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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 8 July 2002


Military Training Budgets

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the budgets for the training of military and security personnel from overseas (a) in the UK and (b) overseas for (i) each of the past two years, (ii) the current year and (iii) future years for which estimates are available. [65261]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Funding for the training of military and security personnel (including police forces, customs and border guards) from overseas comes from a variety of FCO departmental budgets. It supports FCO objectives such as promoting international peace and stability, and improved quality of life world-wide through good governance and crime reduction. A breakdown of approximate expenditure as requested by financial year (f/y) is:


F/y 2000–01F/y 2001–02F/y 2002–03
UK training2,964,040671,829157,431
Overseas training5,676,1884,690,9094,890,181

Future estimates are not yet available.

The reduction of FCO expenditure in f/ys 2001–02 and 2002–03 does not reflect a reduction in activity. It is because the FCO contributed a large part of its military and security training funding to the two cross- departmental Conflict Prevention Pools (involving FCO, MOD, DfID and HMT) established in April 2001 for Africa and the rest of the world. Each of the four Government Departments made a contribution to the pools. Many of the training activities continue to be supported by the pools because they achieve HMG's conflict prevention objectives overseas. In f/y 2001–02, the Africa Pool had a budget of £50 million and this will remain the same through to f/y 2003–04. The Global Pool was allocated £60 million for f/y 2001–02, £66 million for this financial year and will have £76 million to spend in f/y 2003–04.

Information on the FCO's ASSIST training budget f/y 2000–01, which was the principle contribution to the pools is available from an earlier answer given by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw) to my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross) on 10 January 2002, Official Report, column 957W.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of his

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Department have been employed in its regulatory impact unit in the past five years; and if he will make a statement. [65968]

Mr. Straw: As a non-regulatory Department, the FCO does not have a dedicated regulatory impact unit. Since 1997 issues relating to regulatory impact have been dealt with by a member of FCO staff as part of his overall duties.

Visa Applications

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Egyptian students seeking to enter the UK on medical grounds have been refused visas in the past year; and if he will make a statement. [65234]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 3 July 2002]: We do not maintain statistics on the number of entry clearance applications received, granted or refused on the basis of seeking to enter the UK on medical grounds. Nor do we at present maintain statistics on the nationality of applicants, although we are currently looking at ways of improving our information technology to enable us to do so.

Export Licences

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government consider applications for export licences for the supply of military equipment for incorporation into final products for possible onward export; and if he will make a statement. [67534]

Mr. Straw: In recent years there have been far reaching changes in the defence industry in the United Kingdom, the rest of Europe and the United States. Against the background of the end of the Cold War and the resulting reduction in defence budgets world wide, the defence industry has been subject to massive rationalisation. One consequence of this change is that increasingly defence goods are manufactured from components sourced in several different countries.

This restructuring of the defence industry presents new challenges for the Government's approach to export licensing. Many export licence applications are for goods which are to be incorporated in defence equipment in a second country, which thereafter may be exported to a third country.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria set out in a statement by my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), Official Report, column 199–203W on 26 October 2000, make clear that they "will not be applied mechanistically" to decisions on export licence applications, but rather "on a case-by-case basis, using judgment and common sense". The criteria do not provide specific guidance on what approach should be adopted in these "incorporation" cases.

Other EU and NATO member states face the same rapidly changing environment for their defence industries as the UK. Enquiries by Her Majesty's Government suggest, however, that while as yet there is no common policy in such cases, many of our European partners recognise the need to adopt a special approach towards cases involving incorporation for onward export.

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After very careful consideration, Her Majesty's Government have, therefore, decided that it is necessary to set out how it will in future approach licence applications for goods where it is understood that the goods are to be incorporated into products for onward export. The Government will continue to assess such applications on a case by case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, while at the same time having regard to, inter alia, the following factors:

Against this background the Government have considered its response to a number of applications for the export of parts, subsystems and components to the USA for incorporation into equipment eventually destined for other countries. These include Head Up Display units (HUDs) for incorporation in F-16 aircraft scheduled for delivery to Israel in 2003. The UK content in F-16s is less than 1 per cent. in value, but the supply of HUDs is part of a long-standing collaboration in this US programme. Any interruption to the supply of these components would have serious implications for the UK's defence relations with the United States.

The Government continue to be seriously concerned about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. There has to be a break to the cycle of violence, which has brought so much misery to both peoples, and a resumption of the peace process. We are working closely with partners including the US to reduce the level of tension and to bring about a sustainable and peaceful settlement through negotiation.

The United States Government maintains a strong and effective export licensing system. The Quadripartite Committee has noted that the United States' conventional arms transfer policy

At the same time the Government carefully take into account the importance of maintaining a strong and dynamic defence relationship with the US. This relationship is fundamental to the UK's national security as well as to our ability to play a strong and effective role in the world. The importance of this role has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent months. There are

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also wider benefits to the UK's national security of maintaining a strong indigenous defence industrial capability.

Taking account of all these considerations, the Government considered that the applications should be approved, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has today granted licences for the export of the HUDs, and other equipment to the USA. The Government will apply similar considerations to similar applications in future.

European Foreign Ministers

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of European Foreign Ministers; and when it is. [67124]

Peter Hain: The General Affairs Council meets on 22–23 July.

The provisional agenda proposed by the presidency includes, under Horizontal Affairs: the work programme for the presidency and for the Commission; progress of work in other council configurations; enlargement; follow-up to the European Council in Seville: and follow-up to the EU Action Plan on terrorism. Under External Affairs the Council is expected to discuss: the EU's priorities in the area of conflict prevention; the middle east; western Balkans; Zimbabwe; EU-US trade (steel); preparation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development; Afghanistan and ESDP.

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