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Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Danish Prime Minister on the recent demonstrations in the Middle East and London. 
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Danish Foreign Minister on two occasions (2 February and 5 February) to discuss reactions to the caricatures of Islamic religious figures that appeared in some European media. He has not spoken to the Danish Prime Minister but my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has done so.
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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on entertainment by his Department in 200405; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. 
Mr. Straw: The total spent against the entertainment budget in 200405 was £4,208,805.55. This expenditure was spent on entertainment of official contacts in furtherance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's objectives. This expenditure would include the costs of food, drink and sundries when official contacts were entertained at an officer's home, the costs of employing extra domestic staff solely for a representational event, and the cost of entertaining official contacts at external venues, eg restaurants, hotels etc. Additional expenditure on entertainment will have been put to other budgets, eg the FRAIS allowance paid to heads of missions for their expenses is used in part to meet the costs of official entertaining, but it is not possible to identify this separately.
Expenditure on entertainment is not broken down into the requested categories, and to obtain this information would require analysis of each individual invoice. This could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many job advertisements were placed by his Department (a) in total, (b) in print newspapers and magazines and (c) on a recruitment website in each year since 1997; and at what (i) total and (ii) average cost in each case. 
|2006 to date||Number||Total cost (£)||Average cost (£)|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) nature and (b) value is of the obsolescent consumables identified on page 44 of his Department's Resource Accounts for 200405; how many of them there were; and if he will make a statement. 
|Items net book value||Amount (£)|
|Information and communications|
|Plant and machinery||8||32,088.44|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the nature was of the out of date consular vignettes written off in the 200405 Resource Accounts; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not use consular vignettes. The stockpile of out of date visa vignettes, which were to be replaced by new photo vignettes from 1 April 2005, was written off because of supplier production problems.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were employed in his Department in each of the last 12
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months for which data is available; and how many and what percentage of posts were vacant in each region in each month. 
Ian Pearson: The number of UK based staff employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for each of the past 12 months are shown in the following table. Staff are deployed in a large number of locations overseas and, in the UK, in London and Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. It is difficult to quantify vacancies on a month-by-month basis in a meaningful way, or on a regional basis. Generally FCO staff change jobs on a two to four yearly basis, often involving moves between the UK and overseas. Not every job is therefore necessarily filled immediately but gaps do not necessarily represent jobs available to be filled from outside the FCO.
|Month||Number of staff (Headcount)|
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any (a) employee of his Department, (b) person engaged by his Department as a consultant and (c) paid adviser to his Department is a member of the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Lord Triesman, as a Minister, receives a salary from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Lord Carter of Coles has acted as a non-paid consultant. We have no record of any other member of the House of Lords being employed by, or acting as a consultant or advisor to, the FCO.
Mr. Straw: Prior to October 2001, Foreign and Commonwealth Office electronic staffing records do not distinguish between Private Offices. An annual snapshot taken at 1 January records the following staffing figures for the Secretary of State's Office:
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what circumstances personnel in his Department receive funding for the private education of family members; and how many have received such funding in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Straw: It is a condition of employment that members of the diplomatic service must be prepared to serve anywhere in the world at any time during their career, sometimes at very short notice. Those with children also have the legal obligation as parents to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the age of five years. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) therefore makes provision to help staff meet these potentially conflicting obligations in two circumstances:
Children who accompany their parents on postings overseas are expected to use free state schooling if it is available locally and is of a suitable standard. But at posts where no suitable schooling is available free-of-charge locally, education fees can be refunded to enable children to receive the education they would be entitled to in the UK.
With staff moving every 1248 months and education facilities at posts' locations overseas varying, continuity of education can be problematic particularly during the important exam years. The FCO also enables children to board at school in the UK while their parents remain subject to the worldwide mobility obligation.
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