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Arms Exhibitions

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's process is for checking that arms companies exhibiting and trading at British arms fairs are complying with the UK Landmine Act 1998 and the Ottawa Convention. [104297]

Mr. Spellar: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Dr. Tonge) on 24 November 1999, Official Report, column 116W. While there is no specific check for compliance with the Landmines Act 1998, all companies exhibiting and trading at UK defence exhibitions are subject to UK law: this includes the Landmines Act 1998, which brings into effect the provisions of the Ottawa Convention.

Where the MOD supports an exhibition, UK contractors are scrutinised for compliance against the Handbook of Industrial Security. Overseas contractors are not bound by the Handbook, but are subject to spot checks by MOD staff. In addition, HM Customs & Excise make targeted checks at import to enforce the prohibition on the importation of anti-personnel mines and components.

Bahrain

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the use of 6 ML1 SIELS and 1 ML1 OIEL exported to Bahrain this year. [99505]

Mr. Hain [pursuant to my reply, 24 November 1999, c.149W]: An administrative error led to a mistake in my earlier answer to the hon. Member of 24 November 1999. The correct answer is as follows:

All export licence applications for Bahrain for ML1 equipment this year have been for private/recreational use by the ruling family, for national defence by the Bahrain Defence Force, who are not involved in internal security, or for the training unit of the Bahrain National Guard.

All export licences for Bahrain are considered against the established criteria, including whether there is a clearly identifiable risk of the equipment being used for external aggression or internal repression, in which case it will be refused.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Clergy (Employment Law)

35. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough representing the Church Commissioners, when he expects the Commissioners to review employment law as this relates to the appointment of clergy; and if he will make a statement. [105973]

Mr. Stuart Bell: The Archbishops' Council is responsible for matters relating to the employment status of clergy. The Council is considering the implications of the Employment Relations Act 1999 for the clergy and is awaiting the publication of the DTI's consultation document promised in the early months of this year.

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Clergy (Remuneration)

36. Mr. Bercow: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on the change in the remuneration of the clergy since 1 May 1997. [105974]

Mr. Stuart Bell: Between 1 April 1997 and 1 April 1999, the national average stipend for incumbents increased by nearly 9 per cent. from £14,510 to £15,810.

Evangelisation

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what contribution the Church Commissioners are making to the planning of Christian evangelisation for the remainder of the year 2000 and for 2001. [105968]

Mr. Stuart Bell: I am sure that hon. Member will agree with me that the hard-working priests of the Church of England are in the front line of evangelisation.

The primary focus of the Church Commissioners is their support for the ongoing parochial ministry and mission, and to this end we shall be providing upwards of £120 million this year towards clergy stipends and pensions so that all parishes might play their part in sharing the Christian message with those in their communities.

Land (Carlisle)

Mr. Martlew: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on the future of the land in the Wigton road and Dalston road area of Carlisle owned by the Church Commissioners. [105972]

Mr. Stuart Bell: The Commissioners have submitted an outline planning application to Carlisle City Council relating to approximately 50 hectares of land at Morton. The application is in respect of housing, employment, public open space and landscaping.

PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Staff Bonuses (New Year Period)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the President of the Council how much her Department, its agencies and associated public bodies spent in total on extra bonuses above usual payments for staff working over the New Year period, indicating the maximum and minimum bonuses paid, and the number of people to whom the maximum and minimum payments were made; and if she will make a statement. [105429]

Mrs. Beckett: Two members of staff in my Department received special bonuses amounting to £300 in total. Both were Private Office staff. On-call allowances were paid to three members of staff, and these totalled £256.56.

CABINET OFFICE

Foreign Service Allowance

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if it is her policy to continue to provide a

31 Jan 2000 : Column: 464W

foreign service allowance to Crown servants abroad; what is the reason for this allowance; what is the annual cost of the allowance; and if she will make a statement. [106462]

Mr. Stringer: Responsibility for allowances paid to Home Civil Servants serving overseas was delegated to Departments and agencies on 1 April 1996. Information on the annual cost of such allowances, which reimburse and compensate staff for the essential extra cost of having to live outside the UK in order to perform their duties, is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Government-owned Properties

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many Government-owned properties are currently unoccupied in the Reading, East constituency. [106459]

Mr. Ian McCartney: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated under the terms of the Framework Document to the Property Advisers to the Civil Estate. I have asked its Chief Executive, Mr. John Locke, to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from John C. Locke to Jane Griffiths, dated 31 January 2000:



    Under the terms of the Civil Estate Coordination Agreement, individual Government Departments are responsible for notifying PACE of their surplus accommodation. PACE's records indicate that there are currently no unoccupied Government properties in the Reading East constituency.


    The four unoccupied properties mentioned in my previous letter of 31 October 1997 have now been disposed of by the Agency.

Computers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many cases of computer (a) fraud, including fraudulent use of computer chips, and (b) theft her Department has recorded in the last five years. [106220]

Mr. Ian McCartney: Within my Department, its Agencies, the Central Office of Information and No. 10 Downing Street, over the last five years there have been two cases of fraud, including fraudulent use of computer chips, and 50 cases of theft as follows:

YearFraudTheft
1995-9609
1996-97110
1997-98011
1998-9907
1999-2000(29)113
Total250

(29) To date


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions in each of the past five years computer systems in her Department have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (a) within and (b) outside her Department. [106224]

31 Jan 2000 : Column: 465W

Mr. Ian McCartney: Within my Department, its Agencies, the Central Office of Information and No. 10 Downing Street, no illegal attempts to access computer systems have been detected over the past five years, either from within or outside.

Regulation

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what regulation impact assessments were carried out by Government Departments between the coming into force of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and 1 May 1997. [107004]

Mr. Stringer: Between the coming into force of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act in 1994 and 1 May 1997 Government Departments were required to complete Compliance Cost Assessments which were chiefly concerned with costs to business.

The Government's Better Regulation review of the regulatory system demonstrated the need for a more succinct and open system for assessing the full impact of regulatory proposals. Accordingly, since August 1998 Government Departments have been required to complete Regulatory Impact Assessments with the emphasis on identifying and publishing the risks, costs and benefits of proposed regulations; who is affected; and any non-regulatory alternatives.

Details of Compliance Cost Assessments from the November 1993 to November 1998 are contained in the twice yearly Command Papers called: The Command Paper of Compliance Cost Assessments. Since November 1998 the Command papers have included Regulatory Impact Assessments and are now called: The Command Paper of Regulatory Impact Assessments.


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