Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the UK has had with the new Islamist leaders of Somalia; and whether there are plans to send UN peacekeepers to the region. 
Mr. McCartney: We have received copies of letters sent by the Islamic Courts Union to the international community and officials have met representatives of the Islamic Courts Union informally. There are no plans to send UN peacekeepers to the region, but the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development have drawn up plans for a Peace Support Operation in Somalia.
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with the National Redemption Front (NRF) since it was formed in Asmara on 30 June 2006. However, Ministers and officials have met leaders of the NRF on various occasions in the past, including at the Darfur peace talks in Abuja.
I am disappointed by the NRFs rejection of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). The Government believe the DPA is a good deal for the people of Darfur and we fully support it. I call on all sides to abide by the agreement and to implement it urgently.
Dr. Howells: Since May 1997, sanctions with an element of restriction on trade, including the trade in arms, have been applied by the Government in relation to Afghanistan, Angola (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, China, Cote d'lvoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Serbia, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Rwanda (including Burundi, the DRC, Tanzania and Uganda in certain circumstances where arms are destined for Rwanda), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
The UK also operates a number of destination specific control regimes which apply to certain exports of defence equipment and/or certain dual-use goods. The full list of current sanctions regimes and countries subject to destination specific control regimes can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at: www.fco.gov.uk/sanctions.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries have been discussed as candidates for trade sanctions in international fora since May 1997; and what the Governments position was in each case. 
Dr. Howells: Details of all the countries which have been discussed as candidates for trade sanctions in international fora since May 1997 and the Governments position in each case could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2006, Official Report, column 672W, on UK agencies, to which (a) European Community and (b) UK agencies she refers; and what the mission statements are of the former. 
Mr. McCartney: Whilst the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the most widely ratified of all the core human rights conventions, implementation remains varied. It is essential that states parties have the necessary legal framework in place to be able to implement the convention effectively.
The UK continues to promote further signature, ratification and implementation of the CRC and its optional protocols, both through bilateral contacts and through multilateral channels such as the EUs dialogues with other countries. We also continue to support the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in this regard. This includes OHCHRs work to support and make as effective as possible the treaty monitoring body that examines states compliance with the CRC.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations her Department has made to the United Nations on encouraging more developing countries to sign up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 
Mr. McCartney: The UK continues to promote further signature and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its optional protocols. We fully support the efforts of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and of her Office, to encourage states to sign, ratify and implement the UNCRC and its optional protocols. The UNCRC is the most widely ratified of all the core human rights conventions. Somalia is the only developing state that has not yet ratified the convention itself.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions HM Ambassador to the USA has written to members of the Senate making representations that the Senate ratify the US-UK extradition treaty. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which UK diplomats based in Washington DC have specific responsibility for relations with Congress; and if she will make a statement. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions her Department has raised with the US ambassador in London (a) in writing and (b) at a formal meeting the fact that the US Senate has not ratified the US-UK extradition treaty; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the Extradition Treaty with the US ambassador last month, and raised the issue during her visit to the US this month, including with Senator Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions members of the UK Mission to the USA have formally raised with members of the US Senate the fact that the Senate has not ratified the US-UK extradition treaty with whom; and if she will make a statement. 
Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled staff in his Department received support through the Access to Work scheme (a) in each of the last five years and (b) in 2006-07. 
Mrs. McGuire: Up to March 2003, any DWP employee requiring equipment and adaptation support would have received the necessary support, and costs would have been attributed to the national Access to Work budget. Jobcentre Plus Access to Work did not collect the numbers of departmental disabled staff accessing adaptations and equipment support.
Currently any DWP employee requiring equipment and adaptation support receives the necessary support but costs are now attributed to individual local budgets. Prior to the introduction of our new Resource Management System we are collecting clerical statistical data on numbers of reasonable adjustments undertaken each quarter. The available information is shown in the following table.
|Reasonable adjustments undertaken
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether members of the Carpets International pension scheme are eligible for assistance through the financial assistance scheme. 
The Carpets International pension scheme is a successfully qualified pension scheme for the financial assistance scheme. All members of this scheme, who were within 15 years of their schemes
normal retirement age, or above, on 14 May 2004, will be considered for eligibility for assistance through the financial assistance scheme.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to ensure that members of the Carpets International pension scheme receive their full pension entitlements. 
James Purnell: The Carpets International pension scheme has successfully qualified for the Financial Assistance Scheme. The trustees have applied for initial payments and we are currently awaiting member data to enable us to start paying eligible members.
While the Financial Assistance Scheme does not provide eligible members with their full pension entitlement, it can provide significant assistance to members of qualifying pension schemes. On 25 May 2006, as part of the white paper, Security in Retirement: towards a new pension system, the Government announced that they will extend eligibility for the Financial Assistance Scheme to members of qualifying pension schemes who were within 15 years of their schemes normal retirement age on 14 May 2004.
Those within seven years of their schemes normal retirement age on 14 May 2004 will benefit from the Financial Assistance Scheme topping up their pensions to around 80 per cent. of their expected core pension. Those between seven and 15 years from their schemes normal retirement age who can more reasonably be expected to supplement their retirement income will be considered for a top-up to around 65 per cent. of their expected pension if they are between seven and 11 years from scheme pension age, and 50 per cent. between 12 and 15 years.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many days training were provided to staff at the Child Support Agency in each year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is out of the country, I am replying on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many days training were provided to staff at the Child Support Agency in each year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.
The Child Support Agency has provided a range of training during the last five years for which figures are available covering
technical, management, generic skills and information technology. The specific details are broken down as follows:
|Number of people trained
The decrease in training provided in 2005-06 was caused by a number of factors including awaiting the agreement of the Operational Implementation Plan, which has led to a new training programme for managers and other employees of the Child Support Agency. We have also seen a move towards blended learning and the use of e-learning with less emphasis on classroom training.
Following the announcement of the Operational Improvement Plan a full and comprehensive training programme has been developed. This includes a full training programme for Team Leaders, focusing on technical training, management skills and client outcomes. This will enable team leaders to effectively coach and mentor people leading to increased productivity and better client outcomes. In addition, we are currently developing training to support the movement of people to compliance work, as specified in the Operational Improvement Plan, so enabling the Agency to deliver the associate business benefits.
More detailed plans are still being finalised but the training will be for both new entrants and to support existing employees who may take on a different role on implementation of the new organisational design.
Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what deadline was imposed for meetings between officials on the Child Support Agency redesign team and individuals or organisations from outside his Department. 
Mrs. McGuire: Green and White papers are not defined terms. 12 papers were published by the Department of Work and Pensions within the Command Papers series since October 2005. These are detailed in the following table: