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8 May 2007 : Column 109W—continued

Nuclear Power Stations: Organs

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) pursuant to his written statement of 26 April 2007, whether the employees of any private companies working in the nuclear energy field have had tests on autopsy tissues carried out at nuclear sites; [135274]

(2) pursuant to his written statement of 26 April 2007, Official Report, column 28WS, on post mortem procedures (nuclear industry), on how many individuals who were not employed at nuclear sites tests on autopsy tissues were carried out at nuclear sites; what the reasons were for these tests; and how many of those individuals were employed by (a) the UK Atomic Energy Agency, (b) the Atomic Weapons Establishment, (c) other Government bodies and (d) non-government bodies; [135275]

(3) pursuant to the written statement of 26 April 2007, Official Report, column 28WS, on post mortem procedures (nuclear industry), between what dates tests were carried out on autopsy tissues at (a) Harwell, (b) the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) site at Aldermaston and (c) other UK Atomic Energy Authority or AWE sites; [135280]

(4) when he expects the UK Atomic Energy Authority and Atomic Weapons Establishments to have comprehensive figures about which sites retained the organs of workers who had died. [135289]

Malcolm Wicks: This question will form part of Michael Redfern's inquiry. Out of respect for the families of those who may have been affected, it would not be appropriate to speculate on the outcome of the inquiry.

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to liaise with the families of workers at Harwell and Sellafield who were
8 May 2007 : Column 110W
affected by the discovery that body parts were retained by authorities; and whether the inquiry will take evidence from them. [135290]

Malcolm Wicks: Liaison with families of employees at Harwell and Sellafield is a matter for the site licence companies at those establishments. Whether the inquiry takes evidence from the affected families is for Michael Redfern QC, who is leading the inquiry, to consider.

Royal Lancashire Society: Finance

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was granted by the North West Development Agency to the Royal Lancashire Society in each of the last five years; and what the purpose was of the funding. [128599]

Margaret Hodge: The North West Development Agency (NWDA) has not given any direct funding to the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society. However, the NWDA made a financial contribution to the Royal Lancashire Show in 2003-04 through the Rural Development Programme of the Lancashire Rural Recovery Partnership. The programme provided a grant of £32,578 towards marketing costs for the Show; the staging of a Lancashire produce event; and supporting elements of additional infrastructure. Since then the NWDA has provided £1,255,000 to the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB) for the year 2006-07. From this, the Tourist Board granted £3,000 towards the staging of the 2006 Royal Lancashire Show, on the grounds that the Show would serve to raise the profile of the LBTB and the Lancashire Rural Tourism Initiative. The NWDA’s Strategy for Tourism in England’s North West identifies the Show as one of a number of events of national and international significance that take place across the region. The Show has also been identified for support in the Lancashire and Blackpool Visitor Economy Strategy 2006-16, because of its potential for further development of the visitor economy. Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board has delegated authority to invest in those projects which it believes will raise its profile. The Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society agreed to publicise Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board by promoting their logo and mentioning the Tourist Board in press releases. No funding was granted, indirectly or directly, to the Royal Lancashire Society prior to 2003.

Travel Operators: Safety

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the safety record of foreign travel operators; and what steps he has taken to enable access to that information for UK consumers. [108954]

Mr. McCartney: The Department for Trade and Industry is responsible for package travel regulations; Department of Transport has responsibility for air transport safety and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responsibility for UK citizens abroad.


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To be able to provide the information required by the hon. Member a more specific request is required. I have asked the hon. Member to write to me with specific details of her constituent’s case and I will respond to her.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

China: Family Planning

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 1603W, on China: family planning, what the response was of the Government of China to her representations; and if she will make a statement. [134461]

Mr. McCartney: On 5 February at the last round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, the Chinese Government updated us on Chen Guangcheng’s case. They confirmed details of his prison sentence, health and whereabouts. The Government remain deeply concerned at the circumstances of Mr. Chen’s case, including a lack of openness and transparency, and problems with access to legal representation. The failure to uphold international fair trial standards in this case suggests a backward step in China’s progress towards building the rule of law.

Colombia: Drugs

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the amount of cocaine seized by the Colombian Government in 2006. [136383]

Dr. Howells: According to the Colombian Interior Ministry, Colombian security forces seized 130 metric tonnes of cocaine in 2006. A total of 214,135 hectares of coca cultivation was eradicated.

Departments: Energy

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) instructions are issued to staff in her Department and (b) technical procedures are in place to shut down computers at night. [136096]

Mr. Hoon: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff are instructed to switch off monitors, printers and other peripheral devices. At present computer base units must be left on, to enable remote updating of our worldwide network.

