Previous Section Index Home Page


CABINET OFFICE

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Tom King: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many officials, at what grades, have been transferred to (a) MAFF, (b) the Rural Task Force and (c) other relevant bodies working on the foot and mouth outbreak from other Government Departments. [157718]

Mr. Ian McCartney: Information is not held in the form requested. Over 100 staff from central and regional Government are assisting MAFF. Around 15 further staff are working within the Rural Task Force.

Workforce Development Plan (Civil Service)

Mr. Borrow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if the Central Government National Training Organisation has completed a workforce development plan for the Civil Service. [158422]

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 120W

Mr. Stringer: I am pleased to confirm that the Central Government National Training Organisation completed a workforce development plan for the Civil Service. The plan is called "Developing 21st Century Skills" and sets out the priority skills needs for the Civil Service and actions that will be taken to address these needs. The plan focuses on equipping Civil Servants to deliver the Modernising Government agenda. Copies of the plan have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Appointments (Age Limits)

Tony Wright: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in her Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis is for this limit. [158116]

Mr. Stringer: The Government are committed to equality of opportunity and to increasing the diversity of

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 121W

those appointed to public bodies. In general, no age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies for which the Prime Minister or I are responsible.

There is one exception. Candidates for appointment to the Civil Service Appeal Board must be either recently retired or about to retire from the Senior Civil Service or a recently retired (or about to retire) Civil Service Trade Union official. They are appointed for an initial period of three years with a possibility of re-appointment. This is explained in the advertisement. To ensure that board members are up to date with civil service/trade union practice and procedures, they are not allowed to serve beyond age 70. In practice, however, appointees normally complete their full period of office before reaching that age.

It should also be noted that although there is no age limit to appointments made to the Advisory Committee on Advertising, each appointee must be "currently employed" as a media or marketing professional.

Departmental Publications

Tony Wright: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will instruct Departments that internet-only publications that are no longer current should continue to be made publicly available in an archival subset of departmental websites. [158118]

Mr. Ian McCartney: The Guidelines for UK Government websites are currently being revised and will in future emphasise the importance of retaining archival electronic master copies of all publications published on websites.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the meetings and conferences organised by his Department and agencies of his Department which have been (a) cancelled and (b) postponed owing to foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. [155361]

Mr. Battle [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The information requested is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times (a) the Minister for Europe and (b) other ministers from his Department have met with Nadhmi Auchi, of General Mediterranean Holdings Ltd.; and if he will list the (i) dates and (ii) locations of all such meetings. [156873]

Mr. Vaz [holding answer 4 April 2001]: Neither I nor any other Minister from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have had any official meetings with Mr. Auchi.

China

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the EU made an announcement of its position on a China

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 122W

resolution at the 57 UN Commission for Human Rights prior to seeing the text of the resolution which the USA was drafting. [157450]

Mr. Battle: EU partners felt it was important to send an early and clear message to those concerned including China and member states of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) about the EU's approach towards the US resolution on China, and the expected Chinese no-action motion at the current UNCHR session. EU Foreign Ministers agreed a common position at the General Affairs Council on 19 March, after receiving informal briefing from the US authorities. It was agreed not to co-sponsor the US resolution on China at the UN Commission on Human Rights, but to strengthen the EU common position by actively lobbying against the expected Chinese no action motion, for the first time since 1996.

Visas

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will provide a breakdown, by entry clearance post, of the number of family visit visa applications (a) received, (b) determined, (c) allowed and (d) refused in March; [157971]

Mr. Vaz: The information requested is not yet available. Once it is I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.

Kazakhstan

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest assessment is of the state of human rights and democracy in Kazakhstan; and what conditions are included in EU agreements to provide for progress on these matters. [158197]

Mr. Vaz: Kazakhstan's human rights record since independence is mixed. In August 1998 the Government acceded to four UN Conventions: the Convention Against Torture; the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; the Convention on the Eradication of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Foreign Secretary pressed President Nazarbaev, during the latter's visit to Britain last November, for Kazakh accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and abolition of the death penalty.

Serious problems remain. The UK, with its EU partners, has recently issued demarches to the Kazakh Government expressing concern about proposed amendments to the Law on the Mass Media and to the Law on Religion, which threaten to restrict media and religious freedoms.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 123W

Democracy and respect for human rights underpin the EU-Kazakhstan Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) which came into effect in July 1999. Progress towards democratisation and human rights norms is regularly discussed at high-level PCA meetings between the EU and Kazakhstan. The PCA also provides for co-operation and technical assistance to aid progress in these areas.

Western European Union

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the taking over by the EU of continuing WEU deployments. [158311]

Mr. Vaz: The mandate of the Western European Union's Multi-national Advisory Police Element in Albania (MAPE) will expire on 30 May. From 1 June, the European Union will assume direct responsibility for advice, training and institution building activities of the Albanian police. This will be done through a co-operation project under the Community assistance programme for the Western Balkans.

At the request of the Croatian authorities, the Western European Union has agreed to extend the mandate of the Western European Union's demining assistance mission (WEUDAM) with European Union financial support until 30 November when the mission will come to an end.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the future role of (a) the WEU Satellite Centre and (b) the Institute for Security Studies, under the CFSP. [158310]

Mr. Vaz: Following earlier statements at the Cologne European Council, Ministers agreed in principle at the Nice European Council to incorporate the relevant functions of the Western European Union's Satellite Centre and Institute of Security Studies into the European Union by January 2002.


Next Section Index Home Page