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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effect on public expenditure in (a) the Eastern Region and (b) the East Midlands Region of immigration from EU accession countries since May 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Evidence from the most recent Home Office Accession Monitoring Report (February 2006) suggests that nationals from the Accession 8 countries continue to come to the UK to work, contributing to the success of the UK economy, while making very few demands of our welfare system or public services. Overall migrants make a net fiscal contribution to the UK. In many cases, Accession workers are supporting the provision of public services in communities across the UK.
The Report finds that numbers applying for tax-funded income-related benefits, child benefit, tax credits and housing support remain very low. Only 3,270 applications for income support and jobseeker's allowance were received from Accession 8 migrants between May 2004 and December 2005, less than 1 per cent. of the total number of Workers Registration Scheme applicants in that period. Of these, only 195 were allowed to proceed for further consideration. The East Midlands region received 5.7 per cent. of these applications and the East of England received 7.9 per cent.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Government have committed to military operations and peace-keeping in Iraq since 1 January 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 26 January 2006, Official Report, columns 2260-61W, which provides the net additional costs of current operations in Iraq from financial years 2002-03 to 2004-05.
An estimated cost for operations in Iraq for 2005-06 of £1,098 million was included in the Ministry of Defence's Spring Supplementary Estimate published in February of this year. Final figures will be published in the MOD's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06 following audit by the National Audit Office.
Prior to commencing current operations in Iraq in March 2003, MOD also incurred expenditure enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Iraq. The costs recorded in the MOD's Annual Accounts for these activities were as follows:
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the cost of public sector pensions as a share of gross domestic product in each year from 2005 to 2050; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The latest estimate of the projected cost of unfunded public service pensions as a share of gross domestic product is set out in Table 5.1, which sets out the projections at 10 year intervals, of the 2005 Long Term Public Finance Report published with the pre-Budget report on 5 December 2005.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the UK's balance of trade was in (a) services and (b) non-service industries in each of the last eight years; and what assessment he has made of the trends over this period. 
Ed Balls: The Office for National Statistics publishes trade in goods (non-services) and services data in their monthly UK trade release (http://www.statistics.gov.Uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=1119). The UK has been running a trade in services surplus over the past few years, peaking at 1.8 per cent. of GDP in 2004 (a record high) before dipping slightly in 2005. The lower surplus in 2005 likely reflected the short-term
effects on tourism following the 7 July terrorist atrocities in central London and insurance claims arising from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Though the UK's trade in goods balance was in deficit in 2005, export and import volumes continued to grow. Volumes of goods exports rose by 7.9 per cent. in 2005, while goods imports rose by 6.1 per cent.
The current account deficit (which includes income and transfers as well as trade in goods and services) stood at 2.6 per cent. of GDP in 2005, is readily financeable and remains modest compared to historical peaks. The current account deficit last peaked at 5.1 per cent. of GDP in 1989.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the change in revenue to his Department would be if the price of unleaded petrol were (a) increased and (b) decreased by (i) one, (ii) two, (iii) three, (iv) four and (v) five pence; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The overall impact of road fuel prices on tax revenues and the public finances is complex as they will increase some tax revenues and Government expenditures while decreasing others, depending on their wider impact on the economy in general. Reliable estimates of the impact of changes in prices are not available.
Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the revised delivery plan for the Defence Information Initiative will enable the achievement of the original estimated savings of (a) £170 million within three years and (b) £43 million within one year. 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence expects that £43 million input efficiencies and cost avoidance measures will be achieved in 2005-06. This will be confirmed after the formal end of the financial year at the end of May 2006.
