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Working Time Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of senior civil servants in her Department have signed waivers to work voluntarily more than 48 hours a week; and if she will make a statement. [160883]

Mr. Mullin: None. DFID's policy is that its employees should not be required to work in excess of the limits specified by the Working Time Regulations 1998 and none have been asked to do so.


Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the Government's policies in respect of poverty reduction in Botswana. [160829]

Mr. Mullin: Botswana's record in pursuing effective poverty reduction policies is one of the strongest in Africa, although many of the gains made are under threat from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. DFID has contributed substantially to the Government of Botswana's poverty reduction programmes focusing particularly on rural livelihoods, education and more recently in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the financial year 2000-01, DFID provided around £2.5 million directly to Botswana in addition to our contributions through multilateral agencies.

10 May 2001 : Column: 315W

EU Trade Regulations

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the Netherlands' proposals for reform of EU trade regulations relating to overseas countries and territories. [159743]

Mr. Vaz: I have been asked to reply.

The Netherlands have proposed amendments to the European Commission's proposal for a new Council Decision on the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories with the European Community (the "OCT Decision"). The Commission's proposal maintains full freedom of access to the EC market for products originating in the OCTs, subject to special provisions for rice and sugar. The Netherlands' amendments would increase the proposed quota for milled or semi-milled rice, and would allow an additional quota for sugar which has undergone processing disallowed under the Commission proposal. The Netherlands have also suggested an alternative process for the management of these quotas. The Government are still assessing the implications of these amendments. In Council working groups, discussion is at an early stage.


Racially Aggravated Offences

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions for racially aggravated offences have been taken up by the Crown Prosecution Service; in how many cases the defendant was (a) convicted and (b) acquitted; and how many cases the Crown Prosecution Service did not pursue. [160999]

The Solicitor-General: During the period 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000, the CPS received 2,417 racist incident cases from the police. Prosecutions were brought against 1,832 defendants (76 per cent.) on a total of 2,651 charges. Cases against 585 defendants (24 per cent.) were discontinued, dropped at court or could not be prosecuted because the defendant failed to appear.

Almost half (1,299) of the 2,651 charges were for racially aggravated offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which came into force in September 1999. A high proportion of the remaining offences contained admissible evidence of racial aggravation and were prosecuted under other legislation.

Information kept by the CPS on convictions and acquittals relates to charges rather than defendants. Guilty pleas were entered on 66 per cent. of the charges prosecuted and there were convictions after trial on a further 12 per cent. of the charges. There were acquittals on 16 per cent. of the charges and the remaining charges resulted in other forms of disposal, eg bindover without trial.

Further information is available from the CPS Racist Incident Monitoring Report 1999-2000, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library.

10 May 2001 : Column: 316W

Union Flag

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Solicitor-General what guidance he will give to the Crown Prosecution Service on the prosecution of motorists displaying the Union Flag on car number plates. [161033]

The Solicitor-General: The size and character of car number plates (properly known as registration marks) and of the letters and numbers shown on them is governed by the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 1971 and the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994.

There is no provision which specifically prohibits the display of items, such as the Union Flag, on a registration mark. However, an offence is committed if a registration mark fixed on a vehicle is in any way obscured. This may be as a result of fixing another item to the registration mark or by simply allowing it to become so masked by dirt as to be no longer easily distinguishable.

The offence can be dealt with only in a magistrates court and is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000. If the police refer evidence of such an offence to the Crown Prosecution Service, it will be reviewed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and, if appropriate, criminal proceedings will then result.


Departmental Projects

Mr. Brady: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the projects undertaken for her Department by (a) outside consultants, (b) academic researchers and (c) university departments since 1 May 1997, giving the total expenditure incurred in each category. [144087]

Mr. Stringer: Since 1 May 1997 my Department has let 216 projects the total value of which is as follows:

A list of the projects undertaken with identifiable external consultancy costs has been placed in the Library.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of senior civil servants in her Department have signed waivers to work voluntarily more than 48 hours a week; and if she will make a statement. [160892]

Marjorie Mowlam: Five per cent.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the companies with which the then Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), had discussions regarding sponsorship of the millennium dome. [148376]

Marjorie Mowlam: As shareholder of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), the then Minister Without Portfolio, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), had contact

10 May 2001 : Column: 317W

with sponsors from time to time, but the responsibility for negotiating and securing sponsorship rested with the NMEC. It is not the normal practice of the Government to release details of ministerial meetings or discussions with companies or private individuals.

Government Annual Report 1999-2000

Tony Wright: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office for what reason the Government's Annual report for 1999-2000 was issued as an unnumbered Command Paper. [158117]

Marjorie Mowlam: The Government Annual Report 1999-2000 was printed and published by the Stationery Office Ltd. (ISBN number 0-10-850688-6). It was issued as an unnumbered Command Paper to provide flexibility in the production and distribution process. It was presented to Parliament, published and distributed as usual for Command Papers, as well as being available from Tesco and WH Smith.

Special Advisers

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions special advisers who have left the Government since 1997 have been examined by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments; and if she will make a statement. [160260]

Marjorie Mowlam: Under the terms of their contracts, special advisers are subject to the Business Appointment Rules set out in the Civil Service Management Code and Departmental Staff Handbooks. They are required to make an application to their employing Department for permission to take up outside appointments under the criteria set out in the rules. Where appropriate, Departments consult the Cabinet Office. Applications from the most senior staff would be referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, but none has been received from special advisers at this level.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many special advisers worked in her Department from 1997 to date. [160027]

Marjorie Mowlam: Since 3 May 1997, no more than four special advisers have been in post at any one time. This includes the UK Anti Drugs co-ordinator and his Deputy who are appointed on special adviser terms.

Social Inclusion

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the funding programmes for social inclusion for which her Department is responsible that can be accessed by (a) national sports bodies and (b) local clubs and communities. [161002]

Marjorie Mowlam: The Cabinet Office is not directly responsible for any funding for social inclusion programmes.

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