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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives from Indonesia; and what was discussed. [54248]

Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Hasan Wirajuda, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in November 2001. They discussed a wide range of issues affecting the UK's bilateral relationship with Indonesia, including the coalition against terrorism and the need for economic and political reform in Indonesia.

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East Timor

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on (a) the activities of the UN force in East Timor and (b) the elections there. [54249]

Mr. Bradshaw: UN Security Council Resolution 1272 of 25 October 1999 established the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET), with a military component of up to 8,950 troops. These troops have carried out the full range of peacekeeping duties and contributed to a large number of reconstruction projects in East Timor. The successor mission to UNTAET, the UN Mission to East Timor (UNMISET) will come into effect on 20 May 2002 when the UN will hand over sovereignty to the democratically elected Government of East Timor. The downsizing of the UNMISET military component (from 5,000 troops) will take place gradually over two years.

More than 90 per cent. of eligible voters turned out for the 30 August 2001 elections for the constituent assembly and more than 80 per cent. of eligible voters turned out for the Presidential election held on 14 April 2002. The campaigns were well run, the elections free and fair and the high turn outs demonstrated a determination to participate fully in the democratic process.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will initiate a further inquiry into the deaths of Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters in East Timor in 1975; and if he will make a statement. [54247]

Mr. Bradshaw: Following the arrival of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), a number of people volunteered fresh information about the events in Balibo in 1975. In the light of this, in August 2000, the UN Prosecutor General took the decision to open an investigation into the deaths. The investigation continues. We will continue to monitor developments closely.


Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 30 April 2002, Official Report, column 649W, on Tanzania, for how long it has been the practice of the Department not to disclose details of individual entry clearance cases in a public forum. [54866]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 29 November 2001, Official Report, column 1080W, when he asked the same question.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contingency arrangements he has made for the possible arrival in the UK of British passport holders currently living in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. [54098]

Maria Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

There are no specific contingency plans in place for the possible arrival in the United Kingdom of UK passport holders currently living in Zimbabwe.

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The Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate, regularly liaise with other Government Departments, non-government organisations and the voluntary sector, in updating contingency plans which may be implemented in an emergency in the event of an influx of persons arriving in the United Kingdom.


Minimum Income Guarantee

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Spelthorne claim the minimum income guarantee. [55037]

Mr. McCartney: As at November 2001 there were 1,800 pensioners claiming the MIG in the parliamentary constituency of Spelthorne.

Catering Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was of (a) in-house canteen and (b) other catering services provided by his Department in each of the last four years. [38916]

Maria Eagle: Subsidies of various sizes for canteen facilities are provided in around 150 of our offices at a cost in 2001–02 of £3.5 million.

Winter Fuel Payment

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) have been eligible for a winter fuel payment and (b) have received a winter fuel payment, including those eligible for backdated payments, in each year since 1997. [46463]

Maria Eagle: Winter fuel payments were issued automatically to around 10 million people receiving certain social security benefits for each of the winters 1997–98, 1998–99 and 1999–2000. Following the extension of the entitlement conditions to most people aged 60 and over, regardless of whether they were receiving a social security benefit, around 1.1 million further payments covering one, two or all three of these years have been issued following successful claims. It is not possible to relate these payments to specific years.

In excess of 11.1 million payments were issued for winter 2000–01. Figures for winter 2001–02 are not yet available but are expected to be similar.

The vast majority of those eligible in each year since 1997 have received payment.

Television Licences

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) number and (b) total cost of television licences paid for by his Department. [48354]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The BBC has confirmed that the number of free licences issued was 3.1 million in 2000–01, and 3.8 million in 2001–02, (the latter figure remains subject to audit).

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For the costs to the Department, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 14 March 2002, Official Report, column 1237W.

Pension Trustees

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what obligations on pension trustees are imposed by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority to notify changes in status of schemes; and how many such changes (a) overall and (b) involving closure have been so notified in each of the last three years. [47657]

Mr. McCartney: In almost all cases it is a legal requirement for pension scheme trustees to register details of their schemes with the Pension Schemes Registry which is run by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra). On registration, trustees are required to tell the Registry for example: whether the scheme is an open, closed or frozen scheme; and whether the scheme provides money purchase benefits, benefits other than money purchase benefits, or a combination of both. Trustees must, by law, notify the Registry of any change to this information within 12 months of the occurrence of that change. If trustees, without reasonable cause, fail to comply with this requirement Opra can fine them.

The numbers of schemes reporting (a) any status change and (b) closure, in each of the last three years, are shown in the table.

Pension schemes that have reported (a) any change of status and (b) closure in each of the last three years

(a) Total number of schemes reporting any changes in status during the year(b) Numbers of schemes closed during the year


1. The information is based on data held by the Pension Schemes Registry (PSR). It covers all schemes including those offering salary-related benefits, money-purchase benefits and mixed benefits as well as schemes where the benefit type is not recorded in the PSR system.

2. A scheme's status will be one of the following. Open schemes admit new members. Closed schemes do not admit new active members, but allow existing members to continue to accrue benefits. Frozen schemes do not allow any future accruals. Schemes starting to wind up are also frozen. Schemes that have completed wind up have no members—all assets are realised and all liabilities are discharged. Column (a) shows all changes in status with an effective date during the specified year.

3. The PSR system holds information on the most recent change in scheme status and the effective date of the change. Because of the way the data are held a later change will overwrite an earlier change, so data for earlier years become increasingly inaccurate. Trustees are required to report changes within 12 months so there is likely to be a lag before the data reflects what is happening currently.

Long-stay Patient Benefit

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to raise the level of benefit given to long-stay patients. [51545]

Mr. McCartney: There are no plans to change the level to which benefits are reduced for hospital in-patients who have been in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

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The hospital downrating rules prevent double provision from public funds as the publicly funded NHS maintains people while they stay in hospital as well as providing free treatment. Social security maintenance benefits are also paid from state funds.

The double provision principle is a key cornerstone of the system of national insurance introduced over 50 years ago.

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the United Kingdom are in receipt of long-stay patient benefit because they suffer from mental illness. [51542]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is not available.

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