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Training Courses

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the (a) cost to the Department, (b) title and (c) location was of each training course organised by her Department for its staff in each financial year since 1997–98. [200331]

Mr. Caborn: The Department has organised a wide range of training courses designed to meet the needs of its staff. On the majority of occasions these have been delivered at DCMS buildings in London. Occasionally these training courses take place at external facilities, usually in London, and occasionally at the Government's Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS) in London or Sunningdale.

Since 2003 our range of courses have been grouped under the following headings: Induction, Business Planning, Finance and Budget Management, Policy Development, Project Based Working, Leadership and Management, Ministers and Government, Information Technology and Diversity.

Figures prior to 2001 are not available. Since 2001 the total annual cost to the Department of all annual Learning and Development provision, including training courses organised for the Department, was as follows:
£
2001–02318,352
2002–03590,329
2003–04453,709
2004–05(9)305,180


(9) to end of September 2004


Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial penalties were paid in each financial year since 1997–98 to training providers by the Department for training courses prepared for its staff which were subsequently cancelled at the Department's request. [200403]

Mr. Caborn: Cancellation charges of our external providers vary between nil and 100 per cent. of the cost of the course depending on the provider and how near to the scheduled date of the course the cancellation was made. From our records we have paid the following cancellation charges in the time period specified:
£
2002–03495 + VAT
2003–040
2004–05990 + VAT




Note:
Figures prior to 2002–03 are unavailable.





 
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Video Conferencing Units

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many video conferencing units are installed in (a) the Department and (b) each agency of the Department; what percentage of offices have these facilities in each case; and what plans there are to increase the number. [200440]

Mr. Caborn: DCMS has one videoconferencing unit covering five office locations.

DCMS has one Agency, the Royal Parks, which does not have videoconferencing facilities.

There are no plans to increase the number of videoconferencing units at present.

World Heritage

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps during the UK membership of the World Heritage Committee to ensure that (a) Sagarmartha national park in Nepal, (b) the Belize barrier reef and (c) Huascáran national park in Peru are put on the list of world heritage in danger as a result of climate change. [200654]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 30 November 2004]: Under Article 11 of the Covention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972 (the World Heritage Convention) the Committee is required to maintain a "list of World Heritage in Danger". There is an agreed procedure for establishing whether a site is threatened by "serious and specific dangers" and if so whether it should be included on the in Danger list. We have asked the World Heritage Centre, the Committee's Secretariat, to provide the necessary information for the Committee to consider the matter at its 29th Session.

WALES

European Constitution

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the effect of the coming into force of the European Constitution on the operation of his Department, with reference to (a) changes in legislative competence, (b) the extension of qualified majority voting, (c) the increased legislative role of the European Parliament, (d) the cost of implementation of regulations, (e) the requirements of adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and (f) the quantity of legislation originating in the EU institutions. [200181]

Mr. Touhig: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 29 November 2004, Official Report, column 10W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many written questions tabled in the last parliamentary session his Department had been unable to provide a substantive answer before the end of the session. [199654]

Mr. Touhig: None.
 
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many written questions for his Department were unanswered when Parliament Prorogued; and how many of the unanswered questions were tabled in each of the previous months of the 2003–04 Session. [201549]

Mr. Touhig: None.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Equatorial Guinea

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials had discussions in an official capacity with the former right hon. Member for Hartlepool during the last 12 months concerning Equatorial Guinea. [200920]

Mr. Straw: Neither I nor Ministers in my Department have had discussions at any time about Equatorial Guinea with the former right hon. Member for Hartlepool. Since 14 September officials have had some contact with him and his office, first to inform his office of the letter my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was sending to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), and then in response to approaches by the former right hon. Member for Hartlepool and his office regarding recent media reports that named him in connection with the alleged coup plot.

Hamas

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether the Government was consulted about the discussions held by the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy with Hamas; whether discussions were authorised by the Council of Ministers; under what authority the discussions took place; whether discussions have taken place with other organisations and individuals on the European Union list of terrorist organisations and individuals; and if he will make a statement; [201049]

(2) what representations he has made to (a) foreign governments and (b) European Union institutions regarding the holding of discussions with Hamas since Hamas was included on the European Union list of terrorist organisations; and if he will make a statement; [201050]

(3) when the Government first became aware of discussions between Javier Solana and Hamas; and if he will make a statement. [201051]

Mr. Rammell [holding answer 30 November 2004]: As the spokesman of the European Union High Representative, Javier Solana, said on 24 November:

There was no discussion of any such contacts at the Council of Ministers.
 
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Iraq (Elections)

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requests have been received from the interim Iraqi Government for assistance in the January elections. [200129]

Mr. Rammell: Responsibility for the forthcoming elections rests with the Iraqi Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI). After discussion with the IECI about their requirements, The UK Government have contributed US$10 million and provided two DFID advisers to assist the IECI.


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