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Burma

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Burmese regime concerning the treatment of the Chin, Kachin and Naga ethnic minority groups in Burma. [150585]

Mr. Battle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan) today, Official Report, column 266W.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions took place about atrocities against the Karen, Karenni and Shan people during the recent European Union fact-finding mission to Burma; and if this mission visited Karen, Karenni and Shan states. [150573]

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 266W

Mr. Battle: EU Troika representative visited Rangoon on 29-31 January and had meetings with the regime, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minority representatives. They discussed a wide range of issues, including human rights.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made during the last 12 months to the Government of Burma regarding atrocities against the Karen, Karenni and Shan people. [150575]

Mr. Battle: We remain deeply concerned about human rights violations of all Burma's peoples, including ethnic minorities, and take every opportunity to highlight our concern. I raised our concerns at the EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting in Vientiane, Laos, in December 2000. The Burmese Foreign Minister was present. I have also raised them with the Burmese ambassador in London. We also raise our concerns through our embassy in Rangoon and visiting officials from London, most recently with the Deputy Foreign Minister on 19 January 2001; with EU partners through the recent EU Troika mission and the EU Common Position on Burma, which was strengthened in April 2000 and subsequently renewed in October; and with co-sponsorship of UN resolutions condemning the abuses at the UN Commission on Human Rights in April 2000, and most recently at the UN General Assembly in November 2000.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to build a consensus at the United Nations Security Council in support of the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal on Burma; and if he will make a statement. [150574]

Mr. Battle: We have raised our concerns over Burma with our Security Council partners, but there is no consensus at the moment for Security Council engagement on Burma issues, including that of establishing an international criminal tribunal.

Ministerial/EU Commission Meetings

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many working meetings have been held between Ministers and members of the European Commission since 1 July 1999; and if he will list the (a) dates of, (b) subjects discussed and (c) Ministers and Commissioners involved in these meetings. [150265]

Mr. Vaz [holding answer 14 February 2001]: UK Ministers routinely meet members of the Commission at all meetings of the Council of Ministers and other occasions and discuss a wide range of issues.

National Missile Defence

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans (a) he and (b) his NATO counterparts have to propose amendments to the outer space treaty to take account of national missile defence; and if he will make a statement. [150803]

Mr. Vaz: The Government have no plans to propose amendments to the outer space treaty, nor are we aware of any such plans by NATO counterparts.

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 267W

US-UK Relations

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the US-UK relations following the decision to sell RR Spey turbofan engines to China; and if he will make a statement. [150572]

Mr. Battle: The matter has not been raised by the US Administration. US-UK relations are excellent.

PRIME MINISTER

Departmental Expenditure Limit

Maria Eagle: To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has to change the Cabinet Office: Security and Intelligence Services Vote Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2000-01. [151189]

The Prime Minister: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Departmental Expenditure Limit for Class XVII, Vote 2 will be increased by £6,417,000 from £789,586,000 to £796,003,000 and the gross running cost limit will be increased by £2,121,000 from £422,648,000 to £424,769,000.

The change is to effect transfers of £2,878,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Class VII, Vote 1), £1,534,000 from the Home Office (Class IV, Vote 1) and £289,000 to the Scottish Executive, the take up of running costs end year flexibility of £2,065,000 and of current end year flexibility of £229,000 being partial take up of the entitlements announced in Table 7 of the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper (CM 4812) published on 18 July 2000.

The increase will be offset by transfers and a charge to the DEL reserve and will not, therefore, add to the planned total public expenditure.

Chester Street Holdings Limited

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Prime Minister if he will instruct the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to collate a joint response to the collapse of Chester Street Holdings and its impact on sufferers from asbestos-related diseases; and if he will make a statement. [148918]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 5 February 2001]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer the Economic Secretary gave to him on 14 February 2001, Official Report, columns 181-82W.

CABINET OFFICE

Honours System

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what criteria are applied to the selection of those who will be recognised by award of an honour. [149273]

The Prime Minister: I am replying to this question as it relates to matters for which I am responsible.

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 268W

Candidates for honour are selected on merit based upon their achievements and quality of service in a wide range of areas of our national life.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans she has to modify the system of nominations for honours. [149166]

The Prime Minister: I am replying to this question as it relates to matters for which I am responsible.

There are currently no plans to modify the system. The honours nomination process is kept under review.

Government IT Projects

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much was paid to Compaq during its unsuccessful bid for the Government Gateway project; how much has so far been paid to Microsoft for services related to the project; and what the expected cost of the project is. [148656]

Mr. Ian McCartney: Compaq undertook work for the Cabinet Office and a final settlement figure of £5.6 million, including VAT, has been agreed. This includes £2.2 million worth of hardware that is to be redeployed throughout Government Departments.

Details of specific payments to Microsoft and other suppliers remain commercially confident at this stage. We expect the first phase of the project to cost an additional £18.3 million, including VAT. This is within the project budget.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many official visits were carried out in the United Kingdom by Cabinet Ministers in (a) January 2000 and (b) January 2001; if she will list the location of each visit; and if she will make a statement; [150425]

Marjorie Mowlam: Detailed information in the form requested for Ministers visits within the United Kingdom is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

I and ministerial colleagues in the Cabinet Office aim to visit all regions of the country in support of Government policies that are national.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans her Department has to place all regulatory impact assessments on a single website. [150476]

Mr. Stringer: At present a list of regulatory impact assessments published since 1998 is available on the regulatory impact unit's website. We are currently

15 Feb 2001 : Column: 269W

developing plans to enable visitors to the regulatory impact unit's website to access RIAs via links to departmental websites.


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