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Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions his Department has had with the Security Industry Association on the licensing of security guards on the civil service estate. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions has not had any discussions with the Security Industry Association regarding the licensing of security guards on this Departments civil service estate.
Mr. Jim Murphy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the pilot of a revised process for handling new and repeat claims for working-age benefits. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The pilot is intended to improve customer service by making the service clearer for both customers and staff and streamlining the new and repeat claims process. The main features of the pilot are:
improved information for customers to ensure that they are directed to the right services;
a free telephone claim line number;
fast-track procedures for people making repeat claims and for people who do not require an immediate work focused interview; and
streamlined arrangements for collecting information to support claims.
The pilot has been running since 27 February 2006 for customers served by Jobcentre Plus offices in Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Barton and Immingham, and was extended to customers in Central London from 24 April, A full evaluation of the pilot will be carried out before any decisions are made to extend the revised process nationally.
I hope this is helpful.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2005, Official Report, Column 1895W, on ambassadors, how much of the Frais was spent on (a) the EU presidency, (b) the G8 presidency and (c) the visit of HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. 
Mr. Hoon: £6,145 of the Frais of our ambassador in Washington was spent on the visit by their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in November 2005. The UK's G8 and EU presidencies ran for one year and six months respectively. To provide figures on the amount of Frais spent on both presidencies would require consideration of hundreds of events in 2005 and would incur disproportionate costs.
I would like to take this opportunity to correct the figure of £29,000 previously stated as having been underspent against the ambassador's Frais provision in financial year 2004-05, in the written reply to my hon. Friend by the then Foreign Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) on 22 November 2005, Official Report, Column 1895W. The ambassador's Frais provision was underspent by £27,935 and it was that amount that was carried forward to financial year 2005-06. Taking into account this rollover, there was no increase in the ambassador's total Frais allocation for 2005-06.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice the British high commissioner, Mr. Francois Gordon, gave to Dr. Besigye (a) while he was in detention, with particular reference to applying for amnesty under the Amnesty Law which governs the forgiveness of former rebels, and (b) after the elections, with particular reference to the acceptance of the results of the elections; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: As chair of the Partners for Democracy and Governance group, the British high commissioner, Mr. Francois Gordon, has met Dr. Besigye on several occasions before and after the February 2006 elections. At these meetings, both parties agreed that the conversations would remain private and confidential.
Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 308W. All property on Ascension Island belongs to the Crown. Nevertheless, some parties have entered into arrangements that have no basis in law. We will seek to bring these arrangements into line with legislation that is currently being reviewed. In undertaking this work individual circumstances will be considered sympathetically.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons conscripted to the Bermuda Regiment have (a) declined to serve, (b) gone absent without leave for more than one month and (c) been (i) charged with and (ii) convicted of (A) desertion, (B) being absent without leave and (C) similar offences; what sentences were imposed in each case; and if she will make a statement. 
Neither my Department nor the Ministry of Defence hold the information requested. Officials
from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contacted the Bermuda Regiment directly and the Regiment has provided the following information.
For 2006, of the 541 men called up for service in the Bermuda Regiment two were registered as Conscientious Objectors, seven were exempted as ministers of a religious denomination, 14 were conditionally deferred to serve in the St. John's Ambulance Brigade, and 94 did not report for medical examination, nor explain their absence in advance. Of these 94 men, 51 are believed to reside in Bermuda, while the whereabouts of the remaining 43 is unknown.
The Bermuda Regiment is a part-time regiment, and the maximum accumulated time put in by any member of the regiment is equivalent, at its maximum, to thirty days in one year. The regiment considers that a man who has been absent without leave for more than three consecutive scheduled or ordered appearances is a long term absentee (LTA). At the time of this parliamentary question the Bermuda Regiment has on its books a total of 65 LTAs.
Under the Defence Act every soldier who fails to perform military duties is charged internally with unauthorised absence. So far in 2006, 21 such cases have been heard, and all have been found guilty. The commanding officer handed out the following sentences: extra duties (three); monetary fines (four); and re-start the military year (11). The remaining three cases have been referred to the magistrates court, for which there is provision in the Defence Act, where they remain outstanding.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information the Government have received about the fatal beating of Burmese democracy activist, Thet Naing Oo. 
