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10 Jun 2010 : Column 217W—continued

Pakistan: British Nationals Abroad

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Pakistan on the targeting by criminals of UK citizens visiting that country. [1651]

Alistair Burt: The UK has ongoing contact with the Government of Pakistan across a whole range of topics. This includes engaging with the relevant Pakistani authorities when UK citizens are the victim of crime while in Pakistan. Senior officials are engaged with the relevant Pakistani authorities on specific long-running cases affecting UK citizens on a case-by-case basis.

Passports: Fraud

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Oral Statement by the then Secretary of State for
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Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of 23 March 2010, Official Report, column 133, on UK passports (use in Dubai murder), what response was received to the request to Foreign Minister Lieberman for a formal assurance that in future the state of Israel would never be party to the misuse of British passports; on what dates (a) the Secretary of State and (b) (i) Ministers and (ii) officials of his Department have subsequently discussed the matter with representatives of the government of Israel; what the outcome of such discussions was; and if he will make a statement. [1806]

Alistair Burt: We have not yet received a formal assurance from the Government of Israel on this matter. We will continue to discuss these issues with the Israeli Government: we will not tolerate the misuse of British passports.

Thailand: Politics and Government

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's most recent assessment is of the security situation in Thailand, with particular reference to the recent anti-government protests; and if he will make a statement. [1238]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all travel to the Preah Vihear temple area, on the border with Cambodia, due to violence in the area and advises against all but essential travel to, or through, the far southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkla, due to the insurgency in those areas. Elsewhere the situation in Thailand is generally calm although a State of Emergency is in place in Bangkok and 23 other provinces. There have been no serious outbreaks of violence since 19 May 2010. However, there remains a risk that political developments may lead to further violence. We are advising British nationals in Thailand to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings and to exercise caution.

UNESCO: Prizes

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request the members of the Regional Electoral Group, representing the UK's interests on the UNESCO Executive Board, to press the Board to assess the human rights record of the Government of Equatorial Guinea at its meeting on 15 June 2010 and to withdraw the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences in consequence. [1460]

Mr Bellingham: We are concerned about the human rights situation in Equatorial Guinea, and made this clear at the UN Human Rights Council on 9 December 2009, when Equatorial Guinea underwent its Universal Periodic Review. Our ambassador to Equatorial Guinea will continue to raise our concerns with the Equato-Guinean authorities during his visits to the country. The UK does not wish to see this prize awarded given the incompatibility of the funding and naming with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization values and work on human rights and press freedoms. Minister of State for International
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Development, Alan Duncan, raised our concerns with the Director General on 4 June. The UK Government intend to pursue further and will remain engaged in efforts to find a solution.

Deputy Prime Minister

General Elections

Andrew Selous: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his policy is on payments to returning officers who supervise elections; how much this cost for the 2010 general election; and if he will make a statement. [1804]

Mr Harper: Returning officers are entitled by statute to recover payment for services rendered and expenses incurred in administering UK parliamentary elections from the Consolidated Fund under section 29 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983. These amounts are set out in the Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officer's Charges) Order 2010 which was made on 15 March 2010. The amounts recoverable for the services of returning officers are calculated by reference to the electorates in each constituency, and taking into account any combination of polls. For the 2010 general election, the total of the maximum recoverable amounts for returning officers for the 632 parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain was £2,206,955.

These are, however, maximum recoverable amounts and returning officers are not obliged to claim them. Until all claims have been received from each constituency and finalised (under the Returning Officers' Accounts (Parliamentary Elections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 returning officers have a year following the election in which to submit their claims), no final total of actual expenditure will be available.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Mobile Phones

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Ministers in his Department have been issued with (a) a BlackBerry, (b) an iPhone, (c) another make of mobile telephone and (d) a personal digital assistant supplied by the Department. [1424]

Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) ministerial team has not been supplied with any of these items by the Department.



Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the NHS was of provision of abortions in (a) NHS hospitals and (b) approved independent sector places in 2009. [2135]

Anne Milton: The cost to the national health service of abortions performed in NHS hospitals in 2008-09 was £82.1 million. The NHS funds abortions undertaken by approved independent sector places under contract
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to individual primary care trusts. Information on these contracts is commercially sensitive and is not collected centrally.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers are employed by his Department; and at what Civil Service pay grade in each such case. [1269]

Mr Simon Burns: One special adviser has been appointed and another will be appointed shortly. Special advisers are not aligned to civil service pay grades.

The number of press officers employed by the Department is set out in the following table:

Press officers Number

Grade 6 and above


Grade 7


Senior executive officer


Higher executive officer


Executive officer/administrative officer


Departmental Official Cars

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) make, (b) model and (c) place of manufacture is of the car allocated for the use of each Minister in his Department. [1483]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested is set out in the following table.

