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Hampton Review

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what input (a) his Department and (b) its (i) agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies had into the Hampton Review and its report, Reducing Administrative Burdens: Effective Inspection and Enforcement. [89611]

Mr. Hain: I refer the hon. Member to answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 280W.

Ministerial Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions he has stayed overnight in Northern Ireland since the end of June 2006. [94994]

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Mr. Hain: Since the end of June 2006 I have stayed overnight in Northern Ireland on 20 occasions. The hon. Gentleman will wish to note that this period also covers my annual leave.


Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in encouraging Sinn Fein to engage in the policing process in Northern Ireland. [92709]

Mr. Hain: As the agreement reached in St. Andrews last week made clear, we want to see the support for policing and the rule of law extend to every part of the community. This includes endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing Board. The political parties of Northern Ireland—including Sinn Fein—have until 10 November 2006 to confirm their endorsement of the St. Andrews agreement. Based on intensive negotiations at St. Andrews, we believe that all parties should be able to endorse it and to implement it in good faith, building on the trust and confidence necessary for a stable and lasting settlement.

School Bullying

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of school bullying in Northern Ireland have been referred to the Department of Education in the last 12 months, broken down by education and library board; and what measures the Department has taken (a) to resolve each case and (b) to reduce the number of incidents of school bullying in Northern Ireland. [94963]

Maria Eagle: The Department of Education does not collect the information requested. The Department recognises that bullying, in whatever form and for whatever reason, has no place in schools. The Department has taken proactive steps to tackle bullying through development and publication of guidance. Further, the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 2003, which came into operation on 1 April 2003, places a duty on all grant-aided schools to have an anti-bullying policy and to draw up measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.

In 2004 the Department in partnership with voluntary organisations, including Save the Children, established an anti-bullying forum to enable a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to tackling bullying in schools. The Forum enables members to share models of best practice, disseminate information, to develop and co-ordinate joint initiatives to ensure that schools and organisations working with children and young people are able to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.

In addition, information about the scale and nature of bullying in Northern Ireland schools is contained in a research report published in October 2002. A research briefing summary is available on the Department’s website at The Department has
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commissioned updated research into bullying, in all its forms, and the results are expected to be ready for publication by mid 2007.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils were (a) suspended and (b) permanently excluded from school in Northern Ireland for bullying in each of the last three years. [95016]

Maria Eagle: From the 2002-03 school year, statistics on the reasons for suspension have been gathered annually from each education and library board and relate to the number of individual suspensions not to the number of pupils suspended. The following table details the number of suspensions for bullying of another pupil in the 2002-03 to 2004-05 school years:

Number of suspensions for bullying of another pupil







Reasons for expulsion have been collected since the 2003-04 school year. The number of pupils expelled for bullying of another pupil is shown in the following table:

Number of pupils expelled for bullying of another pupil


Not available






Departmental Mail

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of the Department’s mail is shipped using private companies; and what the cost was over the last 12 months. [95153]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office does not use private companies to distribute mail. All mail goes by Royal Mail or the Government’s Internal Delivery System (IDS).

Race Relations

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the leaders of (a) the Muslim community in Wales and (b) the Commission for Racial Equality in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [95228]

Mr. Hain: I maintain close and regular contact with the Muslim community in Wales.

During the summer I met representatives from the Bangladeshi community in Cardiff, together with the High Commissioner. Earlier in the year my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary met a visiting
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group of Muslim women at the House of Commons, led by the Chief Executive of the All-Wales Saheli Association.

The Commission for Racial Equality keeps me regularly updated on its activities in Wales.

Single Farm Payment

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much single farm payment has been paid in Wales up to the end of June; and if he will make a statement. [94457]

Mr. Hain: Between 1 December 2005, and 30 June 2006, £205.23 million was paid to farmers in Wales.

Sub-post Offices

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister about the sub-post offices in Wales. [94171]

Mr. Hain: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of topics, including the post office network in Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with representatives of sub-post offices in Wales in the last 12 months. [94172]

Mr. Hain: I am kept up to date with concerns about the post office network in Wales through correspondence with representative bodies, consumers and Welsh Members of Parliament and Assembly Members.

Taking their concerns forward, I have regular discussions with Department of Trade and Industry Ministers and am also a member of the Cabinet Committee, MISC 33, which is considering the post office network.

