|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 1012W, on teachers, how many individuals who qualified as teachers in each of the last five years have not secured full-time posts. 
|Academic year||Leavers not recording full-time paid employment 6 months after graduation|
Higher Education Statistics Agency
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent by the UK on opium poppy eradication in Afghanistan since 2001; and what changes in the level of production of the poppy there has been in the same period. 
Dr. Howells: Total UK financial support for Afghan counter narcotics between financial year 2002-03 to 2005-06 is £180.4 million. Before this time there was no specific budget for counter narcotics in Afghanistan. This total includes money spent not just on poppy eradication but also on supporting the Afghan Government in building Afghan counter narcotics institutions, criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, and on developing legal livelihoods. Some 50 per cent. of our current annual counter narcotics budget is channelled into programmes to strengthen and diversify legal livelihoods for farmers. The following table sets out the total budget for counter narcotics as well as the budget specifically for poppy eradication in each financial year since 2002-03. The 2002-03 eradication figure includes UK support for the new Afghan Transitional Authoritys one off compensated eradication programme.
|Financial year||Total Afghan counter narcotics spend||Eradication|
|Cultivation (hectares)||Production (tonnes)|
Mr. Hoon: No Foreign and Commonwealth Office money has been spent on the case. The claim for unlawful dismissal was made in November 2004. It was withdrawn in September 2005 and was later dismissed by a tribunal. No settlement agreement was entered into. The Cummins case cost the British Council a total of £78,059.20 in legal fees.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations her Department has made to the government of the Peoples Republic of China concerning the detention of the pastors Li Ming, Jin Jirong, Wang Yuan and Li Mingbo at Langzhong Detention Centre. 
Mr. Hoon: We regularly raise freedom of religion and harassment of church leaders with the Chinese government. Officials from our Embassy in Beijing accompanied the Archbishop of Canterbury during his visit to China, on 18-23 October, and raised the abuse of church leaders and the restrictions against religious practitioners with the Chinese authorities. We raised freedom of religion at the last round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing in July. We have not raised the detention of pastors Li Ming, Jin Jirong, Wang Yuan and Li Mingbo with the Chinese authorities. However, we regularly raise individual cases of concern and are willing to consider action on any case where reliable information is provided.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the environmental impact of palm oil production in Colombia; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We have not made a specific assessment of the impact of palm oil production in Colombia. Our ambassador in Bogota recently raised our wider concerns about the environment and the need to move to lower carbon economies with the Colombian Minister for the Environment and in the media.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effect of methods of palm oil cultivation on human rights in Colombia; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We are aware of concerns that, while much palm cultivation in Colombia is both legal and unobjectionable, some palms are being grown on lands to which title is in dispute. We are also aware of concerns that palm cultivation can contribute to clearance of tropical forest, which may result in the displacement of people living in these areas. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Colombian Government. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, and the Minister for the Middle East, most recently raised these issues with Colombian Ministers during their respective visits to Colombia in September and October. In April this year, we supported a Colombian documentary which drew public and government attention to the plight of the inhabitants of some parts of Colombia in which palms are being grown.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her policy is on the renewal of the existing mandate of the Colombian Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a further four years, with particular reference to the provisons (a) to monitor the countrys human rights situation and (b) to issue publicly available reports and recommendations; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We welcome the one-year extension of the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia. We also welcome signs that the Colombian Government is increasing efforts to co-operate constructively with the Officein order to make progress on the 27 OHCHR recommendations. We support the extension of the mandate in the longer term. However, the precise nature of the mandate is a matter for joint consideration by the OHCHR and the Colombian Government.
Mr. Hoon: The EU Commission has advised that a third of the pre-accession assistance to Cyprus from 2000 to 2003 was spent on bi-communal programmes, roughly half of which was spent in northern Cyprus, in addition to a special aid package in 2003. Based onthis information, we estimate €1.5 million in 2000, €1.75 million in 2001, €1.9 million in 2002 and €14.26 million in 2003. In 2004, no EU aid was spent in northern Cyprus. In 2005, a special technical assistance information exchange unit programme spent €830, 000 in northern Cyprus.
Final figures for 2006 are not yet available. But we welcome the EU Commissions recent financing decision for €38.1 million to encourage the economic development
of the Turkish Cypriot community, and the favourable opinion of the Pologne, Hongrie Assistance a la Reconstruction Economique (PHAJRE) committee on the second tranche of €120 million on 20 October.
