Previous Section Index Home Page

Sports Administration

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the objectives are of (a) the regional Sport England bodies and (b) the regional New Opportunities Fund for Sport bodies; and if she will make a statement. [16870]

Mr. Caborn: The role of Sport England's nine regional offices is to deliver, in partnership with a range of statutory, voluntary and commercial agencies concerned with sport and recreation, Sport England's national programmes for the development and promotion of sport.

The New Opportunities Fund is the body designated in the National Lottery Act 1998 to distribute Lottery funds to initiatives concerned with health, education and the environment. The role of the New Opportunities Fund's regional representatives is to help deliver the overall objectives of the fund. The vision for the new opportunities for PE and the sport in schools programme is laid out in the fund's recently published document "Building for Tomorrow".


National Audit Office

Mr. Todd: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what resources of the NAO are directed to the follow-up of qualifications to (a) agency and (b) departmental accounts; and if he will make a statement. [15246]

Mr. Alan Williams: It is the responsibility of the management of the Department or agency whose accounts have been qualified to take the necessary corrective action. The NAO will provide appropriate advice and assistance to support the body in this regard. The nature of the support and the resources directed will depend on the underlying reason for qualification in each case. For example, the Comptroller and Auditor General qualified his audit opinion on the Child Support Agency's Client Funds Account for 2000–01 for the seventh consecutive

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 403W

year in the light of high error rates in maintenance assessments made by the agency. The National Audit Office plans to spend some £120,000 on its audit of the 2001–02 account. The examination will check a sample of maintenance assessments to estimate the effect of any errors on outstanding maintenance balances.

The National Audit Office will also monitor the agency's progress towards its target of implementing the new assessment system from April 2002. This system of child support was introduced by legislation in 2000 and is aimed at simplifying the rules for maintenance assessments. This is closely linked with modernisation of the Agency's operational processes and the introduction of a new computer system. This is intended to promote increased accuracy in maintenance awards and improved payment compliance. In evaluating progress the National Audit Office will assess the evidence from its own audit work, and a range of other sources including reviews by the internal audit service of the Department for Work and Pensions. The Comptroller and Auditor General will report his findings with the 2001–02 account.


FCO Advice

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will introduce legislation to ensure that British companies seeking to send workers abroad inform employees of relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice; and if he will make a statement. [16962]

Mr. Bradshaw: Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice is already widely accessible to employers as well as the general public by telephone (020 7008 0232/0233) and the FCO website

Employment legislation is a matter for the Department of Trade and Industry.

Northern Cyprus

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Turkish Government regarding recent statements by the Turkish Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister, relating to the occupied area of northern Cyprus and EU admission. [15331]

Peter Hain: The suggestion that Turkey might "annex" north Cyprus, in the event of Cyprus joining the EU before a settlement, is not new. While it is difficult to predict what Turkey might do if a divided island were to join the EU, we believe that the "annexation" of northern Cyprus would severely compromise Turkey's relations with the EU, and contravene her obligations under the Treaty of Guarantee. However, our aim continues to be a settlement before Cyprus joins the EU, though we stand by the Helsinki Council Conclusions that it is not a precondition for enlargement. To that end we urge all concerned to engage constructively in the current UN process.

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 404W

Treaty of Nice

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many letters he has received from residents of the Buckingham constituency (a) supporting and (b) opposing the Treaty of Nice. [16167]

Peter Hain: Since January we have received and replied to 3,000 letters on the European Union. The letters have addressed a wide range of different themes related to the EU.

It is not possible to provide a breakdown by constituency without incurring disproportionate cost. We do not keep records of letters from members of the public by constituency.

Entry Clearance

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the backlog of cases is for each group in (a) Islamabad, (b) Karachi, (c) Lahore, (d) Bombay, (e) New Delhi, (f) Colombo, and (g) Dhaka. [16044]

Mr. Bradshaw: The statistics requested are as follows. The number of cases awaiting interview at the end of October is:

Post/settlement queueApplication number in queueLength of queue (weeks)
New Delhi

(9) The visa sections in Lahore, Karachi and Colombo have a standard single queue for all settlement applications.

The three visa issuing posts in Pakistan remain open but are offering a restricted service at present. Islamabad and Karachi continue to accept applications for settlement.

PostNon-settlement number in queueApplications length of queue (days)
New Delhi00

22 Nov 2001 : Column: 405W


Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government have taken to facilitate the entry of Poland into the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [15718]

Peter Hain: As the Prime Minister said in Warsaw in October last year,

This support is backed by practical assistance, through a bilateral Action Plan (consisting of projects to help Poland's reform: available on, and eight British civil servants currently seconded to the Polish government through the EU twinning scheme. We have also discussed with Polish ministers and officials progress on closing the chapters of the acquis communitaire, necessary for accession.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the parliamentary election in Poland on 23 September. [15719]

Peter Hain: The Polish elections resulted in a governing coalition comprising the Democratic Left (SLD), Labour Union and Peasants' Party. We look forward to working closely with the new government. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have already met their new opposite numbers from Poland, and I will be meeting the new Europe Minister in the next few days.


Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are for a future meeting between the Indian Prime Minister and the Pakistani President as a follow up to their meeting in Agra earlier this year. [16564]

Mr. Bradshaw: During the Agra Summit, Prime Minister Vajpayee accepted President Musharraf's invitation to visit Pakistan. We understand that dates have not yet been arranged. However we hope that a further meeting will take place soon.

Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the content of his discussions on (a) nuclear safety, (b) stability in Kashmir and (c) the future make-up of a Government for Afghanistan during his meeting with (i) the Indian Prime Minister and (ii) the Pakistani President. [16565]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has held several meetings recently with Indian and Pakistani interlocutors. The contents of these discussions are confidential under Exemption 1c of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. We continue to work with both the Indian and Pakistan Governments on a range of regional and global issues.

Next Section Index Home Page