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22 Mar 2007 : Column 1096W—continued

Water Charges

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) average standing charge and (b) average effective tax rate to be levied as part of the house price tax element is under the new system of water rates from April. [119552]

David Cairns: When domestic water and sewerage charges are introduced on 1 April 2007 they will be phased in over three years. Consequently, customers will only pay one third of the full charges in 2007-08.

The standing charges for water and sewerage will be the same for all domestic properties and are currently estimated at around £17 each. The variable charges for water and sewerage are expressed as a rate per £1,000 of capital value and are both currently estimated at around 30p per £1,000 of capital value. The average combined charge for water and sewerage is, therefore, estimated at around £100 in 2007-08.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

British Antarctic Territory: Expenditure

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on (a) administration and (b) capital expenditure on the British Antarctic Territory in (A) 2002, (B) 2004 and (C) 2006. [128654]

Mr. Hoon: Direct staff administration costs for the Government of the British Antarctic Territory (BAT) are met by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There is no capital expenditure. The non-staff administration costs for the BAT are as follows:

Amount (£)







(1) The BAT financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June so final figures for 2006-07 are not yet available.

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British Council: Expenditure

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the British Council spent in (a) Europe, (b) the Middle East, (c) South and Central America, (d) Africa, (e) North America, (f) Asia and (g) Australasia in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2006. [128814]

Mr. Hoon: Since 2005 the British Council has organised its work overseas into 13 regions. We are therefore unable to provide the information in the exact categories requested by my hon. Friend. The total British Council spend in 2001-02 compared with 2005-06 in its 13 regions is shown in the following table. (All figures are at 2005-06 prices).

We have used 2001-02 figures because detailed 2000-01 figures could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

£ million
British Council spend 2001-02 2005-06

Central and Southern Asia



China and Hong Kong



East and West Africa



East Asia



India and Sri Lanka



Latin America and Caribbean



Middle East



Near East and North Africa



North and Central Europe






South East Europe



Southern Africa



West Europe and North America






Exports: Licensing

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many export licences she was sent for her approval in 2006; in respect of which countries; and how many were refused. [129028]

Mr. Hoon: Seven export licences were sent to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary for her approval in 2006. Six were for Israel and one for Nigeria. All were approved.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people in the Human Rights and Good Governance team of her Department are tasked with monitoring export licences for compliance with criterion 2 of the EU Code of Conduct; and how many licences that team was sent in 2006. [129029]

Mr. McCartney: There are three officers within the Human Rights Democracy and Governance Group (HRDGG) who dedicate approximately 40 per cent., 40 per cent. and 15 per cent. respectively of their time
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ensuring that the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination is brought into the export licensing process. In doing so, they regularly consult other interested departments and overseas Posts.

HRDGG were consulted on 631 licences in 2006.

Gibraltar: Spain

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Spanish Government on Gibraltar in 2007. [126978]

Mr. Hoon: I have had discussions with Spanish counterparts on a number of issues, including Gibraltar, in 2007. Most recently, issues relating to the Gibraltar Trilateral agreements were raised during conversations with State Secretary Leon in February and March, and EU-related matters were discussed during a meeting with State Secretary Navarro in January.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Gibraltar, among other issues, with the Spanish Foreign Minister on 19 March.

British and Spanish officials also hold regular discussions on a range of issues, including issues related to Gibraltar.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her Indian and Pakistani counterparts on Kashmir. [128867]

Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed India-Pakistan relations, and the situation in Kashmir, with the Government of Pakistan during her visit to Islamabad in February, and with the Government of India during her visit to New Delhi in November 2006.

We welcome India and Pakistan’s continuing commitment to the dialogue process, and hope that this will lead to a lasting resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.


Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are to invite the President of Namibia for a state visit to the UK. [126987]

Mr. McCartney: There are currently no plans for the President of Namibia to undertake a state visit to the UK. However, plans are under way to invite His Excellency President Pohamba to the UK as a guest of the Government later this year.


Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1205W, on whales, which other foreign Governments she
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intends to lobby before the 2007 International Whaling Commission meeting; [128620]

(2) on whaling, whether she has approached the Government of any foreign country which voted in favour of lifting the moratorium on whaling at the 2006 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting to lobby them to vote to maintain the international moratorium at the 2007 IWC meeting; [128623]

(3) which seven foreign Governments her Department has approached; which two expressed the intention of joining the International Whaling Commission and voting with the UK; what the intentions of the other five countries are; and if she will make a statement. [128625]

Mr. McCartney: Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts continue to lobby in the run-up to the next International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in May. 17 countries have now been approached since the last IWC meeting in June 2006: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Guatemala, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Uruguay.

Croatia and Cyprus have now joined the IWC. Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Turkey have committed themselves to joining as soon as domestic legislative procedures allow. Guatemala is a member but is undecided whether it will participate this year. Uruguay is a lapsed member and has not made a decision about re-joining. Andorra and Liechtenstein will not join due to lack of administrative capacity. Other countries listed, apart from Mongolia, have yet to make a final decision on joining.

Mongolia is an IWC member which voted to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling at last year’s IWC meeting. The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not confirmed how it will vote this year, or if it will attend.

Future lobbying plans are under discussion.

Duchy of Lancaster

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff work in the (a) Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, (b) Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and (c) Office for Public Service Reform. [129225]

Hilary Armstrong: Numbers of staff employed in the Cabinet Office, by unit, will be included in the Cabinet Office Annual Report, due for publication in mid-May.

Government Departments: Offices

Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will publish information for charities on the availability of Whitehall departmental buildings for use as venues for (a) meetings, (b) fundraising events and (c) other occasions. [129190]

Hilary Armstrong: Usage of departmental buildings is a matter for individual Departments.

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Smith Institute

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many times the Minister for the Third Sector has (a) spoken at and (b) attended meetings of the Smith Institute in the last 12 months. [120380]

Edward Miliband: Cabinet Office Ministers speak at a wide range of meetings and meet with a large range of organisations and as was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Minister for Women and Equality

Women in Business

21. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality when she next expects to meet business organisations to discuss plans to encourage women to go into business. [128970]

Meg Munn: We have set up a Task Force for Women’s Enterprise. The Minister for Industry and the regions leads on women’s enterprise issues, and regularly meets the chairs and members of the Task Force. I also regularly meet groups of businesswomen and individual entrepreneurs, as well as those who advise and assist them.

Corston Report

22. Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government are taking to implement the recommendations of the Corston report for the creation of small, local custody units. [128971]

Meg Munn: We very much welcome this report which the Home Office commissioned from Baroness Corston.

We will look carefully at all the issues it raises and the recommendations it makes for change. These will be thoroughly explored and we will develop a detailed response which we aim to publish in around three months.

Returning to Work

23. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what research the Government have undertaken to establish the principal factors which enable women with children to return to work. [128973]

Meg Munn: The Government have commissioned a number of regular surveys which add to the evidence base and help to inform Government policy on women with children returning to work. These include:

22 Mar 2007 : Column 1101W
Survey Department Frequency

The Work Life Balance Employee Survey.


Every three years(1)

The Families and Children Study.



Survey of Parents Use and Views of Childcare and Early Years Services.



The Maternity and Paternity Rights and Benefits Survey of Parents.



(1) Subject to the availability of resources.
(2) Funded until 2008.
(3) Surveys commissioned to 2009.
(4) Subject to the availability of resources.

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