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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the British Government have received from the (a) South African Government and (b) British High Commission South Africa regarding the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in KwaZulu-Natal last year. 
Mr. Wilson: The British High Commission in Pretoria and the Consulate-General in Durban were informed of the outbreak of FMD in KwaZulu-Natal last year, and received briefing from the South African Ministry of Agriculture and Land Affairs.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings have been held with human rights groups in Saudi Arabia by British representatives in Jeddah; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: There are currently no non-governmental human rights groups in Saudi Arabia. At UNHCR 56 a Saudi representative announced Saudi Arabia's intention to establish governmental and non-governmental human rights committees. From discussions between the British Embassy in Riyadh and the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, we understand that details of the governmental committee are being finalised. Progress to establish a non-governmental committee has been slower.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions with (a) the LTTE and (b) other Tamil groups in Sri Lanka have been undertaken by British representatives during the last year. 
13 Mar 2001 : Column: 551W
Mr. Wilson: Staff in our High Commission in Colombo regularly meet representatives from all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamil community. Foreign Office representatives have met the LTTE's Political Adviser in London to get across important messages about the need for the LTTE to stay engaged in the peace process. We have made clear to all concerned that we fully support Norway's efforts to facilitate peace talks, and that Britain stands ready to help, if asked.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent contact he has had with the Norwegian Government concerning the peace process in Sri Lanka; and what contribution the United Kingdom Government have made to this. 
Mr. Wilson: We remain in regular contact with the Norwegian Government. I met Norwegian State Secretary Raymond Johansen on 13 February 2001, and we continue contacts at official level. We fully support Norway's efforts to facilitate peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This offers the best chance of peace. We remain in contact with the parties to the conflict and have made it clear to them that Britain stands ready to help, if asked.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations were held between his Department and the Home Department in drawing up proposals for including organisations in the Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2001. 
Ms Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the United Kingdom intends to ratify its signature of protocols I and II of the African nuclear weapons' free zone treaty, the treaty of Pelindaba. 
Mr. Wilson: The Foreign Secretary signed the UK's Instrument of Ratification of protocols I and II to the treaty of Pelindaba on 27 February 2001. The Instrument has been sent to our Embassy in Addis Ababa for deposit with the Organisation of African Unity. I will arrange for a copy of the Instrument, together with the Declaration made on deposit of the Instrument, to be placed in the Library of the House.
13 Mar 2001 : Column: 552W
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claimants of Family Credit there were in (a) Newcastle City and (b) Newcastle upon Tyne, Central in 1997; what the average benefit for a (i) full-time and (ii) part-time worker was; how many claimants of Working Families Tax Credit there are; and what the average benefit was for a (1) full-time and (2) part-time worker. 
Dawn Primarolo: At May 1997 there were an estimated 4.2 thousand families receiving Family Credit (FC) in the Newcastle upon Tyne local authority and 1.2 thousand in the Newcastle upon Tyne, Central constituency.
For estimates of the number of families receiving the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) at August 2000, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Dawson) on 22 January 2001, Official Report, column 425W.
There is no single definition of what comprises full-time work. The table shows the estimated average value of FC awards in May 1997, and of WFTC awards at August 2000, to families in the north-east region in each band of hours worked. There are too few cases in the 5 per cent. sample used for these analyses to yield reliable separate estimates for Newcastle City and Newcastle upon Tyne, Central.
|Hours normally worked per week by main earner||Families receiving Family Credit at May 1997 (thousand)||Average weekly value of award (£)||Families receiving Working Families Tax Credit at August 2000 (thousand)||Average weekly value of award (£)|
|16 less than 20||13.5||69||16.0||92|
|20 less than 24||5.8||65||8.3||87|
|24 less than 30||3.9||58||4.6||80|
|30 less than 36||5.7||64||9.3||78|
|36 less than 40||8.4||40||15.3||57|
|40 and over||8.7||52||12.3||64|
Estimates based on 5 per cent. sample of awards, and therefore subject to sampling error.
13 Mar 2001 : Column: 553W
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the South Shields constituency, the effects on South Shields of his Department's polices and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: South Shields, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the General Election, claimant unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 825, or 19 per cent. youth unemployment is down by 73 per cent. and long-term unemployment has fallen by 50 per cent.
Macro-economic stability is being complemented at the micro-economic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and to make work pay. To the end of December 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24 year olds had helped 2020 young people in South Shields constituency gain valuable skills and experience--900 (45 per cent.) of whom had moved into employment. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle income families. In August 2000, 2,200 families in South Shields constituency were benefiting from WFTC.
The Government are also committed to policies which enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 16,400 in South Shields, will receive an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners will receive an extra £5 a week, and couples will receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 10,600 in South Shields.
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