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30 Nov 2006 : Column 848Wcontinued
The Department also has 1,981 sq m on two floors in Stockley House. These are currently unoccupied but will be occupied temporarily in 2007 as decant space to enable the reorganisation of Eland House to full open plan standard. The move to open plan in Eland House is part of the Departments plan to rationalise its central London buildings by March 2008.
In addition the Equalities Review Team, a body sponsored by Communities and Local Government, remain in 26 Whitehall but their occupation is not expected to continue after the end of this financial year. Communities and Local Government is not being charged for the space occupied.
These figures do not include Government offices which perform functions on behalf of 10 Government Departments; nor do they include the Departments three agencies.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent by her Department on maintaining each of its websites in 2005-06; and how many visits each website received during this period. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 306W.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many copies of the October 2006 Local Government White Paper have been sold at the full market rate. 
Mr. Woolas: The October 2006 Local Government White Paper, Cm 6939 was published by the Stationery Office Ltd. and the requested information is not made available to the Department.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many copies of the October 2006 Local Government White Paper were printed; and at what cost. 
Mr. Woolas: Some 5,500 copies of the October 2006 Local Government White Paper were printed at a cost of £50,855.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many grassland and heathland fires there were in each year since 1986, in each (a) fire authority and (b) region. 
Angela E. Smith: A table containing the information requested has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have exercised their powers under the Local Government Act 2003 to hold a local referendum. 
Mr. Woolas: The information requested is not held centrally.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has a traffic light system in place for processing parliamentary questions, where questions are categorised using a colour code. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in which private finance initiative schemes, other than housing PFI, local authorities participate; and what approval is required from central Government for them to do so. 
Mr. Woolas: Local authorities can use PFI contracts for any capital intensive projects provided that is the best value for money procurement route. No approval is required from central Government. Approval for a project is needed from both the relevant sponsoring Department and from the PFI Project Review Group if a local authority wishes to apply to central Government for additional support in the form of PFI credits. Current PFI credit programmes (other than housing) cover schools, waste management, transport (including street lighting, roads and light rail), social services, libraries and leisure services, joint service centres (one-stop shop access to cross-agency services), and police and fire and rescue services.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment
her Department has made of the causes of the closures of public lavatories by local authorities. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department has not undertaken any assessment of the causes of closures of public lavatories by local authorities. We are in the early stages of planning research to build on the evidence work on this issue, such as the work in the GLA March 2006 report on the state of London toilets.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fires there were in schools in England in each month in each of the past four years. 
Angela E. Smith: The available information covers fires which were attended by the fire and rescue service.
|England: Fires in schools|
| Notes: 1. Excludes fires during periods of industrial action in 2002 and 2003.|
2. Figures for 2002-04 are based on sampled data grossed to fire and rescue service totals.
Fire and rescue service returns to the Department for Communities and Local Government
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) Cole Layer Trumble and (b) Tyler Technologies are providing assistance to the Valuation Office Agency with Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal databases. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requests the Government have received pressing for the UNHCR to intervene to assist Afghan refugees; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are involved in a regular dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has involved discussions about Afghan refugees. The UK has recently announced to the UNHCR a US$500,000 grant towards the joint UNHCR/Government of Pakistan scheme to provide Afghan refugees in Pakistan with status and identity cards.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) Sudan, (b) the Central African Republic and (c) Chad about the security situation in the three countries border region; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development represented the UK at the high-level meeting on Darfur in Addis Ababa on 16 November. The meeting agreed the need to address the deteriorating security situation along Sudans borders with Chad and the Central African Republic. In addition, a UN assessment mission is currently in the region to review the security situation in Chad; we expect the UN Secretary-General to report on its findings to the Security Council in mid-December.
We press the Government of Sudan regularly on the need for a viable cease-fire in Darfur and to stop
supporting Chadian rebel groups. We have pressed the Governments of Sudan and Chad to fulfil their obligations under the Tripoli Agreement, and will continue to do so. Officials from my Department met with the Chadian ambassador on 20 November and raised our concerns over the security situation in both Chad and the Central African Republic, particularly in the border regions.
We also continue to raise our concerns over the situation in the Central African Republic through the EU and the UN.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department is taking to promote the control of arms flows in the horn of Africa. 
Mr. McCartney: We are concerned by the recent increase in the flow of arms throughout the horn of Africa which include transfers in violation of the UN arms embargo on Somalia. With our UN partners we urge all states in the region to respect the arms embargo and refrain from any activity which might provoke violence in Somalia. We are encouraging Security Council partners to consider additional measures to strengthen the Somalia arms embargo.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will promote a United Nations Security Council resolution (a) calling attention to Burmese human rights abuses and (b) demanding the release of all political prisoners in Burma. 
Mr. McCartney: We fully support all action in the UN, including in the Security Council, which helps to promote reform and positive change in Burma. We have supported the US proposal for a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma. We would want a Resolution or other Security Council outcome to highlight international concerns over flagrant human rights abuses inside the country, the ongoing conflict in some ethnic nationality areas, and to call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. We would also want the Council to demonstrate the broadest possible support for the efforts of the UN to move Burma towards an all-inclusive democracy, sustainable development and true national reconciliation.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the influence of the actions of the Burmese regime on regional peace and security. 
I share the concern of many in the international community that the Burmese regimes continuing failure to undertake a genuine and inclusive process of democratic reform, or to accommodate legitimate aspirations of the ethnic nationalities, has prolonged the countrys internal conflicts. This has
exacerbated problems for Burmas neighbours and across the region, including through the outflow of refugees, the production of narcotics and the spread of infectious diseases. The situation represents a threat to international peace and security.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments position is on referring Burma to the International Court of Justice for its use of forced labour. 
Mr. McCartney: We support the actions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) aimed at ensuring that Burma complies with its international obligations on forced labour, including consideration of the ILO requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice.
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had recently with the Chinese Ambassador on strengthening commercial, cultural and educational links between the United Kingdom and the Peoples Republic of China; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We are pursuing an active dialogue with China across Government, both at ministerial and official level. Strengthening commercial, cultural and educational links are important strands of the comprehensive strategic partnership my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Premier Wen Jiabao agreed in 2004.
Peter Ricketts, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices Permanent Under-Secretary, most recently discussed bilateral relations with the Chinese ambassador on 8 November. Both sides welcomed the growing breadth and depth of the bilateral relationship, noting the annual increase in bilateral trade flows, the rich programme of cultural activity and growth in exchanges involving young people. They agreed that our shared Olympics responsibilities and Shanghai Expo 2010 provided excellent opportunities to expand bilateral co-operation further.
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