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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Don Touhig): In my written ministerial statement on 13 July, Official Report, column 28WS, I apologised to those British civilians who were interned by the Japanese during the Second World War in the Far East and who were led by the incomplete terms of our initial announcement of the scheme in November 2000 to think that they would qualify for an ex-gratia payment. The apology was for the distress caused to those who claimed before the eligibility criteria were fully spelt out and who, in particular, would have qualified but for later clarification that "British" was to be defined by the birth-link criterion.
In my Statement I undertook to examine whether the apology should be expressed in a tangible form. I have, therefore, decided that a one-off payment of £500 should go to each of those individuals to whom the apology in my Statement of 13 July was addressed. I also intend to send a personal letter to each of those who will be compensated. We expect to establish eligibility and make payments for the majority of cases within six months.
11 Oct 2005 : Column 20WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Jim Fitzpatrick): I am pleased to be able to announce the location for the South-East fire and rescue control centre and put on record the locations for the other seven new control centres.
England's fire and rescue service control functions will be delivered through a resilient national network of nine new control centres, one for each of the English regions. The centres will be mutually supporting and will bring the best of the latest proven technology together into one system. This will increase resilience, operational performance and improve public safety.
The following developers and sites have been selected, following an EU procurement process, for the eight English regions excluding London, to build the fire and rescue service control centres for England.
|SE||Easter Group and Morley Fund Management||Croft Business Park, Fareham, Hampshire|
|EM||Wilson Bowden Developments Ltd||Willow Farm Business Park Castle Donington, Derbyshire|
|EoE||Slough Trading Estate Limited||Cambridge Research Park Cambridge|
|NE||Helios (Belmont) Ltd||Belmont Business Park Durham|
|NW||Lingley Mere Business Park Development Corporation Ltd||Lingley Mere Business Park Warrington|
|SW||Summerfield Developments (SW) Limited||Blackbrook Business Park Taunton, Somerset|
|WM||Bowmer and Kirkland GroupPeveril Securities Ltd (Development Subsidiary)||Wolverhampton Business Park Wolverhampton|
|Y&H||Yorkcourt Properties Ltd||Paragon Wakefield|
London already has a regional control centre and is expected to form part of the national network. Exactly how this will be implemented is to be taken forward with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. The whole national network will be fully operational before the Olympics in 2012.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Margaret Beckett):
In December last year I announced the Government's intention to establish a new executive agency with responsibility for the management of marine fisheries, to include the inspection and enforcement activities then discharged by my Department's Sea Fisheries Inspectorate, and other marine delivery functions carried out by DEFRA.
11 Oct 2005 : Column 21WS
I am now pleased to announce that the new body was launched on 1 October and is called the Marine Fisheries Agency. The first chief executive of the agency is Nigel Gooding, who will now take forward the challenge of delivering high-quality, integrated marine fisheries management and environmental conservation services to the agency's many stakeholders. Those services will include the management of the fisheries licensing and quota regimes, the provision of grant aid to the industry and the enforcement of national and European regulations in England. It will also undertake similar services in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
The creation of the Marine Fisheries Agency is an important milestone in the Government's drive for public service reform and in my own Department's internal change programme. My Department is committed to reducing the size of its policy core and to the delivery of its services through others.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): In December 2003, I set out the Government's international priorities for the next five to 10 years and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's strategy for delivering them in a world of new challenges, opportunities and threats.
On the basis of that strategy and the outcome of the 2004 spending round I announced on 15 December 2004, Official Report, columns 13740WS, changes to the overseas network, aimed at enhancing our effectiveness in representing British interests abroad, and helping to deliver an efficient service on behalf of the British taxpayer.
One subordinate post, Hamburg, scheduled to remain open with locally based staff, will now close and our interests will be covered from Berlin. Two subordinate posts, Munich and Miami, will now continue to be headed by a UK based member of staff rather than covered entirely by locally engaged staff as originally proposed. Other changes will go ahead before end 2006, as previously announced.
|Post||Planned change||State of Play|
|Port Vila (Vanuatu)||Close||To be closed by end 2006|
|Nuku'alofa (Tonga)||Close||To be closed by end 2006|
|Dili (East Timor)||Close||To be closed by end 2006|
|Tarawa (Kiribati) (currently a locally staffed post)||Close||Closed|
|Brisbane||Localise||To be localised by end 2006|
|Perth||Localise||To be localised by end 2006|
|Vientiane (Laos)(Trade Office)||Close||Closed|
|Miami||Localise||To remain UK based|
|San Juan (Puerto Rico)||Close||Closed|
|Bordeaux||Localise||To be localised by end 2006|
|Lyon||Localise||To be localised by end 2006|
|Munich||Localise||To remain UK based|
|Hamburg||Localise||To close by end 2006|
|Frankfurt||Close||To close by end 2006|
|Stuttgart||Close||To close by end 2006|
|Palma||Localise||To be localised by end 2006|
In Brazil, following a review of our commercial effort there, I have agreed that our Trade Offices in Belo Horizonte and Curitiba should be closed, but the existing Honorary Consuls will remain. Commercial services currently provided in Belo Horizonte and Curitiba will in future be delivered through our other posts in Brazil. In India we plan to upgrade our Business Information Centres in Pune and Chandigarh to British Trade Offices and cease to operate a Business Information Centre in Bhopal.
|Trade Office, Curitiba, Brazil||Close. Honorary Consul to remain. Trade interests covered from other Posts in Brazil (Brasilia, Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro).|
|Trade Office, Belo Horizonte, Brazil||Close. Honorary Consul to remain. Trade interests covered from other Posts in Brazil (Brasilia, Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro).|
|Business Information Centre, Bhopal, India||Close. British Council Library to remain. Trade interests covered from Mumbai.|
|Business Information Centre, Pune||Upgrade to full Trade Office.|
|Business Information Centre, Chandigarh||Upgrade to full Trade Office.|
We have no other plans to close or open any further sovereign posts but like any well-run organisation we will continue to move resources flexibly as priorities require in line with UK interests. I will inform the House of any further planned changes.
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