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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average waiting period for emergency work to be conducted by Warm Front was on the latest date for which information is available. 
Joan Ruddock: Warm Front is not designed to act as an emergency service and the Scheme Manager's target timescales reflect the overarching need to make the best use of the money available. At present the Scheme Manager has a target to complete all heating work within 120 working days of survey. In practice, the average waiting time is less than 65 days for the installation of a heating measure following the initial survey.
However, the Department does recognise that some applicants are in need of urgent assistance and we are currently looking at ways of reducing these timescales for the most vulnerable clients. Any decisions will be announced in due course.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the Warm Front budget for 2008-09 he expects to have been spent by the end of the fiscal year; and what plans he has for making use of any underspend. 
Joan Ruddock: The Warm Front budget for 2008-09 is approximately £395 million. We expect to spend the full budget to ensure we deliver the maximum number of heating, insulation and energy efficiency measures to vulnerable households.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 1149W, on the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme, if he will place in the Library a copy of the pricing framework agreed with Eaga. 
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much contractors participating in the Warm Front Scheme were charged for the administration costs of the scheme in the last 12 months. 
Gillian Merron: Australian Ministers and officials regularly visit the UK. Prime Minister Rudd visited in April. The Australian Defence and Foreign Ministers met their counterparts in Leeds on 28 November. I also met Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on 27 November, and discussed a range of bilateral and international issues. We are in regular contact with the Australian government and their high commission in London to discuss arrangements for further official visits to the UK, but do not disclose details in advance of official announcements.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to strengthen mechanisms for the reporting of human rights violations in Burma. 
Bill Rammell: We remain deeply concerned at the human rights situation in Burma. We use every appropriate opportunity to highlight the ongoing abuses in the UN's human rights bodies. The UK helped to secure a further resolution of the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly on 21 November 2008. The resolution called on the regime to comply with its international human rights obligations, and set out a range of specific concerns. It echoed a Human Rights Council resolution, passed on 18 June, with strong UK support. These resolutions underpin the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Thomas Ojea Quintana, whose mission is the primary reporting mechanism on the situation in Burma. Mr. Quintana visited Burma from 3-7 August and produced a substantive report. We hope he will be able to return to Burma soon to continue his work, and urge the Burmese authorities to give him their full co-operation.
Our embassy in Rangoon continues to monitor the human rights situation, and our ambassador raises our concerns in meetings and correspondence with Burmese Ministers and officials. He last met Burmese Ministers at the beginning of December.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to the right hon. Lord Morris of Manchester of 14 October 2008, Official Report, House of Lords column WA45, on the Commonwealth Scholarships Programme, what steps have been taken to identify additional funding for scholarships for Canada; what the outcome was of this process; and whether similar steps have been taken for other countries affected by the termination of the Commonwealth Scholarships Programme. 
David Miliband: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property gave my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1852W.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 140W, on departmental air travel, how much departmental air mileage was carbon offset through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership in each of the last two years, broken down by (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic travel. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is in the process of analysing its air mileage figures for 2007 prior to transferring funds to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEP) for the purchase of offsets. In 2006 the FCO offset 73,509,326 air miles through REEP, of which we calculate 754,810 miles were for domestic travel, the remainder being for non-domestic travel.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department's officials last discussed the UK's prospective membership of the euro with the European Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government's policy on membership of the singly currency is unchanged. It remains as set out by my right. hon. Friend, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, in his statement to the House in October 1997, and again in his statement on the five test assessment in June 2003. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the 2008 Budget that, "the Government does not propose euro assessment to be initiated at the time of this budget". The Treasury will again review the situation at Budget time next year as required by the June 2003 statement.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1772W, whether the individuals to whom British officials spoke had access to a lawyer; whether any of them alleged mistreatment during their discussions with British officials; and whether any of them had been transferred to Ethiopia from Kenya or Somalia. 
Bill Rammell: We have made clear that we are not aware that these individuals' detention was unlawful, but we are unable to go into further details relating to confidential exchanges on counter-terrorist issues with our Ethiopian partners. It is, however, standard practice for our officials to note the well-being of those interviewed. None of these particular detainees complained of any physical mistreatment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent
discussions he has had with his German counterpart on a common EU energy policy; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the German undersea pipeline from Russia to Germany with that policy. 
Gillian Merron: The EU recognises the need for a coherent energy policy. The Commission has recently published its Second Strategic Energy Review identifying as priorities diversification of energy sources and supply, infrastructure and energy efficiency. The UK welcomes this document as an important step in ensuring a cohesive EU position on energy security and looks forward to the adoption of an action plan at the Spring European Council.
Discussions about the action plan take place at official and ministerial level, multilaterally and bilaterally, including with Germany. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs regularly covers climate and energy issues when he meets or phones his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Steinmeier.
The proposed Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany is a commercial venture. In the long term Nord Stream could potentially help diversify the EU's routes of energy supplies, one of the key priorities identified in the Strategic Energy Review.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of restrictions placed on the movements of seminarians in Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities in the Christmas period; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Zimbabwe regarding the seizure of Jestina Mukoko, executive director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project; what steps he is taking to secure her release; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: We are seriously concerned about the abduction of Jestina Mukoko and others from the Zimbabwe Peace Project. On 6 December and with our full support, the French presidency of the EU issued a statement expressing the EU's deep concern and calling on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure her immediate freedom. This was conveyed to the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Harare in a démarche by the EU Troika on 8 December. Until she and all other abductees are released and internationally accepted standards of human rights are restored, we shall continue to call for an end to all such human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with the government of Israel on suicide bombings in Israel; what recent representations he has received on the subject; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The last suicide bomb in Israel was in Eilat in January 2007. The vast majority of attacks against Israelis in the past year have been rocket attacks fired from Gaza at towns in the south of Israel.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the proposed meeting of Israeli and Palestinian leaders in London in December 2008 is scheduled to take place; whether representatives of any other countries will be invited to attend; what the objectives of the meeting are; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert visited London earlier this week. They had separate meetings with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. There was no trilateral meeting nor were representatives of other countries present at the separate meetings.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which endangered species exist on (a) St. Helena, (b) Ascension Island and (c) Tristan Da Cunha; and what steps the Government has taken to encourage environment conservation on the islands. 
Gillian Merron: The following table, prepared by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), lists 60 endangered species on St. Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. The IUCN is the internationally recognised source of information on global endangered species.
In 2001, the Government signed Environment Charters with the Overseas Territories, including with St. Helena and its dependencies. The charters consist of a list of commitments for the Government and individual overseas territory governments to take forward to protect and safeguard the environment of each territory.
The Government provide funding through the Overseas Territories Environment Programme, a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development-funded programme, to assist the territories with the implementation of the charters. Assistance to encourage environment conservation on St. Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha is also provided through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-funded Darwin initiative.
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