We have recently developed a strategy which takes advantage of new technology to allow us, by late summer, to instruct staff to switch base units off overnight. For the longer term, we are drawing up plans to exploit fully the technical opportunities to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions that our replacement IT system—Future Firecrest—will start to deliver in 2008. This will contribute to the FCO’s target of achieving carbon neutrality on our UK estate by 2012, as set out in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Mr. Jenkins) on 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 990W.


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Departments: ICT

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) originally estimated, (b) most recently estimated and (c) outturn cost was of each of the five largest information technology contracts agreed by her Department with outside suppliers in the last five years, as referred to in the answer of 24 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1861-62W, on information technology. [135611]

Mr. Hoon: The table forming the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 24 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1861-62W referred to is reproduced as follows, updated with the latest available figures:

£ million
Contract Original estimate Most recent estimate Outturn

Future Firecrest—Hewlett Packard

183.5

187.5

(1)77.3

Prism—Capgemini (the company name has changed)

53.1

78.7

(1)66.9

Focus—Fujitsu Consulting

10.5

(2)

7.5

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Website Internet Project—Logica CMG

6.5

12.3

12.3

Biometric Passports—3M UK plc

6.5

3.5

(1)3.4

(1) Spent so far.
(2) Contract ended March 2003.

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, on Departments: official hospitality, if she will break down by area of expenditure the total spent by Government Hospitality, FCO Services in financial year 2006-07. [135564]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 3 May 2007]: In the financial year 2006-07 Government Hospitality spent on behalf of all Government Departments a total of £809,529.40 in direct charges to suppliers. This was divided between general catering charges and alcohol as follows:

£

Catering costs

700,814.16

Wine cellar costs

108,715.24


It is not possible to give a more detailed breakdown of charges without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people have taken sick leave for stress in her Department in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the total staff number this represents. [135472]

Mr. Hoon: 53 UK-based members of staff reported stress as the reason for a sickness absence during the past 12 months. This represents just under 0.8 per cent. of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff.


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Occupational stress is a health and safety issue. The FCO attaches importance to protecting the health, welfare and productivity of its staff and to reducing causes of stress at work. We provide help and advice to staff and families who face problems at home or at work, which may make life difficult for them, both through their managers and through a dedicated team of welfare officers. We also provide free access to a confidential counselling service.

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made about the health of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, detained in the Combinado del Este Maximum Security Prison in Havana; and if she will make a statement. [135854]

Mr. Hoon: We remain concerned about the plight of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and other political prisoners in Cuba. We are particularly worried about political prisoners such as Dr. Biscet who are reported to be suffering poor health, yet are not provided with adequate medical treatment. The UK considers Dr. Biscet’s imprisonment to be a violation of his civil and political freedoms. At the time of Dr. Biscet’s detention, the UK and EU condemned these violations and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba.

The UK, along with our EU partners, is committed to seeking improvements in civil and political freedoms in Cuba. We regularly raise the situation of political prisoners in Cuba with the Cuban authorities both in London and Havana and call for their immediate release. On 30 April 2007, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs (Mr. McCartney) expressed concern about political prisoners and other human rights issues during a meeting with Cuban Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, Antonio Carricarte.

In addition, our embassy in Havana continues to monitor Dr. Biscet’s case and maintains contact with his supporters and family. On 10 December 2006, officials from our embassy met with Dr. Biscet’s wife, Elsa Morejon. More information on the human rights situation in Cuba and on UK and EU actions can be found in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 2006 Annual Human Rights Report, available at www.fco.gov.uk/humanrights

EC Law

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many European Commission draft (a) directives, (b) regulations and (c) decisions were adopted by Commission Committees under delegated powers in each year between 2000 and 2006. [135186]

Mr. Hoon: The total numbers of draft directives, regulations, and decisions adopted by the Commission following consideration by committees on which member states are represented are as follows:


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Total

2000

2,840

2001

2,674

2002

3,077

2003

2,768

2004

2,625

2005

2,654


A breakdown of these figures into draft directives, regulations, and decisions is not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Figures for 2006 will be published in a Commission document expected in August.

European Commission: Publicity

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which EU documents govern the operation of the European Commission’s (a) media and (b) public information campaigns. [133538]

Mr. Hoon: Requests for this information can be made directly to the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom.

European Constitution

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 May 2007 to the right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory), Official Report, column 1347, on the European Constitution, if she will publish the questionnaire and her replies to it, relating to a revised constitutional treaty for the European Union to which she referred. [136483]

Mr. Hoon: At the June European Council, the German presidency will present a report—based on extensive consultations with member states—assessing the state of discussions on the constitutional treaty and exploring possible future developments.

Discussions are currently under way. The Government do not release presidency papers relating to ongoing discussions.

European Movement

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the annual subvention was to the European Movement by the (a) United Kingdom Government and (b) European Union and its predecessors in each of the last 30 years. [133551]

Mr. Hoon: No annual subvention has been paid to the European Movement under the current Government.

Requests for information on funding from the European Union can be made directly to the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom.


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