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15 Mar 2005 : Column 219W—continued

Hiroshima/Nagasaki (Commemoration)

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether commemorations are planned in August to mark the 60th anniversary of nuclear explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [221646]

Mr. Rammell [holding answer 14 March 2005]: The UK has no plans at present to hold separate commemorative events. We do however fully sympathise with the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The UK is committed to working towards a world free of nuclear weapons, in order to prevent the possibility of a repetition of the terrible events of August 1945.

Iraq

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Iraqi administration that it makes it a condition sine qua non that there be a determination by the UN about the legality of the use of force against Iraq before any person is accused of having committed crimes in Iraq. [220811]

Mr. Rammell: As the Solicitor-General made clear in his written answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 515W, authority to use force against Iraq derived from the combined effect of UNSCRs 678, 687 and 1441; and all of these resolutions were adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows the use of force for the express purpose of restoring international peace and security. We would therefore have no reason to make representations to the Iraqi Government about the legality of the use of force in Iraq.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Iraqi administration on establishing the impartiality of judges operating in Iraq where the identity of the judge is not revealed. [220812]


 
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Mr. Rammell: We have provided capacity building assistance to the Iraqi Criminal Justice sector, which includes training for the judges of the Iraq Special Tribunal (IST) on the requirements for conducting fair trials according to international standards of due process. The IST comprises senior Iraqi judges and is part of the Iraqi Criminal Justice system. For security reasons the identities of these judges are not made public but this is not expected to have any effect on the impartiality of their judgments.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Tariq Aziz has been allowed to see the evidence against him since his arrest. [220815]

Mr. Rammell: Assuming an indictment is formally issued against Tariq Aziz, Iraqi law provides that the full disclosure of all evidence does not occur until his case is referred to a trial panel. This has yet to occur.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what access Saddam Hussein has had to the alleged evidence against him. [220816]

Mr. Rammell: Saddam Hussein was arraigned before an Iraqi investigative judge on 1 July 2004 in relation to the following crimes:

This procedure, which informs the accused of his rights, is the start of the investigative process under Iraqi law. Assuming an indictment is formally issued against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi law provides that the full disclosure of all evidence does not occur until his case is referred to a trial panel. This has yet to occur.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has had from ISNAD, the body formed to co-ordinate the efforts aimed at ensuring respect for the law in Iraq, about the (a) legitimacy and (b) legality of the Iraqi Special Tribunal. [220817]

Mr. Rammell: No representations have been received from ISNAD.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 March 2005, Official Report, column 805, which parts of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (a) recognise the United Kingdom as a nuclear state and (b) legally allow the United Kingdom to hold nuclear weapons. [221887]

Mr. MacShane: The United Kingdom, along with China, France, Russia and the United States, are
 
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recognised as nuclear weapon states under Article IX.3 of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It states that:

All other states parties are therefore recognised as non-nuclear weapon states. All states parties must comply with their treaty obligations set out under the treaty articles. These include the obligation under Article VI to

Project Coast

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 February 2005, Official Report, column 28W, on Project Coast, if he will place the information referred to in the Library. [219418]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 8 March 2005]: The transcripts of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission are available on the internet at www.doj.gov.za/trc/special/index.htm#cbw. Reports on the trial are available on the Disarmament Diplomacy website at http://www.acronym.org.uk/textonly/dd/dd64/64nr13.htm and http://www.acronym.org.uk/textonly/dd/dd52/index.htm.

Uganda

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the (a) strength, (b) leadership and (c) political objectives of the Ugandan People's Redemption Army; how long it has been active; what assessment he has made of whether it has caused damage to Uganda's infrastructure; and if he will make a statement. [221281]

Mr. Mullin: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 9 March 2005, Official Report, column 1896W.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Business Starts

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses started up on average each week in the London region in 2004; what the weekly average of such start-ups has been since May 1997; and if she will make a statement on the (a) sustainability and (b) employment-creating and prosperity-generating features of such businesses. [208768]

Nigel Griffiths: Barclays Bank's latest survey of business creation, which includes non-VAT registered firms, shows there were 84,000 business start-ups in the London region in 2003 and this approximates to about 1,600 per week. A further 57,000 businesses started up in the first six months of 2004. Since Barclays revised their methodology for calculating the number of start-ups they have not published revised figures for the London region before 2003.

To give an indication of business start-up rates for 1997 to 2003, DTI figures based solely on VAT registrations for the London region are shown as follows.
 
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VAT registrations in London

Number per yearAverage per week
199736,935708
199838,850745
199937,165713
200037,075709
200133,380640
200233,340639
200336,590702
1997 to 2003253,335694




Source:
Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations
1994–2003, Small Business Service, available from:
http://www.sbs.gov.uk/analytical/statistics/vatstats.php



VAT registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997 and is currently £58,000. Across the UK, only 1.8 million out of 4 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2003.

The percentages of VAT registered businesses in the London region still registered after one year are given in the following table:
One year survival rates for VAT registered businesses

Year of registrationPercentage still trading—London
199788.7
199888.8
199988.0
200089.6
200191.2




Source:
Business Survival Rates, Small Business Service, available from:
http://www.sbs.aov.uk/analvtical/statistics/statisticssurvivalrates.php



Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make a significant contribution to the prosperity of the London region. For example latest statistics show that SMEs in the London region had a combined turnover of £270 billion at the start of 2003, which represents an average turnover of £420,000 per business. In total, SMEs in the London region provided 1.8 million jobs, representing an average of 2.8 employees per SME.


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