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6 Mar 2003 : Column 1180W—continued

Brazil

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Brazil regarding the disappearance of street children. [100205]

Mr. Rammell: We maintain an on-going dialogue with Brazil on human rights issues covering both the international and domestic dimension. Our embassy in Brasilia are in regular touch with relevant Brazilian institutions on a range of human rights concerns, including allegations of abuses against the most vulnerable groups in Brazil such as women, the indigenous and street children. We attach particular

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importance to work with the Brazilian Police Service and Prison Service where there remain a number of important human rights concerns to be addressed.

I look forward to taking these discussions forward when I next visit Brazil in May 2003.

Turkey

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with his Turkish counterpart concerning the decision of the Turkish parliament on their Government's request to allow UN troops to use Turkey as a place from which to attack Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [101234]

Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has not discussed the decision of the Turkish Parliament on the deployment to Turkey of foreign troops with his Turkish counterpart.

West Papua

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Government of Indonesia on human rights abuses in West Papua; and if he will make a statement. [100275]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Shortly after the murder of Papuan leader, Theys Eluay, in November 2001, a representative of the British embassy in Jakarta met the Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs and the Minister for the Development of Eastern Indonesia to raise our concern and disappointment, and to call for a thorough investigation. The EU issued a statement expressing its concern at Theys Eluay's murder. The UK also took part in an EU mission to Papua in March 2002 to examine the issue of human rights, and met Indonesian Government officials in Papua to voice our concerns. British embassy staff regularly visit Papua and raise the issue of human rights with Indonesian Government representatives there.

NORTHERN IRELAND

BBC (Ulster-Scots)

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Linguistic Diversity Branch of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has offered guidance to the BBC in Northern Ireland on how, as a public service broadcaster, it might meet the obligations of the Council of Europe Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in relation to the Ulster-Scots language. [100441]

Angela Smith: The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages does not place specific obligations on public service broadcasters in relation to the Ulster-Scots language. Linguistic Diversity Branch has however engaged with the BBC in meetings at both production and managerial level aimed at encouraging increased awareness of the Ulster-Scots language and culture and UK Government commitments in relation to linguistic diversity.

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Building Regulations

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Part R of the Northern Ireland Building Regulations will be revised. [101004]

Mr. Pearson: In line with normal practice, work on the revision of Part R of the Northern Ireland Building Regulations will commence when the amended Regulations in respect of access for disabled people are published in England and Wales.

Industrial and Provident Society Legislation

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to reform Industrial and Provident Society legislation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [87885]

Mr. Pearson: As I advised in my replies to questions Nos. 86628 and 86630, I announced on 29 November details of a major review of Industrial and Provident Society law in Northern Ireland. It is timely to carry out such a review to ensure that legislation meets the needs of members and a modern Northern Ireland economy, and work has already commenced.

Post-primary Education

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Department of Education officials are involved in the Review of Post Primary Education; and how officials in the Department are progressing the issue of pupil profiles contained in the Review of Post-Primary Education in Northern Ireland. [88795]

Jane Kennedy: A team of 11 officials, including support staff, is taking forward the Review of Post-Primary Education. No decisions have been taken about pupil profiles. This is one of the issues for discussion in my round of meetings with political parties and in the meetings between Department of Education officials, the education sector and representatives of parents to discuss the next steps in the post-primary review.

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if it is his policy to retain a system of selection in post-primary education; and if he will make a statement. [88921]

Jane Kennedy: No decisions have been taken about selection in post-primary education. In the responses to consultation a range of suggestions were made for future post-primary arrangements, including options involving academic selection. I am currently meeting political parties and Department of Education officials have met with the education sector and will be meeting representatives of parents, to discuss these options and the next steps in the post-primary review.

Springvale Campus Project

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Springvale Campus project Outline Business Case has satisfied the Treasury Taskforce Guidelines with respect to signing off criteria. [100067]

Jane Kennedy: In the preparation of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for the Main Campus of the Springvale project the University of Ulster determined that the project was not affordable or viable from its

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perspective. Consequently, no OBC was presented to the Department for Employment and Learning for assessment.

Stranmillis College

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to legislate to regularise the legal standing of Stranmillis College under devolution. [100065]

Jane Kennedy: The Department for Employment and Learning, in consultation with the Board of Governors, is currently considering whether to recommend any change to the legal status of Stranmillis University College.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Fuel Allowance

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was of the fuel allowance in 2001–02. [99152]

Mr. McCartney: Latest estimated figures for winter 2001/2 show that expenditure on Winter Fuel Payments was £1.7 billion.

Pension Fund Trustees

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what requirement is placed or is planned to be placed upon pension fund trustees who state that account is taken of the social, ethical and environmental issues to report to members on performance and outcome. [99264]

Mr. McCartney: Section 35 of the Pensions Act 1995 requires trustees to produce a Statement of Investment Principles in which they are required to state the extent to which social, environmental or ethical considerations are taken into account. They are also required to produce an annual investment report.

From March 2003, we are undertaking an evaluation of pension scheme trustees' investment decision-making in the light of the Myners report on institutional investment in the UK. Information on socially responsible investment will also be collected as part of this evaluation, and we will consider whether further measures are appropriate following that review.

Benefit Payments

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance he has given to the Benefits Agency regarding the payment of benefits from April in cash from Post Offices. [98080]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) on 27 January 2003, Official Report, column 650W.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to publicise the availability of Post Office card accounts to those who wish their benefits to be paid in cash at Post Offices; and if he will make a statement. [98081]

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Malcolm Wicks: Customers will be supplied with information which clearly sets out their account options and enables them to freely choose the account which is right for them. This information will include details on accounts available at Post Office branches.


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