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1 May 2002 : Column WA97

Written Answers

Wednesday, 1st May 2002.


Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which Ministers, Members of the Opposition and senior officers have visited Afghanistan; when these visits took place; and how long was each visit.[HL3094]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The following Ministers, Members of the Opposition and senior officers have visited Afghanistan since the security situation has allowed such visits:


    The Prime Minister, 7 to 8 January 2002;

    The Secretary of State for Defence, 5 February 2002;

    The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 15 February 2002;

    Rt Hon Adam Ingram, Minister for Armed Forces, 1 to 4 April 2002.

    Members of the Opposition

    Rt Hon Menzies Campbell MP, 15 February 2002.

    Senior Officers

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Mr Robert Cooper, UK Special Representative for Afghanistan, 21 to 22 December 2001 and 15 February 2002;

    Mr Graham Fry, Deputy Under-Secretary of State (Wider-World), 15 February 2002;

    Mr David Reddaway, UK Special Representative on Afghanistan, 26 to 31 March 2002;

    Ms Jan Thompson, Head of Afghanistan Unit, 26 to 31 March 2002.

    Department for International Development (DfID)

    Dr Mukesh Kapila, Head of Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department, 19 to 22 November 2001 and 15 January to 17 January 2002, 8 to 12 March 2002, 18 to 21 March 2002 and 9 to 11 April 2002.

    Ministry of Defence

    Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of Defence Staff, 27 to 28 January 2002;

    Lieutenant-General John Reith, Chief of Joint Operations, 27 to 28 January 2002 and 9 to 10 April 2002;

    Mr Desmond Bowen, Director General, Operational Policy, 5 February 2002;

    General Sir Mike Jackson, Commander in Chief, Land Command, 7 to 8 February 2002;

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    Air Marshall Joe French, Chief of Defence Intelligence, 9 to 10 April 2002.

Community Service Orders

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give the total hours of community service handed down by the courts in each of the last five years, showing the figures for England, Scotland and Wales separately.[HL3839]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): The available information from the Home Office and the Scottish Executive Justice Department Court Proceedings Databases shows the total hours of community service orders imposed by all courts in England, Scotland and Wales for each year from 1996 to 2000.

Information for 2001 will be available in the autumn.

Total number of hours of community service (1) imposed by all courts in England, Scotland and Wales 1996 to 2000

YearEngland (2)Scotland (3)Wales (2)
2000 (4)6,703,266895,719497,154

(1) Total hours of community service orders and community service orders within combination orders.

(2) Data for England and Wales are on the principal offence basis.

(3) Data for Scotland relate to all offences.

(4) Staffordshire police were able to supply only a sample of data for magistrates' courts proceedings covering one full week in each quarter for 2000. Estimates based on this sample are included in the figures as they are considered sufficiently robust at this high level of analysis.

Wandsworth Prison: Healthcare Centre

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the planned hospital/healthcare centre at Wandsworth prison will be built to replace the present facility.[HL3874]

Lord Rooker: The new healthcare centre at Wandsworth prison is scheduled for completion in January 2003.

Biofuels: Excise Duty

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 22 April (WA 2), what rate of duty should be paid on a biofuel when it is being used exclusively in an off-road or "red diesel" context.[HL3976]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Under Directive 92/81/EEC Member States must tax biodiesel used in stationary motors; plant and machinery used in construction, civil and engineering and public works; and vehicles intended for use off the public roadway or which have not been granted authorisation for use mainly on the public highway as a road fuel, as a substitute for gas oil (red diesel).

They are allowed to tax it at a reduced rate above the minimum rate set out in Directive 92/82/EEC (currently 18 per 1,000 litres). The Government have included legislation in the Finance Bill 2002 to provide that biodiesel used as a substitute for red diesel bears duty at the same rate, with effect from Royal Assent.

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: Taxation

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are free to arrange their own tax regimes.[HL3996]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Legislation on taxation in the Crown dependencies has always taken the form of laws enacted by the legislatures of the Crown dependencies. All primary legislation passed by those legislatures requires the assent of the Queen in Council.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they react to the letter of 12 April from the President of the Jersey Policy and Resources Committee, Senator Horsfall, to the Paymaster General on the European Union Code of Conduct on Business Taxation.[HL3997]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The report of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation to the ECOFIN Council on 29 November 1999 lists 66 tax measures in European Union member states and their dependent or associated territories which are considered to have harmful features. Four of these are in Jersey. The United Kingdom wishes to see the harmful aspects of all 66 measures removed.

Business Taxation: EU Code of Conduct

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the state of play on the European Union Code of Conduct on Business Taxation and Directive 2001/400.[HL3998]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Work on the EU code of conduct for business taxation and on taxation of savings is being taken forward in accordance with the timetable on the tax package adopted by the ECOFIN Council on 10 July 2001, with a view to reaching agreement on the tax package as a whole no later than by the end of 2002.

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Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether under the European Union Code of Conduct on Business Taxation or Directive 2001/400 they propose to treat Jersey differently from Guernsey, the Isle of Man or any of the overseas territories; and, if so, why.[HL3999]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government wish to see all UK Crown dependencies and overseas territories meet international standards of fair tax competition.

India and Pakistan: Export of Nuclear-related Goods

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy regarding exports of nuclear and nuclear-related materials and services to users in India and Pakistan and on contacts with India and Pakistan relating to their nuclear programmes. [HL3338]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): As the then FCO Minister of State, my right honourable friend Mr Tony Lloyd MP, made clear on 10 July 1998 (Official Report, col. 687), many countries, including the UK, have in place strict controls on the export of nuclear-related goods to India and Pakistan. The UK also exercises caution over contacts between personnel from the British nuclear industry and their Indian and Pakistani counterparts. Current tensions between India and Pakistan demonstrate the need for both countries to exercise restraint.

The events of 11 September highlighted the fact that some terrorist groups will use any means to achieve their ends. We know that Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network have shown an interest in developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. To ensure that such ambitions are not realised, we are encouraging all countries, including India and Pakistan, to take all steps necessary to ensure the better physical protection of their nuclear assets. We will be encouraging both countries to consider measures which contribute to the safety and security of their nuclear programmes.

Bearing these factors in mind, and consistent with our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, we have revised our policy as follows:

We will continue to deny all export licence applications (ELAs) for items listed on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Dual-Use List to nuclear and nuclear-related end users in India and Pakistan. We will consider all applications for other items assessed as licensable, including those licensable under the WMD end use control, with particular vigilance in making licensing decisions on a case by case basis. Licences may be issued if there are no end use concerns. Consistent with our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, licences may also be issued in exceptional cases where the Government are satisfied

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that the proposed exports will contribute to the physical protection or security of civil or military nuclear facilities or assets in India.

We will continue to discourage contacts by UK nuclear scientists or those working in the UK nuclear industry with their counterparts from, or personnel who we know are likely to work in, nuclear or nuclear related organisations in India or Pakistan. We will also discourage visits by such counterparts and personnel to UK nuclear facilities. However, this will not apply where such contacts would contribute to the safety and security of India and Pakistan's nuclear programmes, or further the UK's non-proliferation objectives, consistent with our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty.

Since carring out their nuclear tests in 1998, neither India or Pakistan has demonstrated sufficient commitment to meet their obligations to reduce nuclear tensions set down in UNSCR 1172. We are now encouraging both countries to engage in a bilateral dialogue on nuclear confidence-building measures.

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