Mr. Watson: There is no facility available in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for senior civil servants to use credit cards. However, the MOD does make use of
the Government Procurement Card (GPC). The GPC is a VISA purchasing card where the account is settled in full by the MOD each month. As it is a charge card it does not attract any interest charges. The GPC is available to all staff having a business need, through specific delegations and controls to obtain goods and services on behalf of the MOD.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what type of hazardous materials and chemicals were held within the grounds of Royal Ordnance Bishopton prior to its sale in 1987; how they were disposed of; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what decontamination operations were conducted by (a) his Department prior to 1987 and (b) BAE Systems after 1987 within the grounds of Royal Ordnance Bishopton; what the cost of each operation was; what materials were (i) recovered and (ii) processed; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment his Department made prior to the 1987 sale of Royal Ordnance Bishopton of (a) the presence of hazardous materials and chemicals on the site and (b) the likely cost of decontamination; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: Any information held has been archived and given the time that has elapsed since the disposal, it will take some time to ascertain what records have survived. I will write to the hon. Gentleman as soon as the material is to hand and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Dr. Howells: I am pleased that Amnesty International's memorandum to the Algerian President of 13 April 2006 highlights that, despite Amnesty International's continuing concerns about the use of detention and torture in Algeria, there have been fewer allegations of torture in police custody, and progress has been made on strengthening safeguards to protect detainees.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely impact of Brazil's decision to enrich uranium on other countries' attempts to acquire such technology; and whether the Government were informed of this development. 
Dr. Howells: Brazilian development of its uranium enrichment facility at Resende has at all times been carried out in compliance with its safeguards obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has been known to the international community. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that it has adequate monitoring measures in place. There is no reason why Brazilian inauguration of the facility should influence any other country's policy in this area.
The Brazilian Government have publicly abandoned the nuclear weapons programme pursued by previous military Governments and the development of nuclear weapons is prohibited under the country's constitution. There have been no indications that Brazil has attempted to break its obligations under the NPT. Any State party to the NPT has a right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Article II of the Treaty.
Mr. Hoon: No formal proposals for revision of the EU Constitutional Treaty have been tabled. However, a number of ideas have been expressed across the EU on possible alternatives to the Treaty over the last 11 months. There is no point in speculating on abstract possibilities. The Government believe the EU should continue to focus on economic reform and tackling the challenges of globalisation, the agenda set out at the Hampton Court Summit during our Presidency.
Dr. Howells: The UN imposed an arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo in July 2003 and later agreed to impose sanctions on violators of this embargo. The UK also supported action at the Security Council on 1 November 2005 to impose travel bans and asset freezes on 16 known violators of the embargo.
The UK continues to press the Governments of the region to co-operate more fully with the Group of Experts (which monitors the arms embargo), particularly in its efforts to discover the origins of arms found in the country. The UK further supported UN Security Council Resolution 1649 on 21 December 2005, providing for targeted sanctions against leaders of illegal armed groups.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of Ethiopia on (a) the use of the death penalty, (b) conducting trials in accordance with international and regional standards and (c) observing international standards on freedom of expression. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn) met the Ethiopian Prime Minister on 18 January and raised the importance of the Ethiopian courts dealing with all charges fairly, quickly and transparently in accordance with international standards. Our ambassador in Addis Ababa reiterated this message to the Prime Minister on 25 April 2006.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the timetable for the accession of (a) Bulgaria and (b) Romania to the European Union. 
Mr. Hoon: Romania and Bulgaria are scheduled to join the European Union on 1 January 2007. The European Commission will publish a report on Bulgarian and Romanian preparations for accession on 16 May. We expect this report to recommend whether Romanian and Bulgarian accession should go ahead in 2007 as planned, or whether further progress is required. This might require delaying accession until 2008, as provided for by the Accession Treaty. The Presidency have included Romanian and Bulgarian accession on the agenda of the European Council on 15 June.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is her Department's policy to support the current practice of the European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government, and many Members of the European Parliament, agree that the splitting of the European Parliament site is far from ideal. However, there is a legal and historical basis for the sitting. At the Edinburgh Council in 1992, member states adopted a decision that designated the European Parliament's seat as Strasbourg and committed the European Parliament to holding 12 plenary sessions a year there.
Any change to the status quo would need the unanimous support of the 25 member states. Unfortunately, we do not think such unanimity is likely in the foreseeable future.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by her Department to tackle the indicators of state fragility and failure in Africa identified in the failed states Index 2006. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working closely with the Department for International Development (DFID) and other Government Departments to help create the conditions in which African countries can end conflict, improve governance and achieve their development goals. Through bilateral dialogue and working through the European Union and other international bodies, we are calling for more accountable governance and better human rights standards. We are also helping build greater capacity in national and regional bodies to prevent conflict and instability by providing training and technical support to African nations, the African Union and Sub Regional Organisations. Funding through the joint FCO, DFID, Ministry of Defence Africa Conflict Prevention Pool helps underpin this work.
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