacture (D&M) phase. This proposal will be subject to value for money considerations. We aim to place a D&M contract by spring 2004.

Arms Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with securing a G8 commitment to implement common standards in arms export controls; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Lancaster House conference on arms export control. [113660]

I have been asked to reply.The Government are committed to raising the effectiveness of export controls internationally, and promote common standards in arms export controls in multilateral fora wherever it is possible and appropriate to do so. Discussions on arms export controls have been taking place between G8 countries in preparation for the summit meeting at Evian, France on 2 to 3 June 2003.In response to the question on Lancaster House, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then International Development Secretary (Clare Short) on 10 March 2003,

Official Report, column 39W.

Cluster Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to which countries (a) RBL 755 and (b) BL 755 cluster bombs have been exported since 1973. [112483]

Since 1997, the Government has published details of export licensing decisions in the Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. However, as the granting of an export licence does not necessarily result in the export of the goods licensed, the information is not held in the form requested and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.In accordance with established practice, we do not publish information on licensing decisions of previous administrations.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Medical Research Council to respond to the approach by the Ministry of Defence's Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit, as referred to in his letter of 2 May to Robert G. Wood Smith and Partners. [114862]

The Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit received advice from the Medical Research Council on 20 May 2003 and will write to Robert G. Wood-Smith and Partners by the end of May 2003.

Hms Victory

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual cost has been of (a) crewing and (b) preserving and maintaining HMS Victory since 2000. [113856]

The Ministry of Defence's annual costs for (a) crewing and (b) preserving and maintaining HMS Victory since 2000 are:

Financial Year £ million)
2000–012001–022002–03
Crewing1,072,0001,148,0001,137,000
Ticket Revenue1,058,6941,018,0471,022,025
Net Crew cost13,630130,419115,211
Preservation and maintenance856,000555,000631,000
The crewing costs include all Naval personnel and civilian staff employed by MOD and are offset by revenue for ticket sales. The preservation and maintenance costs include restoration work aimed at improving the material state of the ship.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he received, from whom and when, between 1 January and 20 April, regarding the threat of looting of antiquities in Iraq; what his Department's response was; and if he will make a statement. [110613]

[holding answer 1 May 2003]: The Ministry of Defence was forwarded a letter to the Prime Minister on this issue from the All Party Parliamentary Group, dated 11 February. My hon. Friend the Minister of Defence Procurement (Lord Bach) responded to a Parliamentary Question on this subject from Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn on 26 March 2003, Official Report, column WA81. In addition, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence (Dr. Moonie) replied to a letter of 18 February from the British Council of Archaeology regarding the safeguarding of Iraq's cultural heritage.Coalition commanders were aware of the risk of looting during the planning and conduct of operations in Iraq. They worked closely to minimise this by restoring law and order as quickly as possible. In addition, the United States and United Kingdom governments have worked together to take steps to help recover any artefacts that have been removed, including a US funded reward scheme for the safe return of antiquities.

Military Bases

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British military bases have been sold to the United States in each of the last 10 years; and whether leasehold arrangements are made for military bases. [114595]

No British military bases have been sold to the United States, and neither have they been granted a lease to occupy any of the sites.

Naval Navigational Aids

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list his Department's expenditure on naval navigational aids for each year over the last five years for (a) Northern Ireland, (b) England and Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) each military port in the UK. [114335]

The future provision of Marine Services is the subject of a PPP/PFI Acquisition programme. To divulge details of current expenditure could prejudice the fairness of the competition, and the potential for gaining best value for money. I am therefore withholding this information under Exemption 7 of the Code of Access to Government Information (effective management and operations of the public service).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to review the provision of navigational aids at naval installations in UK waters;[114339](2) what studies have been conducted into the provision of naval navigational aids for

(a) military ports and (b) other Ministry of Defence maritime installations in the UK;[114338]

(3) what discussions he has had with other Departments regarding the provision of naval navigational aids by providers other than the MOD;[114336]

(4) what consultations he has had with public and private sector bodies regarding the provision of navigational aids for military ports by other providers within the UK. [114337]

No reviews are planned and no studies have been conducted into the provision of naval navigational aids. However, an Assessment Phase is currently being undertaken for a long term PPP/PFI Acquisition programme for the future provision of Marine Services. These services are currently provided by Serco Denholm, under a Government Owned-Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement and by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service (RMAS), part of the Warship Support Agency. The RMAS are currently responsible for the laying/recovery and annual maintenance of some 205 navigational buoys around the coast of the British Isles. Under current plans, the design authority for navigational buoys and the supply of related mooring materials will also be transferred to the successful bidder.Discussions took place with the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA), Non-Departmental Public Bodies sponsored by the Department for Transport, in 2001 to determine whether there was scope for the GLA's to take over the maintenance and upkeep of Ministry of Defence United Kingdom navigational buoys. However, it was subsequently decided not to proceed as such an arrangement would provide little benefit to the MOD. No further discussions on this matter have taken place either with public or private sector bodies.

Nhs Consultants (Compensation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Ministry of Defence is compensating NHS trusts for consultants now serving in the Gulf. [113900]

All employers who have a reservist mobilised for permanent service may apply for financial assistance to cover costs to the business resulting from the call-out. These include the costs of the initial replacement of the employee, any on-going administration, and retraining the employee when he or she returns.

Nhs Employees (Gulf Service)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the contractors of NHS workers serving in the Gulf are being consulted about the length of their service. [113901]

Employers are advised, at the time a Reservist is called-out, that they can expect their employee to be absent for a period of between six and eight months. This is obviously subject to operational requirements. Where possible, the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (RFCAs), in concert with the Regional Chains of Command, keep local employers of Reservists informed of the details.

Reserve Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions since May 1997 sponsored reserves have been called up; how many were called up each time and for what service; and if he will make a statement. [113252]

The Royal Navy and the Army have only called out their sponsored reserves on one occasion, namely last March when 36 members of the Royal Naval sponsored reserves and two members of the Army sponsored reserves were called out to support operations in the Gulf. They all have been, or shortly will be, demobilised. Members of the RAF sponsored reserves have been called out on a regular basis since October 2000 but the exact occasions and numbers have not been recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Currently, 18 members of the RAF sponsored reserves are called out for permanent service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the bearing of reserve forces by service against requirement was in each year since 1990; and what the current bearing against requirement is. [113963]

The information is set out in the following tables:

Strength
Royal Naval ReserveTerritorial ArmyRoyal Auxiliary Air Force
19907,00081,9001,722
19917,00082,8001,773
19927,00080,3001,814
19935,60068,7001,765
19944,60065,0001,762
19953,70059,9001,318
19963,50057,3001,188
19973,60057,6001,361
19983,70057,0001,648
19993,80051,8001,724
20004,10044,8001,796
20014,10041,5001,665
20024,10040,3001,582
20033,18339,0111,602