Welsh Language

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the Wales Office has adopted a Welsh language policy. [94158]

Mr. Hain: Yes. Our Welsh Language Scheme has been formally endorsed by the Welsh Language Board and can be found on our website


“Not to Exceed” Dates

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the “not to exceed” in-service date at main gate was for (a) Swiftsure and Trafalgar Class Update (Final Phase), (b) Sting Ray Life Extension and Capability Upgrade, (c) Brimstone, (d) Nimrod MRA4, (e) Astute, (f) Airborne Stand Off Radar, (g) A400M, (h) Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile, (i) T45 Destroyer, (j) Typhoon ASTA, (k) Future Joint Combat Aircraft, (l) Support Vehicle, (m) Skynet, (n) Next Generation Light Air Armour Weapon, (o) CIP-ComBAT, DBL Infrastructure, Platform ELSA, (p) Apache Bowman
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Connectivity, (q) C Vehicle capability and (r) M-TADS; and what the “not to exceed” cost at main gate was for the demonstration and manufacture phase of each project, broken down into (i) indirect departmental expenditure limit (DEL), (ii) direct DEL and (iii) capital DEL. [93038]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.


Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the current fighting capacity of the Taliban; and what his latest estimate is of the number of Taliban fighters. [91780]

Des Browne: The Taliban are currently able to threaten Afghan and international security forces in parts of eastern and southern Afghanistan by means of improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and small-scale ambushes. They have not been able to hold territory in the face of offensive action by Afghan and international security forces.

Insurgent activity has been less marked in other areas, though suicide bombs have been used in Kabul and occasionally elsewhere in the North and West. The Taliban have also been active in the thinly-populated provinces of Nimruz and Farah in south-west Afghanistan. Violent incidents have been on the rise in northern Afghanistan, albeit from a very low base. Much of the violence in northern and western Afghanistan is in any case criminal-related rather than directed against the international presence.

Estimating Taliban numbers is difficult, but we do know that they are thought to be comprised of a mixture of full-time fighters and a larger number of recruits generated locally within Afghanistan, motivated by a range of factors, including money.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Afghan Government on a comprehensive policy for the treatment of individuals detained during fighting in Afghanistan. [94701]

Mr. Ingram: UK troops are in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led international security assistance force mission (ISAF). NATO policy is that individuals detained by ISAF forces should be transferred to the Afghan authorities at the first opportunity and within 96 hours, or released.

On 23 April 2006, the UK agreed a memorandum of understanding with the Afghan Government which will cover transfer of detainees to the Afghan authorities following detention by UK forces, and which includes undertakings from the Afghans that they will respect international obligations.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantity of military stores and equipment are being flown from the UK to Afghanistan per week, broken down by commodity. [94870]

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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 October 2006]: For operational security reasons, it is MOD’s policy not to disclose information on specific military equipment employed on particular operations. The information requested is not, in any event, held centrally.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what risk assessment has been made of the ability of Pinzgauer Vector armoured vehicles to give adequate protection to the driver in the event of running over (a) a mine and (b) an improvised explosive device, with particular reference to the cone of destruction; and if he will make a statement. [91677]

Mr. Ingram: To safeguard our own and allied troops, we do not comment on the detail of our vehicles’ protection levels. However, the need to provide enhanced protection against the threats currently faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, including mines and improvised explosive devices, was a factor in the decision to procure rapidly a suite of protected patrol vehicles, including an additional 106 Pinzgauer Vector vehicles, which would give commanders a range of options dependent on the operational circumstances.

I also refer the hon. Member to the Statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made on 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 74-76WS.

Defence Expenditure

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the cost of operations in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in the 2006-07 financial year are being charged to the Treasury Reserve on a (i) marginal and (ii) full cost basis. [92982]

Des Browne [holding answer 12 October 2006]: The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of operations, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, in terms of the net additional (marginal) costs it has incurred. The costs that the Department would have incurred regardless of the operation taking place, such as wages other than operational allowances, are not included. Savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operation—training exercises for example—are taken into account in arriving at the net figures.

Departmental Accounts

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what income, measured on an accrual basis, was received by his Department, excluding entities within the (a) Whole of Government Accounts boundary and (b) Central Government Accounts boundary, for financial years 1999-2000 to 2005-06. [93050]

Mr. Ingram: Information in the form requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Income from external customers (defined as excluding other government departments, trading funds and QinetiQ prior to its flotation on the London Stock Exchange) is disclosed in the published Departmental Resource Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The following table summarises the income received from external customers in each of the last seven financial years:

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