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Operation Nightshade

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what details of arms shipments to, and via, West Africa were revealed by Operation Nightshade; and if he will make a statement. [114957]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that no such details were revealed as a result of Operation Nightshade.

Rachel Nickell

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action has been taken to prevent retired police officers publishing criticism of the conduct and stewardship into the investigation of the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992; and under what powers such action was taken. [114958]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that no such action has been taken.

Detective Keith Pedder

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the investigation into the complaint made by former Detective Keith Pedder will be completed; and if he will make a statement. [114955]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the inquiry is expected to be completed by May 2000.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if manuscripts and other documents belongings to former Detective Keith Pedder have been returned to him following their seizure by the Metropolitan police; and if he will make a statement. [114956]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the documentation forms part of any ongoing investigation and that it would not be appropriate for him to comment further at this stage.

Mr. Roger Crooks

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what dates in 1993 and 1994 Roger Crooks was interviewed by the Anti-Terrorist Squad. [114953]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that officers of S013, known as the Anti-Terrorist Branch, interviewed Roger Crooks on 24 June 1994.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what purpose in 1993 and 1994 Metropolitan police officers serving under the direction of Detective Inspector John Redgrave met Mr. Geoffrey Brennan to discuss arms sales and shipments; at which of these discussions Mr. Roger Crooks and other representatives of the prospective vendor and importer were present; and if he will make a statement. [114959]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that he is unaware of any such meeting.

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Mr. Keith Green

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Metropolitan police received from the Police Complaints Authority its referral of the complaint of Mr. Keith Green; for what reason it was passed for investigation to an officer due to retire; when the results of the Metropolitan Police Complaints Department inquiries into this matter were completed; what were the reasons for the length of time for the inquiries' completion; and if he will make a statement. [114964]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the Police Complaints Authority authorises the appointment of investigating officers for individual cases, based on their ability to conduct the inquiry. Detailed information about Mr. Green's case is not readily available. I will write to my hon. Friend when I have received it.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason (a) on 9 December 1997 Mr. Keith Green was offered accommodation in a safe house, (b) this offer was made in the absence of a solicitor, (c) no tape recording of the interview was made and (d) no caution was given; and if he will make a statement. [114961]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that no such offer was made. The purpose of the interview on 9 December was to obtain intelligence and not evidence and, therefore, did not have to be carried out in accordance with Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason the Police Complaints Authority passed the complaint of Mr. Keith Green of 16 February 1999, against CIB to the Metropolitan Police Complaints Department for investigation; and if he will make a statement. [114962]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The appropriate authority for the investigation of a complaint in relation to the Metropolitan police is the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. As a matter of course, the Police Complaints Authority passes any such complaint that it receives to the Commissioner. It is for the Commissioner to decide the manner in which the complaint is to be investigated. I am advised that in this instance, the then Commissioner directed that the complaint be investigated by an independent officer attached to a Metropolitan police area different from that where the respondents were based.

Operation Cornwall

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of Operation Cornwall. [114954]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that Operation Cornwall is ongoing.

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TRADE AND INDUSTRY

National Minimum Wage

Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employers have been prosecuted (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully for non- compliance with minimum wage legislation over the last two years; and if he will make a statement. [113144]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 8 March 2000]: There have been no criminal prosecutions under Section 31 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1999 since it came into force 11 months ago.

This is because the Act also contains a number of provisions empowering enforcement offices to take civil action against non-paying employers and the enforcement body will always use these in the first instance. However, there will be criminal prosecutions where the enforcement body considers them necessary.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to revise the present level of the accommodation offset within the National Minimum Wage Regulations. [114974]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I have no plans to change the level of the accommodation offset. The Low Pay Commission has recommended that it should be retained at its present rate and the level considered again when the national minimum wage is next reviewed. The Government have accepted this recommendation.

Inward Investment (South Humberside)

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action his Department is taking to attract inward investment into the former South Humberside area. [113903]

Mr. Caborn: Promotion of Inward Investment in the regions is undertaken by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) which were established by this Government in April 1999. My Department funds Yorkshire Forward (the Yorkshire and Humber's RDA) Inward Investment activities to the tune of £1.4 million. The Government and Yorkshire Forward are keen to attract Inward Investment to the former South Humberside area. Yorkshire Forward is actively developing a Sub-Regional Action Plan for the Humber area in conjunction with national and regional partners including the Government Office and DTI's Invest In Britain Bureau. The action plan is scheduled for completion in June 2000.

One of Yorkshire Forward's key objectives is to attract and retain more investment. An important feature of the Humber Sub-Regional Action Plan will be the development of a Humber Trade Zone. This should help exploit the significant advantages of the estuary's deep water ports and provide the foundation for attracting new industry. In addition, the Humber Chemical Forum, with an active DTI contribution, is playing an increasingly important role in helping the development of the chemical industry along the South Bank.

Yorkshire Forward statistics indicate that, since May 1997, there have been 11 Inward Investment projects in the former South Humberside area. These projects are expected to lead to the creation/safeguarding of around 1,000 jobs.

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GDP Statistics (West Cumbria)

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will review the reliability of statistics on gross domestic product per capita in respect of West Cumbria. [114074]

Mr. Caborn: Statisticians from my Department are in regular contact with the Office for National Statistics on a range of outputs, including regional GDP. Methodology is regularly reviewed to ensure the best possible estimates.

Regional Selective Assistance

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the implications for West Cumbria of the current review of assisted area status levels of regional assistance. [114073]

Mr. Caborn: During the review process, the Commission notified the Government that Cumbria was one of 19 areas that have unemployment below and GDP above the EU average. The regional aid guidelines stipulate that, if approved for Assisted Area status, such areas may not benefit from aid to enterprises of more than 10 per cent. eligible costs.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions are taking place between the Government and the European Commission on the eligibility of areas of the United Kingdom for regional selective assistance; and if he will make a statement. [114072]

Mr. Caborn: My officials have met officials from the Commission on a number of occasions to discuss the proposals which we submitted for new Assisted Areas. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has held discussions with Commissioner Monti. In all of our discussions, we have sought to obtain early approval of our proposals.


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