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3 Jun 2003 : Column 238W—continued

Ursuline School

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Crosby concerning Ursuline School, Blundellsands, Liverpool. [116881]

Mr. Miliband: I replied to the hon. Member's letter on 26 May 2003.

Wivelsfield School

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent communications he has received from East Sussex county council regarding the need for a replacement school at Wivelsfield; and if he will make a statement. [115794]

Mr. Miliband: The Department has not received any formal communication from East Sussex local education authority regarding Wivelsfield Primary School. Most capital funding for schools is now allocated by formula, allowing local education authorities greater opportunity to plan and invest their resources, in accordance with the priorities identified through their Asset Management planning process.

Work Placements

Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to (a) introduce central co-ordination for work placements and (b) link work placements more closely to NVQ and GNVQ qualifications. [107925]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 8 April 2003]: Overall responsibility for work placement arrangements rests with the local education authority or school governing body on its behalf. The Department provides £25 million a year, via the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), for school/business links activities. Around £10 million goes towards the costs of the work experience programme. Central guidance and advice is provided by the Department and LSC to help local partners provide high quality placements. This guidance emphasises the importance of ensuring placements are properly integrated within pupils' programmes of study, but we recognise the need for improvements in practice. As I said in my answer to the hon. Member on 8 April, we are taking steps to promote improvements in the context of our wider plans for work related learning.

For learners to gain a full NVQ they must complete a significant amount of learning in the workplace. Placements are usually arranged by the learning provider. At the start of the placement a training plan is agreed which sets out the learning required to gain specific units of the NVQ.



Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the opium poppy fields in Afghanistan have been destroyed; and what area this covers. [116416]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: In April 2002 President Karzai announced an eradication programme to tackle the 2002 opium poppy crop. The Afghan authorities tell us that they succeeded in destroying 17,300 hectares of opium poppies. In light of the UN estimate that 74,000 hectares were cultivated in 2002 this amounted to approximately 23 per cent. of the total crop.

The Afghan Government are also carrying out eradication operations to combat the 2003 opium poppy crop. It has not yet produced figures for how much of this year's harvest it has managed to destroy. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is conducting a survey into the 2003 Afghan opium poppy crop. The results should be published in the autumn.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much opium has been (a) impounded and (b) destroyed by the Afghan Transitional Administration in each month since January 2002. [116417]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Afghan Interim and Transitional Administrations have not produced figures for the amount of illicit drugs seized since coming into office. Press reports of seizures throughout Afghanistan since the middle of 2002 have not been verified either by the central authorities or international organisations. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime compiles annual seizure statistics globally but has no reliable figures for Afghanistan.

Mrs. Esther Anwar

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to process the visa application from Mrs.Esther Anwar, the wife of a constituent; and if he will make a statement on his Department's handling of this case. [116502]

Mr. Rammell: I am withholding the information requested under exemption 5 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

It is not our practice to disclose details of individual entry clearance cases in a public forum. However, I will write to the hon. Member with regard to this matter.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions took place between the Government and the England and Wales Cricket Board on the humanitarian situation and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe in relation to the tour of the Zimbabwean cricket team. [115441]

Mr. Rammell: Government officials last discussed the cricket world cup with the England Cricket Board (ECB) on 23 January. They discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, including humanitarian and human rights issues.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell) made clear in her letter of 24 March to Tim Lamb of the ECB that the Government has no objection to the Zimbabwe Cricket team and its management and supporters coming to this country, provided individuals subject to the EU travel ban are not part of that touring party.

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Whilst we did not support the England team going to Zimbabwe during the World Cup because of the propaganda opportunities that could have afforded the Mugabe regime, we do not wish to stand in the way of Zimbabwean teams competing here. Indeed that has been a stance backed and endorsed by Henry Olonga, one of the Zimbabwe cricketers who protested against Mugabe's regime during the world cup.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Zimbabwe over the expulsion from Zimbabwe of Mr. Andrew Meldrum. [115150]

Mr. Rammell: As Mr. Meldrum is an American citizen, the Government do not have formal grounds for making consular representations on his behalf. However, the High Commissioner in Harare raised Mr. Meldrum's case with the acting Secretary (most senior official) at Zimbabwe's Ministry of Foreign Affairs ahead of Andrew Meldrum's deportation on 16 May 2003. He urged compliance with court orders barring deportation, and stressed that denying US consular officials access to Mr. Meldrum was unacceptable. High Commission staff have also kept in close touch with Mr. Meldrum in recent weeks, as well as attending the High Court hearings into his case and assisting Guardian staff when they visited Harare earlier this month.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114434]

Mr. Rammell: In the year 2002–03 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's separately identifiable expenditure on advertising totalled £602,670. The bulk of this comprised of media spend for consular publicity campaigns, which are aimed at encouraging UK travellers to be better prepared before going overseas, and advertising for recruitment purposes.

In the year 2003–04 planned separately identifiable expenditure on advertising totals £317,000.

Plans for expenditure on advertising in 2004–05 have yet to be made.

There was in 2002–03, and is likely to be in 2003–04, additional expenditure in the UK and overseas that, under FCO accounting procedures, cannot be separately identified as advertising; to attempt to disaggregate this would incur disproportionate costs.

All figures provided represent the expenditure of the FCO and not of Wilton Park, our only agency, or our 10 non-departmental public bodies; these details are not held centrally and cannot therefore be compiled without incurring disproportionate costs.

The Government are committed to using only cost effective channels to deliver the publicity necessary to support policy implementation. Paid advertising is only resorted to after careful consideration of the cost-benefits.

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Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the forced evacuation of Gana and Trivi bushmen from their land because of diamond mining in Botswana; and if he will make a statement. [116067]

Mr. Rammell: The Government of Botswana have assured us that diamond mining is not in any way linked to their decision to stop essential services to those living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

British Overseas Territories

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the EU on British Overseas Territories. [115663]

Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with the EU on British Overseas Territories. There are regular discussions between UK and EU officials on areas of particular interest to our Overseas Territories.

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