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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Scotland

Departmental Accountancy

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource account codes and usage descriptions for the 2008-09 financial year. [210992]

David Cairns: The chart of accounts for 2008-09 reflects the structure of the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate-General for the year and will not necessarily reflect the 2007-08 structure or that for future years. The chart shows the relationship between parent codes (used for preparing resource accounts) and children codes (used for more detailed management purposes). Each code has a brief description that describes its use. A copy of the chart has been placed in the House Library.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 9 June 2008, Official Report, columns 13-14W, on official hospitality, how many individuals and organisations attended each event listed. [210924]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office does not have records of the number of individuals or organisations who have attended past events.

Joint Ministerial Committee

David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many times he has met (a) the First Minister of Scotland, (b) the Secretary of State for Wales, (c) the Secretary of State for Justice and (d) the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to discuss the operation of the Joint Ministerial Committee since 16 May 2007. [210352]

David Cairns: The Secretary of State regularly meets with other ministerial colleagues and discusses a range of issues, he has also met with the First Minister. Last month, I attended a preliminary meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales and the First Minister in advance of the forthcoming Joint Ministerial plenary meeting.

Olympic Games

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department plan to attend the Beijing Olympic Games; to what purpose in each case; and what estimate he has made of the cost. [212121]


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David Cairns: No Scotland Office Ministers or officials will be attending the games.

Culture, Media and Sport

Millennium Dome: Expenditure

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total cost to the public purse was of the construction and operation of the millennium dome; what assessment he has made of the value for money provided by that expenditure; and if he will make a statement. [210816]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The cost to the public purse of the construction and operation of the millennium dome was nil. The construction and operation of the dome was funded from national lottery grant from the Millennium Commission and income from ticket sales and sponsorship, not from Exchequer funding.

It is a matter of public record that the dome was completed on time, that the final cost was just 4 per cent. over budget, that it was by far the most visited paying attraction in the UK in the year 2000 and that it helped regenerate a wide area.

I am advised that English Partnerships spent £33 million of Exchequer funding on decommissioning and maintenance of the millennium dome structure between 1999 and June 2007, with the expectation that these costs will be recovered from sale proceeds from the contract for the future use of the dome and redevelopment of associated land over the life of the project.

Northern Ireland

Democratic Unionist Party

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library a list of meetings he attended with hon. and right hon. Members from the (a) Democratic Unionist Party and (b) Ulster Unionist Party, including those meetings at which no civil servants were present, between 31 March 2008 and 11 June 2008; and if he will make a statement. [212124]

Mr. Woodward: I have regular meetings and discussions with the Northern Ireland political parties and others on a wide range of subjects.

Prime Minister

Democratic Unionist Party

Simon Hughes: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a list of meetings he attended with hon. and right hon. Members from the (a) Democratic Unionist Party and (b) Ulster Unionist Party, including those meetings at which no civil servants were present, between 31 March 2008 and 11 June 2008; and if he will make a statement. [212122]


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The Prime Minister: I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects.

Departmental Aviation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within mainland Britain by representatives of Downing street in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. [210945]

The Prime Minister: The information is not available in the format requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Civil Service Management Code’ and the ‘Ministerial Code’.

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the conferences hosted by No. 10 Downing street in each of the last two years; and what the cost was of each conference. [211681]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Cleethorpes (Shona McIsaac) on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1107-1110W.

Information on Official and Charity receptions for 2007-08 will be published in the usual way following the end of the financial year.

Departmental Film

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister how many films have been produced in (a) video, (b) DVD and (c) other digital formats by Downing street in the last 24 months; and what the title was of each film. [210893]

The Prime Minister: Films produced by my Office are available on the Downing street YouTube channel:

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 1 May 2008, Official Report, column 624W, on departmental manpower, (1) if he will break down by pay grade members of staff listed; [211875]

(2) how many people are employed in the (a) speech writing unit, (b) international unit and (c) direct communications unit in No. 10 Downing street. [211891]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 1 May 2008, Official Report, column 624W.

Departmental Security

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister how many Downing street identity cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen in the last 24 months. [210890]


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The Prime Minister: It has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on security matters.

Departmental Standards

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister whether Downing street has a dress code for staff. [210813]

The Prime Minister: Staff are expected to abide by the Civil Service Code; it does not include a formal dress code.

Henley-on-Thames

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit Henley-on-Thames. [210066]

The Prime Minister: A list of my UK visits will be published in the usual way following the end of the financial year.

Morning Star

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister how many copies of the Morning Star publication his Office procures on subscription each week; and at what cost. [210932]

The Prime Minister: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Watson) on 3 June, Official Report, column 839W.

Official Residences

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Prime Minister (1) which official residences are unoccupied; and what the annual cost of maintenance is of each residence; [211777]

(2) which official residences are occupied; and by which minister in each case. [211778]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) and the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 17 October 2007, Official Report, column 1135W.

Expenditure on official residences is a matter for the relevant Department.

Olympic Games

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many officials from No. 10 Downing street plan to attend the Beijing Olympic Games; to what purpose in each case; and what estimate he has made of the cost; [212126]

(2) whether he will attend the Beijing Olympic Games. [212127]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave at my monthly press conference on 1 April 2008. A transcript is available on the No. 10 website:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.


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Since 1999, the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies of these lists are available in the Library of the House. Information on the number of officials accompanying Ministers on overseas visits is included in the list. All Ministers’ travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel set out in chapter 10 of the “Ministerial Code”, and the accompanying guidance document, “Travel by Ministers”. Information for 2008-09 will be published in the normal way.

Republic of Ireland: Treaty of Lisbon

Mr. Evans: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what discussions he has had with his Irish counterpart following the result of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland on the Lisbon treaty; and if he will make a statement; [212097]

(2) what plans he has to ratify the treaty of Lisbon; [212098]

(3) what discussions he has had with (a) the President of the European Commission and (b) other members of the European Commission following the result of the referendum in the Republic of Ireland on the Lisbon treaty; and if he will make a statement. [212099]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband) on 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 704, and my answers at Prime Minister’s questions today.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Capital Punishment

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he holds on the number of executions which took place internationally in 2007, broken down by (a) country and (b) sex; and if he will make a statement. [211266]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold figures on executions that have taken place around the world. Amnesty International publishes information on the minimum number of executions by country. These are available online at:

The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. We have demonstrated our opposition to capital punishment by raising the issue of the death penalty with third countries and playing a key role in the successful adoption of a resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly in 2007.

Further details of the FCO’s work on the death penalty can be found in our 2007 Human Rights annual report at:


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Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) EU partners and (b) the European Commission on the CAP common agricultural policy reform health check announced on 20 May 2008. [208816]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 5 June 2008]: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and I, as well as officials at the UK Representation in Brussels and across our European network, are in regular contact with EU partners and the European Commission on a full range of issues.

The Government's position on the common agricultural policy (CAP) health check is well established. We welcomed the publication of the health check proposals as a further step in the process of reforming the CAP. We are seeking an ambitious outcome that further cuts the trade distorting nature of the CAP, which has contributed to high food prices. We want reduced regulatory burdens to give farmers greater control over their business decisions and redirect more CAP spending away from direct farm payments towards delivery of targeted public benefits.


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