Mr. Hoon: Our Embassy in Ankara reported the closure of Turkish ports to Republic of Cyprus flag vessels on 16 April 1987. We understand that the exclusion of Republic of Cyprus registered aircraft from Turkish airspace dates from significantly earlier, but we do not have specific information as to when it was reported to the then Foreign Secretary.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) financial and (b) organisational support was given to bi-command institutions in Cyprus by the (i) UK, (ii) EU and (iii) UN in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Answering this question would incur disproportionate cost: the information on the financial and organisational support by the UK is not held centrally, and we do not hold detailed information on the financial or organisational support given to bi-communal institutions by the EU or UN. Dialogue and co-operation between the two communities at all levels of society will provide the surest foundation for progress towards a comprehensive settlement. To this end, the UK has made financial contributions to the UN Committee for missing persons, and will continue to respond positively to requests for support for other bi-communal activities. Furthermore, we support the EU Commission in its dispersal of the financial assistance package for the Turkish Cypriots and note that improving contacts between the two communities is part of its overall objective.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effect of development in northern Cyprus on the legal status of Greek Cypriot-owned land, with particular reference to (a) holiday homes, (b) hotels and (c) marinas; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We have raised concerns about the poor regulation of much of the property development in northern Cyprus, including holiday homes, hotels and marinas, and particularly its environmental impact. We are also concerned that the development and transfer of much of the land in northern Cyprus makes efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement more complex, and so underlines the importance of making progress to that end in the near future.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the EU has made to (a) Turkey and (b) northern Cyprus
on the implementation of the Green Line regulation in the last 12 months; what recent representations the EU has made on the use of the ports of Limassol and Larnaca; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We maintain a dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot community and Turkey on all aspects of the Cyprus problem, including regional trade liberalisation. We encourage the Turkish Cypriot community to make full use of existing opportunities for trade, including exporting goods to the EU via the Green Line and the ports of Limassol and Larnaca. This dialogue continued under the UK presidency of the EU. We do not have details of what representations have been made by subsequent presidencies or the Commission on the implementation of the Green Line Regulation or the use of the ports of Limassol and Larnaca. However, I would endorse the preliminary findings of the World Bank Report on northern Cyprus that the Green Line Regulation alone is not an effective means of promoting exports from northern Cyprus to the EU. Consequently, we continue to support further regional trade liberalisation in promotion of the economic convergence of the two communities and in support of a comprehensive settlement.
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the UK is giving to Turkish and Greek Cypriots to resolve the issue of missing people from both communities following the division of the country. 
Mr. Hoon: The UK welcomes the progress made this year by the Committee for Missing Persons in Cyprus, specifically the establishment of a forensic laboratory and the appointment of its third member. The UK has given broad support to the Committee for Missing Persons through our contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. We strongly support the Committee's work and have encouraged it to widen its range of donor countries. We currently have no plans to make a third financial contribution to the Committee's work since our commitment of £45,000 earlier this year.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the UN on the illegal exploitation of resources from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has held no discussions on this issue with the UN. Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development (DFID) have discussed it with the UN-appointed Group of Experts which monitors the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We await the Group of Experts' report in response to paragraph 6 of Security Council resolution 1698 (2006) on ways to prevent the illegal exploitation of natural resources from financing armed groups in the Eastern part of the DRC.
The transparent management and effective regulation of the DRC's extensive natural resources and their trade is one of the major areas where the international community can help the Congolese authorities and
people. DFID is developing a programme to improve governance in the DRC minerals sector. This includes support for strengthened revenue transparency, in particular implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the development of mechanisms for encouraging responsible private sector, both large and small scale artisanal, activity.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if her Department will (a) carry out an age audit of its staff to establish an age profile of its workforce, (b) negotiate an age management policy with trade unions and employees to eliminate age discrimination and retain older workers, (c) identify and support training needs and offer older staff flexible working to downshift towards retirement and (d) extend to over-fifties the right to request to work flexibly and the right to training with paid time off; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) attaches great importance to all aspects of diversity, including age diversity. The Department already has a good overview of the age profile of our workforce and does not need to carry out an age audit. We are working closely with the trades union side on the implementation of the new age regulations, within the structural constraints of the FCOs workforce planning. As part of our commitment to age diversity, we have abolished the retirement age for the delegated grades below the senior management structure. The retirement age for senior civil servants in all Government Departments is currently set centrally, and has been raised from 60 to 65. We are exploring with the Cabinet Office whether it would be possible to abolish the retirement age for the senior management structure as well. The professional skills needs of older staff are dealt with in the same way as all other officers. Pre-retirement training needs are taken very seriously and a range of training and support is offered by a dedicated team. Anyone working for the FCO can ask to work flexibly. We have published flexible working guidelines for individuals and line managers on our intranet with a link to a flexible working network and an on-line discussion forum for flexible workers.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in her Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years for which information is available; what proportion of the total workforce they represented; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if she will make a statement. 
|Number of recipients||Total value (£)||Percentage of staff who received a bonus|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|