Mr. McCartney: We are not able to confirm events surrounding the death of Thet Naing Oo, but believe reports that he was beaten to death by Burmese police officers are broadly accurate. We do not accept the version of events given by the Government media.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, raised our concerns on a range of human rights abuses in Burma, including the recent attacks in Karen State, when he summoned the Burmese ambassador on 15 June.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that Burma is formally discussed at the UN Security Council and a resolution is agreed. 
Margaret Beckett: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade gave the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1454W.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to her answer of 16 May 2006, Official Report, columns 892-93W, on Burma, if she will make a formal written request to the Burmese Government to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. 
Margaret Beckett: In accordance with an agreed common position, EU Ministers believe that it would be inappropriate to visit Burma at this time. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 2003. I shall therefore not be writing to request a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi. We have repeatedly called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released, most recently when my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Trade summoned the Burmese ambassador on 15 June.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the last time was that British embassy officials in Rangoon, Burma, were permitted to see Aung San Sui Kyi; and what report on the state of her health was received. 
Mr. McCartney: Our ambassador in Rangoon last met Aung San Suu Kyi on 25 April 2003. Since she was detained on 30 May 2003, the Burmese Government have refused all requests by our ambassador to call on her. United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari was permitted to see Aung San Suu Kyi on 20 May 2006 and commented that she looked well. Aung San Suu Kyi was reported to have fallen ill earlier this month. She was examined by her doctor but was not admitted to hospital. We understand she has now recovered.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answers of 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 769W, and 24 May 2006, Official Report, column 1858W, on Charles Munyaneza, what steps the Government has taken in response to the international arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan Government (ref: RPGR 206/GEN/MJD/RE) in respect of Mr. Charles Munyaneza and submitted to the UK Government in February 2006 for action by the appropriate authorities. 
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 311W, on China, whether the Government or their representatives and officials had direct contact with Mr. Ching Cheong prior to his arrest on 22 April 2005. 
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with representatives of the United States of America on their ratification of the Extradition Treaty of March 2003; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any discussions with US representatives about the UK/US Extradition Treaty. However, the then Foreign Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) wrote to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about this matter on 20 April. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House and a copy sent to my hon. Friend.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government have held with (a) the Falkland Islands Government and (b) the Argentine Government on exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. 
Mr. Hoon: The Government hold regular discussions with the Falkland Islands Government on the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. Most recently these included a meeting between both the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices Director General for Defence and Intelligence and the Overseas Territories Department with representatives of the Falkland Islands Government, on 15 June.
There have been no discussions with the Argentine Government on the exploration for oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters since the South West Atlantic Hydro Carbons Commission ceased to meet in July 2000.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Government policy is on supporting the Falkland Islands in their exploration for gas and oil in their territorial waters. 
The Government are committed to the offshore prospecting policy pursued by the Falkland
Islands Government, which is entirely consistent with the United Kingdom's sovereign rights over the Falkland Islands.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her latest assessment is of Hamass position on meeting the conditions of the international community for donor funding. 
Mr. McCartney: We remain deeply concerned that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has not committed to the Quartets (EU, US, UN and Russia) three principles: to renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept all previous agreements and obligations. Hamas need to start implementing these principles and make clear the path they intend to take now that they face the responsibilities of government.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 1001W, on the International Nuclear Fuel Bank, when she plans to make public the joint US-UK proposals to the International Atomic Energy Agency for a new international nuclear fuel supply agreement; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced UK support for the proposal on 26 May during his foreign policy speech at Georgetown University, Washington DC. The UK, alongside France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation and the United States, formally presented the initiative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors on 12-15 June.
The Department for International Developments (DFID) Political Participation Fund, totalling £7.5 million, supports initiatives which aim to increase opportunities for political representation and participation of poor, vulnerable and marginalised people in the political process. Projects funded so far include voter education and media and monitors training for elections. DFID has also provided 82 grants to civil society organisations. During 2006 the Fund will help to support the constitutional review process and the provincial elections.
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