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Knowledge Network

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps were taken to ensure that the information collected under the Knowledge Network Project was not used for party political campaigning in the 2001 general election; and if he will make a statement. [4309]

Mr. Leslie: Access to Knowledge Network by Ministers and special advisers was suspended during the general election period. Full written guidance was circulated to all Departments to ensure that the system could not be misused for party political purposes. All Departments implemented this guidance and a copy was placed in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will (a) list by subject the statistics that have been collected for the first time at constituency level under the Knowledge Network Project, stating in each case the date on which the first in the series was completed and (b) place a copy of the most recent of each set of statistics listed in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [4370]

Mr. Leslie: No statistics have been collected for the first time at constituency level specifically for the Knowledge Network Project. All statistics used have been taken from existing publicly available Government sources, with collation at the existing operational level.


Inward Investment

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the size of the Welsh manufacturing work force employed by foreign investors who have chosen Wales (a) as a centre for operations in the single market and (b) for other reasons. [4302]

Mr. Paul Murphy: In 1997, the most recent year for which figures are available, employment in private sector enterprises of foreign nationality in Wales, classified as "manufacturing" was 53,100. No breakdown is available of the reasons for locating these jobs in Wales. However, several companies have publicly cited the quality of the Welsh work force, their reliability and eagerness to develop new skills, as important considerations.


Western Sahara

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the recommendations that United Nations Special Envoy James Baker has recently made regarding the future of western Sahara. [2714]

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Mr. Bradshaw: We supported UN Security Council Resolution 1359 which was passed unanimously on 29 June 2001 and which extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 November 2001. This resolution reiterated full support for the ongoing efforts of MINURSO to implement the Settlement Plan and agreements by the parties to hold a free, fair and impartial referendum for the self-determination of the people of the western Sahara. It also reaffirmed our commitment to achieve a just and lasting solution to the question of western Sahara. We fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to invite all the parties to meet directly or through proximity talks, under the auspices of his Personal Envoy James Baker, to discuss the draft Framework Agreement and to negotiate any specific changes they would like to see in this proposal, as well as to discuss any other proposal for a political solution, to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement.


Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the factors underlying China's increased defence spending. [2922]

Mr. MacShane: On 6 March, China announced a 17.7 per cent. increase in defence spending, bringing the total to US$17.07 billion. Two reasons were given: the need to improve pay and conditions, and the need to strengthen high technology capabilities. Chinese official figures give little indication of total military spending, though we estimate that spending remains low as a percentage of GDP. China is committed to military modernisation, but economic development remains the overriding national priority.

European Court of Human Rights

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the case load of the European Court of Human Rights, including registered applications; what was the average time between a case being referred to the European Court of Human Rights and judgment in the last three years; what monetary contribution the UK Government make towards the expenditure of the European Court of Human Rights; and whether the budgeting expenditure for the European Court of Human Rights is sufficient to enable the Court to determine cases within the two year time limit set down by the Court. [3228]

Mr. MacShane: Figures provided by the Court's Registry indicate that the case load is 17,329 as of March 2001 and the average time between referral of a case and judgment is approximately three years. The Court aspires to reduce this to two years, but the set limit remains three years. This limit has been exceeded in about one third of the applications pending. The Court's budget is an integral part of the Council of Europe budget, of which the UK share is 12.7 per cent. In 2001, some £2 million of the UK total contribution went to the Court. HMG are actively supporting the work of the Evaluation Group which has been established to consider all potential means to guarantee the Court's continued effectiveness in the face of rapid growth in the number of applications to it. The

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Group's recommendations, due in September, are likely to include proposals requiring an increase in the Court's budget.

Loizidou Case

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he proposes to take to ensure compliance by Turkey with its obligations in the Loizidou case following the resolution of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers of 26 June. [R] [2981]

Peter Hain: We supported the interim resolution of 26 June calling on Turkey to respect the European Court of Human Rights' decision in the Loizidou case. We deplore the fact that Turkey has not yet complied with the judgment and will continue regularly and strongly to remind them of the need to do so both bilaterally and in the Council of Europe.

Visa Case

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the application for an interview from Miss Mae I. Copitco, a Filipino national born on 9 May 1971 for an interview in respect of her application to join her husband Mr. Marcus Cottham in the UK will be considered; and if he will make a statement. [3146]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is not our practice to disclose details of individual visa cases in a public forum. The Joint Entry Clearance Unit will write to the hon. Member in the next few days.

UN Voting

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many votes have taken place at the (a) UN General Assembly and (b) UN Security Council since 1 January; and of those, on how many occasions the United Kingdom cast its vote, including by abstaining, for the same outcome as the United States. [4179]

Peter Hain: Since 1 January 2001 the UN General Assembly has adopted 38 resolutions without a vote. The only recorded vote on a resolution in this period was on 14 June 2001 on resolution A/RES/55/180B on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The outcome was 115 votes in favour (including the UK), three against (including the United States) and nine abstentions.

In the same period, the UN Security Council has adopted 27 resolutions. 25 of these were adopted unanimously, one without a vote and one by acclamation.

The one occasion when the Security Council's vote was split was on 27 March 2001 when the United States vetoed a draft resolution on the situation in the middle east. The United Kingdom abstained on this draft resolution.

"Your Britain, Your Europe, Your Wales"

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what independent survey is referred to in his Department's document, "Your Britain, Your Europe, Your Wales". [4298]

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Peter Hain: The document refers to an independent survey entitled "Out of Europe, Out of Work" produced in February 2000 by Professor Ian Begg, Professor of International Economics at the European Institute, South Bank University.


Youth Justice Board

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Youth Justice Board will publish its annual review. [4629]

Beverley Hughes: The Youth Justice Board annual review is published today. Copies have been placed in the Library. The Youth Justice Board was established to spearhead the reforms to the youth justice system in 1998 by Crime and Disorder Act. The review shows a year of delivering change. A new system for preventing youth crime is in place, progress in delivering the Government's pledge on delays, with a nine week reduction in the time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders and robust new sentences for young offenders.

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