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Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he will reply to the letter sent to him by the hon. Member for Brent East, dated 21 November 2005, regarding the Local Government Pension Scheme, in respect of Ms Katrina Glennie. 
Mr. Woolas: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no record of receiving the hon. Member's letter of 21 November 2005. Officials have now obtained a copy of the letter from the hon. Member and a reply will be sent shortly.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the meetings that (a) he and (b) civil servants in his Department have had with local authority (i) officials and (ii) representatives concerning local government restructuring in the last 12 months. 
In addition, Ministers have attended two county dialogues to date, in Shropshire and Gloucestershire, held with officials, representatives and other local government stakeholders, as part of the wider debate on local governance. There were preparatory meetings for these events with officials of the ODPM and the county council concerned.
Ministers and civil servants from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have held numerous meetings with local authority officials and representatives during the past 12 months at which a range of topics have been discussed and may have included, on occasion, local government reorganisation.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 8 February 2006, Official Report, column 1247W, on the Lyons Inquiry, whether his Office made a formal submission to the inquiry. 
Mr. Woolas: I have nothing to add to the answers given to the hon. Member for Meriden of 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2431W; 1 December 2005, Official Report, column 682W; and 8 February 2006, Official Report, column 1247W.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) when his Department will start the urgent review of local authority positive planning for renewable energy policies announced in Standing Committee C on 9 February; and when he expects the review to report its findings; 
Yvette Cooper: Work is already under way on analysing local plans to determine whether there is a problem with emerging plans that do not fully incorporate PPS22 guidance. A decision on whether any further action is required and, if so, what that action should be and its timing, can only be taken once that analysis is completed and the results available.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the UK Government have had with the US Administration about changes in the military and security use of Ascension Island in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
During the past 12 months, there have been no talks between the Government and the US Administration about changes in the military and security use of Ascension Island. Officials visiting
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Ascension have had a number of working level meetings with the US base commander on Ascension Island. There have also been discussions between the Ministry of Defence and the US to consider options for burden sharing on Ascension Island, and the scope for mutual savings and efficiencies.
Ian Pearson: Independent trade unions in Burma are forbidden in practice and no collective bargaining exists. However, we are in contact with the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) in exile. I met the General Secretary of the FTUB, Mr. Maung Maung, in July 2005.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made on the treatment of Christians to the Government of (a) Egypt, (b) Saudi Arabia, (c) Iran, (d) Sudan, (e) Vietnam, (f) China, (g) Poland, (h) Spain, (i) Morocco, (j) Nepal, (k) India, (l) Pakistan, (m) Indonesia, (n) Myanmar, (o) North Korea, (p) Belarus, (q) the United Arab Emirates and (r) Yemen. 
Ian Pearson: The UK condemns all instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith, wherever it happens and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned. We regularly urge states, where there is a systematic problem, to pursue laws and practices which foster tolerance and mutual respect and to protect religious minorities against discrimination, intimidation and attacks. While we have not recently raised this issue in all of the countries mentioned, specific examples of where we have been engaged in the last 12 months include:
China: Freedom of religion was a focus of the last EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which took place under the UK presidency in October 2005. Individual cases of concern, including Christians, was also raised during an UK-led EU demarche on the Chinese Government in December 2005.
Pakistan: The treatment of Christians and the repeal of Blasphemy Laws was raised during an EU demarche on human rights in December 2005. In November 2005, our high commissioner in Pakistan wrote to the Minister for Religious Affairs about the use of mosques to incite violence against Christians and the Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by members of the British high commission, raised the treatment of minorities in meetings with President Musharraf and Prime Minister Shauk Aziz.
India: Attacks on Christians and other minority groups was raised with Indian Officials during an EU human rights dialogue in December 2005 and again by our Deputy High Commissioner during his call on the National Human Rights Commission in January 2006.
Iran: Ministers and officials have pressed Iran to address international concern over the freedom of religious minorities on several occasions. All EU member states co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution on human rights in Iran in December which expressed serious concern at the continuing discrimination, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, recognised or otherwise. During our EU presidency, we twice raised the case of the Christian Pastor and convert, Hamid Pourmand, imprisoned for allegedly deceiving the armed forces about his religion and spying. We continue to monitor Mr. Pourmand's case and the situation of Christians in Iran closely.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people from science and technology backgrounds have been seconded into the civil service in his Department in each of the last three years. 
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