Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Dec 2003 : Column 424W—continued


Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what negotiations he is having with Kuwait over the future operation of border crossings at Safwan. [141048]

Mr. Rammell: The UK is not currently engaged in direct negotiations with Kuwait about the Safwan border crossing. Nevertheless, there is a continued dialogue between the Coalition and Kuwait on ways to reduce delays in border crossings. We are awaiting Kuwaiti reaction to a draft Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the US Army in consultation with the Headquarters of Multi-National Division (South East). The MOU aims to ensure the smooth flow of traffic across the border while meeting Kuwaiti requirements for adequate security measures.

Middle East

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the Government abstained in the vote on 16 September on Syria's draft resolution that Israel desist from any act of deportation and cease any threat to the safety of the elected president of the Palestinian Authority. [140591]

Mr. Rammell: The draft resolution before the UN Security Council on 16 September did not recognise both parties' obligations under the roadmap. It could have been detrimental, had it been adopted, to the implementation of the roadmap. As our Permanent Representative to the UN said at the time, we regret that the Security Council was unable to pass a balanced resolution. But the resolution's sponsors would not accommodate UK amendments intended to achieve a better balance, and the UK therefore abstained. A resolution on the situation of President Arafat was subsequently put to an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly. European Union proposals for a more balanced text were then accepted and the UK, with our EU Partners, voted for the resolution.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear the Government's view that expelling or harming President Arafat would be wrong and counterproductive. Israel should not allow its justified anger at the continuing violence to lead to actions that would undermine both the peace process and its own interests.

Olympic Bid

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that Ministers representing the United Kingdom abroad are adequately briefed on the London 2012 Olympic bid. [140507]

Mr. Rammell: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 3 December 2003, Official Report, column 64–65W. As she has made clear, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have in

9 Dec 2003 : Column 425W

place arrangements for overseas missions to alert our Public Diplomacy Policy Department to relevant visits by Ministers so that appropriate briefing on the London 2012 bid can be provided.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are represented on the working group of officials set up to provide advice to London 2012 on the Government interests in the bid and to Ministers on matters relating to the bid, which the Secretary of State also mentioned in her answer.


Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by what means the policy for purchasing timber and timber products of (a) the Foreign Office and (b) each of its overseas missions, ensures that they are obtained from legal and sustainable sources. [141334]

Mr. Rammell: Our procurement policy follows the best practice guidance set out by Defra.

The requirement to purchase only legal and sustainable timber and timber products is laid down in the FCO's purchasing manual, which applies to all staff and contractors procuring such materials on behalf of FCO and to those making major purchases on behalf of overseas missions.

We also mandate the use of the Defra model contract clause on timber source verification in applicable contracts. This is designed to ensure that only timber or timber products from legal and sustainable sources is supplied.

We are considering the practicalities of extending this policy to cover minor building works and furniture purchase which our overseas missions fund from their devolved budgets.


Big Conversation

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what visits (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied each Minister in respect of such visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) each Minister and (B) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if she will make a statement. [143163]

Tessa Jowell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him today by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.

Art Acquisition

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much her Department has spent on the acquisition of works of art in each year since 1997, broken down by amounts spent on (a) paintings and (b) sculpture; what the single most expensive piece of art purchased by her Department

9 Dec 2003 : Column 426W

since 1997 has been; how much it cost; and what the total revenue raised by her Department through sales of its works of art has been since 1997. [142353]

Estelle Morris: In the seven financial years since 2 May 1997 the Government Art Collection has spent a total of £679,657 from its Programme Vote on the purchase of paintings and sculpture. This breaks down as follows:


Financial yearPaintingsSculpture
2 May 1997 to 199872,91915,800
2003 to 2 December 200377,732132

The single most expensive work of art cost £63,450; for security purposes it is not possible to give the details of this item.

The Government Art Collection has sold no works of art from its holdings since May 1997.

Digital Satellite Television

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to encourage BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to broadcast their audio-described programmes on digital satellite as soon as possible. [141994]

Estelle Morris: I understand there are still technical and commercial issues to be solved by broadcasters, manufacturers and platform operators before the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 audio-described programmes are available on satellite. But DCMS officials are working within the Digital Television Action Plan to ensure that audio-description can be received on all platforms.

Fair Trade Products

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether it is the policy of her Department to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. [142803]

Mr. Caborn: DCMS has a catering contract for staff restaurant facilities and hospitality. While the contractors are encouraged to use Fair Trade products the extent to which they are sold is dependent on the commercial success of so doing. Where Fair Trade products have been accepted by the customers as representing good quality and value for money, they continue to be sold. When renewing the contract in the spring of 2004 DCMS will stipulate that Fair Trade goods should be an option wherever possible.

Flying Scotsman

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received about the possible sale by Flying Scotsman plc of the Flying Scotsman locomotive. [142314]

9 Dec 2003 : Column 427W

Estelle Morris: In addition to the letter I have received from the hon. Member for the Vale of York, I have received one other letter about the possible sale of the Flying Scotsman locomotive.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will (a) declare the Flying Scotsman as an historic item of national importance and (b) take steps to prevent the sale abroad of the Flying Scotsman. [142315]

Estelle Morris: An historic train can only be listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 if it can be demonstrated that it has a longstanding permanent home. Moveable objects cannot be added to the list. With regard to a potential sale, I have no locus to intervene in the sale of private property, but if sold to an overseas purchaser the locomotive would of course be subject to the normal export licensing procedures.

National Lottery

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total spending on the National Lottery was in each Northern Ireland constituency in each of the past five years; and what proportion of this money was allocated to good causes in Northern Ireland. [142678]

Estelle Morris: Information on total National Lottery sales is not available by constituency. The available information about National Lottery sales by postcode area is set out in a table placed in the Library, in response to a question from the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (John Barrett).

The information needs to be interpreted with care, since it is dependent on a number of factors, including the Post Office's updating of postcode information on a quarterly basis. The table shows total sales since the lottery started, including year to date sales up to the end of September 2003. The data has been extracted from Camelot's sales database and will not directly reconcile to Camelot's financial reporting.

It is worth noting that the funds that the National Lottery generates for the good causes are shared between 15 distributing bodies—some of which are UK-wide, while others operate only in one of the four home counties—in fixed proportions. There is no necessary correlation between the way in which the proceeds are divided between the 15 distributing bodies, or the way in which grants are allocated by each of the distributors, and the level of ticket sales generated in particular areas. The address of a lottery grant recipient is not necessarily a reliable guide to the area or region which is benefiting from the expenditure (for example, London-based organisations often receive lottery grants but spend the money elsewhere).

Information on the value of grants awarded is not available as a proportion of sales. The following table shows the amount of money awarded to good causes in Northern Ireland in each of the past five calendar years. This is derived from the Department's Awards Database, which is based on information supplied by the distributing bodies.

9 Dec 2003 : Column 428W

Amount of money awarded to good causes in Northern Ireland in each of the past five calendar years


Next Section Index Home Page