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Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence Her Majesty's Government have obtained that components or equipment licensed for export to Israel by the United Kingdom Government since 1990 have not been used by Israeli forces (a) against civilians in the Occupied Territories and (b) in Southern Lebanon. 
Mr. Hain: We have no evidence that equipment licensed for export to Israel by this Government has been used against civilians in the Occupied Territories or in southern Lebanon in defiance of our strict controls. The Government have, however, long had concerns that CS gas exported from the UK has been used by the Israeli Security Forces against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Consequently, since taking office, the Government have refused all applications for permanent licences to export CS gas to Israel.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent thefts from the CFSP Headquarters in the Justis Lipsius building; what classified material (a) was and (b) is to be stored in that location; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: The UK Representation to the European Communities has made inquiries into this matter with the European Council Secretariat. The Council Secretariat was satisfied that there had been no thefts of classified documents from the CFSP section of the Justus Lipsius building.
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The Directorate General for External Affairs, located in the Justus Lipsius building, holds documents relating to council business in the field of external relations, including CFSP and European Defence.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the operational status is of armed forces personnel on assignment to the European Communities; and if he will list the personnel concerned. 
Mr. Vaz: There are no armed forces personnel on operational assignments with the European Communities. However, as agreed at the Helsinki and Lisbon European Councils, the United Kingdom, along with other EU member states, has sent national experts to the Council Secretariat to give military advice as required on the European Security and Defence Policy in the interim period. The UK currently has two officers working in this capacity.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the Foreign Policy Centre; and if he will make a statement on the nature of contacts between his staff and the Centre. 
Mr. Robin Cook: It is established practice for Foreign Office Ministers and officials to have regular contact with policy institutes and NGOs, including the Foreign Policy Centre, to consider their views when developing policy, and to contribute to the debates initiated by them.
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish a command paper listing the matters ceded by Parliament to the European Community and Union since 1 January 1973 broken down under the headings of (a) legislation, (b) taxation, (c) expenditure and appropriation, (d) adjudication and (e) the negotiation of political and commercial agreements with other states. 
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We fully support the aims of the International Year of Volunteers. The Prime Minister has issued a challenge to employers to give their employees paid time off to work in the community. The FCO has implemented policies to encourage this and now approves one day's paid leave a year for employees to undertake voluntary work. The voluntary spirit is very much alive in the FCO and helps animate much of our work. The Foreign Secretary intends to participate during 2001.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the administration of justice in England and Wales. 
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the draft Charter of Fundamental Rights on the administration of the court system. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and what actions are being taken by the Government to bring an end to hostilities there. 
Mr. Hain: We remain deeply concerned about the security situation in the DRC. The UN Security Council has repeatedly called on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and to fulfil their obligations under the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. Bilaterally, we have registered our concerns with all parties through our Special Representative who has just returned from an extensive visit to the region.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what impact the effect of the EC's Everything but Arms initiative will have on negotiations between the EC and WTO members for a new banana regime. 
The Commission's proposal to amend the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) allows for a three year phasing-in period of tariff and quota free access for bananas. The UK continues to work for the achievement of a rapid solution to the WTO banana dispute which is acceptable within the WTO and addresses the needs of Caribbean producers. We will work to ensure that pursuit of this solution and the proposal for amendment of the GSP Regulation are consistent.
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what impact extension of unlimited duty and quota free access to the EU market for large least developed country sugar producers will have on the EU agricultural budget and excess EU production and intervention costs. 
The UK is pressing for this to be fully assessed in the context of the consideration given to the Commission's separate proposals on the reform of the EU sugar regime. It will depend on the amount of sugar that least developed countries send to the EU. The EU already has a substantial sugar surplus, and the only tools in the current regime to deal with an increase are intervention buying and/or cuts in EU quotas.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what impact the European Commission's proposals to provide duty and quota free access to the EU market to 48 least developed countries will have on EC proposals for the reform of the EU sugar and rice regimes. 
The Government believe that there is potential inconsistency between the European Commission's proposals for duty free access for sugar and rice from least developed countries and their parallel proposals for reform of the EU sugar and rice regimes. We have pressed for the impact of the LDC proposal to be properly discussed in the context of the reform proposals in the Agriculture Council.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of people living in lone parent families in each year since 1995 were (a) in the bottom 30 per cent., (b) in the bottom 40 per cent. and (c) in the bottom 50 per cent. of the income distribution. 
|Including self-employed||Excluding self-employed|
|Individuals below percentiles of income distribution (percentage)/year||Before housing costs||After housing costs||Before housing costs||After housing costs|
|Bottom 30 per cent.|
|Bottom 40 per cent.|
|Bottom 50 per cent.|
1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data set which is derived from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS does not include Northern Ireland, and 1998-99 is the latest year for which data is available.
2. The estimates are sample counts, which have been adjusted for non-response using multipurpose grossing factors that control for region, Council Tax band and a number of other demographic variables. Estimates are subject to both sampling error and to variability in non-response. All percentages are rounded to the nearest per cent.
3. The income measure used is weekly net (disposable) equivalised household income (that is to say income that is adjusted to reflect the composition of the household). While the proportion of individuals below various income thresholds may be sensitive to the precise way in which incomes are equivalised, changes shown over time generally are not.
4. The estimates are presented on both a Before Housing Costs (BHC) and an After Housing Costs (AHC) basis in line with HBAI conventions. Figures are also provided including and excluding the self-employed, as research suggests that, for self-employed people, income as reported in surveys is often a poor indicator of living standards.
Family Resources Survey
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