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The Minister for the Middle East (Dr. Kim Howells): The official launch of the United Kingdom Security Advisory Team (UKSAT) took place in Antigua on 9 June 2005, with addresses from the hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and John White, British High Commissioner for the Eastern Caribbean. Sir James Carlisle, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, and other senior representatives from the region were also present.
The UKSAT project supports delivery of FCO's strategic priority 2: protection of the UK from illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other international crime, and strategic priority 8: security and good governance of the UK's Overseas Territories. The FCO is providing £1.5 million of funding for the project in 200506. The Eastern Caribbean is a key transit point for cocaine from Latin America destined for the UK; through UKSAT, we are seeking further to develop our law enforcement cooperation and effectiveness in the region.
UKSAT will work in partnership with the Regional Security System (RSS) and the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories (COTs) to enhance law enforcement capacity in the RSS countries and the COTs. This will be achieved through training, advice and mentoring to strengthen actions against drug trafficking and other organised criminal groups operating in the Caribbean.
The team will evolve over the next three years to consist of 14 personnel based in RSS countries: eight UK staff will include officers from HM Revenue and Customs and Royal Navy and six recruited regionally. UKSAT will work closely with the RSS security screening programme to tackle corrupt practices and integrity issues in regional law enforcement
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organisations. In addition, UKSAT programmes will be delivered elsewhere in the region, notably Jamaica and Trinidad.
As part of UKSAT, the Maritime Training Unit in Antigua will, in conjunction with the RSS Training Unit, continue to provide training and advice in support of maritime law enforcement activities in the region.
This practical training commitment reflects the close cooperation which exists at all levels between Her Majesty's Government and Governments of the Caribbean nations and a shared commitment to tackle the problems of security and organised crime in the region, which affects both the Caribbean nations themselves and the UK. It is also of particular benefit to the COTs in helping them to meet their maritime law enforcement needs and in providing them with a sound basis to generate sustainable and effective operational capabilities.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. Tony McNulty): I am pleased to announce the publication of the independent Complaints Audit Committee (CAC) annual report for the year 200405. Copies are available in the Library of the House and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) website.
This is the CAC's 11th report. Their role is to monitor the effectiveness of IND's procedures for investigating complaints about the conduct and efficiency of staff in IND. Their findings are extremely valuable to the organisation.
The annual report highlights a number of areas where IND could improve its customer service, supported by a number of recommendations. IND will use these recommendations to help inform their wider change and reform strategy, one of the key elements being to make IND a more customer focused organisation.
An ASBO is a civil order which protects the community from behaviour that has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the perpetrator.
ASBOs can be issued to anyone aged 10 years or over. They impose restrictions on the behaviour of individuals who have behaved in an anti-social way and protect communities from often longstanding and highly intimidating activity.
Breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence and can lead to custody. The maximum penalty for breach of an ASBO is five years imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000 for an adult offender.
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Data on the number of ASBOs issued is updated quarterly. New figures for the period up to December 2004 are now available. These figures show that for the period between April 1999 and December 2004 the number of ASBOs issued (as reported to the Home Office) was 4,649. The number of ASBOs issued in the quarter October to December 2004 is 17 per cent. of the total number of ASBOs issued over all quarters and indicates that ASBO numbers for the latest quarter are double those of the same quarter last year (October to December 2003364 ASBOs).
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. David Hanson): Copies of the inland fisheries annual report of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure for 2003 have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The document provides details of the Department's activities to conserve, protect and develop salmon and inland fisheries under the provisions of the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, as amended and includes statistical information and income and expenditure details for the 200304 financial year.
The Minister for Energy (Malcolm Wicks): I have today given consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to Scottish and Southern Energy's application to construct and operate flue gas desulphurisation plant at its Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power station near Warrington. Planning permission has also been given subject to the inclusion of 52 conditions agreed with Warrington borough council.
Coal and other fossil fuels remain vital ingredients in our energy mix, but we need to reduce the impact that burning them has on the environment. Fitting flue gas desulphurisation plant at Fiddler's Ferry is a welcome step forward and will help reduce the damaging effects of acid rain.
The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Alan Johnson):
With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I am
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pleased to inform the House that UK Trade and Investment announced today, at its launch of the UK Inward Investment 200405 report, that there were 1,066 direct investments in the UK by foreign owned companies between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2005. This is an increase of 31 per cent. on the year. Among business sectors, the largest number of projects were in IT, followed by software, pharma and biotech. Total jobs figures were up 26 per cent. to 75,043 of which 39,592 were new jobs (up 55 per cent. on the previous year) and 35,451 safeguarded jobs (up 5 per cent. on 200203)
This performance reflects the confidence which companies around the world continue to show in the business climate in the UK. The number of new projects has increased by 49 per cent. from 339 in 200304 to 506 in 200405, while mergers/acquisitions and joint ventures were up 41 per cent from 187 in 200304 to 264 in 200405. Expansions by existing investors were up 3 per cent., from 285 in 200304 to 296 in 200405.
The competition is fierce. But we will not allow our position as market leader in Europe to make us complacent. UKTI will further strengthen and sharpen its operations in priority markets and the Government will continue to ensure that the UK provides economic growth and stability and an innovative climate to attract investment.
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