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8 Oct 2008 : Column 634W—continued


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma: Ethnic Groups

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Royal Thai Government on the recent deportations of Karen refugees from camps in Thailand back to Burma. [223298]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 10 September 2008]: We are aware of recent reports of forced returns of Karen refugees from Thailand. Our embassy in Bangkok frequently raises refugee welfare issues with the Royal Thai government. Recent discussions have covered the need for measures to mitigate the impact of the increase in the price of rice, refugees' access to jobs and education and the impact of Cyclone Nargis on the camps.

The Government have increased support for Burmese refugees in Thailand. It has recently allocated a further £1 million to the Thailand Burma Border Consortium for its work supporting Burmese refugees in Thailand and internally displaced persons inside Burma. In 2007-08, the Department for International Development provided £400,000 for assistance to internally displaced persons through community-based organisations inside Burma. This reached more than 100,000 displaced persons, mostly in Karen communities, living near Burma's border with Thailand.

The UK condemns the continuing human rights abuses and the political, social and economic restrictions from which the ethnic groups of Burma—including the Karen group—have suffered under the current regime. Acceptable agreement for the ethnic nationalities is key to a durable solution to Burma's problems. We continue to bring reports of human rights abuses to the attention of the international community, the UN and the UN Human Rights Council.

China: Pandas

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with the Chinese Government on the proposal to loan two giant pandas from China to Edinburgh Zoo; what the Government's policy is on the matter; and if he will make a statement. [224052]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 17 September 2008]: We are aware that The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is in discussion with its counterparts in China about conservation collaboration, of which the proposed loan of pandas is only one element. At the request of the Scottish Executive, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised this with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi when he visited China in February. The Government regard this primarily as an arrangement between the RZSS and the Chinese authorities, but are supportive of the underlying objective of promoting collaboration in the area of animal conservation.

China: Taiwan

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of developments in relations between Taiwan and mainland China on the stability of the region. [221702]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 6 October 2008]: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said on 22 March, the change of administration in Taiwan is a real opportunity to renew efforts to improve cross-Strait relations. We hope that the Chinese government and Taiwanese administration will continue to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and strengthen cross-Strait stability, with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question acceptable to the people of both sides of the Strait.

We welcome the efforts undertaken by both sides to improve China-Taiwan relations. We support the EU declaration of 19 September which similarly sought to encourage dialogue and commended the willingness of both sides to continue and widen discussions in the coming months, contributing to reinforced stability and security in East Asia.

Georgia: South Ossetia

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) the Government and (b) the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the EU was informed by (i) the US administration and (ii) the Georgian government of Georgia's plans to take military action in South Ossetia before the action took place. [223180]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Neither the Government nor, do we believe, the EU presidency were given advance warning of Georgian plans to take military actions in South Ossetia.

Indeed, prior to the outbreak of hostilities on 7 August—and while tensions were rising—UK and other EU partners and allies actively sought to encourage all parties to exercise restraint, avoid actions likely to increase tensions and work towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict.

Israel: EU External Relations

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that information shared between the EU and Israel under the Co-operation in
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Justice and Home Affairs Initiative of the EU-Israel Association Council has not been obtained in circumstances which would be defined as torture in UK law. [220244]

Bill Rammell: The UK abides by its commitments under international law, including the UN Convention Against Torture, and expects all other countries to comply with their international obligations.

We have made it clear that all intelligence received from foreign sources, in whatever forum, is carefully evaluated, particularly where it is clear it has been obtained from individuals in detention.

Olympics

Departmental Buildings

James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the location is of each office occupied by her Office which has been (i) newly occupied and (ii) refurbished in the last 24 months; and what the floor area in square metres is of each. [221921]

Tessa Jowell: The following locations have been occupied by the office of the Minister for the Olympics: 70 Whitehall; 26 Whitehall; and 2-4 Cockspur Street. 26 Whitehall and 2-4 Cockspur Street have been refurbished in the last 24 months. The floor area of each location for the Minister for the Olympics Office and Private Office is: 70 Whitehall, 78.21 sq m; 26 Whitehall, 105.48 sq m; and 2-4 Cockspur Street, 93 sq m.

