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EC Budget

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the UK's total contribution to the EU was in 2005-06; and what the value was of the rebate paid to the UK. [103097]


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Mr. Hoon: HM Treasury's “Statement on the 2006 EC Budget” outlines figures for the actual and estimated United Kingdom gross and net contributions to the EC Budget up to 2007-08. For 2005-06, the estimated UK gross payment is £11.78 billion. The value of the abatement was £3.641 billion.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much each British taxpayer contributed to the EU in 2005-06. [103098]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold a record of how much each British taxpayer contributed to the EU in 2005-06. Information on the UK's contribution to the EU budget during this period is available at:

Embassies

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many consular (a) contacts and (b) visits were made by each embassy and consulate in the last year for which information is available; in respect of how many individual cases; and what records she keeps of the nature or purpose of contacts and visits. [107755]

Dr. Howells: In financial year 2005-06, our records show we made a total of 8,029 new contacts (4,766 to new detainees and 3,263 to new hospitalisation cases). We also made 8,745 visits (5,278 to those detained and 3,467 to those hospitalised). Some of the visits were multiple visits to the same person, and would incur disproportionate cost to measure individual cases. Records of contacts and visits are kept on individual case files to provide an accurate record of events for case management purposes, as well as providing a statistical record.

European Constitution

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which clauses of the European Constitution have been put into practice by means other than secondary legislation; and which agencies provided for under the constitution have been established. [107133]

Mr. Hoon: No provisions of the European Constitutional Treaty have been put into effect; that would only be possible if all the member states of the EU ratify that treaty. The EU continues to exercise the powers conferred by the existing treaties, including powers to create agencies.

Gibraltar: Spanish Workers

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much payments to Spanish workers formerly working in Gibraltar in respect of pensions will cost, broken down by main budget heading; and from which budget such payments will be made. [107482]


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Mr. Hoon: The Trilateral Agreement reached in Cordoba on 18 September provides a settlement to the long-running issue of pensions paid to Spanish workers affected by the 1969 border closure. The Government already fund pensions to this group under a 1996 agreement. As part of the Cordoba settlement, the Government will offer uprated payments from April 2007 to those pensioners who agree to leave the Gibraltar Social Insurance Fund (GSIF).

The cost of the existing pensions paid to this group is estimated to be £5.3 million in 2007-08. The additional cost of uprated payments in 2007-08 is estimated to be £3.75 million. The exact cost of payments in 2007-08 and subsequent years will, however, depend on the uptake of the offer, mortality rates and inflation rates.

This agreement removes a substantial liability from the UK taxpayer, as the Spanish Government have agreed not to claim healthcare costs for those Spanish pensioners for whom it would be entitled to do under EC law.

As under existing arrangements for pension payments, funding will be managed by the Department for International Development and payments administered by the Crown Agents Bank.

This settlement has opened the way for the wider reform of GSIF. In this regard, the Government of Gibraltar has announced it will uprate the pensions of all pensioners remaining within the GSIF.

Human Trafficking

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with other EU leaders on levels of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation into the EU from Romania and Bulgaria. [107641]

Mr. Hoon: Neither my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary nor I have had any recent discussions with EU leaders specifically on human trafficking from Romania and Bulgaria. Officials are in regular contact with opposite numbers in EU capitals in order to take forward the implementation of the EU Action Plan on human trafficking, which was agreed during the UK presidency of the EU in 2005. The Action Plan was discussed by Interior Ministers at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4 and 5 December and is an important step in the fight against the trafficking of human beings. By working together, EU member states can identify the nature and scope of the problem, co-ordinate action to prevent trafficking into and within the EU, increase the effectiveness of investigations, and identify best practice to support and protect victims of trafficking.

Migration Quotas

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her position is on the announcement by the European Commission for Justice at the EU-Africa summit that national migration quotes should be managed by the European Union; and if she will make a statement. [106875]


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Mr. Hoon: Vice-President Frattini clarified his comments at a press conference on 22 November explaining that the collection of statistics on legal migration opportunities in the EU would strengthen the Commission’s hand in negotiations with third countries. In doing so he underlined that member states would continue to set national quotas where applicable.

If such a proposal were made the UK would carefully consider its compatibility with our domestic managed migration strategy. The UK retains the right to opt in to immigration measures and we will not opt in to anything which harms our ability to control our own borders or which is against our national interest.

