Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the German Governments training of police in Afghanistan. 
Dr. Howells: Following the Bonn Agreement in 2001, Germany assumed lead nation status for the police sector. The German police training project has trained approximately 17,000 Afghan national police personnel, including around 4,000 commissioned and non-commissioned officers. It is our view that the training provided by the German Government has been effective, professional and sustainable. This has provided the Afghans with a sound foundation that will help deliver a police force with a thorough background in a range of policing activities in the long term.
The German police training will become part of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) mission from June. The ESDP policing mission is an EU and international programme that aims to contribute to a joint international strategy for police reform.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of the recent bombings at Dhaka and Sylhet railway stations in Bangladesh on the recommencement of the election process; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We condemn the recent bombings at Dhaka and Sylhet railway stations in Bangladesh. The Caretaker government has made clear the importance it attaches to addressing the threat of extremism. We look forward to enhancing our co-operation with the Caretaker government in this regard.
We do not believe that the need to combat terrorism will detract from the Caretaker governments stated commitment to restore democracy in Bangladesh in 2008. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed support for the Caretaker government, called for a detailed roadmap to elections and stressed the importance of respect for human rights and due process when she met the Bangladesh Foreign Adviser, Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury in April.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments position is on the treaty status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria she used to decide whether to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in November 2007; and if she will make a statement. 
The composition of the Governments delegation to the Commonwealth meetings in Uganda in November has yet to be finalised. However, either my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, or another
Minister from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is expected to attend the Foreign Ministers Meeting which takes place immediately before the Heads of Government Meeting. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting itself.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers in her Department have visited India in the last 12 months; on how many occasions each Minister visited India; and what the length was of each visit. 
Dr. Howells: The Government publish an annual list of Cabinet Ministers travel overseas costing over £500 along with the total cost of all ministerial travel. Information for 2005-06 was published on 24 July 2006 and is available in the Library of the House. Information for 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs (Mr. McCartney) visited India on 23-27 November. A detailed list of visits by all UK Ministers to India since 2003 can be found on the British high commission website on:
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps the UK is taking under the Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue programme (EU budget line 04 03 03 01); and if she will make a statement; 
Deployment of the budget is a matter for the Commission (within the agreed framework). The Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue programme (EU budget line 04 03 03 01) and the Information and Training Measures for Workers Organisation programme (EU budget line 04 03 03 02 not 04 03 03 03) are two of the three programmes belonging to the Employment and Social AffairsWorking in Europe, Social Dialogue and Mobility section of the EU Budget.
The purpose of the Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue programme is to cover the financing of the social partners (the trade unions and the employers (or their representative organisations) engaged in social dialogue) participation in the European employment strategy and the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, i.e. to cover grants for promoting social dialogue at cross-industry and sectoral level, promoting the financial participation of workers, improving expertise in the field of industrial relations and
corporate social responsibility, and promoting equal participation of women in the decision-making bodies of both trade unions and employers organisations. The budget for 2007 is €14,908,000.
The purpose of the Information and Training Measures for Workers Organisation programme is to finance information and training measures for social partner organisations representing workers, at European, national or regional level, in order to help workers organisations contribute to the goals of the Lisbon Strategy. The budget for 2007 is €16,400,000.
Margaret Beckett: There is at present no consensus among EU partners on the way forward regarding the constitutional treaty or any new treaty including a proposed EU Foreign Minister. These issues will be discussed at the European Council in June. It is too early to speculate regarding the outcome of these discussions. The Governments approach to these discussions was set out in my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europes written ministerial statement of 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 10-11WS.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which European Union countries the UK does not remit to the local tax authorities income tax, or sums in lieu of income tax, collected in respect of locally engaged British embassy staff; in which EU countries there are different arrangements for those locally engaged staff who are (a) UK citizens, (b) citizens of the host EU country and (c) citizens of a third country; and what the reasons are for such differences. 
Mr. Hoon: Consistent with global diplomatic practice, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) policy is that to the extent compatible with local law, local staff should take responsibility for their own income tax arrangements. The differences in arrangements between FCO missions are determined by local tax regulations, which vary from country to country. The following table summarises the current position in FCO missions in the EU.
Staff without income tax liability in the host country, including some UK and third country nationals, have their salaries abated. The aim is that staff with and without liability to pay income tax should receive comparable take home pay.
|UK missions who act as a withholding agent for income tax on local staff salaries
|Local staff who are UK citizens (and have no local liability)
|Local staff who are citizens of the host country
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which European Union countries the UK does not remit to the local tax authorities income tax, or sums in lieu of income tax, collected in respect of locally engaged British Council staff; in which EU countries there are different arrangements in respect of local engaged staff who are (a) UK citizens, (b) those who are citizens of the host EU country and (c) citizens of a third country; and what the reasons are for such differences. 
Mr. Hoon: Locally-engaged staff of the British Council are employees who are either nationals of the host-country, UK nationals based in the country who are contracted on local terms or nationals of a third country who are contracted on local terms. The following table summarises the current position of locally-engaged British Council employees in the EU with respect to personal income tax. There are no differences in practice across the three categories of locally-engaged staff; although some local regulations will differ between countries.