Source:

DASA (Tri-Service)

Establishment

Royal Naval Reserve

Territorial Army

Royal Auxiliary Air Force

1990

1

89,960

1

1991

1

95,068

1

1992

1

79,600

1

1993

1

79,871

1

19943,50075,624

1

19953,50063,950

1

19963,50059,000

1

19973,58072,179

1

19983,58065,0002,288
19993,58047,2002,251
20003,58041,0242,235
20013,58041,0242,203
20023,58041,0242,194
20033,23141,8932,224

1 Not available/applicable

Separate figures are not available for the Royal Marines Reserve. However, the current strength of the RMR is 852 against an establishment of 990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many resignations from the reserve forces there have been since 1 January; and how many there were in each year since 1990. [113964]

The information requested is not centrally held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent assessment has been made of the reasons for Reserve Forces personnel choosing to resign;[113965](2) what measures have been taken to reduce the number of resignations from the Reserve Forces. [113966]

Although such information would be held at unit level, there has been no recent centralised assessment of the reasons why Reserve Forces personnel resign. However, there are currently no indications to suggest that the recent call-out of reservists to support Operation TELIC will result in an increased rate of resignation from the Reserve Forces.As part of the follow-up work that normally accompanies large scale operations, we will be contacting reservists who served on Operation TELIC to identify any lessons that may be learned from their experience.


We shall also be reviewing the relevant legislation to ensure that there are appropriate financial safeguards for both reservists and their employers and that job security is provided.

Returning Troops (Iraq)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian aircraft have been chartered for the return of British troops from Iraq; how many military aircraft are being used to return troops from Iraq; what the average delay is for troops awaiting transport home from Iraq; and if he will make a statement about transporting troops home from Iraq. [113416]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: Between 5 and 16 May 2003 a total of 15 civilian aircraft were chartered for the return of British troops from Iraq. Over a similar period, there have been 153 movements by RAF aircraft in the same role and there are currently no delays for troops awaiting transport home from Iraq.

Territorial Army Estate

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the sites available for sale previously occupied by the Territorial Army, broken down by constituency; which sites have been sold; at what price; which department was credited with the profits; and if he will make a statement. [113042]

The Ministry of Defence estate is continuously under review to ensure that it is no larger than required for operational and other essential purposes. Under the Strategic Defence Review (SDR), a total of 87 Territorial Army (TA) sites were identified for disposal. Of these sites, 55 have been sold, 15 are still awaiting disposal and 15 have been withdrawn from the programme. There are two sites at Northumberland, currently held on lease, which will be surrendered when the lease terminates. Details of the sites, broken into counties, are listed in the table. The information on a constituency basis could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Sale progressNameCounty
Awaiting disposalTAC FalkirkCentral
Awaiting disposalTAC AntrimCounty Antrim
Awaiting disposalTAC PlymouthDevon
Awaiting disposalTAC DunfermlineFife
Awaiting disposalTAC GreenhitheKent
Awaiting disposalTAC GillinghamKent
Awaiting disposalTAC KingsburyLondon
Awaiting disposalTAC Dulwich (replaces TAC

Hollyhedge)
London
Awaiting disposalTAC Chesser CrescentLothian
Awaiting disposalTAC Delmemy (replaces TAC

East Claremont)
Lothian
Awaiting disposalTAC WellingboroughNorthants
Awaiting disposalTAC StaffordStaffordshire
Awaiting disposalTAC CannockStaffordshire
Awaiting disposalTAC PontefractWest Yorkshire
Awaiting disposalTAC DevizesWiltshire
Lease terminationTAC AlnwickNorthumberland
Lease terminationGuildrooms, AlnwickNorthumberland
SoldTAC Speedwell, BristolAvon
SoldTAC SloughBerkshire
SoldTAC StirlingCentral
SoldTAC ChesterCheshire
SoldYpres Barracks, MacclesfieldCheshire
SoldTAC GuisboroughCleveland
SoldTAC FalmouthCornwall
SoldTAC NewtonardsCounty Down
SoldTAC BuxtonDerby
SoldTAC HordenDurham
SoldVehicle Park, LlanelliDyfed
SoldPreston Barracks, BrightonEast Sussex
SoldTAC CheltenhamGloucestershire
SoldTAC StroudGloucestershire
SoldTAC OldhamGreater Manchester
SoldDerby Barracks, BoltonGreater Manchester
SoldTAC Cefn ForestGwent
SoldTAC NewportGwent
SoldTAC BangorGwynedd
SoldTAC AldershotHants
SoldMartin Lines, Church CrookhamHants
SoldTAC St AlbansHerts
SoldTAC East HamLondon
SoldTAC ActonLondon
SoldDuke of York'sLondon
SoldTAC FinchleyLondon
SoldGilmore Place, EdinburghLothian
SoldThe Grange, Edge Lane, LiverpoolMerseyside
SoldForbes House, LiverpoolMerseyside
SoldTAC HestonMiddlesex
SoldLumley Barracks, YorkNorth Yorkshire
Sale progressNameCounty
SoldHungate, YorkNorth Yorkshire
SoldTAC WorksopNotts
SoldHarthill Close, ChilwellNotts
SoldTAC BridgwaterSomerset
SoldTAC Norbury Hall, SheffieldSouth Yorkshire
SoldCaen House, TamworthStaffordshire
SoldTAC CoatbridgeStrathclyde
SoldTAC RutherglenStrathclyde
SoldTAC PaisleyStrathclyde
SoldTAC Clyde LinesStrathclyde
SoldTAC ChertseySurrey
SoldTAC GuildfordSurrey
SoldTAC CobhamSurrey
SoldTAC KnightsbridgeTyne & Wear
SoldTAC NewcastleTyne & Wear
SoldTAC Frenchmans Fort, South ShieldsTyne & Wear
SoldFusilier Armoury, Newcastle- upon-TyneTyne & Wear
SoldTAC Shirley, BirminghamWest Midlands
SoldTAC Sulton ColdfieldWest Midlands
SoldTAC Greens Road, CoventryWest Midlands
SoldTAC HorshamWest Susses
SoldTAC DewsburyWest Yorkshire
SoldTAC HalifaxWest Yorkshire
SoldTAC TrowbridgeWiltshire
The following table shows other TA/RFCA sites currently in the Department's disposal programme of surplus land and property which were not identified as part of SDR.

