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13 Mar 2002 : Column WA79

Written Answers

Wednesday, 13th March 2002.

Pakistan: Landmine Casualties

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial support they have been able to offer to the Rehabilitation Centre for the Physically Disabled (RCPD) in Peshawar, Pakistan, which since the beginning of 2001 has worked to provide rehabilitation and vocational training to landmine casualties; and whether they will increase their financial support. [HL2212]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): We have no record of any request for financial assistance from DfID to the Rehabilitation Centre for the Physically Disabled (RCPD) in Peshawar, Pakistan.

China: UNFPA

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by Baroness Amos on 16 July 2001 (HL Deb, col. 1341) that "the Government disagree with China's one child policy", whether they will now suspend funding of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities if it supports coercive enforcement of population control in China. [HL2978]

Baroness Amos: As we have made clear on many occasions, UK assistance for reproductive health programmes is provided in line with the principles of free and informed choice set out at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994 and reaffirmed at the Cairo plus 5 meeting in New York in 1999. This specifically rules out any kind of coercion in matters relating to childbearing and reproduction.

The United Nations population fund's (UNFPA) programme in China is designed to demonstrate that people can be provided with modern services and make their own choices about family size without coercion. This is the focus and purpose of UNFPA's work in China. Bill:

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will compensate those farmers and other small businesses whose investment and support have been cut as a result of their policy of partially privatising the Commonwealth Development Corporation. [HL 3119]

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Baroness Amos: CDC has sold some agricultural investments as ongoing businesses to other owners, well placed to develop these businesses further. These disposals have been done in a socially responsible manner.

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In which countries the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) offices have been shut down since the CDC was partially privatised. [HL3120]

Baroness Amos: No part of CDC has been privatised. Since its transformation to a public limited company in 1999, CDC has closed offices in Peru, Trinidad, Jamaica, Uganda, Malawi, Bangladesh, Philippines and Fiji. CDC continues to manage existing investments and look for new investment opportunities in these countries from neighbouring regional offices.

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the levels of private investment resulting from the partial sell-off of the Commonwealth Development Corporation have generated significant levels of private investment for Africa. [HL3121]

Baroness Amos: CDC was tranformed in 1999 into a public limited company which as yet remains wholly government-owned.

Financial Services Authority

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they expect to announce a change in the chairmanship of the FSA. [HL3296]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are pleased to say that Sir Howard Davies has today agreed to an extension to his appointment as chairman and director of the FSA until 31 January 2004. At a time when the FSA has only just taken on its full regulatory powers and is establishing itself as a fully independent single regulator, it is invaluable to have Sir Howard remaining in post, with his breadth of experience.

Children Act Guidelines

Lord Grabiner asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the impact of the Children Act sub-committee Guidelines for Good Practice on parental contact in cases where there has been domestic violence.[HL3281]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Lord Chancellor's Department promulgated the guidelines during spring 2001. A survey was carried out in the late

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autumn 2001 on the use and effectiveness of the guidelines. This has shown that they have been broadly well received and have resulted in a generally heightened focus on domestic violence issues. However, there are indications that awareness of the guidelines is patchy and that more contact centres are needed. The department is taking steps to address these issues. Copies of the analysis of the survey, Bill:including the action to be taken, have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Defence Logistics Organisation Expenditure

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the costings of defence equipment within the Defence Logistics Organisation have exceeded the amount provided by the Ministry of Defence budget; and, if so, by how much. [HL2794]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We expect the expenditure of the Defence Logistics Organisation to be within the overall estimates provision at the year end.

Gulf War Veterans

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 25 February (WA 177) about the recent death of ex-Petty Officer Nigel Thompson, what is their response to The Royal British Legion's expression of disquiet that, while the United States Government accept the evidence of a comparative study that motor neurone disease is much higher among Gulf war veterans than in the population as a whole, the Ministry of Defence has still to do so. [HL3085]

Lord Bach: We do not currently have a scientific basis on which to judge whether the incidence of motor neurone disease is much higher among Gulf veterans than in the population as a whole. As noted in my previous Answer, the US Government's decision was based on preliminary evidence only and the underlying research has not yet been published. When it is, we will consider carefully the implications for UK Gulf veterans.

Kabul: Shooting Incident

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why two personnel from 2 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, were returned to the United Kingdom for interview by the Royal Military Police after an exchange of fire in Kabul, as opposed to the Royal Military Police visiting Kabul. [HL3095]

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Lord Bach: Two members of the Parachute Regiment were flown back to the UK following the shooting incident in Kabul on 16 February. This is standard practice following such an incident and was not done to allow the Royal Military Police to question the soldiers.

Army Divorce Rates

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many divorces have occurred in the last four years in the Royal Armoured Corps; the Royal Artillery; the Infantry; the Royal Engineers; the Royal Signals; the Royal Logistic Corps; and the Adjutant General's Corps. [HL3183]

Lord Bach: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Overall Army divorce figures for the last four years are shown below:

YearArmy Divorce FiguresPercentage

Strategy for the Army

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the speech of Lord Burlison on 13 February 2001 (HL Deb, col. 234) that "there is no intention further to restructure the Reserve Forces", whether any parts of the study known as Strategy for the Army (SFTA) cover the Territorial Army; if so, when the project was initiated; and what is its purpose. [HL3186]

Lord Bach: The Strategy for the Army was made available to defence spokespersons and placed in the Libraries of both Houses in March last year. The aim was to develop a strategy for the Army which would consider the likely strategic environment in which it might be required to operate during the next 12 years independently, as part of joint operations, or as part of an alliance or coalition. A programme of work is currently under way, taking forward the themes of the Strategy for the Army. This includes looking at ways of increasing the contribution the TA makes to our defence plans within its existing establishment.

In parallel, work on a new chapter of the Strategic Defence Review, following the 11 September attacks, is exploring the role that the Armed Forces, including the reserves, have in defending and protecting the United Kingdom. Bill:

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 13 February (WA 153–54) concerning the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, what mechanisms of independent inspection exist for the police ombudsman's office. [HL2946]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): There is no mechanism for independent inspection of the police ombudsman's office.

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