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10 Apr 2001 : Column: 528W
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Pendle benefited from the introduction of the national minimum wage; and how many are estimated to benefit from its recent increase. 
Estimates for Parliamentary Constituencies of numbers of jobs paid below NMW rates are not available on the basis of the methodology applied for producing the national and regional level figures.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the budget figure for the cost of maintaining, servicing and victualling official residences for Ministers in the 2000-01 Budget year. 
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Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of (a) the value of United Kingdom motor insurance claims and (b) the number of such claims in (i) 1999 and (ii) 2000. 
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has held with EU colleagues in relation to legislation against holocaust denial; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: Holocaust denial was discussed in January at the Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance, at which my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Home Affairs led the UK delegation. The Government continue to play a leading role in post- Holocaust affairs, in particular through their active membership of the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, and through its role as Account Holder for the Nazi Persecution Relief Fund. The Government have also been closely following developments on slave/forced labour compensation and have made clear that they expect fair treatment for any eligible British citizens.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley), of 22 March 2001, Official Report, column 317W, on visas, how many of the cases in which the Minister for Europe intervened related to (a) his constituency and (b) the Indian sub-continent. 
Mr. Vaz [holding answer 30 March 2001]: (a) None. (b) I have overturned 34 decisions related to the sub- continent since October 1999. This represents 0.01 per cent. of over 308,000 applications received in the sub-continent in that period.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions (a) he and (b) the Minister for Europe have replied personally to representations by hon. Members concerning refusals of visa applications lodged in (i) Islamabad, (ii) Delhi and (iii) Bombay since 1999. 
Mr. Vaz [holding answer 2 April 2001]: Hon. Members' representations about visa refusals are not recorded separately. The information requested could be collected only at disproportionate cost by examining all the case files for the posts in question since 1999.
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has received from the EU associated member states regarding changes to air passenger duty; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Vaz: The Slovenian Ambassador wrote to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 22 September 2000 on behalf of 11 negotiating EU applicants (all except Hungary) to ask if we could bring forward the application of the European Economic Area rate to Slovenia and other EU associate member countries.
After detailed consultation with other Government Departments, in particular HM Custom and Excise, the Foreign Secretary replied formally on 5 February 2001 that we could not as this was a taxation issue with both legislative and revenue consequences. In response to a further letter from the Ambassador a meeting with relevant officials was suggested to discuss the matter further.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Turkish Government regarding the case of Fatima Pollattas and Ceven Salmanoglu and their colleagues. 
Mr. Vaz [holding answer 3 April 2001]: We are very concerned about the case of Ms Pollattas, Mr. Salmanoglu and others. Our Embassy in Ankara raised this case most recently on 23 March with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our Consulate-General in Istanbul attended the first hearing on 21 March. We will continue to monitor developments in this case.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to attend the negotiations in Geneva on a protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. 
Mr. Wilson: A total of seven weeks of meetings are scheduled for the rest of this year in Geneva on a Protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The Protocol is an important arms control objective for the Untied Kingdom and Foreign Office Ministers have already addressed the BWC ad hoc group on two separate occasions to stress the need for a successful outcome to the negotiations. We are currently assessing the contents of the draft Protocol which was tabled by the Chair of the BWC ad hoc group (Ambassador Toth, Hungary) on 30 March, and also await first reactions for the other countries involved. We welcome the appearance of the text at this stage of the negotiations. We will consider ministerial attendance as negotiations proceed.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the status of the negotiations with the ad hoc group in Geneva for a protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. 
Mr. Wilson: On 30 March the Chairman of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) ad hoc group, Ambassador Tibor Toth of Hungary, tabled the text of a draft Protocol to the BWC. This has been sent to all States
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Parties and will come under discussion at the next negotiating session which begins in Geneva on 23 April. The UK has played a leading role throughout these negotiations as we have had responsibility for the section of the text on compliance measures--the core of the future Protocol. We welcome the appearance of the text and are currently assessing this overall content. A successful outcome by the time of the BWC Review Conference remains a possibility but will depend upon the reaction to the text from all countries involved over the coming months. An effective BWC Protocol remains an important arms control objective for the United Kingdom as it will help fill the last remaining gap in Treaty provisions designed to stem the proliferation of WMD.
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