Sale progressNameCounty
Awaiting disposalRFCA DunstableBedfordshire
Awaiting disposalTAC AylesburyBuckinghamshire
Awaiting disposalAFC/ATC LongstantonCambs
Awaiting disposalCadet Centre, St IvesCornwall
Awaiting disposalCadet Centre, AlvastonDerbyshire
Awaiting disposalDrill Hall, St LeonardsEast Sussex
Awaiting disposalHemel Hempstead (Lease)Hertfordshire
Awaiting disposalTAC FavershamKent
Awaiting disposalCadet Centre, HinckleyLeicestershire
Awaiting disposalTAC KidlingtonOxford
Awaiting disposalTAC King Street, WellingtonShropshire
Awaiting disposalRFCA NewmarketSuffolk
Awaiting disposalRFCA Pontefract (Lease)West Yorkshire
Awaiting disposalACF Shoeburyness (pt)Essex

The sale of the sites above has so far realised gross receipts in excess of £153 million, which have been credited to the Ministry of Defence. I am withholding details of sale prices for individual sites in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had regarding human rights in Burma. [113710]

On 7 May 2003 I met the Burmese Ambassador to the UK and expressed my concern at the number of political prisoners in Burma. I urged the Burmese authorities to move ahead quickly with the release of all political prisoners. I explained that UK and EU policy would toughen unless there was significant improvement in human rights and progress towards democracy.

I remain in close contact with the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail. When I met Razali in March, I expressed my concern over the deteriorating economic, political and human rights situation in Burma.

The EU decided to strengthen and update the EU Common Position on Burma on 14 April 2003. The Common Position contains a range of measures designed to bring pressure to bear on the military regime to move towards national reconciliation, respect for human rights and democracy in Burma. EU Ministers agreed that unless substantive political progress was made in Burma before 20 October 2003, the Common Position would further strengthen the arms embargo, visa ban and assets freeze.

Caribbean And Bermuda

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) preparations and (b) discussions have taken place on the agenda for the Caribbean Regional Seminar on Advancing the De-colonisation Process in the Caribbean and Bermuda on 20 May. [113541]

In October 2002 the Chairman of the UN Special Committee on De-colonisation (C24) sought HMG's agreement to the Committee's annual seminar being held in 2003 in a UK Caribbean Overseas Territory. After consultation with the Territory Government, Anguilla was agreed as the venue. On 28 March officials discussed arrangements for the seminar with the C24 Chairman in New York. There has since been close liaison between the C24 Secretariat, the UK Mission in New York, the FCO and the Government of Anguilla. The agenda for the seminar, which this year will focus on the Caribbean and Bermuda, is set by the C24 and has not been the subject of discussion with HMG.

Economic Sanctions

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the nations against which the United Kingdom is applying economic sanctions (a) individually and (b) jointly with other EU member states, giving the reason in each case. [112652]

As of 12 May 2003, the United Kingdom, along with EU partners, is implementing mandatory UN sanctions, imposed by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in relation to Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda (and neighbouring States to prevent the supply of arms to Rwanda), Sierra Leone, Haiti and Somalia. The United Kingdom is also implementing sanctions imposed by the European Union in relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan and the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.In accordance with a decision of the Organisation for the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United Kingdom is implementing arms embargoes on Armenia and Azerbaijan. The UK is also imposing unilateral arms embargoes on Iran and Zimbabwe.

A list of sanctions regimes and arms embargoes implemented by the UK is in the Library of the House. Annexed to this is a summary of additional UK restrictions on the export of strategic goods. These documents are also available on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk/sanctions) and are updated each time there are changes to sanctions regimes implemented by the UK or to UK restrictions on the export of strategic goods. The FCO website also contains full details of the reasons why such sanctions have been imposed (www.fco.gov.uk/country profiles).

Europe (Core Treaties And Protocols)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list each of the articles of each of the core treaties and related protocols of the European (a) Community and (b) Union in force which were (i) approved as being subject to consequential parliamentary legislative proceedings and (ii) accepted and executed by Crown prerogative following advice from Ministers. [113437]

Before the UK acceded to the European Communities in 1973, Parliament passed the European Communities Act 1972 in order that the United Kingdom's obligations under the Communities' founding treaties could be fulfilled. Subsequent amendments to the treaty structure have, in accordance with the treaties themselves, been agreed by the common accord of the governments of the member states. Amendments then enter into force after being ratified by all the member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. In the United Kingdom, an amending treaty must be laid before Parliament, and any necessary amendments to the European Communities Act 1972 passed by Parliament, before it can be ratified under the Crown prerogative.

Gibraltar

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has held with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. [113477]

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. I met Mr. Caruana in London on 17 December 2002 and have since spoken with him twice by telephone.

Guantanamo Bay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Pentagon regarding the proposed release of the child detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and if he will make a statement. [113570]

None of the minors concerned are British nationals. Nevertheless, the issue will form part of our regular dialogue with the US about all the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.The US has told us that all detainees are being treated humanely and consistently with the principles of the Geneva Convention.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens are detained by the USA in (a) Guantanamo Bay and (b) Afghanistan; whether any of them are under 18; what legal and consular advice is available to them, whether any have been charged with offences; and if he will make a statement. [113598]

Nine British nationals are detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay, none of whom are under the age of 18. I am told there are no British nationals detained by the US in Afghanistan.As Guantanamo Bay is outside a recognised consular district, the US does not consider that we are entitled to formal consular access there. However, British officials have visited on five occasions to check on the identity and welfare of the British nationals and ask questions relating to national security. We were the first country to visit its nationals there. The United States has told us it will treat the detainees humanely and consistently with the principles of the Geneva Conventions.None of the British detainees have been charged with offences. Nor have they had access to legal representation. We have told the US that the detainees are entitled to humane treatment, and if prosecuted, a fair trial. We are pressing the US to move forward with the process of determining the detainees' future, and shall continue to do so.

