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17 Nov 2005 : Column 1485W—continued

Departmental Assets

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the 10 most valuable (a) movable and (b) immovable assets owned by his Department. [27375]

Mr. Straw: The 10 most valuable immoveable assets are listed at table 1. All items on the list are property assets comprising land and buildings.

The 10 most valuable moveable assets are listed at table 2.

IT installations have not been included within these lists. At 31 March 2005 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had IT installations and equipment held at a written down value of £39,811,925, the bulk of which is written down over five years. This includes all capitalised IT installations and is a conglomerate of development costs, software and licences, cabling and
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hardware. Thus the total cost is a composite of moveable and immoveable items and does not belong to either category.
Table 1: top 10 immoveable assets—all property assets

LocationDescription of assetValue (£)
LondonKing Charles Street50,000,000
Paris35 Rue du Faubourg St36,692,372
MoscowSmolenskaya Compound29,255,120
Paris39 Rue du Faubourg St27,735,404
Hong KongBritish Consulate26,051,486
LondonOld Admiralty Building25,000,000
Rome80 Via XX Septembre16,641,243
Washington3100 Massachusetts Ave15,718,669
TokyoTokyo Office15,237,080

1. Valuations produced by the Estates Department as at 31 March 2005.
2. Property coming within the bounds of a single compound has been treated as a single asset.

Table 2: top 10 moveable assets

LocationDescription of assetWritten down value (£)Type of assetGross value (£)
Hanslope ParkGenerator577,367.87Heavy Machinery607,755
WashingtonSilver (set)485,000.00Antiques and Works of Art485,000
Istanbul2xChandeliers350,000.00Antiques and Works of Art350,000
Hanslope ParkGenerator292,325.56Heavy Machinery307,715
HavanaRug130,000.00Antiques and Works of Art130,000
New DelhiJaguar XJ 4.2120,000.00Motor Car120,000
IslamabadJaguar XJ 4.2120,000.00Motor Car120,000
CairoJaguar XJ 4.2120,000.00Motor Car120,000
IraqMinibus111,261.55Light Commercial Vehicle152,589
IraqMinibus111,261.55Light Commercial Vehicle152,589

1. Values as at 31 March 2005.
2. Antiques and works of art were professionally valued during the year. These assets are not depreciated.
3. All other assets listed in table 2 are shown at the written down (depreciated) value. The gross value (purchase cost plus indexed inflation cost) is shown for comparative purpose.
4. The high cost of the vehicles is because they are all armoured.
5. For the purpose of this exercise moveable" has been interpreted as meaning transportable.

Departmental Salaries

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the 10 highest-paid employees in his Department, broken down by (a) job title and (b) salary including bonuses; and whether the individual concerned is (i) a civil servant and (ii) a contractor in each case. [27439]

Mr. Straw: The 10 highest paid employees in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are all civil servants and members of the Senior Management Structure. It is not the practice to release personal information on individual remuneration, but current salary levels are as follows:
Salary range (£)Number of officers
190,000 to 199,0001
180, 189,9990
170, 179,9990
160, 169,9991
150, 159,9990
140, 149,9993
130, 139,9995

Bonus payments in addition this year for these employees have ranged from £2,000 to £20,000.

Departmental Staff

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department were (a) civil servants, (b) contractors and (c) other staff in each year since 1997. [27452]

Mr. Straw: Figures for Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff numbers are notified to the Cabinet Office according to a central counting convention. The figure for full time equivalent staff is not yet available for 2005. The numbers of UK based employees (i.e. excluding contract staff employed locally at posts) for each of the previous five years, at 1 April and including the FCO's Agency, Wilton Park, were as follows:

The numbers for contract and other staff are devolved and central records of the exact numbers employed are not held centrally. We estimate the total of contract and other staff to be about 700. A significant part of the increase is growth in staff working in visas/consular/security.
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EU Presidency

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress he has made in achieving his aims for the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union. [22901]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary recalled to the House on 1 November 2005, Official Report, column 720W, the Work Programme for the UK presidency was set out in detail in a White Paper Cmnd 6611, which was presented to the House on 30 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1450–52W.

On 1 November the Foreign Secretary also set out progress made in a number of areas so far—better regulation, the post-financial services action plan, development in Africa, sugar reform and the historic decision to open accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia (Official Report, column 721W). Other areas of progress include Counter-terrorism, where we have secured renewed commitment of member states and European Union (EU) institutions to prioritise collective EU action on counter-terrorism, in the wake of the London bombings, by stepping up implementation of the EU's Counter Terrorism Action Plan and co-operating more closely to tackle international threats. And on European security and defence policy/policing missions, our presidency has seen three new missions become operational, including the first in Asia and Aceh. We expect to have a fourth, to assist to Palestinian Authority shortly. On future financing, the Government remain committed to working to try to agree a future financing deal in December.

Holy See

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the new United Kingdom Ambassador to the Holy See is a UK citizen. [29585]

Mr. Straw: The next Ambassador to the Holy See is a British citizen.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 November, 2005, Official Report, column 954W, on Holy See, what assessment was made of the readership in Scotland of the (a) Scotsman, (b) Herald, (c) Guardian, (d) Daily Telegraph, (e) Times and (f) the Independent when deciding not to advertise the post of UK Ambassador to the Holy See in either (a) or (b) ; and with what comparative readership figures the Department was supplied. [29614]

Mr. Straw: In line with our policy on specialist campaigns, we took advice from the recruitment agency and advertised in those journals with the largest UK circulation and with the means to reach a wide range of potential candidates.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications were received for the post of UK Ambassador for the Holy See; and how many of these
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were from applicants with return addresses in (a) England and Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) overseas. [29615]

Mr. Straw: We received 122 applications for the post of HM Ambassador to the Holy See. The regional breakdown of these applications is as follows:

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