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Specialist Schools

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of applications for specialist school status were successful in 2001. [40715]

Mr. Timms: A total of 423 applications for specialist school status were received in 2001 of which 218, or 51.5 per cent., were successful.

Individual Learning Accounts

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans the Government have to replace the individual learning account. [40627]

John Healey: There will be a replacement ILA-type scheme building on the strengths of the ILA and taking into account the findings of the current stakeholder consultation exercise, which are due in early April.

Modern Apprenticeship Schemes

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Government initiatives are in place to attract capable young people to advanced modern apprenticeship schemes. [39710]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 4 March 2002]: Last November, at the launch of the new generation of modern apprenticeships, the Secretary of State announced a £16 million marketing campaign, to be run over three years in England, to promote apprenticeships and boost participation. That campaign, led jointly by the Department and the Learning and Skills Council, started on 4 March. A new television advertisement, aimed at young people, will run throughout March from today.

We have also now agreed with the Learning and Skills Council a detailed implementation plan for the strengthening and expansion of new generation modern apprenticeships, in line with the recommendations of the MA Advisory Committee chaired by Sir John Cassels. From the spring, a range of marketing measures will be introduced to reach not only young people, but also key influencers and employers. At the local level, Learning and Skills Councils, Connexions Partnerships, careers services and other partners will work together to raise awareness of, and foster support for, modern apprenticeships; and to provide young people with essential information and advice on the opportunities available in their communities. This action supports the Government's aims for stronger vocational and work-based learning for young people, as announced in our Green Paper published recently.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what meetings Ministers in her Department have held with the Minister for Children and Young

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People since June 2001; what the date of each meeting was; which Ministers were present; and what subjects were discussed. [40477]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 4 March 2002]: In accordance with Part II of the Open Government Code of Practice, it is not the practice to disclose details of such internal discussions.

Public Appointments (Warrington, North)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people from Warrington, North she has appointed to non-departmental public bodies since 1997. [39448]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 5 March 2002]: Nobody with a home address in the parliamentary constituency of Warrington, North has been appointed to a non-departmental public body sponsored by my Department since 1997.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Romania

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the official diaries of the British Ambassador to Romania, covering meetings with businessmen from Britain over the period June and July 2001, are available. [39512]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 4 March 2002]: As is the normal practice, the Ambassador's diaries covering the period are held in the British Embassy Bucharest. It is not our policy to release internal diaries.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department invited the Romanian Government to visit Britain in November 2001. [39053]

Peter Hain [holding answer 28 February 2002]: The Romanian Prime Minister was invited by the CBI in June 2001 to speak at their annual conference on 6 November. On the advice of the FCO, the Prime Minister agreed to a meeting with Mr. Nastase during this visit.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department (a) made and (b) received regarding Romania's accession to the EU following the successful acquisition of the SIDEX steel plant by LNM/Ispat International. [39016]

Peter Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 14 February 2002, Official Report, columns 611–12W.

Non-governmental Organisations

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list non- governmental organisations operating in the South West Region that receive public funds from his Department; and what amount of annual funding they received in the most recent year for which figures are available. [39187]

Mr. Straw: The information is not available in the format requested and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

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Angola

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the prospects for peace in Angola; and if he will make a statement. [39725]

Mr. MacShane: The recent death of UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi, offers Angola a unique opportunity to move the peace process forwards, after nearly three decades of civil war. We look to the Government of Angola to take the initiative in building dialogue. We call on the Angolans to respond positively.

This is also a chance for the Government of Angola to turn their full attention to addressing the worsening humanitarian crisis and the rebuilding of Angola's infrastructure.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to hold discussions with the Angolan Government. [39611]

Mr. MacShane: We have invited Foreign Minister Miranda of Angola to visit the UK at the end of March. During his visit he will hold substantive bilateral discussions with UK Ministers.

Non-Refoulement

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the EU on the compliance of national states which receive aid from the EU in respect of non-refoulement; and if he will make a statement; [39870]

Mr. MacShane: We have not had any specific discussions on aid dispersion in respect of non-refoulement with EU Governments.

However, when considering overseas aid the UK Government and the EU take into account the human rights record of the receiving country.

We are committed to the principle of non-refoulement and support UNHCR's efforts to ensure that states are aware of, and act on, their obligations to protect refugees and persons seeking asylum.

Foreign Investment (Government Assistance)

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many companies employing under 150 people in the UK seeking to invest in a particular country, have been (a) granted access to the ambassador, (b) granted ministerial attention and (c) recommended to the Prime Minister for endorsement during the last three years. [39714]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 4 March 2002]: Ministers and ambassadors lobby frequently in support of UK commercial interests in overseas markets. I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Members for East

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Carmarthen and Dinefwr (Adam Price) and for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner) on 14 February 2002, Official Report, columns 610–11W.

The information requested by the right hon. Gentleman is subject to commercial confidentiality (exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information applies).

Far East Prisoners of War

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held in the last six months with the US Government about the position of Allied POWs held in Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. [40613]

Mr. MacShane: None.

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations in the last six months he has received about the status of the 1951 San Francisco treaty with Japan. [40616]

Mr. MacShane: I held a meeting with former far east prisoners of war on 15 January to hear their views on this issue. I have also been in correspondence with members of a former far east prisoner of war group on the subject.


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