Human Exploitation And Forced Marriages

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to help the international community eradicate (a) the commercial sexual exploitation of children, (b) trafficking in persons, (c) forced marriages, (d) bonded and forced labour, (e) debt bondage and (f) serfdom. [113703]

The Government are working with the International Labour Organisation and other UN bodies, NGOs and governments to combat the diverse forms of contemporary slavery, such as forced or bonded labour, debt bondage and serfdom. The UK has ratified the key international legal instruments that outlaw slavery: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Slavery Convention, and ILO Conventions 29 and 105 on Forced Labour. We are promoting the widest possible ratification and practical implementation of these. We have also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and intend to ratify once domestic legislation is in place.The FCO finances a number of projects to promote the rights of the child and to combat contemporary forms of slavery. This year projects include an Anti-Slavery International initiative to end the use of child camel jockeys, and a project to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Tajikistan.In 2002, the FCO and the National Hi Tech Crime Unit provided 10 countries with equipment and training to investigate on-line child abusers. The project has resulted in a number of convictions and we expect to extend it to another 10 countries this year. UK law enforcement agencies work closely with partners in source, transit and destination countries to detect, prevent and prosecute organised criminal gangs that traffic in humans for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2003 the Government provided an additional £60 million to combat organised immigration crime.The UK was one of the first signatories to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the two associated protocols against the facilitation of illegal immigraticn and for the prevention of trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. This requires signatories to ensure trafficking is a punishable offence, alongside the introduction of prevention, education and support initiatives for victims. We plan to ratify the Convention and the Protocol later this year and are encouraging those countries that have not yet signed the Convention or protocols to do so.The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, introduced a new offence of "trafficking a person for the purpose of controlling him or her in prostitution." This ensures there is a serious criminal sanction against traffickers, and is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. We wall introduce legislation on new offences covering human trafficking for labour exploitation as soon as parliamentary time allows.In 2000, the FCO set up a dedicated unit to tackle the issue of forced marriage. The Unit has handled over 500 cases and repatriated over 100 victims. The Unit works with NGOs, police and judiciary in the UK and overseas. It carries out preventative work in the UK, developing guidelines for the police and social services, increasing public awareness, and achieving wide media coverage.

Indonesia (Religious Persecution)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Indonesian Government regarding the persecution of Christians. [113704]

Religious freedom in Indonesia is enshrined in the Constitution and is respected by the Indonesian Government and the majority of Indonesians. Although religious differences were the apparent spark of violence in the provinces of Maluku and Sulawesi, underlying economic factors were at least as important.We, along with our European partners, have urged the Indonesian Government to maintain law and order and promote reconciliation in both provinces, and bring to justice extremists responsible for human rights abuses.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions took place in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 between the British and Iraqi Governments on (i) the return of weapons inspectors and (ii) the lifting of sanctions; what governments and persons were used as intermediaries in this process; what discussions the British Government had with the governments of (A) France, (B) Russia and (C) the United States on this matter prior to the discussions in 2000 and 2001; and if he will make a statement. [112713]

As part of our extensive efforts to resolve the Iraqi disarmament issue following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1284, the Government held discussions with a number of other Governments. Our overall objective was to ensure the return of UN weapons inspectors to verify Iraq's disarmament as required under that resolution and, ultimately, the lifting of sanctions.These discussions took the form of both direct bilateral exchanges and discussions in multilateral fora. On a number of occasions the Government also encouraged other Governments, both in the region and elsewhere, which enjoyed closer relations with the Iraqi regime to persuade them to co-operate with the United Nations.

Ministerial Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department was in 2002. [101540]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Alexander) on 20 May 2003, Official Report, column 663W.Most of the FCO's expenditure on taxis in the UK is channelled through three contracts for taxi services. Expenditure under them amounted to £525,026.69 during 2002. There will also have been other expenditure on taxis by our Miss ions overseas. But that is not recorded separately and it would involve disproportionate cost to obtain the total spent by them on taxis during 2002.

Timber

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to press the European Commission to introduce laws to prevent the import and sale of illegally logged timber and timber products in the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [112939]

The UK supports sanctions on Liberian timber exports. We were therefore pleased that on 6 May 2003 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1478 (2003) unanimously. The resolution renewed and extended sanctions against Liberia. The Council added a new ban on all timber sales from Liberia. This will deprive the Government of Liberia of its revenue used to fund arms purchases. The ban will come into effect on 7 July 2003.On 8 May 2003 the EU successfully negotiated a draft Common Position, which will be adopted shortly. A Council regulation will be passed to implement the timber sanctions within the Community.The Government support the Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) process, calling on all African Governments and trading partners to take actions to control illegal activities in the logging sector and associated trade.We continue to call on all countries to respect the sanctions imposed on Liberia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the call for UN sanctions on Liberia to be extended to include timber; and if he will make a statement. [112940]

The UK supports sanctions on Liberian timber exports. We were therefore pleased that on 6 May 2003 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1478 (2003) unanimously. The resolution renewed and extended sanctions against Liberia. The Council added a new ban on all timber sales from Liberia. This will deprive the Government of Liberia of revenue used to fund arms purchases. The ban will come into effect on 7 July 2003.We continue to call on all countries to respect the sanctions imposed on Liberia.

Turkey

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Turkish government and (b) the European Union on Turkey's progress on meeting the criteria for EU membership. [113714]

On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary I discussed Turkey's EU candidacy with EU foreign ministers in Brussels at the 14–15 April 2003 General Affairs and External Relations Council, where they agreed on a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey, which sets out priorities for meeting the political criteria. The Foreign Secretary also periodically meets with senior members of the Turkish government to review a range of issues including Turkey's progress in meeting the criteria for membership. The last time he met with members of the Turkish government was during the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Rhodes on 2–3 May 2003, which he and Turkish Foreign Minister Gul attended. Discussions on Turkey's progress in meeting the political criteria between the UK and Turkish governments also continue to take place regularly at ministerial and senior official levels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Turkish Government and (b) the European Union on human rights violations in Turkey. [113713]

EU Foreign Ministers discussed human rights violations in Turkey at the 14–15 April 2003 General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels. I attended on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. They agreed on a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey, which sets out priorities for meeting the political criteria for membership of the EU. These priorities cover many aspects of human rights. The Foreign Secretary periodically meets with senior members of the Turkish Government to review a range of issues, including Turkey's progress in meeting the criteria for membership. On 3 December 2002 he held talks with the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during a visit to Ankara. FCO officials also frequently discuss human rights violations with the Turkish authorities; the latest round of an ongoing UK-Turkey Human Rights Dialogue took place in London on 26 November 2002.

Public Accounts Commission

Property Values

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what firm of valuers were used by the National Audit Office to value properties being disposed of in the Inventures sale; and how much the firm cost to employ. [114508]

NHS Estates, an executive agency of the Department of Health, is in the process of disposing of a portfolio of surplus property together with a property consultancy company called Inventures. The National Audit Office appointed King Sturge Financial Services Limited to advise on aspects of the sale of properties including the valuation methodology. The Comptroller and Auditor General expects to report to Parliament in due course. The cost of the work carried out by King Sturge Financial Services Limited was some £15,000 including VAT.

