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(viii) Integrated monitoring system for illicit crops (2007-08)
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Ministers announcement on Englishthe Worlds language on 17 January 2008, what progress has been made in inviting offers from telephone, telecom, internet, broadcast and website companies to make the latest and most dynamic English learning, teaching and practice materials available through their channels. 
Caroline Flint: Following my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers announcement, the British Council is in detailed discussions with a major global IT business and a web-based learning company about providing its English language materials for global distribution.
In April 2008, the British Council, in partnership with the BBC and UK English language teaching publishers, launched the TeachingEnglish website which now attracts 350,000 unique visitors a month. The British Council is also piloting a new voice over internet protocol offer in workplace English for young Chinese professionals with a Chinese company.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many copies of his Departmental report, Lifting the Nuclear Shadow: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, have been published; what methods he has used to publicise and distribute the paper; who was present at the launch of the paper at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on 4 February 2008; and which non-governmental organisations were consulted in preparation of the report. 
Bill Rammell: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) printed an initial run of 3,000 copies of the report. It is also available for download from the FCO website; to date, over 1,000 copies have been downloaded. The paper is being publicised and distributed online, via e-mail, and through overseas posts. The launch event for the paper at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on 4 February 2008 was attended by interested non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, parliamentarians, the media, representatives of foreign embassies and International Institute for Strategic Studies members. NGOs consulted in preparation of the report were:
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
British American Security Information Council
Kings College London
Royal United Services Institute
UK Defence Academy
University of Wales
International Institute for Strategic Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Nuclear Threat Initiative
Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) members of the UN Security Council and (b) his Commonwealth counterparts on the political situation in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: We remain of the view that a political solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of all communities in Sri Lanka is the only way to bring a sustainable end to the conflict. We will continue to discuss this with international partners. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the situation in Sri Lanka with a number of UN Security Council, Commonwealth and EU counterparts.
Bill Rammell: The UK, both independently and as part of the EU, regularly addresses the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and plans to do so again at the UN Human Rights Council which will be in session from 2-27 March 2009.
Bill Rammell: We hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Des Browne) in his role as the Prime Minister's special envoy for Sri Lanka, will be able to focus on the immediate humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka's work to set out a political solution to bring about a lasting end to the conflict. We want him to work closely with the Sri Lankan Government, leaders from all communities in Sri Lanka, international agencies and the wider international community in this role. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary explained to the House on 24 February 2009, Official Report, column 140, he remains in active discussion with the Sri Lankan Government to encourage them to work with him.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have received notification from the United States Administration in the last six months of any US transfer of armaments to Israel through UK airspace. 
The Ministry of Defence has a system in place that requires all countries to seek clearance for aircraft registered as military or state aircraft that wish to enter, fly over or depart from UK airspace or for civilian aircraft wishing to land at a military base. All other types of aircraft are subject to the requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority. A request for clearance from the MOD includes the final destination of the flight and details of dangerous cargo that may be in transit. I can confirm that we have had no such requests from the US with regards to flights to Israel through UK airspace in the last six months.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the effects on UK trawlers of the declaration of an exclusive economic zone in relation to the waters off Western Sahara. 
Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not received any reports about the effect the declaration by the Polisario of an exclusive economic zone off the waters of Western Sahara has had on the activities of UK trawlers.
In line with UN Security Council Resolution 1813, 30 April 2008 the Government continue to call on all the parties to the dispute to work in a spirit of realism
and compromise towards a mutually acceptable political solution, providing for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to release the Commissions report on its missions to Rabat, El Ayoun, Tindouf and Algiers in May and June 2006. 
Bill Rammell: The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) visited Morocco, Western Sahara, refugee camps in Tindouf, (Algeria) and Algiers in May-June 2006 to gather information on the human rights situation. The OHCHR shared its report privately with Morocco, Algeria and the Polisario on 8 September 2006, but did not publish it, in line with terms of reference agreed by all parties prior to the visit. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to maintain the position that the report should remain an internal document, not for official publication, and the UK respects this decision.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support the inclusion of a peacekeeping role and a human rights monitoring function for the United Nations Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara upon the renewal of its mandate in April 2009. 
However, success in the negotiations depends upon building greater confidence between the parties. In this respect, the UK remains open to supporting UN human rights monitoring in the Western Sahara if it can be shown to enhance the mutual confidence of the parties.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments policy is on the inclusion in a UN plan for Western Sahara of a referendum with independence as an option. 
Bill Rammell: The UK continues to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute in Western Sahara providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara is best achieved under the auspices of the UN. We fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to this end and welcome the appointment of his new personal envoy to the Western Sahara, Christopher Ross.
The UK believes that a referendum on the future status of Western Sahara should result from the negotiation process currently under way, with the options for any eventual referendum to be agreed by all the parties.
Huw Irranca-Davies: Performance related pay schemes encourage high attainment, help drive performance in Departments and agencies and support better public service delivery. DEFRA uses non-consolidated payments to reward high performance during the year and these are based on the how well an individual has met or exceeded set objectives, relative to their peers.
These are one-off payments and do not count towards pension. They are funded within existing pay bill controls, have to be re-earned each year and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs. They are allocated from a pot expressed as a percentage of the salary budget each year.
For the senior civil service (SCS) the size of the pot available is agreed centrally each year following recommendations from the senior salaries review body. In recent years, this pot has increased as greater emphasis is placed on non-consolidated performance pay with proportionately smaller increases to consolidated base pay.
In 2008-09, £4,913,971 was allocated for non-consolidated performance pay for staff in DEFRA and its executive agencies. The total paybill for the period is £384,631,197, of which, 1.28 per cent. is used for non-consolidated performance payments.
The median payment for staff in core DEFRA (including staff who transferred to DECC in October 2008) and those agencies covered by core DEFRAs terms and conditions (Animal Health, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine and Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service and until 1 April 2008 Pesticides Safety Directorate) was £750. In CSL it was £507.57; in VLA it was £266.23; in CEFAS it was £956; and in the RPA it was £800.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of his Department's contracts with public relations consultancies was in each of the last five years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: In DEFRA, public relations covers a wide range of activity which forms an important element of a broader communications mix. This can include advertising, direct marketing, live events and publications. The following table shows what public relations activity was procured via DEFRAs Communications Directorate since FY 2004-05 using the COI public relations framework.
|Financial year||PR agency||Campaign||Expenditure (£)|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated cost in empty property business rates for the vacant properties recorded on the e-PIMS database owned by his Department is in 2008-09. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The estimated cost of vacant business rates for Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs sites, recorded as vacant on e-PIMS for 2008-09 is £1,285,135.10. One large building in Central London accounts for £736,769.95 of this, which is being actively marketed.
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