Make Model Place of manufacture Number of cars


XJ TDVi Sovereign

United Kingdom



Prius T3 hybrid




Civic ES hybrid



We do not link each vehicle to a particular Minister on grounds of security.

In line with the new ministerial code, Ministers at the Department have given up their allocated cars and drivers and the existing contracts, which were subject to a 90-day contract termination period, ending on the 19 August 2010.

Hospitals: Parking

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on charges for car parking at hospitals in England. [1509]

Mr Simon Burns: National health service organisations have the autonomy to make decisions that best suit their local circumstances. This includes decisions on charges for car parking. However, should charges discourage patients from accessing their services or friends and families from visiting patients, or prevent staff doing their jobs properly those NHS organisations have a responsibility to look at that further.

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Motor Neurone Disease

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce a national strategy for motor neurone disease. [1015]

Mr Burstow: There are no current plans to publish a national strategy on motor neurone disease (MND). Work on MND is being taken forward in the National Service Framework for Long-Term Conditions (NSF). The NSF was developed to address long-standing issues in neurological care, e.g. inequity in access to services; work force shortages and variable quality of care across the country.

The NSF does not look at individual neurological conditions but at elements of service provision that are common to different conditions. It focuses on the neurological care pathway setting out 11 quality requirements from diagnosis to the end of life, and makes recommendations to transform the way health and social care services work together to deliver appropriate care, planned and delivered around people's individual needs.

The NSF's quality requirements include a separate section on addressing the needs of people with rapidly progressing conditions, such as motor neurone disease, where services need to respond quickly.

We are committed to supporting implementation of the NSF over 10 years (from 2005).

Energy and Climate Change

Nuclear Power Stations: Decommissioning

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much funding from the public purse had been allocated for the purposes of (a) the underwriting of insurance liabilities, (b) research and development for long-term nuclear waste management and facility decommissioning and (c) payments to (i) the International Atomic Energy Agency (ii) the Euratom Nuclear Agency, (iii) the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, (iv) the National Nuclear Laboratory, (v) the Nuclear Academy, (vi) the Nuclear Institute and (vii) other international nuclear bodies on the latest date for which figures are available. [1087]

Charles Hendry: The information is as follows:


(a) The underwriting of insurance liabilities

There is currently no Government funding for the purposes of underwriting nuclear insurance liabilities.

(b) Research

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) directly commissions research in support of its decommissioning and waste management mission. In 2010-11 the NDA has allocated £11 million to research expenditure. This does not include indirect expenditure by NDA's contractors.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) current research portfolio in this area has a total value of £8.5 million. In 2008-09 the Research Councils UK Energy Programme spent £1.7 million on eight projects directly relevant to long-term
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nuclear waste management and facility decommissioning. The Natural Environment Research Council has allocated £676,000 for 2010-11 and £2.6 million in future years to decommissioning and waste management research. In 2009-10 they provided funding of £277,000 to projects in this area.

The Environment Agency (EA) commission research relevant to radioactive substance regulation. The EA is currently reviewing its funding allocations for research. The Environment Agency recover the majority of the costs of this research from industry. However in 2009-10, the EA spent some £180,000 in grant in aid on regulatory research relevant to nuclear waste and decommissioning (approximately 25% of the research costs in that year).

(c) Payments to:

(i) The International Atomic Energy Agency

The UK allocated and paid a total of just under US$ 9.3 million and Euros 16.4 million to the IAEA for 2010. A similar sum, but allowing for inflation, exchange rate differences, and the likely outcome of current ongoing budget negotiations among member states and the agency, has been set aside for 2011.

(ii) Euratom Nuclear Agency

It is assumed for the purpose of this PQ that the Member for Newport West is referring to the Euratom Supply Agency. Since 2008 the European Commission has taken charge of all expenses incurred by the Euratom Supply Agency.

(iii) OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)

As a member of the NEA the UK pays an annual subscription of around £0.6 million (depending on exchange rates). In addition the UK also subscribes to the NEA's Databank, which contains technical information from other NEA members, at a cost of £350,000 a year. However, the money paid by the UK Government for the Databank subscription is recovered from those in the nuclear industry who access/use the information.

(iv) The National Nuclear Laboratory

The NNL operates on a commercial basis, managed through a GOCO (Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated) arrangement and does not receive funding from the public purse.

(v) The Nuclear Academy

No funding is currently allocated directly from the public purse. However, in 2007-08 the NDA provided £5 million to support the establishment of Energus (formerly referred to as the Nuclear Academy) as a centre of excellence for skills, training and business support.

(vi) The Nuclear Institute

The Nuclear Institute receives no public income. The NI income is from individual membership, surplus from events and sales of journals and journal advertising and some occasional donations.

(vii) Other international nuclear b odies

We do not make payments to any other international nuclear bodies.

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