Solicitor-General

Iraq

To ask the Solicitor General if the Government will publish the advice tendered by the Attorney General (a) in respect of the legal basis for invading Iraq and (b) the post war reconstruction arrangements in Iraq. [114077]

[holding answer 20 May 2003]: No. As the hon. Member is aware from my answer to him on the 26 March, by long-standing convention, observed by successive Governments, the fact of and content of Law Officers' advice to the Government is not disclosed outside Government.This is reflected in paragraph 24 of the Ministerial Code. The Law Officers' advice to Government is given in confidence.Exceptionally, the Attorney provided a written answer to Baroness Ramsey in the House of Lords on 17 March in which he set out his views on the legal basis for the armed conflict against Iraq. I repeated that answer in this House on the same day.Hon. Members will also know that the Foreign Secretary submitted a document to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 17 March dealing with the legal basis for the armed conflict against Iraq. Furthermore, on the 22 April in a letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee the Foreign Office set out the scope and authority of an occupying power under international law.

Lord Chancellor's Department

Honours

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many officials in the Department have received honours; and how many honours are held by officials, broken down by category of honour. [111491]

We do not routinely keep records of those officials awarded honours before joining the Department or those officials who are awarded honours in recognition of activities outside of their Departmental duties. This information could therefore be collected only at a disproportionate cost.However, since 1992, a total of 91 officials have received awards following a recommendation from my Department (information prior to 1992 could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost). Of those officials who have received awards since 1992, 24 are still serving and a breakdown of their awards by category is as follows:

  • CB—2
  • CBE—4
  • OBE—2
  • MBE—16

Wales

Criiminal Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list, broken down by Act, the offences created in legislation sponsored by his Department since 1997. [112857]

My Department came into being on 1 July 1999.The National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 2003 (SI 2003/284) created two new offences. These relate to false statements in relation to absent voting procedures (Article 13) and to the publication of exit polls before the close of the election poll (Article 34).The same Order also rolled forward a number of preexisting offences from the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 1999 (51 1999/450) as amended by the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) (Amendment) order 2002 (SI 2002/834).

Departmental Invoices

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the reasons underlying the percentage of invoices paid within the target time in 2002–03. [115143]

Wales Office invoices are approved by the Wales Office, following which the payments are processed by the Assembly.During 2002–03 my Department paid 88 per cent. of its invoices on time. We continue to look for improvements on that level of performance and in the first month of the current financial year we have achieved 97 per cent.

Departmental Underspending

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has, to reduce his Department's underspend in 2003–04 from that of 2002–03. [112775]

Final figures for 2002–03 are not yet available. My Department's objective is to derive maximum benefit from the funds allocated to it in each Spending Review.

Spending Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, which United Kingdom commitments arising from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (a) have been incorporated into the Department's existing delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements and (b) will be incorporated in its delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements in advance of the 2004 Spending Review. [113941]

As part of the 2002 Spending Review it was decided that my Department would no longer have a Service Delivery Agreement. Rather it will report its achievements through its annual Departmental Reports, the most recent of which was published in May 2003 as Cm 5928.

Staff Numbers

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115876]

The Wales Office Correspondence Unit deals with all incoming internal and external mail. The staffing complement has been three post since November 2001. Prior to that there were two.

Work And Pensions

Enhanced Pension Take-Up

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many wives have received an increased state pension because their husbands have reached 65 in each year since 1997; what estimate he has made of the numbers of wives who have not received this enhancement, broken down by reasons; and how many wives have claimed the increase and failed to receive it in each year since 1997. [113853]

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the change in value of the state retirement pension in the last 10 years. [113493]

The level of the basic State Pension is increased each year to ensure that, as a minimum, it retains its value in relation to prices. Since April 2001 we have uprated basic State Pension by more than the annual Retail Prices Index (RPI), and for the future lifetime of this Parliament we are committed to increasing basic State Pension by the higher of 2.5 per cent. and RPI. The change in value is to take account of the increase.

Detailed information is contained in table 5.1 of the DWP publication "Abstract of Statistics: 2002 Edition" a copy of which is available in the Library or can be obtained via the DWP website—www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/ asd 1 /abstract/Abstract2002

Pensions Ombudsman

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average time for dealing with a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman was in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000, (d) 2000–01 and (e) in the current year; [114030](2) how many complaints the Parliamentary Ombudsman received in

(a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 2000–01, (d) 2001–02 and (e) this year; [114031]

(3) how many (a) investigators and (b) solicitors the Pensions Ombudsman has to investigate complaints. [114032]

The Pensions Ombudsman currently employs 15 investigators of whom five are legally qualified. In addition to this a small number of lawyers are used on a "fee per case" basis.The information requested on average clearance times and number of complaints are in the following tables. The information on the year 2002–03 is not available. The Pension Ombudsman's annual 2002–03 report, which will be published later this year, will contain data that assesses performance using different criteria and consequently will not be directly comparable.

Average time for dealing with a complaint
Months
From acceptance to completionOnce formal investigation begins
1997–9812.77.3
1998–9911.07.3
1999–20008.86.8
2000–015.74.7
2001–028.56.9
Complaints received
InquiriesAccepted cases
1997–982,328729
1998–993,067719
1999–20003,269627
2000–013,215911
2001–022,946831

Source:

Pensions Ombudsman annual reports 1997–2002

Personal Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has conducted to assess the financial literacy of consumers with different income levels. [111439]

In 2001 the Department published a research report—Pensions 20001—examining public attitudes to pensions and financial planning for retirement. The research asked people to assess their own knowledge of pensions issues and examined variations in knowledge by income levels. Findings from similar research undertaken by my Department last year will be published in early summer.The Government recognise the importance of financial literacy in decisions about saving for retirement. Drawing on research evidence from my Department, the Financial Services Authority and elsewhere the Green Paper 'Simplicity, security and choice: working and saving for retirement' (Cm 5677) examined some of the barriers to saving and underlined the need for everyone to understand the financial choices they are faced with in preparing for retirement.

1Mayhew, V. (2001) Pensions 2000—Public attitudes to Pensions and Planning for Retirement DSS Research Report No. 130, CDS, Leeds

Secondments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 652W, if he will list the organisations to which civil servants in his Department have been seconded since 1997–98 in (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) sother, stating in each case (i) the dates of the secondments, (ii) the number of civil servants seconded to that organisation and (iii) their grade. [114171]

The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Social Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by how much Social Fund loan recoveries are expected to change in value in the current year and for what reason; and whether this increase is related to a change in the rules on loan repayments. [114374]

The discretionary Social Fund plays an important role in the Government's agenda for tackling poverty and social exclusion by helping the poorest and most needy members of society meet the cost of occasional one-off essential items through community care grants, budgeting loans and crisis loans.The forecast Social Fund loans recovery for 2003–04 is £519.3 million as opposed to £488.8 million in 2002–03. There has been no change in the rules on loan repayments. The increase in recoveries is due to the fact that the annual national gross loans budget has increased year after year enabling more people to take advantage of the Social Fund loans scheme.

