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8 Dec 2005 : Column 1480W—continued

Union Flag

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what buildings in Northern Ireland are designated as Government buildings for the purposes of flying the Union flag on designated days; on what date Churchill House was removed as a Government building for that purpose; and what other recent changes have been made to the list of Government buildings so designated. [34769]

Mr. Hanson: The specified Government buildings are listed in Part I of the Schedule of the Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000. These are Adelaide House, Castle Buildings, Churchill House, Clarence House, Dundonald House, Netherleigh House and Rathgael House. There have been no amendments to Part I of the Schedule since the regulations came into force and therefore Churchill House has not been removed.


Departmental Assets

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the 10 most valuable (a) movable and (b) immovable assets owned by his Department. [27379]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office has listed all its valuable movable and immovable assets, as underpinned in the 2004–05 resource accounts:

Net book value
IT hardware47
Dover House, London1,090
Fixtures and fittings121

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Departmental Estate

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what (a) land and (b) property his Department (i) owns and (ii) rents in each constituency; and if he will make a statement. [33257]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office does not own or rent any land or own any properties. However, the Office rents two buildings, which are detailed as follows:
Name and addressConstituency
Dover House, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AUCities of London and Westminster
1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HWEdinburgh North and Leith

The Office also has a small presence in the following properties:
Name and addressConstituency
Meridian Court, Cadogan Street, Glasgow, G2 6ATGlasgow Central
50 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 INGEdinburgh North and Leith

Departmental Staff

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department were (a) civil servants, (b) contractors and (c) other staff in each year since 1997. [27455]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999.

The number of civil servants working in the Office can be found in Civil Service Statistics, published by the Cabinet Office. This publication is available in the Library or online at: civil_service_statistics_2004_report/index.asp

The Scotland Office has not employed any contractors.

The total numbers of temporary staff in the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate-General was:
Number of individual temporary staff

Identity Cards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the (a) total and(b) net cost of (i) integrating the proposed identity card scheme into his Department's IT systems and (ii) the ongoing operation of the scheme within his Department. [31113]

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David Cairns: The Scotland Office has a very limited number of executive functions and at this stage we do not anticipate any need to integrate our IT system with the identity card scheme.

Sick Leave

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of his Department's employees who are within one year of the official retirement age are on extended sick leave. [32596]

David Cairns: All the staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs. No staff within one year of the official retirement age are on extended sick leave.


Employment Rights

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the reason was for the recent withdrawal of booklets on employment rights by the Department; and if he will re-introduce the publication of those booklets. [35528]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 7 December 2005]: It is our aim to provide up to date information that meets our end users' needs. Our end users have generally told us that they do not need detailed explanations of the law, but rather practical advice and guidance on what they should actually do in respect of employment issues. The Department decided that the best way to deliver this service was through frontline providers such as ACAS who are closer to our end users. ACAS produces a series of booklets summarising individual rights and runs a helpline to provide practical advice. I understand that feedback on these has generally been very positive.

The Department continues to provide full explanations of employment law for those customers who need it on the internet. Providing this information via the internet enables officials to update text easily and avoid delays to users. Special measures are in place for hard copies of these publications to be provided for those with disabilities or without access to the internet.

EU Tariffs

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the EU's average applied tariff rate on (a) agricultural and (b) non agricultural imports from the rest of the world was on the last date for which figures are available; and what the average rates would be if the EU's current offer in the World Trade Organisation is accepted. [34764]

Ian Pearson: The information is as follows.

(a) The EU's average applied tariff on agricultural imports in 2005, as reported in the WTO statistical database, is 5.9 per cent. The EU offer represents an average tariff reduction of 39 per cent. for the EU agricultural tariff schedule, but the resulting average applied tariff will depend on which tariff lines are selected as sensitive products.
8 Dec 2005 : Column 1483W

(b) The EU's average applied tariff on non-agricultural imports in 2005, as reported in the WTOstatistical database, is 4.0 per cent. If the EU offer is accepted the resulting average tariff would be 2.3 per cent.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what account was taken by the Export Credits Guarantee Department in advancing a guarantee to Mabey and Johnson Ltd. on 30 August for the supply of flyovers and bridges in the Philippines of a complaint registered against the project with the Philippines ombudsman on 9 August. [33931]

Ian Pearson: ECGD was made aware of the complaint which is being investigated by the Philippines ombudsman. It consists of a number of unproven allegations relating to an earlier project. As such, ECGD concluded that there were no grounds to withhold its guarantee.

Fur Import Ban

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to ban the import of cat and dog fur from China; and what penalties he has power to impose on those found to have breached such a ban. [34606]

Ian Pearson: The Government share the ethical abhorrence felt on hearing reports of cruelty to domestic cats and dogs. However, to date, the Government have no evidence of imports of domestic cat and dog fur into the UK. In a statement to Parliament on 28 January 2005 the Government made it clear that they are committed to establishing the facts about this issue and taking practical and proportionate action in response. We continue to believe, given EU competence on commercial policy, that any action is best pursued at EU level. We continue to discuss this with the European Commission.

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