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Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is towards Somaliland. [99459]

Mr. Rammell: It is UK policy to promote peace and stability throughout Somalia. We provide humanitarian and modest development assistance in areas where security allows access. We welcome the progress which has been made in establishing a stable and democratic administration in Somaliland. We are considering how we might increase our development assistance there, and an assessment team will visit in the near future. We also support the talks between Somali leaders taking place in Kenya as part of the IGAD National Reconciliation Process. We hope these will make possible an eventual political settlement between Somaliland and the rest of Somalia.


Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what lessons have been learned from the performance of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team in order to ensure that the new Verification and Monitoring Team can respond (a) rapidly and (b) effectively to reports of fighting within southern Sudan. [100704]

Mr. Rammell: Representatives of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the Government of Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, observers at the Sudan peace talks and the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) have been meeting in Nairobi to discuss the establishment of the verification mechanism envisaged in the Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on Cessation of Hostilities, signed on 4 February. The verification monitoring team will initially be based on an expanded CPMT because the latter has assets on the ground. A fuller mission will be established as soon as is practically possible. We expect the designers of the mission to draw lessons from the experiences of the CPMT. However the CPMT and the new mission have essentially different mandates and terms of reference. The UK stands ready to provide financial and practical support to the new mission.

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that the Verification and Monitoring Team (a) publish and (b) disseminate reports of their investigations into attacks on civilians in Sudan without delay. [100706]

Mr. Rammell: The Verification and Monitoring Team will report to the committee established by the Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cessation of Hostilities, signed on 4 February. The committee will arrange publication and dissemination

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of reports. Attacks on civilians will continue to be monitored by the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team which reports to the US Government.

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to monitor (a) abductions, (b) rape and (c) recruitment of children during the recent fighting around Sudan's oil fields. [100707]

Mr. Rammell: Abduction of women and children is a serious and distressing issue to which we pay particular attention. We continue to work closely with the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) which is working with UNICEF and Save the Children (UK), and with the Rift Valley Institute. The Government of Sudan has made clear publicly that it is committed to the success of the Committee and has said that it sees abduction as totally unacceptable and contrary to both Islam and to Christianity.


Privy Council Office

Mr. Laws: To ask the President of the Council for what reasons there was a change in staffing of the Privy Council Office between 1998–99 and 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [99889]

Mr. Robin Cook: The following Privy Council Office staffing figures are taken from the civil service staff in post statistics published by the Cabinet Office ( and the additional information requested is provided in the following table:

Privy Council Office (PCO) staffing

Date ofpublishedfiguresNumber of full-time equivalent permanent staff(15)Commentary
April 199930
April 200030Lord Privy Seal's Office transferred to Cabinet Office. Parliamentary Secretary and staff appointed.
April 200140(16)Additional staff appointed to support Ministers; manage new accommodation; strengthen corporate services so as to manage central initiatives; and administer Judicial Committee's devolution and human rights jurisdictions.
April 200240

(15) These figures exclude casual and temporary staff.

(16) This figures includes staff increases authorised in the previous financial year, which were initially covered by casual and temporary staff.


Abandoned Vehicles

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that police authorities deal with the disposal of abandoned vehicles in a cost-effective manner; [99327]

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Mr. Denham: The statutory responsibility for removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles lies with local authorities rather than police authorities.

Police constables, in addition to local authority employees, can remove vehicles that have been abandoned without authority and any vehicle, whether or not abandoned, that has broken down or been left in such a position that it causes danger or obstruction or breaches parking restrictions. The majority of abandoned vehicles are unlicensed, and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has separate powers to remove unlicensed vehicles. We are working with the interested parties to ensure the most effective use locally of the different powers that are available.

In April 2002 we brought in important new measures to improve dealing with abandoned vehicles. These enable local authorities to remove and dispose of abandoned vehicles in a shorter timescale, act on behalf of DVLA to remove unlicensed vehicles and have easier and quicker access to the DVLA database to seek to identify the owners of abandoned vehicles, so that action can be taken against them. More recently, we have made it possible for Community Support Officers and accredited community safety officers to have the powers of constables for dealing with abandoned vehicles.

In the longer term we aim to make it less likely that vehicles will be abandoned. Continuous registration will from 1 January next year provide that the person registered as keeper on the DVLA database remains liable for a vehicle until DVLA has been properly notified of a change of keeper.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the timetable for implementing the recommendations of the House of Lords report on the use of animals in scientific procedures; [100468]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Government's response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on animals in scientific procedures was published on 20 January 2003 (column 5729). Copies have been placed in the Library.

The Government welcome the Select Committee's report. We note in particular, and endorse, both its finding that animal experiments are currently necessary to develop human and veterinary medicines and to protect humans and the environment, and that such experiments should continue to be stringently regulated to minimise the suffering of the animals involved.

In our response, we announced plans to publish summaries of programmes of work authorised under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, subject to safeguards for personal and confidential information. We also acknowledged the significant concern within

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the scientific community about the possible repeal of section 24 of the 1986 Act, the "confidentiality clause" and we announced our intention to consult further with scientific stakeholders before reaching final decisions on its future.

We will pursue these issues and the other matters arising from our response to the Select Committee's report over the coming months. Discussions regarding section 24 are in hand and a number of actions have already been completed.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many anti-social behaviour orders have been served by each local authority in the UK. [99328]

Mr. Denham: Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) were introduced from 1 April 1999. Information held centrally up to 31 May 2000 is for the number of ASBOs issued within England and Wales by police force area only.

From 1 June 2000 official statistics on the number of ASBOs issued within England and Wales are based on quarterly returns from Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs). From copies of the orders we have been able to identify local authority areas involved. The number of notifications received by the Home Office of ASBOs issued within each MCC area, up to 30 September 2002 (latest available), can be found in descending order in the following table.

Tables showing data on the number issued by local authority have been placed in the Library.

We are aware that the numbers of ASBOs made within England and Wales have been consistently under reported in returns made by magistrates courts and are considering how reporting can be improved.

Information relating to Northern Ireland is a matter for The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Matters related to Scotland are for the Scottish Executive.

Table A: The number of anti-social behaviour orders issued within England and Wales, as reported to the Home Office, from 1 April 1999 to 30 September 2002, by MCC and police force area.

MCC/Police force areaASBOs issued
West Midlands96
West Mercia65
Greater Manchester55
GLMCA/Metropolitan Police(17)46
Avon and Somerset32
West Yorkshire22
South Yorkshire15
Devon and Cornwall12
North Yorkshire11
Thames Valley11
South Wales7
North Wales1
Dyfed Powys
England and Wales706

(17) Including City of London

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