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Winter Fuel Allowance

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many senior citizens in Bury, North were in receipt of the winter fuel allowance in each of the last seven years. [198321]

Malcolm Wicks: The number of senior citizens in Bury, North constituency who have received a winter fuel payment in each year since 1999–2000 is in the table. Information relating to the 1997–98 and 1998–99 winters is not available.
Payments made

Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.
IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. samples.

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European Union

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many pages of the acquis communautaire are in operation in the United Kingdom. [197796]

Mr. MacShane: The acquis communautaire is not a document. The term, translated as 'Community Patrimony', stands for the wide-ranging principles, practices, policies, obligations, objectives and laws that have been agreed or have developed in the European Union. These include, most noticeably, the Treaties in their entirety, as well as all existing EU legislation and Court of Justice judgements.

In principle, all of the acquis communautaire applies to the UK (indeed to all EU Member States) with the exception of opt-outs and legislation yet to be implemented.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government are taking to increase awareness among UK citizens of the work of the European Union. [197762]

Mr. MacShane: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading a programme of activities to raise awareness of the EU. We are producing and distributing a range of materials to communicate the facts about the EU, including the Guide to the European Union, which was launched on 1 November.

Additionally, I am leading a programme of ministerial visits around the country to discuss European issues with the public. These include business seminars, cultural events, radio-phone-ins and public debates. We are also developing our e-communications and have a dedicated EU website. I also provide interviews and articles for a wide range of publications.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what research has been undertaken to monitor the treatment of asylum seekers deported from Britain; and what proportion of failed asylum seekers suffered imprisonment, torture or death within 12 months of their deportation from the UK in the last period for which figures are available. [193468]

Mr. Browne: I have been asked to reply.

Each asylum claim is considered on its own merits taking account of relevant country information, caselaw and factors specific to the individual claim. Where a decision has been taken that an individual would not be
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at risk if returned to their country and that decision has been upheld by the independent appellate authorities we consider that it is safe for that individual to be removed.

We do not consider it necessary to research the treatment of failed asylum seekers who have been removed in accordance with the proper procedures. However, any reliable information about the treatment of returned asylum seekers in a particular country will be referred to in the appropriate country information materials produced by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and will therefore form part of the individual assessment of asylum claims made by nationals of that country.
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the primary (a) import and (b) export goods and services are between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Belarus. [196158]

Mr. Alexander: The latest figures are found in the following table, which show the top 10 commodities imported from and exported to Belarus in pounds sterling in 2003 and in the first eight months of 2004. The figures for trade in services between the UK and Belarus could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
UK top 10 exports and imports of goods from Belarus: 2003

Total UK exports39,182
1.71Power generating machinery and equipment13,916
2.72Machinery specialised for particular industries2,929
3.74General industrial machinery and machine parts nes2,542
4.69Manufactures of metal nes2,453
5.77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes1,871
6.64Paper, paperboard, and articles of paper pulp; etc.1,647
7.59Chemical materials and products nes1,321
8.26Textile fibres1,320
9.89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes1,119
10.55Essential oils and resinoids and perfume materials1,065
Total UK imports22,672
1.84Articles of apparel and clothing accessories7,619
2.33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials6,033
3.67Iron and steel5,903
4.56Fertilisers (other than those of group 272)799
5.87Professional, scientific and controlling instruments nes498
6.63Cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture)334
7.78Road vehicles (including air-cushion vehicles)288
8.62Rubber manufactures nes228
9.52Inorganic chemicals126
10.89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes123

UK top 10 exports and imports of goods from Belarus: January to August 2004

Total UK exports30,591
1.71Power generating machinery and equipment12,008
2.69Manufactures of metal nes1,971
3.26Textile fibres1,482
4.12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures1,472
5.74General industrial machinery and machine parts nes1,379
6.64Paper, paperboard, and articles of paper pulp; etc.1,286
7.89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes1,046
8.72Machinery specialised for particular industries1,043
9.77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes1,010
10.75Office machines and ADP machines909
Total UK imports35,029
1.33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials20,394
2.84Articles of apparel and clothing accessories5,821
3.67Iron and steel4,821
4.24Cork and wood1,285
5.78Road vehicles (including air-cushion vehicles)758
6.62Rubber manufactures nes549
7.63Cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture)396
8.89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes242
9.87Professional, scientific and controlling instruments nes221
10.72Machinery specialised for particular industries104

nes = not elsewhere specified
(28) Standard International Trade Classification
HM Customs and Excise

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Chairman Arafat

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Palestinian authorities regarding the condition of Chairman Arafat. [197821]

Mr. Rammell: During President Arafat's illness officials remained in close touch with members of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem and Paris. President Arafat died in the early hours of Thursday 11 November. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary issued statements on the 11th following President Arafat's death.

Palestinian basic law stipulates that presidential elections should be held within 60 days. It is for the Palestinian people to elect any future president. The UK Government will continue to support the Palestinian people and the transitional Palestinian leadership.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chinese Government on the subject of the arrest of church leaders in Xinjiang Autonomous Region on 12 July. [198070]

Mr. Rammell: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Officials raised the mass arrests of religious practitioners in Xinjiang Autonomous Region with Deputy Director General of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Wang Zuo'an during the latter's visit to the UK in September.

We are deeply concerned about religious freedom in China. We use the biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue to raise our concerns about these and other human rights issues with the Chinese Government. At the last round, held in May, we noted our concern that the prohibition of some religious groups and the legal restrictions placed upon members of others were tantamount to a denial of their members' freedom of religious belief.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Chinese authorities on the situation of Pastor Gong Shengliang of the South China Church and Mr. Zhang Yinan. [198071]

Mr. Rammell: We are aware of the cases of both Pastor Gong Shengliang and Zhang Yinan.

UK officials raised our concerns about Pastor Gong with the Chinese Government in May 2004. We also supported an EU demarche on his, and other cases, on 17 June.

We are deeply concerned about religious freedom in China, including the treatment of Christians, and monitor the situation closely. We raise religious freedom, the issue of torture and other human rights issues regularly with the Chinese Government, including during our biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue. We are also funding projects in China, which aim to reduce the incidence of torture.
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