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Commonwealth Institute

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy in respect of the future of the Commonwealth Institute; what proposed legislation will affect the Commonwealth Institute; what recent discussions he has had with the management of the Commonwealth Institute; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of those discussions. [2900]

Mr. Hanley: Discussions have been under way since July this year between Ministers and the executive committee of the Commonwealth Institute on its future operation after March 1996. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met the chairman, vice-chairman, director general and chairman of the Commonwealth Institute, Scotland on 24 October to discuss future policy. The annual general meeting on 5 December will allow future options after March 1996 to be considered.

Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States

Ms Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will supply figures for the amount of money allocated from the TACIS programme for the environment; and what percentage of the total money allocated this represents. [1234]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 27 November 1995]: The amount committed under TACIS to the environment and nuclear safety sector from its inception up to the end of 1994 was 321 mecu--£242.44 million--representing 18.4 per cent. of total commitments.

Land Mines

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what part the United Kingdom has played in the clearance of land mines throughout the world. [835]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 29 November 1995]: We have provided more than £17.3 million over the last four years for humanitarian mine clearance operations in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, northern Iraq, Laos, Mozambique, Rwanda, north-west Somalia, and Yemen.

Gambia

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Gambian regime to ensure that free and fair elections are held in July 1996. [2754]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 28 November 1995]: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development had the opportunity to discuss our concerns with representatives of the regime at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Auckland and to press for a rapid return to a civilian democracy and for the full respect of human rights. The Gambia should benefit from the Millbrook

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programme, which is intended to advance Commonwealth fundamental political values and support the practice of Harare principles.

Mr. LLoyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about the human rights situation in the Gambia in the last year; and if he will make a statement. [2753]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 28 November 1995]: We have received numerous representations from individuals and human rights organisations on the Gambia. We have repeatedly called on the regime to respect human rights and demonstrate its own stated commitment to return the Gambia to a civilian democracy in July 1996 by lifting the ban on political activity.

Nigeria

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what international discussions he has had on the possibility of freezing the assets and accounts of the members of the Nigerian military regime. [2597]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 27 November 1995]: We continue to consult closely with Commonwealth, European Union and other United Nations partners on all aspects of our policy towards Nigeria.[2566]

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what policy in respect of Nigeria was agreed within the European Union on 20 November; and how the United Kingdom will implement it. [2598]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 27 November 1995]: On 20 November the European Union adopted a common position introducing visa restrictions on civilian Ministers and their families, a full arms embargo and a suspension of non-humanitarian aid. The measures agreed on Nigeria in 1993 remain in force. New and existing measures will be strictly implemented by the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has received from, and what meetings it has held and on which dates, with the Nigerian-British Society since November 1993.

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 27 November 1995]: We are not aware of any such society. My noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development met a combined group from the British-Nigeria Association and the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce on 15 May, and held a meeting with representatives of the British-Nigeria Association on 24 August. Officials also have regular contact with these and other such organisations.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what instructions were issued to the high commission in Lagos to organise meetings with representatives of (a) Shell and (b) the Ogoni people; what meetings were organised; and if he will make a statement. [2292]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 24 November 1995]: Our high commission in Lagos has had regular meetings with Shell, as it does with other companies operating in Nigeria

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as a matter of routine. It has also had regular meetings with a wide variety of groups in Nigeria, including representatives of Ogoni groups.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the export of arms to Nigeria in the last two years; and what is the current policy. [2254]

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 24 November 1995]: Previous policy was set out in the answer given to the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) on 2 December 1993 at column 676. On 11 November, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a full UK arms embargo against Nigeria. On 20 November, the European Union agreed to strengthen existing restrictions on arms sales to Nigeria through a full arms embargo.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has held recently with the Government of Sri Lanka regarding provision of humanitarian aid to the Jaffna region of Sri Lanka; [2050]

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Sri Lankan Government about offering food and medical supplies to people living in the northern area of Sri Lanka, with particular reference to Jaffna to alleviate suffering and hardship caused by the present conflict; and if he will make a statement; [1782]

Mr. Hanley: The high commissioner in Colombo has frequent and extensive discussions with the Sri Lankan Government and with relief agencies about the conflict and the humanitarian situation in the north of the country.

I refer the hon. Members to the replies I gave to the hon. Member for Ilford, South, (Mr. Gapes) on 21 and 22 November at columns 67-8 and 111.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Research and Development

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the indicative contributions to the EU Budget in respect of research and development for his Department in 1993-94. [1914]

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Sir John Wheeler: Table 2.1 of the statistical supplement to the "Forward Look of Government-- funded Science, Engineering and Technology" contains indicative figures for the United Kingdom's contributions to the EC budget in respect of research and development. My Department does not have any policy responsibilities for Community R and D expenditure.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Child Support Agency

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update the figures on revenue collected by the Child Support Agency in his answer of 21 June, Official Report, column 252, with reference to the latest data available and also show for each month since April 1994 (a) the amount of revenue demanded attributable to type A interim assessments and (b) the amount which offsets state funds. [2266]

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 28 November 1995:


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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what procedure exists for the payment of arrears to the Child Support Agency by instalments. [2387]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 28 November 1995:


Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will say what the procedure is for collecting arrears of Child Support from a husband who pays directly to his wife. [2386]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 28 November 1995:


29 Nov 1995 : Column: 744

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the number of deduction of earning orders issued by the Child Support Agency since April 1994 (a) against type A interim assessments and (b) against full maintenance assessments. [2267]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 28 November 1995:


Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give a breakdown of the weekly maintenance being paid in cases where absent parents are paying child support maintenance by way of a deduction of earnings order. [1238]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 28 November 1995:


Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many Child Support Agency cases have arrangements to pay via the agency's collection service; and how many are (a) fully paid and (b) partially paid indicating the numbers of (i) type A interim maintenance assessments and (ii) full assessments. [1237]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 28 November 1995:


29 Nov 1995 : Column: 745

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what criteria have to be fulfilled for an absent parent to be classified as making regular maintenance payments. [1236]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 28 November 1995:



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