Mr. Litvinenko

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to foreign Governments on the death of Mr. Alexander Litvinenko. [107066]

Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to the Russian Foreign Minister. She has asked for the full co-operation of the Russian authorities as the police investigation continues and with respect to the public health aspects of the case. The Russian Foreign Minister has assured her that this co-operation will be forthcoming.

Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the interventions the UK ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament made at the recent Geneva Conference on the Convention for Conventional Weapons represent Government policy. [107526]

Dr. Howells: UK policy on the issues discussed at the recent review conference on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was set out in our statements. These are available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:

Paraguay

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the internal security of Paraguay following the dismissal by President Duarte of General Key Kanazawa and military and police officers. [106740]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not made any official assessment of the internal security of Paraguay following the recent military and police reshuffles. Successors have been appointed for those removed from their positions. We continue to monitor the situation from our embassy in Buenos Aires and are in touch with the Paraguayan embassy in London.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total
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capital value is of each private finance initiative scheme overseen by her Department which has reached financial close; over what period repayments will take place; and what the total cost of repayment will be. [103519]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has two major private finance initiative (PFI) contracts:

Information relating to PFI contracts may be found in Note 26 to the FCO Resource Accounts 2005-06 (HC 1495), and in corresponding notes to previous years’ resource accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The lifetime cost figure is the sum of the projected unitary charge payments due over the lifetime of the project. These are not simply repayments of the capital spend on the projects, but include allowances for inflation and service provision. The amount to be paid is also conditional on the performance of the private sector contractor.

Recruitment Advertising

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much her Department spent on recruitment advertising in each of the last three years. [107740]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spent the following on recruitment advertising in each of the last three years:

£

December 2003-November 2004

319,545

December 2004-November 2005

589,911

December 2005-November 2006

537,594


Costs refer to the actual media spend, net of VAT, incurred by the FCO, of all recruitment advertising for generalist and specialist positions in the FCO and FCO services.

FCO overseas missions and Non-Departmental Public Bodies also incur advertising costs when advertising for specific posts. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The FCO is committed to reaching as wide a range of potential applicants as possible. In 2006, we spent a significant amount on general advertising to encourage candidates from a diverse background to consider the FCO as a potential employer.

In 2004, the FCO reduced the number of positions to be filled and as a result only one large-scale recruitment campaign was completed. The number of vacancies rose in 2005 and 2006 and four large-scale recruitment campaigns were undertaken resulting in higher associated advertising costs.


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Romania and Bulgaria

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department has held with the Governments of Romania and Bulgaria on the restrictions on migrant workers from those countries; and if she will make a statement. [106872]

Mr. Hoon: Both my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I met recently with Ministers from Romania and Bulgaria to explain the Government’s decision on migrant workers. Our ambassadors in Bucharest and Sofia have also kept in close contact with their host Governments both before and after the decision was announced. I refer my right hon. Friend
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to the statement made to the House on 24 October 2006, Official Report, columns 82-84WS, by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on this subject.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Governments of other European Union states on national policies on accommodating workers from Romania and Bulgaria. [106874]

Mr. Hoon: Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials were in regular contact with EU member states both before and after the UK took its decision on labour market access by Romanian and Bulgarian workers. Such contact has allowed the exchange of information on respective positions.

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Trade and Industry

Brunswick Group

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what payments have been made by his Department to the Brunswick Group in each of the last five years. [104695]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Central records indicate that no payments have been made to the Brunswick Group in any of the last four financial years.

Further information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Electromagnetic Relativity Drive

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department has provided to the electromagnetic relativity drive design proposed by Roger Shawyer; and from what budget funding has been drawn. [103254]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 27 November 2006]: Awards have been made to Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd from the DTI’s Small Firms and Enterprise budget.

July 2001—£43,809 paid.

August 2003—£81,291 total grant awarded, £68,399 paid to date.

Both grants were awarded against the criteria of the DTI’s Smart scheme that was designed to help fund pioneering and risky R and D projects in small and medium enterprises. Highly qualified technical experts and academics carried out an assessment on behalf of the Department.

European Home Retail

Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will investigate the share trading in European Home Retail on the days leading up to the suspension of the company shares on 23 August. [106990]

Mr. McCartney: The investigation into Farepak is wide ranging and although I cannot disclose specific lines of inquiry, the investigators are aware of this particular concern.


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Farepak

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received on the collapse of Farepak; and if he will make a statement. [106930]

Mr. McCartney: DTI Ministers have received extensive representations on the collapse of Farepak. I refer the hon. Member to the written statement I made on 30 November 2006, Official Report, columns 117-18WS.


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