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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what entitlement a married man has to a state retirement pension on the basis of contributions made by his wife; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: At present, only a married woman may claim a state pension (of up to £54.35 a week, at current rates) on the basis of contributions made by her husband. This will change after April 2010 when those provisions in the state pension scheme that are still unequal as between men and women begin to be equalised. This will mean that a married man whose wife was born on or after 6 April 1950 (and who will therefore reach pension age herself after April 2010) will be entitled to such a pension on the same terms as a married woman. This change will also apply to people in civil partnerships.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his timetable is for the publication of the findings of the cross-Whitehall unit examining the effects of EEA migration on the welfare state. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Alongside the winter fuel payment in winter 2008-09 we will be making an additional payment of £50 for households with someone aged 60-79 and £100 for households with someone aged 80 or over to help with rising fuel bills.
We have secured an agreement with the big six energy companies to provide an extra £225 million in social assistance over the next three years. We are exploring ways to share information with the energy suppliers to help them target this extra money on the poorest pensioners.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with African Union member states on the contribution of military forces to the African Union peacekeeping operations in (a) Sudan and (b) Somalia. 
Meg Munn: My noble Friend the Minister with responsibility for Africa, Lord Malloch-Brown, and senior officials have recently discussed, with several African countries, their current and potential troop contributions to the UN-African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur, including at the AU summit from 31 January-1 February.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has discussed the Ugandan deployment to the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) with President Museveni. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown have raised deployment to AMISOM with Ghana and Nigeria, who have indicated that they were willing to contribute troops.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely (a) effectiveness and (b) impartiality of the Bangladesh Truth and Accountability Commission. 
Dr. Howells: The caretaker government in Bangladesh is in the early stages of examining proposals for a Truth Commission. Full details of how such a Commission might operate have not yet been published. The UK believes that a Truth Commission must be transparent and serve the interests of justice. We support the fight against corruption and promote the need for transparency as a cornerstone of sustainable democracy across the world.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of (a) speeches made by the United Kingdom delegation at and (b) documentation submitted to the cluster munitions conference held in Dublin in May; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of the conference. 
Dr. Howells: Copies of the documents requested by the hon. Member will be placed in the Library of the House. They are also available at the website of the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions:
As my noble Friend, Lord Malloch-Brown, made clear in another place on 3 June 2008, Official Report, columns 79-80, we are delighted to have played a leading role in bringing about the new draft convention, which was adopted in Dublin on 30 May. We plan to sign the convention when it opens for signature on 3 December in Oslo. We are studying the text to see if legislation is needed before we can ratify. We have taken a significant step towards implementing its norms by ceasing to use all the UK's cluster munitions with immediate effect and by starting the procedure to withdraw them from service. We believe that the new convention will help to make the world a safer place.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received regarding the assassination of the Karen National Union leader from Burma, Padoh Mahn Sha; and whether he has discussed this matter with his Thai counterpart. 
Meg Munn: To date, we have received no conclusive reports on which person or parties were involved in the assassination of Padoh Mahn Sha on 14 February 2008. The case is still under investigation by the Thai police.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports he has received of the visit to the UK by representatives of the Karen National Union Peace Council; and what discussions he has held on this matter; 
Meg Munn: Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials held a meeting with a visiting delegation from the National Council of the Union of Burma on 23 April 2008 at which the Karen National Union (KNU) was represented. Discussion focused on the role of the exile community in the constitutional referendum in Burma. We have not met representatives of the KNU Peace Council or received any reports of a visit of that organisation to the UK.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings he or his officials have held with Pastor Timothy Laklem or other representatives of Asian Tribal Ministries. 
Meg Munn: Our embassy in Rangoon, including staff of the Department for International Development, meets representatives from a broad range of Thailand based Burmese organisations, including Asian Tribal Ministries. Officials have not had recent meetings with Pastor Timothy Laklem.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Burmese authorities to encourage them to permit the Red Cross into areas of conflict in eastern Burma; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: In November 2006 the Government made two ministerial statements strongly condemning the Burmese government's decision to order the closure of the field offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). These statements were transmitted to the Burmese Ministers of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Health, Labour, and National Economic Planning and Development.
On the 29 June 2007, a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Department for International Development (DFID) statement was issued condemning the Burmese regime's chronic failure to co-operate with the ICRC, which had led the organisation to suspend its operations inside the country. This development was a serious setback to the efforts of the international community to alleviate the suffering of the ordinary people of Burma.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the Cuba government's decision to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 
Meg Munn: Cuba's signature of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a welcome signal. Our assessment is that Cuba is not currently in a position to comply with all the terms of the covenant and there are notable shortcomings which Cuba will have to address. We look forward to implementation of the terms of the covenant by Cuba and ratification by the People's Assembly, when the covenant will become binding under international law.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of his Department's employees are (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The latest available data on the disability status and ethnic background of civil servants in Departments and Agencies are as at 30 September 2006 and are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as Civil Service Statistics 2006. Information can be accessed from the following websites:
The latest available data on the gender of civil servants are as at 31 December 2007 and are published by the ONS, as part of their wider Quarterly Public Sector Employment Statistics. Information can be accessed from the following website:
We do not collect or publish information on civil servants' sexual orientation. Declaration of ethnicity and disability status is voluntary. The FCO encourages all staff to declare their ethnicity and any disability. The FCO is committed to embracing and harnessing difference, creating equality of opportunity and eliminating discrimination. We aim to achieve this as an employer, a service provider and a policy developer.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on sending mail overseas in each year since 2001, broken down by delivery company. 
|(1) From October 2005|
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 708W, on the Fairtrade initiative, what Fairtrade products are (a) available for purchase at his Department's staff catering facilities and (b) offered at official departmental meetings and engagements. 
tea, coffee, biscuits, flapjacks, chocolate, juices and cake.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 708W, on the Fairtrade initiative, what the value was of Fairtrade produce purchased at his Department's staff catering facilities in each of the last three financial years; and what proportion of total revenue this represented. 
King Charles Street (London)£172,800, which equates to 18 per cent. of the total revenue;
Old Admiralty Buildings (London)£64,800, which equates to 25 per cent. of the total revenue; and
Hanslope Park (Milton Keynes)£90,000, which equates to 13 per cent. of the total revenue.
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