Previous Section Index Home Page

17 Mar 2003 : Column 551W—continued

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the United States Administration in respect of its interrogation of the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad about their father's alleged terrorist activities. [102728]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: None.

UN Security Council

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what visits are being undertaken by Ministers to non-permanent member countries on the UN Security Council; what visits have been undertaken in the last month; what issues of (a) aid and (b) trade are and have been on the agenda; what offers are and have been made to those countries by the UK Government which are favourable to them, with the financial value of each such offer; whether the communication of a favourable arrangement has been made to any of these countries on behalf of another nation; and if he will make a statement. [100994]

Mr. Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited Spain on 27–28 February. My noble Friend Baroness Amos visited Guinea, Angola and Cameroon on 25–28 February and again on 10–12 March. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Mike O'Brien) visited Syria on 4–5 March. My hon. Friend the Minister for Europe (Mr. MacShane) visited Bulgaria on 6 March.

No aid or trade issues have been discussed during the visits. They have not been used to communicate any offers from third countries.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what independent legal advice is available to the Secretariat of the United Nations Security Council. [102073]

Mr. Rammell: The Secretariat of the United Nations is advised by the Office of Legal Affairs, which forms part of the Secretariat.

17 Mar 2003 : Column 552W

West Africa

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Baroness Amos had with the Government of Guinea regarding the present dispute between Liberia and Sierra Leone during her recent visit to Africa; what assessment he has made of the impact of this dispute on the region; what steps his Department is taking to address this situation; and if he will make a statement. [101774]

Mr. Rammell: During my noble Friend Baroness Amos's visit to Guinea on 25 February, she had discussions with President Conté about regional issues, including Liberia. The Government of Liberia continues to ignore the demands of the UN Security Council by sponsoring armed groups in the region and encouraging regional instability. Together with our international partners, our objective remains to contain these activities, including by maintaining effective UN sanctions against Liberia.


Officers of the House (Travel)

Mr. Maples: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission which officers of the House of Commons are allowed to travel by air (a) first class and (b) business class at public expense when on official duties. [102895]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The rules for air travel by officials on the business of the House are set out in the Staff Handbook which is available on the parliamentary intranet. Business class or first class travel is not normally allowed for flights within the UK. For flights outside the UK, officials are required to seek best value for money, including making use of discounted fares where possible. When travelling with Members, however, officials are normally allowed to book seats of the same class as the Members they are accompanying.


Government Legal Advice

Lynne Jones: To ask the Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on the publication of advice provided to the Government by (a) government law officers and (b) members of the private bar. [103471]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) on 14 March 2003, Official Report, column 482W, and the further answer my right hon. Friend, the Solicitor-General has given the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) today.


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Prime Minister what UK military forces have been committed to UNIKOM;

17 Mar 2003 : Column 553W

and whether these forces are mandated to resist all violations of the demilitarised zone on the Iraq-Kuwait border. [103832]

The Prime Minister: The UK currently contributes 11 military observers to UNIKOM, one of whom also acts as Commander of the British Contingent.

UNIKOM is mandated to take physical action to prevent small-scale violations of the demilitarised zone.


Asylum Seekers

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 823W, on asylum seekers, what measures are in place to ensure that unaccompanied child asylum seekers receive care and support from council social services under the Children Act 1989. [103400]

Jacqui Smith: When an unaccompanied child arrives at an English port or airport the immigration service will refer him/her immediately to the relevant local authority social services department, which will be responsible for providing him/her with support under the Children Act 1989. Unaccompanied children can also claim asylum in-country. In such cases, they will either already have presented to a social services department as a child in need, or will be referred on by the immigration service.

NHS Estates (PFI)

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the public sector team of the fraud squad is investigating the NHS estates PFI scheme; and if he will make a statement. [97530]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 12 February 2003]: NHS Estates is not directly involved in any private finance initiative transactions. NHS Estates is, however, in the process of a one-off sale of Retained Estate and its trading arm, Inventures. No suggestion of fraud has come to light concerning the proposed joint venture to derive the best value from the Retained Estate and Inventures.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answers of 27 February, refs. 95076 and 98813, for what reasons the delay in replying to the letters of (a) 21 November and (b) 8 October 2002 occurred. [100941]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 5 March 2003]: I apologise for the delays you have been experiencing in receiving replies to your correspondence.

Unfortunately, during the course of the year there have been several issues, which have contributed to the overall delays in providing response and has led to outstanding correspondence. The introduction of a new information technology system to track correspondence throughout the Department took longer to bed in than expected.

17 Mar 2003 : Column 554W

The Customer Service Centre was established on 1 December to improve the Department's performance in handling telephone, written and e-mail inquiries from members of the public and their representatives. One of the first tasks of the Customer Services Centre has been to clear outstanding cases and to put systems in place to prevent this kind of backlog from building up again.

Emergency Medical Personnel

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans his Department has to increase the number of emergency medical personnel (a) on motorbikes, (b) in ambulances and (c) in cars; [101314]

Mr. Lammy: Decisions of this nature are for each individual ambulance trust to determine locally. This information is not held centrally.

Foundation Hospitals

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the role is of the proposed regulator for foundation hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [102180]

Mr. Hutton: Our policy on the main functions of the Independent Regulator is set out in paragraph 3.28 of "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts". The Health & Social Care (Community Health & Standards) Bill makes provision for the Independent Regulator to authorise applications for national health service foundation trust status; set and revise the terms under which each NHS foundation trust operates and provides additional powers to intervene in the running of an NHS foundation trust in specified circumstances.

Hospital Amalgamations

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the hospital amalgamations that have taken place in the last five years; and what the total number of acute beds available in those hospitals was (a) before and (b) after the amalgamation. [91588]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not available.

Next Section Index Home Page