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7 Jun 2010 : Column 21W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Africa: Peacekeeping Operations

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the UK has provided to the UN mission (a) MONUC, (b) MINURCAT, (c) UNAMID, (d) UNMIL, (e) UNMIS and (f) UNOCI in the last three years. [1158]

Mr Bellingham: Over the last three years the UK has contributed between 7.8 and 8.1% towards the costs of UN Peacekeeping. Assessed contributions to UN peacekeeping missions are paid in US Dollars.

Our sterling costs for those missions covered in the question, over the last three UK financial years, are as follows:

£

2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

MONUC (Democratic Republic of Congo)

39,728,447

49,272,772

61,892,423

MINURCAT (Chad/Central African Republic)

5,771,218

18,153,470

29,474,421

UNAMID (Darfur)

37,228,728

55,229,550

68,961,432

UNMIL (Liberia)

25,403,196

25,324,767

25,687,061

UNMIS (Sudan

28,920,533

29,807,091

40,761,445

UNOCI (Cote D'Ivoire)

15,184,311

19,968,023

23,775,607


The figures for 2009-10 are estimates, as we cannot confirm final figures until the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's resource accounts are closed. These figures do not include any bilateral assistance or training to troop- contributing countries.

Burma: Elections

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the security situation in Burma in respect of the forthcoming elections. [1157]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Burmese elections planned for later this year are set to be held under deeply oppressive conditions. Recently passed election laws and existing security provisions place severe restrictions on campaigning and participation in the process. Over 2,100 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, remain under detention, and arbitrary arrests continue. The regime has rejected offers of international election observers. In such circumstances, elections will not have legitimacy or international credibility. Tensions between the military Government and Burma's ethnic ceasefire groups have also increased, as they resist the regime's attempt to absorb their armed wings into the Burmese army.

China: Family Planning

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the discovery of foetuses and bodies of babies in the Guangfu river, Jining City, China; whether he plans to make representations to the Government of China on that matter; and if he will make a statement. [74]


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Mr Jeremy Browne: We are aware of reports of the discovery of foetuses and babies' bodies in the Guangfu River in March this year, and of reports that hospital workers connected to it were suspended or removed from their posts pending an investigation. We have no further information on the case.

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports he has received since his appointment on the operation of a one child policy by the Government of China; and if he will make a statement; [75]

(2) what discussions (a) he has had since his appointment and (b) plans to have with the Government of China on its population planning policies; and if he will make a statement; [76]

(3) what recent discussions officials in the British Embassy in China have had with officials of the Government of China on (a) reports of forced abortion and sterilisation and (b) birth control quotas in China; and if he will make a statement; [77]

(4) if he will make representations to the Government of China seeking the relaxation of its population planning policy; and if he will make a statement. [78]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Since his appointment, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not received reports about China's one child policy, and has not had any discussions with the Chinese Government about it. We are concerned about the implementation of China's Population and Family Planning Law. This issue was last raised in detail under the previous Government with the Chinese authorities at the 16th round of the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2008. We do not dispute China's right or need to implement family planning policies but we do believe they should be based on principles of consent.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many full-time equivalent staff at each Civil Service grade are employed in the private office of each Minister in his Department. [113]

Mr Lidington: The number of civil service staff (excluding Special Advisers) employed in each Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministerial office is as follows:


7 Jun 2010 : Column 23W

Number

Foreign Secretary's Office

SMS2

1

D7

1

D6

2

B3

5

A2

8

Al

1

Henry Bellingham's Office

D6

l

C4

2

B3

1

A2

1

Jeremy Browne's Office

D7

1

C4

l

B3

2

A2

1

David Liddington's Office

D6

l

C4

2

B3

1

A2

1

The right hon. Lord Howell of Guildford's Office

C4

l

A2

1

Alistair Burt's Office

D6

1

C4

2

B3

1

A2

1


Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [491]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office expects to achieve all its currently anticipated reductions in UK civil service staff through a recruitment freeze and natural wastage. These would not incur compensation costs.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [537]

Alistair Burt: The average number of permanent front-line Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) civil servants, in London and overseas, in financial year 2009-10 was 2,868. The forecast salary cost for these staff is £157.3 million. In addition, approximately 10,000 locally engaged staff at overseas posts were employed during financial year 2009-10 costing £186.5 million.

There were an average of 1,562 other UK based FCO civil servants employed during financial year 2009-10 costing £85.7 million.

The FCO Services Trading Fund employed an average of 927 UK based staff during financial year 2009-10 costing £44.8 million.

Wilton Park Agency employed an average of 77 UK based staff during financial year 2009-10 costing £2.5 million.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to save £55 million from his Department's budget for 2010-11. [103]


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Alistair Burt: The £55 million will be delivered from cutting waste and inefficiency, and reducing lower priority spend including through:

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the (a) implementation of penalty clauses and payments in its contracts and (b) potential legal action arising from the deferral and cancellation of contracts and projects under his Department's plans to achieve cost savings; and whether those estimates are included in the total cost savings to be achieved by his Department. [563]

Alistair Burt: The ministerial announcements of 31 May 2010 relating to the £6.2 billion of cuts included an intention to conduct a review of major projects and renegotiate major contracts with top suppliers to Government to seek efficiencies. These programmes will be led by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) on behalf of central Government. To achieve maximum savings, the analysis of contingent liabilities will form part of the review methodology. Contract deferral and termination is taken very seriously by Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The OGC will also take into account any potential costs associated with those areas during their review.

Departmental Redundancy Pay

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [637]

Alistair Burt: We have not made any estimates of redundancy costs as we currently have no plans to make any staff redundant.

Iran: Sanctions

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to tackle the shipment of weapons and funds from Iran to (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq, (c) Lebanon and (d) Gaza in the next six months; and if he will make a statement. [R] [69]

Alistair Burt: Iranian support in the form of weapons, funding and training to the Taliban, Iraqi militia groups, Hezbollah, Hamas and other Palestinian Rejectionist Groups is unacceptable. It further undermines international confidence in the Iranian regime's intentions, and is at odds with the regime's claim to the international community and its own people, that it supports stability in the Middle East and Afghanistan.


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The UK has worked with and will continue to work with International Security Assistance Force to interdict shipments of weapons to the Taliban, including from Iran. We will work with international partners and in the UN to urge Iran to comply with international law, including UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). Iran's transfers of weapons to the groups mentioned are contrary to UNSCRs 1737, 1747, 1803, 1701 (Hezbollah) and 1860 (Gaza).

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take at the United Nations to seek to prevent (a) weapons and (b) funds from the Government of Iran being sent to terrorist groups in (i) Afghanistan, (ii) Iraq, (iii) Gaza and (iv) Lebanon in the next six months; and if he will make a statement. [70]

Alistair Burt: Following a series of sanctions violations by Iran in 2009 (including the interdictions of weapons from Iran on the Hansa India, Monchegorsk and Francop vessels), the UN Sanctions Committee on Iran issued an Implementation Assistance Notice in January 2010. This urged all UN member states to be especially alert to further violations, in particular to exercise enhanced vigilance over all Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines activity, including subjecting its cargo to enhanced scrutiny.

We and E3+3 partners are leading efforts to secure a UN resolution imposing further sanctions on Iran in the light of the Iranian Government's continued refusal to abide by UN Security Council Resolutions on its nuclear programme. We are seeking targeted measures, including against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which funds and supplies proxy groups in the region.

We will pay close attention to these issues and consider further means of constraining Iran's ability to cause instability in the region. The proximity talks that are under way, between the Israelis and Palestinians, are more important than ever to help pave the way towards a comprehensive peace in the region.


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