Tax Credits (Staff Transfers)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his Department's staff have been, or will be, transferred to the Inland Revenue as a result of the introduction of the new tax credits in (a) 2002–03, (b) 2003–04 and (c) 2004–05. [114361]

There are no plans to transfer staff from DWP to the Inland Revenue as a result of the introduction of new tax credits.

While responsibility for administering the Child and Working Tax Credits rests with Inland Revenue, the DWP will continue to deliver a one-stop system of support for working age customers, including transacting their tax credits business.

Northern Ireland

Joint Declaration

7.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Joint Declaration. [113807]

The Joint Declaration and accompanying documents set out the agreed way forward on the implementation of the remaining commitments in the Belfast Agreement, and the restoration of stable and inclusive institutions as envisaged in the Agreement. We shall press ahead with implementing some parts of the Joint Declaration, as the Prime Minister and Taoiseach agreed in Dublin two weeks ago. However, some elements, such as full security normalisation, must await the necessary clarity on an end to paramilitarism.

8.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what elements of the Joint Declaration can be implemented without acts of completion by the IRA. [113808]

It is our intention to press ahead with the implementation of a range of recommendations in the Declaration, including on rights and equality and policing and justice. We also intend to introduce legislation on the establishment of an Independent Monitoring Body, as set out in the Agreement between the British and Irish Governments on Monitoring and Compliance.

Broadband

9.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action is being taken to increase access to broadband technology in all areas of Northern Ireland. [113809]

The Government have committed £290 million to progressively improve broadband access throughout Northern Ireland over the next 10 years. Significant initiatives include the major Classroom 2000 and Electronic Libraries projects. In addition we have introduced a range of complementary supply and demand side initiatives to increase access for business, citizens and communities across Northern Ireland.

Good Friday Agreement

10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further measures will be taken to implement fully the Good Friday agreement and restore the political institutions in Northern Ireland. [113810]

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer).

Decommissioning

11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent representations he has received on decommissioning. [113811]

I can confirm that the Provisional IRA and the UDA have recently been engaged in talks with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. However, the Prime Minister stated clearly in his speech on 1 May 2003 that an undertaking is needed that 'all' arms will be put beyond use through the IICD.

15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with Sinn Fein about meaningful decommissioning of terrorist weapons. [113815]

Clarity on the issue of an end to paramilitary activity, including the decommissioning of all arms, has been a central focus of our discussions with the parties—including Sinn Fein—on the restoration of the institutions on a stable and inclusive basis. We have been clear that all paramilitary activity, as specified in paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration, must come to an end. We call on all paramilitary organisations to engage with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning and put all weapons beyond use.

Paramilitary Activity

12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made towards ending all paramilitary activity. [113812]

The Government acknowledge that steps have been made by some groups in terms of paramilitary ceasefires, independent arms inspections and three acts of decommissioning. We now need a clear and unambiguous undertaking that all the activities listed in paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration will cease completely.The Government are determined in their resolve to see a complete and permanent end to all paramilitary activity and will continue to bear down and thwart the efforts of those who still see violence and terror as the way forward.

Peace Process

13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the peace process. [113813]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer).

Assembly Elections

14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the political impact of the cancellation of the Assembly elections on 29 May 2003. [113814]

The decision to postpone the elections was not taken lightly. However, we judged that, in the absence of clarity on an end to paramilitary activity as set out in paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration, the trust and confidence did not exist to permit the restoration of functioning institutions. If we had had elections, we would not have had Government under the Agreement. The Government are now focused on working hard to bring about the restoration of the necessary trust and confidence, with a view to holding elections in the autumn.

Asylum Seekers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many asylum seekers are located in Northern Ireland; at what establishments they are being housed; and what the cost of housing asylum seekers in Northern Ireland was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [113369]

I have been asked to reply.The information is not available in the form requested.The availability of information on the location of asylum seekers in the UK is currently linked to the support the asylum seeker receives. Asylum seekers in the UK either receive support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS), local authorities or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), or are supporting themselves.At the end of December 2002, 170

1 asylum seekers (including dependents) were being supported in NASS accommodation and 201 asylum seekers (including dependents) were in receipt of subsistence only support in Northern Ireland.

No information is held centrally on the location of residence of asylum seekers supported by DWP or who support themselves.

Information in respect of the cost of housing asylum seekers in Northern Ireland is not currently available.

1 Figures have been rounded to the nearest five. The figures exclude cases where support has been ceased.

Bylaws

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his answer of 29 April 2003, Official Report, column 332W, on bylaws, which local government authorities have applications for bylaws outstanding; how many outstanding applications there are per local government authority; what the content is of outstanding applications received by the Department of Environment from local government authorities requesting permission to invoke new bylaws in the past 10 years; when they were received by the Department of Environment; what action has been taken towards granting permission on each separate application; how many of these applications are within the power of the Department to confirm; and when local government authorities are notified that an application has not been successful. [113573]

In total 12 applications to the Department of Environment from eight district councils for the confirmation of bylaws are currently outstanding. The number of outstanding applications by district council is set out in the table together with the broad content of each application and the date received.

Action has been taken on all applications and these have been the subject of extensive correspondence and discussion involving district councils and legal advisers for local and central government. Each application is currently at a different stage of consideration.

District council

Number of bylaw applications

Broad content

1

Date received

Ards4Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces; Seashores, Esplanades and Promenades; Good Rule and Government—Miscellaneous; Good Rule and Government—Car Parks16 March 1994
Carrickfergus1Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces15 May 2001
Craigavon1Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces5 August 1996
Castlereagh1Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces28 June 2002
Coleraine1Seashores, Esplanades and Promenades29 April 1998
Down1Seashores, Esplanades and Promenades14 September 1998
Lisburn1Good Rule and Government14 August 2000
North Down2Seashores, Esplanades and Promenades2 December 1994
Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces18 January 2002
TOTAL12

1 There are 8 model sets of Home Office bylaws. The current applications fall within three of the models, as follows:

"Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces" includes bylaws for the regulation and management of playgrounds; control of certain sports; protection of flora and fauna; and skateboarding and roller skating.
"Seashores, Esplanades and Promenades" includes bylaws for the control of public meetings; animals; vehicles; games and entry to public conveniences.
"Good Rule and Government" includes bylaws for the control of noise; reckless/wilful damage; games near streets and district council car parks.

All 12 applications are within the power of the Department to confirm and in four cases joint confirmation with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is required. The Department of Environment has not notified any district council during the period that its application has not been successful.