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what the five most serious disciplinary breaches in her Office were in the last 12 months; and what steps were taken in response to each breach. [223067]

Tessa Jowell: There have been no disciplinary breaches in my Office during the last 12 months.

Departmental Procurement

James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library the names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods and services to her Office in 2007-08, based on the purchase order data held in the financial database of her Office's parent department. [221926]

Tessa Jowell: This information is not recorded in the format requested and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Relations

James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much her Office has spent on each of the external public relations and marketing companies included in the Central Office of Information's Public Relations Framework since its establishment. [221927]

Tessa Jowell: My Office has not incurred any expenditure with any of the external public relations and marketing companies included in the Central Office of Information's Public Relations Framework since its establishment.


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James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many staff from public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies have been seconded to her Office since its establishment. [222221]

Tessa Jowell: There have been no secondments of staff to my Office from public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies since its establishment.

James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many staff from her Office have been seconded to public relations or public affairs firms or consultancies since its establishment. [222223]

Tessa Jowell: No members of my staff have been seconded to public relations, public affairs or consultancies since its establishment.

Dorneywood

James Duddridge: To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use her Office has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. [221925]

Tessa Jowell: My Office has made no use of Dorneywood for official engagements during the last 12 months.

Olympic Games 2012: Schools

Philip Davies: To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library a copy of materials her Department has distributed to schools in the last three years. [222555]

Tessa Jowell: My Department has not distributed any materials to schools over the last three years.

Olympic Games 2012: Technology

Peter Luff: To ask the Minister for the Olympics on what date in 2012 the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games's technology freeze will come into force; which technologies the freeze will be applied to; and which body is responsible for implementing the freeze. [223965]

Tessa Jowell: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for planning and implementing the core technology and information systems that will be needed to host the Games in 2012. LOCOG's current expectation is to implement a lock-down on core Games technology by the end of 2010 to allow for rigorous testing and integration across all mission critical designs, equipment and operational processes.

Taxis

Philip Davies: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much her Office spent on taxis in the last financial year for which figures are available. [223024]

Tessa Jowell: The Minister for the Olympics’ office spent £620.26 on taxis for the last financial year.


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Leader of the House

Legislation

Mr. Baron: To ask the Leader of the House how many pages of (a) primary and (b) delegated legislation were passed by the House in each Session commencing in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) each year between 1996 and 2006. [225212]

Chris Bryant: The information requested is as follows:

Pages of primary legislation Pages of delegated legislation

1980

2,110

5,440

1990

2,390

6,550

1996

3,150

10,230

1997

2,060

8,660

1998

2,490

7,480

1999

2,096

10,760

2000

3,865

8,770

2001

1,605

10,830

2002

2,868

9,070

2003

4,073

8,942

2004

3,470

10,236

2005

2,712

11,868

2006

4,609

12,083

Note:
The figures for statutory instruments relate to the number of pages in the Stationery Office bound set—this excludes some local and unpublished instruments and, more recently, those of the National Assembly for Wales. The figures do not include Northern Ireland (Stormont) Acts or Statutory Rules. Pre-1987 figures are adjusted to current page sizes.

For more detailed information please see the House of Commons Library note: “Acts and Statutory Instruments: Volume of UK legislation 1950 to 2007” at:

Wales

Departmental NDPBs

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many press and communications officers are employed by (a) his Department, (b) its NDPBs and (c) its agencies. [224547]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office has a complement of three press and communications officers. The Wales Office has no NDPBs or agencies.

Health

Cancer: Drugs

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects it to be the default position for all new cancer drugs and significant new licensed indications to be referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. [224575]

Dawn Primarolo: The Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS), published on 3 December 2007 and already placed in the Library, included a commitment that all new cancer drugs and significant new licensed indications will be referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical
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Excellence (NICE), where there is a sufficient patient population and evidence base on which to carry out an appraisal. The CRS also makes a commitment that cancer drugs will be considered through NICE'S Single Technology Appraisal (STA) process where appropriate. I have agreed revisions to the topic selection process to implement the Cancer Reform Strategy commitments and NICE'S 19th work programme will be the first to be referred to NICE under the revised arrangements.


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