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M20 Widening (Sandling)

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if all the outstanding accounts for the widening of the

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M20 on the stretch at Sandling have now been settled; what was the final outturn; and what was the original estimate. [1910]

Mr. Watts: All the outstanding accounts have not yet been settled so the final outturn is not yet known. The original estimate at November 87 prices was £70 million--"Trunk Roads into the 1990s".

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Intergovernmental Conference

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions concerning environmental issues and sustainability have taken place at the EU intergovernmental conference. [1205]

Mr. David Davis: Environmental issues have been discussed on a number of occasions in the intergovernmental conference, most recently in the personal representatives working party on 29 October. A number of member states have put forward proposals in this area and the presidency has circulated negotiating papers. These have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Thailand

Miss Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts are made by British embassy and consular officials to investigate disappearances and deaths of British citizens in Thailand.[1207]

Dr. Liam Fox: We expect the Thai authorities to investigate fully the disappearance or death of British citizens. We take every opportunity to press them for results. We also carry out a search of our own records and check with immigration authorities, police, hospitals and morgues.

Miss Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many reports have been received by the British embassy in Thailand of British citizens (a) going missing and (b) alleged to have committed suicide over the past five years. [1206]

Dr. Fox: Since 1991 our embassy in Bangkok has received over 215 missing persons inquiries. Nine suspected suicides were reported over that period.

Hungary and Romania (Treaty)

Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the treaty on understanding, co-operation and good neighbourhood signed on 16 September by Hungary and Romania, with particular reference to the implications for other European states of (a) the mutual recognition of territorial integrity and (b) the prohibition on territorial claims contained in article 4 of that treaty.[1162]

Dr. Liam Fox: We welcome the treaty of Understanding, co-operation and good neighbourliness between Hungary and Romania as a notable achievement which will contribute to good relations between the two

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countries. The treaty does not create rights of duties for other European states and is a matter for the two contracting parties alone.

Bosnia

Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money the Government contributed to the OSCE elections fund for the Bosnian elections; for what purposes; and if he will make a statement on the criteria governing the use of public money in such situations. [1190]

Mr. David Davis: Her Majesty's Government contributed £3 million to the OSCE elections fund for the Bosnian elections. We specified that this money should be used to provide ballot papers and other election materials. Elections were a key step in the Dayton peace process which Her Majesty's Government supports. They were essential to give Bosnia democratically elected leaders and joint institutions. These are the foundation for an integrated peaceful Bosnia.

Tony Bradbury

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received about the situation of Tony Bradbury, currently held in prison in Israel following an industrial accident; and if he will make a statement. [1192]

Dr Liam Fox: Mr. Bradbury is not in prison. He was remanded on bail on his own surety and cannot leave Israel. He has been charged with causing death by negligence. The date for his trial has been set for 13 January 1997.

British Embassy, Moscow

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the contract to build the new British embassy in Moscow and on the future of the present building.[1210]

Mr. Hanley: The contract to build new embassy offices, staff accommodation, amenities and ancillaries has been awarded to Taylor Woodrow in joint venture with the Finnish firm, Skanska. Construction will start this month and is scheduled to take 30 months. The value of the contract is about £60 million. The buildings will be a major improvement on the present cramped and unsatisfactory working and living conditions and totally inadequate visa-issuing facilities.

The lease on the present premises, which includes the ambassador's residence, was renewed for 99 years in 1993. The residence will be retained and the vacated offices will be converted into further residential accommodation for embassy staff.

EU (Common Policies)

Mr. Marlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what provisions based on majority voting govern the development of common policies by a group of EU countries in new areas using the services of existing European institutions. [1667]

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Mr. David Davis: There are no general provisions of this kind. However, the social protocol annexed to the EC treaty allows the other 14 member states to use the existing institutions to pursue social policy measures in accordance with the agreement annexed to that protocol. In addition article 130K of the EC treaty allows a group of less than the 15 member states to participate in supplementary programmes under the research and development multiannual framework programme.

The broader issue of flexibility is currently under discussion at the intergovernmental conference. The UK has made clear that access by a group of EU countries to European Community institutions and mechanisms including the budget could only be considered where this was agreed by all.

Departmental Cash Limits

Mr. Richards: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further changes he proposes to make in his Department's diplomatic wing cash limits and running costs limits for 1996-97. [2429]

Mr. Hanley: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimates the following changes will be made.

The cash limit for class II, vote 1--Overseas Representation--will be increased by £8,349,000 from £663,010,000 to £671,359,000. The increase results mainly from the take up of the end-year flexibility entitlement of £7,543,000 announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 12 July 1996, Official Report columns 326-31. There are also net transfers totalling £806,000, which includes inward transfers of £1,522,000

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from the Department of Environment (£1,175,000 running costs), £432,000 from PACE (£432,000 running costs), £100,000 from the Home Office (£100,000 running costs), £17,000 from the Department of National Heritage (£17,000 running costs) and £10,000 from SAFE (£10,000 running costs) with an outward transfer of £1,275,000 to class II, vote 3 (£75,000 running costs). Additionally, there is a transfer between subheads of £24,000 from running costs into other current expenditure.

The gross running costs limit on class II, vote 1 increases by £1,635,000, from £519,058,000 to £520,693,000.

The cash limit for class II, vote 2--Other External Relations--will be increased by £20,202,000 from £209,096,000 to £229,298,000. Parliamentary authority will be sought for additional expenditure in respect of certain international organisations and contributions to peacekeeping operations. This increase will be met partly by increased appropriations in aid and partly from a claim on the reserve.

The cash limit for class II, vote 3--BBC World Service--will be increased by £2,465,000 from £169,638,000 to £172,103,000. The increase is required to take up £1,190,000 under the end-year flexibility scheme announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 12 July 1996, Official Report columns 326-31. Additionally there is a transfer from class II, vote 1 of £1,275,000 to take on responsibility for the FCO relay stations in Cyprus and Oman and in the UK at Orfordness, Suffolk.

All the increases in provision will be offset by transfers or charged to the reserve and will not, therefore, add to the planned total of public expenditure.