International Development

Africa

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what support the Government are giving (a) bilaterally and (b) through (i) World bank and (ii) UN agencies, to initiatives to assist African countries to overcome non-tariff barriers to trade by meeting G8 product standards and engaging in international standard setting; and if she will make a statement on G8 members' actions to improve the availability of information on standards and transparency to trade Ministers in developing countries. [113649]

The Department for International Development (DFID) has undertaken a considerable amount of work in the important area of assisting developing countries, including in Africa, in the areas of standard setting and compliance. Bilateral trade related technical assistance projects in Malawi and Ghana have both provided support to the Standards Bureaus in those countries, to enable them to participate in international standard setting and implement the standards set by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's Codex Alimentarius Committee. The new Regional Trade Facilitation project in southern Africa, covering the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, also has a component to support implementation of international standards that SADC members have signed up to.Through its funding of the Trade Policy Development Project of the World bank, DFID has supported the creation of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), which has already undertaken exploratory work in Africa and will be developing projects to enable African countries to meet standards for agricultural exports. The STDF is a partnership of the World bank, World Trade Organisation. the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation, which attempts to strengthen donor coordination in standards related to food safety, and plant and animal health. Between November 1999 and February 2003, reports and action plans were developed in Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda, examining the link between trade facilitation, standards and trade.DFID is also contributing to a new United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Trust Fund, 'Enabling Developing Countries to Participate in International Trade',which includes African countries in its first wave of projects. The Fund aims to: enhance developing country market accesses through appropriate infrastructure in order to meet and show compliance with export requirements; build capacity in potentially high productivity sectors; and provide support to developing countries that have encountered problems with meeting standards requirements for their exports.The G8 will be reporting on their actions to implement the commitments in the Africa Action Plan, including in the area of standards, at the G8 summit in Evian in June 2003. However, the European Commission has already announced the establishment of a 'Help desk' within DG Trade, intended to facilitate developing country exports to the European Union through providing information on the requirements of the European Union market, including product standards. This helpdesk will be accessible through internet or by phone and Commission and member states delegations in countries with poor telecommunications.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what new initiatives her Department has taken since the G8 Kananaskis summit to promote agricultural productivity in Africa. [113617]

DFID promotes agricultural productivity in Africa through supporting African e 'forts to increase domestic productivity and working to cheat a fair and equitable international trading system. We do not earmark bilateral funds, but support Africa's own priorities defined in national Poverty Reduction Strategy processes, which also seek to address the many constraints that lie outside the agriculture sector. These include issues such as economic policy, trade policy and credit and infrastructure provision. UK resources for Africa will increase by nearly 50 per cent. to around £ 1 billion by 2006.The UK supports the development of a fair and equitable international trading system. We believe the G8 process can add significant political momentum to the relevant negotiations. Following Kananaskis, DFID has been supporting progress internationally on CAP reform and WTO agriculture negotiations, the reform and harmonisation of G8 preferential access schemes and multilateral trade related technical assistance to Africa.Access to agricultural technology in Africa was highlighted at Kananaskis. Two relevant initiatives are our support for the design of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (a public-private partnership to enable access to agricultural technology) and provision of £16 million to support agricultural research for Africa in 2002–03.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how many African-based businesses have won contracts funded by his Department in each of the last three years; what the values of those contracts were; and what steps his Department has taken to increase the opportunity for African businesses to bid for such contracts. [113621]

DFID untied its aid in April 2001, when we opened our contracting to international competition. In 2001–02 DFID headquarters awarded two contracts worth a total value of £0.37 million to African-based businesses. In 2002–03 there were eight such contracts with a total value of £10.64 million. Figures for the period before 2001 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

We have also developed trained contracting capacity in DFID's overseas offices to allow them to make better use of both local and international suppliers for lower-value contracts. In 2001–02 DFID offices in Africa let contracts worth a total of £11.82 million. In 2002–03, the corresponding figure was £9.41 million. We do not hold a central record of the share of these contracts awarded to local businesses.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what her Department has done to bring United Kingdom companies together with NEPAD. [113624]

DFID is supporting the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) to develop private sector engagement in the NEPAD Programme of Action, and stimulate the increased domestic and foreign investment required for NEPAD to succeed. This work is subsumed under the principal private sector initiative in support of NEPAD—the NEPAD Business Group (NBG).NBG comprises leading business organisations that have a broad constituency—both inside and outside Africa—and are committed to helping the continent realise its full economic potential. NBG includes the following organisations that count a number of UK businesses amongst their members: CBC; Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum; British African Business Association; and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Access To Medicines

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what steps have been taken to implement the paper on access to medicine produced by the Government, the United Kingdom pharmaceutical industry and multilateral agencies; and if she will place a copy in the Library. [113614]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises four key factors that can improve access to medicines for diseases prevalent in poor countries (including AIDS, TB and Malaria): affordable pricing, sustainable financing, reliable health and supply systems, and the rational selection and use of existing drugs.The UK Working Group on Increasing Access to Essential Medicines in the Developing World, chaired by the former Secretary of State, reported to the Prime Minister in November 2002. A copy of the report is available in the Library. The Working Group consisted of senior representatives from UK Government, pharmaceutical industry, the UN, EC and other international organisations.The UK Working Group was asked to specifically consider:

ways of improving access to medicines through measures such as facilitating differential pricing arrangements and encouraging appropriate donations; and
what policies could be pursued by the UK Government that would increase research and development into diseases of poor people.

The Group recommended specific action on R&D, and outlined proposals that would encourage voluntary, widespread, sustainable and predictable differential pricing as the operational norm. In the short-term, it recommended gaining significant international commitment to this approach, including through the G8. A team has been established within DFID specifically to take this forward.

The UK Government are firmly committed to increasing access to medicines and to strengthening health systems in developing countries. DFID has committed over £1.5 billion since 1997 to support health systems, which will help build capacity to deliver medicines to the poor and to make effective choices about the selection of drugs.

On sustainable financing, we have pledged $200 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). This will help pay for increased coverage of proven interventions for the three diseases and some associated health systems strengthening. We have already disbursed $80 million to the Fund.

The UK is also working through the World Trade Organisation to ensure that a satisfactory conclusion is reached on the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health agreement that will assist developing countries with insufficient or no drug manufacturing capacity to make effective use of compulsory licensing.

Tax measures were introduced in the 2002 Budget aimed at encouraging private sector companies to increase investment into the research and development of new treatments for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in developing countries, and encouraging responsible donations of medical supplies and equipment to developing countries. Departments across Whitehall will be working together to monitor the impact of these tax initiatives and to explore the potential of other mechanisms to increase investment.

