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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1581W—continued

Tsunami Appeal

Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax arrangements were made by the Treasury regarding the proceeds of the Tsunami appeal in the UK. [29981]

Dawn Primarolo: Charities raising money for the Tsunami benefit from the same tax reliefs available to all UK charities.

Vehicle Taxation

Tom Brake: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of changing the system of taxation of vehicles at point of sale to promote the use of fuel-efficient vehicles. [28239]

John Healey: The Chancellor keeps all taxation policy under review giving consideration to all relevant economic, social and environmental factors in the context of the Budget process.

World GDP

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what forecasts he has made of the proportionate share of world gross domestic product in (a) 2010, (b) 2025 and (c) 2050 which can be expected to be won by (i) the EU, (ii) the US, (iii) China and (iv) India. [30496]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: HM Treasury does not forecast shares of world GDP. However, HMT published estimated shares of world GDP (at purchasing power parity) for selected countries in 2015, in the paper Long term economic challenges and opportunities for the UK", which accompanied the 2004 pre-Budget report (see chart 3.2, p23).

Updated information is set out in the following table. HMT estimates do not extend beyond 2015, nor do they provide a figure for the EU.
World GDP shares—percentage (in purchasing power parity)


(18) Estimates.
These estimates are subject to considerable uncertainties and do not constitute formal HMT forecasts.
IMF, Consensus forecasts, HMT



Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money was disbursed to Afghan farmers as compensation for the destruction of poppies in 2003; and how much remains to be paid. [28208]

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Dr. Howells: In 2003, the Afghan Transitional Authority ran a non-compensated eradication programme through the provincial governors. No compensation, therefore, was disbursed to Afghan farmers during this year.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the UK Government's attempts to tackle poppy production in the Nangarhar area of Afghanistan. [28209]

Dr. Howells: The UK, as lead nation on counter narcotics (CN), remains committed to supporting the Afghan Government in the implementation of their comprehensive 2005 CN Implementation Plan and in updating their National Drug Control Strategy. We continue to work with the Afghan Government and others to increase activity in all areas of their strategy. As well as co-ordinating the activity of international partners, we are providing substantial financial and practical support—more than £270 million over the next three years. I refer to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr. Gibb) on 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 235W, on the counter narcotics programme in Afghanistan which includes support to Nangarhar.

In August, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced provisional cultivation figures for 2004–05 from their annual poppy survey, which showed that cultivation had dropped by 21 per cent. to 104,000 hectares in Afghanistan. Nangarhar saw the greatest decrease, with opium poppy cultivation dropping by 96 per cent. to 1,093 hectares. Success can be partly attributed to an effective Government of Afghanistan communications campaign in late 2004–05, which we supported, alongside Governor-led eradication initiatives and a market adjustment to high levels of cultivation in 2004. UNODC are due to publish their final report in the next few weeks, but these figures are unlikely to change.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many countries are being invited to the forthcoming London conference on the future of Afghanistan; and whether Iran is included. [29601]

Dr. Howells: While the conference has not yet been formally announced, planning is now under way. The finalised invitation list will closely follow that for the Berlin Conference in 2004. Iran will be invited.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what grounds candidates were disqualified from standing in the recent Afghan elections; and if he will make a statement. [29602]

Dr. Howells: A full list of disqualified candidates, with reasons, is available on the Electoral Complaints Commission website at

Ambassadors (Honours)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many serving United Kingdom ambassadors have (a) received and (b) not received honours. [29722]

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Mr. Straw: Of the current 147 ambassadors (which includes heads of delegation/permanent representatives to international organisations who hold the personal rank of ambassador) and high commissioners, 58 have received honours during their careers and 89 have not.

Arms Trade

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the percentage of British (a) produced and (b) brokered arms whose end users are embargoed. [28911]

Dr. Howells: The Government take the enforcement of UN and other arms embargoes seriously, and is proud of the UK's robust and transparent system of export controls. The UK therefore issues licences for the export or brokering of military goods to destinations and end users covered by an arms embargo only where supply would be consistent with exemptions to the embargo concerned, for example, for humanitarian end-use. We do not issue licenses for destinations where there is a clear risk that exported items might be diverted to embargoed states. Any potential breach of UN and other arms embargoes is investigated thoroughly.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to support an international arms trade treaty. [28912]

Dr. Howells: The Government have been pursuing the initiative for an international Arms Trade Treaty during the UK's presidencies of the G8 and of the EU. At Gleneagles in July, Heads of State of the G8 agreed that the

On 3 October EU Foreign Ministers added the EU's voice to the growing support for an international treaty to establish common standards for the global trade in conventional arms, and called for the start of a formal negotiation process at the UN at the earliest opportunity. The Government will continue to work to build the broad consensus needed to secure the start to negotiations in the UN.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of a legally binding treaty on marking and tracing small arms. [28913]

Dr. Howells: The Open Ended Working Group that ended in New York on 17 June 2005 reached a consensus on a politically binding document. This is a first and important step in the implementation of the 2001 United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons demonstrates acceptance of the principle that such weapons should be marked and traced in an agreed manner. The UK believes that implementation will be more effective if an agreement is legally binding. The UK would welcome further discussion at the June 2006 Review Conference on this issue as well as on transfer controls. We hope that discussions on the establishment of a Group of
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Government Experts to look at all aspects of illicit brokering, will lead in due course to a new legally binding instrument.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to increase the (a) resources and (b) capacity available to enforce arms controls. [28914]

Dr. Howells: Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to the Department of Trade and Industry on the majority of export licence applications is carried out by the 15 member Export Licensing Team (ELT) in Counter Proliferation Department. At the beginning of 2005, the FCO began to centralise the FCO's export licensing work in the ELT, in order to improve efficiency. FCO performance for Standard Individual Export Licences currently exceeds targets (e.g. 93 per cent. of FCO recommendations are made within 10 working days, against a target of 70 per cent.). Audits of recommendations confirm that they are fully consistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The FCO is continuing to improve processing to ensure that performance for all licence types remains high.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to assert full extra-territorial controls on arms brokering, including small arms. [28915]

Dr. Howells: The Export Control Act (2002) introduced comprehensive controls on the brokering of all equipment on the UK's Military List where any part of the activity takes place in the UK. In addition, where a UN or full-scope EU, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or UK national arms embargo is in place, these controls extend extra-territorially to UK nationals wherever they are.

The Government continues to believe that, given the very real concerns about conflict of jurisdiction, and over administration and enforcement, extra-territorial controls should only be applied to the most sensitive transfers. The Government believes that, in most cases, multilateral action remains the most effective way to combat the illicit and irresponsible trade in small arms and light weapons. This approach is at the heart of our support for the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, and for a treaty on the international arms trade.

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