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Italian troop contribution is currently being wound down, as the deployment of an additional 1,144 Civpol (all nations) authorised in SCR 898 gets underway.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current timetable for elections in Mozambique ; what are the major obstacles to be overcome ; and what assistance the British Government and the European Union are giving to the successful implementation of these elections.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The elections are scheduled to take place from 27 to 28 October 1994. Major obstacles to be overcome include : the completion of the assembly and demobilisation of Government and RENAMO forces ; the establishment of a new unified army--FADM ; the translation of RENAMO into a political party ; and the registration of the new electorate. A British Army training team is in Mozambique to assist the training of the FADM. Under our aid programme, we are contributing £600,000 to the United Nations Development Programme project to provide technical assistance to the electoral authorities and £500,000 to the United Nations trust fund for the implementation of the peace process. We are paying our share of the costs of maintaining ONUMOZ in Mozambique. The EU has pledged nearly $13 million for electoral assistance.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Of the force totals notified to the UN, over 55 per cent. of Government and 80 per cent. of RENAMO soldiers are in the UN monitored assembly areas where they have handed in their weapons. Over 10,000 troops have either been demobilised or earmarked to join the new unified Mozambican army.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 12 April, Official Report , column 17 , which countries apart from the United Kingdom, France, China and the Russian Federation are thought to have mastered the technology to become nuclear weapon states ; and which other states are thought to be pursuing that technological expertise.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which nations other than North Korea have had their nuclear capabilities inspected in the past five years by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 18 April, Official Report , column 375 , what reason was given by the Presidency for the exclusion of Belize from the San Jose meeting.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Presidency explained that Belize did not attend San Jose X because central American delegations to the meeting could not agree to the presence of Belize as an official observer.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he takes to monitor the performance of specialist UN organisations in emergency situations ; and what access hon. Members have to the content of those reports.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We monitor the performance of the UN specialised agencies involved in emergency situations through representation on their governing bodies--including frequent evaluation of specific projects and overall programmes--attendance at briefing meetings and contacts with UN officials at headquarters and in the field. The availability of UN agencies' evaluations of their own performance in specific emergencies is a matter for the agencies concerned.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We have strongly supported moves to increase openness in the Community. The code of conduct on access to information held by the Council and Commission came into effect at the beginning of the year, and provides for the widest possible access, subject to certain safeguards.
Mr. Cash : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the declaration attached to Sweden's treaty of accession to open government and the policy of the Council of Ministers on access by newspapers to minutes and documents relating to meetings in Brussels.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Sweden made a declaration in the Final Act attached to the accession treaty welcoming the development now taking place in the European Union towards greater openness and transparency. The declaration noted that open government is a fundamental part of Sweden's constitutional, political and cultural heritage. The Union made a declaration in response adding that the member states of the European Union take it for granted that as a member, Sweden will fully comply with Community law in this respect.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the size of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus on 20 April ; and what nationalities were represented.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The latest figures available from the United Nations give the strength of UNFICYP on 31 March 1994 as 1,194 troops, 12 military observers and 36 civilian policemen. The force was made up of the following contingents :
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action is being taken by Her Majesty's Government to secure the implementation of protocol 2 on the prohibition of the use of landmines.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom already adheres strictly to the terms of the 1981 United Nations weaponry convention, of which the second protocol covers prohibitions on the use of mines. We are taking an active part in the work of the preparatory meetings leading to the review conference of the convention in 1995. One of our principal objectives in this exercise is to secure the wider implementation of the convention by encouraging more states to accede to it.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There are regular and extensive contacts involving all members of the United Kingdom delegations to NATO and WEU and members of the WEU planning cell. Such contacts have occurred at WEU headquarters in Brussels, which houses both the WEU secretariat and the planning cell, and at the United Kingdom delegation and elsewhere.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The consolidated text of the treaty establishing the EC, as amended by the treaty on European Union, has already been published by the office for official publications of the European Communities. It is available in the Library of the House and through HMSO.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The United Kingdom favours a more efficient and accountable Commission committed to the overall goals set by successive European Councils. We welcome the fall in the volume of proposed legislation and the Commission's commitment to implement subsidiarity.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, further to his answer of 28 March, Official Report, column 548, if he will ask Mr. Van den Broek to make it clear when he is expressing his personal opinions and when he is expressing official opinions in areas in which he has responsibility and competence.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has initiated to safeguard the locally recruited staff of British aid agencies in Rwanda and Burundi.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Nations mission in Rwanda--UNAMIR--is working for a ceasefire. It has also been tasked by the Security Council to assist in the resumption of humanitarian relief operations and monitor and report on developments. In Burundi the OAU has a vital role to play in restoring confidence within the country. We have given support to all international and regional efforts to halt the inter-ethnic disputes in both countries.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the future of the United Nations Mission in Rwanda.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : On 21 April the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 912. This authorises a reduction in the size of UNAMIR and gives it a mandate to act as an intermediary in an attempt
Column 126to secure a ceasefire as well as assist in the resumption of humanitarian relief operations and monitor and report on developments.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in how many cases where a maintenance assessment has been completed by the Child Support Agency the parent with care was in receipt of family credit, at the latest date for which figures are available.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 26 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the number of cases in which a child maintenance assessment has been completed where the parent with care was in receipt of family credit.
