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14 Dec 2005 : Column 2056W—continued

Office for Disability Issues

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether a Minister in his Department is planned to be nominated to take responsibility for liaison with the Office for Disability Issues; and if he will make a statement. [37073]

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Mr. Jim Murphy: Cabinet Office participated jointly with the Departments of Work and Pensions; Health; Education and Skills; and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the research and publication of the report Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People". The report initiated the setting up of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI).

The Departments of Work and Pensions; Health; Education and Skills; and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are now the main stakeholders in the implementation of the report's recommendations.

Cabinet Office will be implementing the recommendations where lead responsibility was assigned to all Government Departments. Officials will liaise directly with the ODI and report as necessary to Ministers.

Prime Minister's Delivery Unit

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much was spent by the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit in each year since its inception; and what its functions are. [35975]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit (PMDU) was set up at the end of June 2001. Information on the amounts it has spent since it was set up are shown in the table.
Amount spent (£)

PMDU's role is to help departments ensure delivery of my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister's top public service priorities, in particular, delivery of the Prime Minister's top 2005 and 2008 public service outcomes; the unit is also working to increase capacity to drive delivery in the centre, departments and delivery agencies.

True North Project

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on procurement project True North and what the cost of this project has been. [36292]

Mr. Jim Murphy: True North was the title of a project to procure services from the private sector for a data centre and managed hosting of Cabinet Office information technology applications that are shared across Government and public sector organisations. The contract for this service was awarded to a company called ITNet UK Ltd. On 25 July 2003 and valued at £83 million.

The Cabinet Office terminated the contract on 28 June 2004 for delays and other breaches of the contract by ITNet. An agreement to settle the dispute was reached on 29 July 2005. No payments were made to either side as part of the settlement agreement.

The delivery of operational services was not affected by the cancellation of the True North contract or the dispute.
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The Cabinet Office made one single payment of £5 million to ITNet under the True North contract.


Administrative Savings

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what administrative savings have been made by his Department in each of the last eight years. [34953]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The 2000 Spending Review set the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) an efficiency target of 3 percent. of its budget over for 2002–03 and 2003–04. The savings were identified in areas such as procurement, reviewing staff requirements and internal markets. Corresponding adjustments were then made to Directorate's allocations. Savings amounted to:
£ million

In the 2002 Spending Review, the FCO committed to save 2.5 percent. on its administration budget year on year. This was mirrored in the FCO's internal resource allocation: Directorates were allocated resources to meet new requirements and challenges but were required to find 2.5 percent. efficiency savings.

This amounted to:
£ million

The FCO also saved an additional £6.6 million in 2004–05 as part of the efficiency plan agreed in the 2004 Spending Review.

Systematic data on efficiency savings realised (as opposed to planned) for the financial years before 2001–02 is not available and could not be reconstituted except at a disproportionate cost.

Assets (Corruption)

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department has given developing countries as to how they can seek assistance from the United Kingdom in investigating, freezing and confiscating the assets of criminal origin which are believed to be located in the United Kingdom. [35403]

Ian Pearson: The United Kingdom is able to provide a full range of legal assistance to investigative, prosecutorial and judicial authorities in other countries and territories for thepurposes of criminal investigations and criminal proceedings. The Home Office has placed mutual legal assistance guidelines on the internet which give detailed information about how assistance can be obtained from the United Kingdom. These guidelines also include information
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regarding restraint and confiscation procedures in the United Kingdom. More information can be found at l-assistance/?version=l.

British Antarctic Territory

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visitors to the British Antarctic Territory there were in each of the last eight years, broken down by purpose of visit. [36082]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Visits to the British Antarctic Territory are held under the Antarctic treaty. The UK does not therefore monitor the number or type of visits undertaken to the Territory. All visits by British expeditions, ships or aircraft to any part of Antarctica, must be in accordance with the Antarctic Act 1994.

The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) has published the following figures on tourist visitors to Antarctica. IAATO estimates that around 80 percent. of these are to the British Antarctic Territory:
Antarctic austral seasonNumber of visitors(22)

(22) Estimated actual figures.

In addition, scientists from around 20 countries undertake scientific studies within the British Antarctic Territory. The number of visitors supporting British scientific activities in the British Antarctic Territory is as follows:
Antarctic austral seasonNumber of visitors

British Embassies (Overnight Visitors)

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the people who stayed one or more nights at the British embassy in Washington in 2004–05. [32743]

Ian Pearson: We have compiled a list of official visitors who stayed one or more nights at the British ambassador's residence, Washington, between January 2004 and November 2005. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.
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Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to support the recommendations made in the Havel-Tutu report on Burma. [37335]

Ian Pearson: We fully support US efforts to secure discussion of Burma by the United Nations (UN) Security Council. We believe that such a discussion, including covering the human rights situation, would increase the pressure on the Burmese regime to effect genuine change. It would send a powerful signal to the Burmese leadership that the UN Security Council—the body with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security—is concerned about the situation in Burma.

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