Departmental Advertising

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114427]

In the financial years 2001–02 and 2002–03 respectively, DFID spent £21,880 and £98,334 on advertising to raise development awareness. Planned expenditure for 2003–04 is £70,000. As yet, no budget has been set for 2004–05.The total spending on advertising relating to recruitment and contract procurement for 2001–02 was £1,070,357 and for 2002–03 was £1,143,796. On current trends, expenditure on recruitment and contract advertising in 2003–04 and 2004–05 is not anticipated to rise significantly in real terms.

Figures are shown net of VAT, and those for 2002–03 are subject to final auditing to take account of any end of year adjustments.

Child Prostitution

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate she has made of the number of children being smuggled into Britain for prostitution in the last year for which figures are available. [106927]

I have been asked to reply.The nature of trafficking means that it is a hidden crime and there are no reliable figures about children being trafficked into or out of the UK. There have been a few high profile instances of children being trafficked into or through the UK, but there is insufficient information to say if this is a growing problem. However, the very nature of the crime demands that it is treated very seriously, which is why the Government have introduced criminal sanctions covering child traffickers and has tasked the Reflex group with coordinating intelligence on the problem.The UK is committed to tackling the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation. Our strategy on trafficking is set out in the White Paper "Secure Border Safe Haven" and focuses on strengthening the law through new offences covering trafficking; providing appropriate support to victims of trafficking in the UK; tackling the criminals through intelligence and enforcement operations through the Reflex taskforce; EU co-operation and provention is source and transit countries in partnership with Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) Department for International Development (DFID). Joint work is also underway between key agencies at principal entry points to identify children at risk, and the Home Office is working closely with the Department of Health on good practice in delivering the best service to children who have been trafficked.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of regional variations in staff turnover in her Department. [112756]

DFID has two headquarters offices in the United Kingdom: one based in Victoria, London and the other in East Kilbride, Glasgow.Details of the starters and leavers in both locations, for the calendar years 2001 and 2002, are as follows:

YearLondon StartersLondon LeaversTotal London Staffing (end of year)East Kilbride StartersEast Kilbride LeaversTotal East Kilbride Staffing (end of year)
2001149968444420530
2002115648952517538

Foreign Aid

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what increased contributions have been made to the Integral Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance; whether the framework has been extended to all developing countries; what additional capacity-building support to developing countries for trade has been introduced since June 2002; and if he will make a statement. [113623]

The UK has contributed £1.5 million to the Integrated Framework Programme (IF) so far. The programme has been extended from the initial five least developed countries to include three pilot countries under the revised programme and a second wave of 11 least developed countries. There are sufficient funds available to complete the IF process in these countries. Further expansion will be considered following the evaluation of the programme this summer. The UK has committed £51 million to trade related capacity building since June 2000.The Integrated Framework aims to support least developed countries mainstream trade priorities into their development programmes, usually framed in the country's poverty reduction strategy. The process includes a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) which recommends policy measures and a matrix of technical assistance and capacity building support needs. The process is country led and the DTIS team comprises both international and local experts. The priorities will be funded through the existing mechanisms for support from bilateral and multilateral partners. In response to the call from participating countries and the World bank, a further trust fund is envisaged to support modest, priority, quick win projects to bridge the period between the DTIS and access to development assistance through the established consultative groups, roundtables and programme support. Its terms of reference were agreed on 16 May 2003. The UK plans to contribute shortly.

Global Health Fund

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the UK Government are (a) encouraging their G8 partners and (b) pledging themselves fully to fund the Global Health Fund at the forthcoming G8 summit; and if he will make a statement. [111568]

I have been asked to reply.The UK fully supports the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria. We have been actively engaged from the outset, which is why we made a five year pledge of $200 million from the beginning. $80 million of this has already been disbursed to the Fund. We believe that the Fund adds value through its ability to deliver donor coherence and to purchase drugs and commodities in bulk and establish reliability of supply.

We welcome the French proposal to hold a conference in Paris (Post Evian G8) with the objective to put the fund on a firm footing and a sound financing framework.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what contributions have been made by each G8 country to the global health fund; and what proportion of the global health fund's requirement is currently funded. [113616]

The UK fully supports the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria. We have been actively and positively engaged from the outset, which is why we made a five year pledge of $200 million from the beginning. $80 million of this has already been disbursed to the Fund. We believe that the Fund adds value through its ability to deliver donor coherence and to purchase drugs and commodities in bulk and establish reliability of supply.We welcome the French proposal to hold a conference in Paris (Post Evian G8) with the objective to put the fund on a firm footing and a sound financing framework.The following table highlights the pledges made by each of the G8 members:

Total pledges to date
DonorsPledge in original currencyPledge value in USDPeriod of pledge
GFATM Trust account1
United States1,650,000,0002001–08
GermanyEUR 200,000,000218,361,8302002
United KingdomGBP 138,000,000218,342,6672001–05
Italy200,000,0002002–03
Japan200,000,0002002–04
FranceEUR 150,000,000164,534,2262002–04
Canada100,000,0002002–05
Russia20,000,0002002–06
Total via World Bank2,771,238,723
1At World Bank

Hiv/Aids

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what action the Department is taking to (a) combat HIV/AIDS and (b) promote sexual health in Southern Africa. [113726]

HIV/AIDS represents a major development challenge in Southern Africa, and is a priority for DFID's funding in the region. Because good sexual health is essential for the prevention of HIV/ AIDS, much of DFID's support for sexual health is now included in our response to HIV/AIDS. DFID has supported major programmes to combat HIV/AIDS and promote sexual health in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition, DFID supports a South African Development Community (SADC) HIV/AIDS programme covering Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. Also DFID has recently approved a programme that will work across Africa to support connections between on-going regional work, and fund some new regional initiatives such as working with Orphans and Vulnerable Children. In addition to direct support for HIV/AIDS programmes, DFID is increasingly mainstreaming efforts to combat HIV/AIDS into all development programmes.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the scale of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa. [113727]

Southern Africa is the region worst affected by HIV and AIDS. In its 2002 report, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that 29.4 million people in sub-saharan Africa live with HIV/AIDS, and that 8.8 per cent. of the adult (15–49 years) population is affected.

Iraq

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the use of cluster bombs in the war with Iraq on the long-term humanitarian situation in the country. [113738]

We recognise that unexploded ordnance (UXO) is a matter of grave humanitarian concern. The UK is fully committed to facilitating the clearance of unexploded ordnance as part of the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq. De-mining organisations funded by DFID, the UN Mines Advisory Service (£4 million) and the Mines Advisory Group (£81,000) are working with local organisations and the coalition military to plot the locations of all unexploded ordnance and to carry out disposals.Cluster bombs were used in a number of locations by the coalition during the war. As with all other weapons. they were used by UK forces consistent with obligations under international law.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what action he is taking to provide short term housing for the Palestinian refugees displaced in Baghdad. [114282]