The Agency does not collect information that identifies maintenance assessments according to the benefit status of the parent with care. At 28 February 1994, however, 26 per cent. of the maintenance application forms issued involved parents with in care who had claimed family credit.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the average interval between the reception and issue of a substantive response to letters sent to the chief executive of the Child Support Agency from hon. Members dated (a) November 1993, (b) December 1993 and (c) January 1994.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Ms Joyce Quin, dated 26 April 1994.
I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the average interval between the receipt of, and response to, letters sent to me by Members of Parliament.
I am sorry but the information is not available in the form you request. The first year of the Agency's operations has stimulated a great deal of correspondence, and I have received over 5,000 letters from Members of Parliament. All such letters are acknowledged within 24 hours of receipt and by 15 April I had personally replied to over 3,000. Set out in the table below are the average clearance times between 1 November 1993 and 31 January 1994 for such correspondence :
Cleared 1-15 days |Cleared 16-20 days |Cleared 21 to 40 |Cleared over 40 days per cent. |per cent. |days per cent. |per cent. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10.52 |5.21 |36.35 |47.92
I am afraid that the targets for answering letters are not currently being met, but necessary steps have been taken to ensure that letters from Members are answered as promptly as possible. I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but I would like to assure you that the Agency is determined to improve its performance in this regard.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provisions exist for the Child Support Agency to pay compensation ; what criteria apply to compensation payments ; and how many compensation payments, of what value, have been made to date.
Mr. Burt : The Department of Social Security operates non-statutory special payment arrangements under which compensation may be considered where, as a result of clear and unambiguous departmental error or unreasonable delay, actual financial loss has been suffered. Requests for special payments will be considered within these broad guidelines, taking account of the particular circumstances of each individual case. Two ex- gratia payments have been made by the agency to date, one of £100-- relating to liable relative work before the inception of the agency--and one for £115.60.
Data Sources : The Housing Benefit Management Information System quarterly caseload count November 1993 and the 1994 Departmental Report.
1. The figures are for benefit units, which may be a couple or a single person, and have been rounded to the nearest one thousand. Estimates for non-responding local authorities are included. 2. The information is recorded at one particular point and does not take account of claims which start and end between the quarterly reporting periods.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many appeals are waiting to be heard for war disablement pension ; and in how many such cases the appeal was lodged before 1 May 1993.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 22 April 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the number of War Pensions appeals awaiting hearing.
On 20 April 1994 there was 4,474 appeals waiting to be heard for War Disablement Pension. Of these 4,343 were lodged with the War Pensions Agency before 1 May 1993.
I hope you find my reply helpful.
Column 128with dependent children is available only for family credit and for London Benefits Agency office areas. Details are in the table. Further information on the numbers of individuals claiming social security benefits for Great Britain as a whole can be found in the Social Security departmental report, Cm 2513, a copy of which is in the Library.
London offices of the Benefits Agency- family credit claims at a given time |November 1992|November 1993|March 1994 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Acton |103 |324 |281 Balham |487 |391 |443 Battersea |530 |345 |373 Bloomsbury |118 |90 |90 Brixton |535 |728 |736 Camberwell |46 |21 |19 Canning Town |225 |273 |262 Chelsea |120 |71 |76 Cricklewood |91 |181 |166 Crystal Palace |286 |491 |495 Ealing |435 |744 |725 Edmonton |943 |1,194 |1,225 Eltham |44 |32 |24 Euston |139 |133 |117 Finsbury Park |157 |353 |322 Greenwich Park |345 |407 |402 Hackney |530 |788 |798 Harlesden |200 |360 |351 Hendon |484 |623 |632 Highgate |224 |388 |339 Hither Green |16 |2 |2 Hoxton |382 |497 |519 Kennington Park |351 |404 |420 Kensington |103 |61 |56 Lewisham |268 |553 |561 Leytonstone |919 |1,267 |1,355 Neasden |421 |513 |519 Notting Hill |85 |105 |97 Oval |35 |14 |17 Paddington |276 |208 |181 Peckham |598 |848 |828 Plaistow |594 |758 |812 Poplar |687 |861 |889 Shoreditch |358 |302 |353 Southwark |472 |573 |589 Stepney |1,130 |1,241 |1,194 Stoke Newington |770 |1,020 |1,009 Streatham |288 |432 |452 Thames North |3 |3 |4 Tottenham |545 |722 |749 Walthamstow |632 |808 |844 Wandsworth |387 |472 |462 Westminster |474 |383 |386 Wimbledon |472 |585 |519 Wood Green |418 |497 |512 Woodgrange Park |868 |1,197 |1,203 Woolwich |841 |1,101 |1,104
1. Sources : Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, May 1993.
2. The figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand. 3. A "family" is defined as an Income Support recipient with one or more dependants under 19 years of age.