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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to (a) bring forward legislation to enable and (b) introduce a new long-term pensions system by the end of this Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and I look forward to the opportunity this event presents to hear what the experts in the field have to say. It will provide valuable input to the Government's wider consensus-building programme.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had since 5 May with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on future pensions policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, has regular discussions with my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer across the range of pension policy issues. The reforms we have introduced since 1997 have significantly improved retirement incomes for today's pensioners. However, changes in society mean that we cannot necessarily rely on the existing structures to provide the same outcomes as we move further into the 21st century.
The bedrock must be long-term security and stability. That is why it is important to build consensus among stakeholders, including the industry, trade unions and business. The work of the Pensions Commission, and the principles set out in our publication Principles for reform: The national pensions debate", are crucial parts of the framework for building that consensus.
|Average award (£)|
|Government office region||Average award (£)|
|East of England||388|
|Yorkshire and Humber||387|
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial and logistical support has been provided to the African Union in support of its plans to increase the monitoring force in Darfur to 7000. 
At a donors' conference in Addis Ababa for the African Union's (AU) monitoring mission in Darfur on 26 May, the UK announced that it was pledging a further £6.6 million worth of support to the
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mission. This is in addition to the £14 million of support made available to date, which has been used to purchase the majority of the AU's vehicles.
We are working with other donors and the AU to ensure that co-ordinated assistance is provided to the AU in support of its planned expansion and according to its needs. This is likely to include further vehicles, airlift and technical expertise.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the level of textile imports from China since January 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Alan Johnson) on the question of textiles imports from China. Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Trade and Industry officials are in close contact on this issue and, as the joint FCO/DTI Minister, I am closely following developments.
The European Commission is working hard to address concerns caused by the rapid increase in Chinese textile imports into the EU, to the satisfaction of all parties. The UK is in close contact with the Commission and supporting its efforts to find a solution.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy that interviews at British high commissions and embassies with applicants for entry clearance to the UK are tape recorded. 
Dr. Howells: There are no plans to record interviews. Interviews at British high commissions and embassies with applicants for entry clearance to the UK are not recorded. Entry Clearance Officers write a full contemporaneous record of every interview.
If the applicant, sponsor or sponsor's MP requests a copy of the relevant interview notes, they are provided free of charge. Where an application has been refused a family visit entry clearance, the applicant will automatically receive a copy of the interview notes.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Eritrea about the freedom of Christians to practise their faith. 
We monitor closely action taken by the authorities against minority religious groups in Eritrea and raise the issue of religious freedom with the Eritrean Government regularly. We also work closely with our European partners to make our concerns clear. The EU
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Troika, including our Ambassador in Asmara, raised religious freedom with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 12 May.
Ian Pearson [holding answer 26 May 2005]: The United Kingdom is a firmly committed and engaged member of the EU. We are proud of the strong position Britain has achieved within Europe. British membership of the EU brings jobs, trade and prosperity, boosts environmental standards and social protection and brings greater international clout. We will take on the presidency of the EU on 1 July. Like any EU presidency, we will take forward the EU's agenda from those who preceded us. We will give particular attention to Africa and climate change and work to ensure that Europe adapts to the new global economic challenge, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in his written statement to this House on 26 May.
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