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Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the British consulate-general in (a) Hamburg and (b) Munich; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Following the announcement my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made to the House on 15 December 2004, Official Report, columns 13740WS about changes to the UK's network of overseas representation, officials have been reviewing how we can provide trade, consular and other services in Germany most cost-effectively, and finalising recommendations about the precise size and structure of the British consulates in that country. The results of this work will be made public when it is finished.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: David Moran, our Ambassador to Tashkent, presented his credentials to President Karimov on 8 June 2005. The meeting was largely ceremonial. Earlier in the day, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Ganiev, Mr. Moran had said that were the opportunity to arise, he would look to discuss two principal points with the President: firstly, Mr. Karimov's concrete plans for the reforms mentioned in his 28 January speech to Parliament, and secondly, the question of allowing an international independent inquiry into the events of 1213 May in Andizhan. In the event, President Karimov raised these issues himself, sticking to well-known Uzbek positions on both.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the results were of the 15 May meeting between the UK Ambassador to Tashkent and the Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister, Nematov on political and economic reform; and what actions have resulted from this meeting. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Nematov requested a meeting with our Ambassador to Tashkent, David Moran, following my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's 14 May statement on Andizhan. A copy of the statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website: www.fco.gov.uk/policy/news/press-releases. Mr. Moran told Mr. Nematov that a peaceful solution to the Andizhan situation would need to be accompanied by progress on both economic and political reforms. He noted that Uzbek President Karimov had mentioned such reforms in his 28 January 2005 speech to Parliament. A number of decrees have been issued in June by the Uzbek Government, which if implemented, might reduce the burden on businesses, for example by reducing the scope for official inspections.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Ganiev has undertaken to discuss these areas with EU Heads of Mission in Tashkent. We look forward to this opportunity for dialogue towards reform. In the meantime Mr. Moran has also had meetings with both the Deputy Interior Minister to discuss prison reforms, and the Deputy Justice Minister to discuss judicial reform and the abolition of the death penalty.
(5) whether the Treasury plans to assess the effectiveness of LINK rules introduced on 1 July to improve signage on fee-charging ATMs; 
John Healey: The Government have been closely monitoring the situation regarding ATM charges and will continue to do so. This includes monitoring the effectiveness of LINK rules on signage and regular discussion of relevant issues with LINK and other interested parties. The Office of Fair Trading's Payment Systems Task Force, established to address competition problems in payment systems, is about to start work on LINK Access and Governance.
We believe it is important that people are able to obtain cash free of charge. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of surcharging ATMs in the UK. However, statistics on the number of withdrawals at these ATMs indicate that most are to be found in locations where there are only a low number of transactions and where interchange fees would therefore be insufficient to cover the operating costs of the ATM, were it to offer free withdrawals. The Government believes that direct regulation of retail prices should only be a last resort, implemented where it has been very clearly established that competition is not feasible, or where a monopoly supplier would be the most efficient option.
Overall, relatively few withdrawals are made at charging machines. Over 96 per cent. of withdrawals are free of charge to consumers and there are over 30,000 free ATMs in the UK. The number of free ATMs is still increasing and the Government does not see any reason to believe that free ATMs are under threat. There are also alternative ways to obtain free access to cash. Many of the major banks now offer their customers free over-the-counter withdrawals at the Post Office and 'Cash Back' is widely available in supermarkets and shops.
The Government have responded to the Treasury Select Committee's recent report on cash machine charges (Treasury Committee's Fifth Report of Session 200405) and the Treasury Committee is expected to publish the response shortly, once it has been re-appointed following the general election. The Government's response to the Treasury Select Committees' report sets out policy on the issue in more detail.
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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the levels of long-term (a) adult and (b) youth unemployment were in (i) the county of Bedfordshire and (ii) the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire in each year since 1997. 
Table 1 attached shows the numbers of long-term adult unemployed (over 12 months) and long-term youth (aged 16 to 24) unemployed in the county of Bedfordshire, for the periods ending in February each year from 1998 to 2004, the latest period for which data are available. Table 2 shows similar information for the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency. These estimates are based on annual local area Labour Force Survey data which as with any sample survey is subject to sampling variability.
The Office for National Statistics also compiles statistics of those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for local areas. Tables 3 and 4 attached show the annual average number of adult Job Seeker's Allowance claimants, claiming for over 12 months, and the corresponding number of Job Seeker's Allowance claimants aged 18 to 24 (claiming for over 12 months) resident in the county of Bedfordshire and Mid- Bedfordshire respectively for each year from 1997 to 2004.
|12 months ending February||All||Youth (aged 1624)|
|12 months ending February||All||Youth (aged 1624)|
|Annual averages||All||Youth (aged 1824)|
|Annual averages||All ages||Youth (aged 1824)|
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many primary school-aged children there are expected to be in (a) Bedfordshire local education authority and (b) the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire in each of the next five academic years. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your question concerning the number of primary school age children there are predicted to be in Bedfordshire Local Education Authority and the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire for the next five academic years. I am replying in his absence. (11011)
Table 1 shows the mid-year population of 511 year olds in the County of Bedfordshire taken from the official 2003-based Sub-national Population Projections for England. The projections are produced by Local Authority area and so data at a Local Education Area can only be provided if the areas are coterminous, which in this case they are. These population projections are demographic trend-based projections that indicate what the population levels of an area are likely to be if recently observed trends in fertility, mortality and migration were to continue. They take no account of future development which may affect trends.
Unfortunately, the Mid Bedfordshire Parliamentary Constituency area is not coterminous with the Local Authority areasit covers parts of Mid Bedfordshire District and South Bedfordshire District and so it is not possible to provide projection data for this area.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many pensioners lived in the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire in the last year for which figures are available. I am replying in his absence. (11012)
The table below shows the number of people of pensionable age living in Mid-Bedfordshire constituency on Census day (29 April 2001). The figures have been extracted from Table CAS002 on the CD supplement to the Census 2001 Census Area Statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies in England and Wales", which is available on request from Census Customer Services (email@example.com).
|Area||All people||People of pensionable age(5)|
Table 1 attached shows the number of employed persons, aged 16 and over, resident in the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency for the periods ending in February each year from 2000 to 2004, the latest period for which data are available. These estimates are based on annual local area Labour Force Survey data which, as with any sample survey, is subject to sampling variability.
|12 months ending February||Thousand|
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer of how many deaths in (a) the county of Bedfordshire and (b) the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire alcohol was the primary cause in each year since 2000. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking in respect of how many deaths in (a) the county of Bedfordshire and (b) the constituency of Mid- Bedfordshire alcohol was the primary cause in each year since 2000. I am replying in his absence. (11015)
The latest year for which figures are available is 2004. The attached table shows the numbers of deaths among residents of the County of Bedfordshire and Mid Bedfordshire Parliamentary Constituency where the underlying cause of death indicated a condition directly related to alcohol use in the years 2000 to 2004.
|Number of deaths|
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