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15 Feb 2006 : Column 2102W—continued

Type 45 Destroyers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) original estimated cost and (b) cost on completion was for HMS Daring; and what the (i) original and (ii) current estimate is for each of the other ships in the order. [51569]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence does not hold cost information in the way the question seeks it. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2349W.


Bearer Shares (Crown Dependencies)

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Crown Dependencies permit (a) the issuance and (b) trading in bearer shares. [50568]

Bridget Prentice: I am advised by the Governments of the Crown Dependencies that the issuance of, or trading in, bearer shares is not permitted in Jersey. Bearer shares are also not permitted under Guernsey companies legislation. Since April 2004 the issuance of bearer shares has no longer been permitted in the Isle of Man and any already in existence were disenfranchised unless converted into registered shares. There is a possibility that some remain in existence as registered shares and they could be passed from one person to another, but the Isle of Man Government are not aware of any trading taking place in bearer shares more widely.


Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the political and security situation in Ethiopia, with particular reference to the reported violence in rural areas of the country. [50734]

Ian Pearson: We remain concerned at the reports of ongoing sporadic violence in rural areas of Ethiopia, which demonstrate the continuing political and social divisions in the community. The people of Ethiopia need the reassurance of a peaceful, just and democratic future. To this end, we continue to urge the Government of Ethiopia, and opposition, to exercise restraint, return to inclusive peaceful dialogue and continue the democratisation process. We stand ready to support Ethiopia in achieving this.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the defence attache" in Addis Ababa last visited the ex-Somaliland Scouts Association. [50735]

Ian Pearson: The defence attache" from Addis Ababa visited the Somaliland Scouts Association in Hargeisa on 28 April and 14 September 2005. The principal purpose of the first visit was to discuss the ex-Scouts' welfare. In this context he explained that the UK Government had made provision for their pensions at independence and therefore has no residual responsibility. He also discussed ways in which the defence section in Addis Ababa could assist with
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communications to the relevant UK charities to address demonstrable cases of hardship and followed this up on his second visit.

Press Coverage

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since 1 April 2003 he has complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the coverage in the press of (a) Ministers or officials and (b) his Department; and how many of these complaints were upheld. [47085]

Mr. Straw: None.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the security situation in Somalia. [51424]

Ian Pearson: Somalia has had no effective Government since 1991. We are supporting the establishment of Transitional Federal Institutions to restore peace and security, but in the interim most of Somalia continues to be controlled by armed clans and factions which frequently resort to violence. We therefore advise against all travel to Somalia because of the terrorist threat, the dangerous level of criminal activity and internal insecurity. Westerners and those working for western organisations have been targeted in recent shootings.

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the activities of (a) al-Qaeda and (b) Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia. [51427]

Ian Pearson: The absence of effective Government in Somalia creates a vacuum in which terrorists, such as, al-Qaeda, operate, threatening the region and the wider international community. Islamic fundamentalists are seeking to create an Islamic State in Somalia. We have been closely engaged in the Somali national reconciliation conference and the subsequent political process. We continue to work closely with the UN and other members of the international community to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement and a return to good governance in Somalia, through the establishment of Transitional Federal Institutions and a return to democracy.

Staff Pay

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department are paid on a performance-related basis. [50515]

Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs a total of 6,078 UK-based staff, including inward secondees from other Departments, at its locations in the United Kingdom and overseas. All are paid on a performance-related basis.
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Locally-engaged (LE) staff at posts overseas are employed and paid on the basis of prevailing local practice. All posts have been asked to introduce wherever possible performance-related pay systems, although we have no details of the numbers of LE staff to whom this currently applies.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of cross-border attacks by militias between Sudan and Chad; and what discussions he has had with the (a) African Union and (b) UN on measures to reduce such attacks. [50526]

Ian Pearson: Relations between Chad and Sudan have been strained since the rebel attack on Adre, Chad on 18 December last year. Although an attack on that scale has not reoccurred, the security situation on the border remains extremely tense, with both Chadian and Sudanese militias operating. We have made clear our view that no action should be taken to inflame this situation and my noble Friend, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, did so most recently during the Sudanese Foreign Minister's visit to London on 3 February.

We welcome the signing in Libya of an agreement between Chad and Sudan on 8 February in which the two countries pledged to improve bilateral relations and refrain from supporting rebel militias. We will press both Governments to fulfil their commitments and our embassy in Khartoum is in regular contact with the African Union and the UN in order to monitor the situation.

UK Diplomatic Posts (Security)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the security of UK embassies and consulates in countries where there have been demonstrations about the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. [51545]

Ian Pearson: There has been no specific change in the threat to the security of our posts overseas as a direct result of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. However, we have been in touch with all our posts to provide additional security advice in the event of possible demonstrations and advised that they maintain a heightened level of vigilance.


Business Investment

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) level of inward investment and (b) number of new start up businesses in Northern Ireland was in each year since 2000, broken down by council area. [51068]

Angela E. Smith: Table (a) as follows provides the level of inward investment associated with assisted projects for each of the financial years 2000–01 to 2004–05, analysed by district council area.
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Table (a)(17): Total planned investment
£ million

District council2000–012001–022002–032003–042004–05Grand total
Newry and Mourne5.09.00.614.5
North Down0.
Grand total(18)264.7(18)231.4(18)166.7(18)149.4(18)209.7(18)1,021.8

(17) Planned investment (£ million) by assisted inward investment projects 2000–01 to 2004–05.
2 Some differences between table totals may arise due to rounding.

Table (b) as follows presents the number of assisted business starts during the same time period.
Table (b)(18)

District council2000–012001–022002–032003–042004–05Grand total
Newry and Mourne153132162145274866
North Down609282127137498
Grand total1,3741,4342,1322,7813,92111,642

(18) Number of assisted start-ups by district council area 2000–01 to 2004–05

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