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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the target time will be in 200203 for (a) ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in his Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: The target time set in the Cabinet Office for 200203 for ministers to reply to letters received from hon. members has been set at 91 per cent. of replies within 15 working days. The Cabinet Office also aims to clear correspondence received directly from members of the public within 15 working days.
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Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office deploys a range of security measures to protect property from theft or damage. This includes access control, CCTV monitoring, guarding personnel, routine security checks, supply of secure furniture and the provision of advice and guidance to staff.
At the strategic level, my Department is working towards compliance with British Standard 7799: Information Security Management. This work includes revision of departmental security policies, a new security training and awareness programme, improved data collection and trend analysis and a new team and structure for managing the Department's security needs.
Mr. Leslie: In its response to the Public Administration Select Committee's Second Report of Session 200001 on Ministerial Accountability and Parliamentary Questions, the Government made clear its commitment to providing prompt and accurate answers to Parliamentary Questions. This continues to be the Government's position.
Mr. Leslie: The figures are in table form, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. They show the total number of staff in each department/agency reported to the Cabinet Office at 1 October 2001. The figures include submissions from all departments and agencies.
The figures are shown on a headcount basis, and are rounded to the nearest 10. The part-time percentage figures are calculated by taking the part-time staff as a percentage of the total staff, rounded to the nearest 0.1 per cent.
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Mr. Leslie: Those who are appointed to serve on the boards of non-departmental public bodies may be provided with a pension at the discretion of the sponsoring department in consultation with the Treasury. The usual requirement is that to be eligible for a pension, board members should be paid for at least two days' work a week and have executive responsibilities.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General what recent assessment she has made of whether the PSA target to increase by March from 93 per cent. to 100 per cent. the proportion of prosecution witness expenses sent no later than 10 working days from receipt of a correctly completed claim form will be met. 
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress on the UK's contribution to the clear up of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. 
Since the start of the UK Government's new £84 million programme to help address the nuclear legacy in the former Soviet Union in April 2001, we have taken forward a number of initiatives recognised as priority areas for the programme. These include:
Continuing the dialogue with our G8 partners regarding the disposition of at least 34 tonnes of Russian weapons grade plutonium declared surplus for defence requirements;
Identifying and negotiating a portfolio of bilateral and multilateral project proposals for UK support focused on NW Russia associated with spent nuclear fuel and decommissioned nuclear submarines;
Negotiating a legal framework agreement with Russia to cover liabilities, site access and tax issues etc. associated with UK funded projects (completion of this agreement is expected this spring);
Developing co-ordinated strategies for future work to prevent the transfer of nuclear weapons expertise in Russia to countries of proliferation concern (focus on closed cities in Russia) and addressing social impact issues associated with nuclear power plant closure;
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Developing a strategy for the provision of UK assistance to the Kazak Government in the safe and irreversible shutdown of the fast breeder reactor in Aktau;
Initiated 34 projects worth some £2.5 million in eight beneficiary countries, to enhance power plant nuclear safety;
Contributed some £2.9 million to aid the closer of Chernobyl type reactors in EU accession candidate countries (e.g. Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia).
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 March 2002, Official Report, column 1293W, what consideration has been given to having the trial of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh held in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases have been brought against his Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We do not collect central records of all cases in which the Human Rights Act 1998 is relied on. Human rights are now integrated in the general law and are rarely the sole basis for a challenge. We do monitor centrally those cases which we consider may be of particular significance to this Department. We have recorded five cases to date.
We do not collect separate information centrally about the costs to public funds, legal fees or compensation payments in cases which include a human rights issue. In most cases it will be difficult to single out associated costs relating to the human rights element.
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