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Special Operations Executive

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what continuing role there will be for the Special Operations Executive Adviser on the transfer of the remaining SOE files to the Public Record Office. [32267]

Mr. Straw: The process involved in the final stages of preparing the SOE personal files for release to the PRO mean that it is no longer practicable for the SOE adviser to deal satisfactorily with inquiries relating to those files.

There being no further series of files for review and release, the SOE adviser will cease to have a function. From 15 February 2002, therefore, no further inquiries will be accepted by his office, which itself will close on 31 March 2002. With the transfer of the remaining personal files at the end of the year, public inquiries for access should be directed to the PRO.

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to release more records of the wartime Special Operations Executive. [32268]

Mr. Straw: The records of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) have been released progressively since 1993. The next batch of records, covering the General and Headquarters (including America) files, has been transferred to the Public Records Office, and will be opened on 8 February 2002. The last batch of SOE records (the personal files) should be transferred around the end of 2002.

Arms Exports (Azerbaijan)

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will continue to uphold the OSCE embargo on the export of weapons and military equipment to Azerbaijan. [32269]

Peter Hain: The UK remains committed to the OSCE arms embargo against both Azerbaijan and Armenia, which the UK interprets as covering all goods and technology controlled under entries in Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 (commonly known as the military list).

In March 2000 the Government approved a similar request for protective jackets for demining operations to Azerbaijan, a continuing problem.

While the grant of this licence constitutes an exception to the UK's interpretation of the scope of the embargo, it is in no way inconsistent with the purpose of the embargo and our continuing commitment to uphold it.

30 Jan 2002 : Column 378W

Georgia

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Government of Georgia regarding political development in that country; and if he will make a statement. [28890]

Mr. Straw: The last ministerial contacts were at the OSCE Ministerial meeting in Bucharest on 3 and 4 December when the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. McShane) met the Georgian Foreign Minister; the Minister for Europe also met the Foreign Minister in London on 12 September.

A senior FCO official visited Georgia from 22 to 24 January and held discussions on a wide range of issues with the Georgian Government. The Deputy Foreign Minister is coming to London for Political/Military discussions on 6 and 7 February. We will continue to support democracy and development in Georgia and assist the Georgian Government to build on the reforms they have stated.

Zimbabwe

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the compliance by the Zimbabwe Government with the Abuja Agreement. [31601]

Mr. MacShane: The Abuja text sets out clear benchmarks on the rule of law, ending political violence and intimidation and promoting basic human rights. The Government of Zimbabwe has paid scant regard to the commitments.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

"Your Guide"

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the trial of "Your Guide" in post offices in Leicestershire will continue after the end of March. [25909]

Mr. Wilson: The six month pilot continues to schedule and will be withdrawn as planned on 1 March 2002. This allows complete focus on the detailed evaluation report and business case which will determine whether the service will be rolled out nationally. Work is already under way to plan for national roll-out so that in the event of a successful outcome rapid progress can be made.

30 Jan 2002 : Column 379W

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initial assessment she has made of the trial of "Your Guide" in post offices in Leicestershire since October 2001. [25908]

Mr. Wilson: No formal assessment has yet been made of the trial. The outcome of the pilot will be fully evaluated by the Post Office, by those organisations participating in the pilot, and by the Government participating as a whole. The pilot ends on 1 March. The full evaluation report is expected in June.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what publicity has been given to the trial of "Your Guide" in post offices in Leicestershire since October 2001. [25907]

Mr. Wilson: Operational management of the pilot project is a matter for Post Office Limited. I understand that since its inception in August 2001, the trial has been publicised by means of paid advertisements and editorial features in the local newspapers and radio. Leaflets have been distributed through a variety of channels including doctors surgeries and social security offices and presentations have been made to a variety of local groups. The publicity has continued since October 2001 with material adapted to include case studies and quotations from users of the service. A leaflet drop directly to households is planned for later in January.

Terrorist Attacks

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions since 11 September she has met the Director of the Office of Civil Nuclear Security to discuss the readiness of nuclear installations against attack. [28493]

Mr. Wilson: None. I have considered advice, including advice from the Director of Civil Nuclear Security, on the security of civil nuclear installations in the light of the events of 11 September.

BAE

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what outstanding financial commitments BAE has to Government agencies. [28657]

Mr. Wilson: All previous Launch Investment contracts with BAE Systems have been transferred to Airbus UK. These contracts provide for the repayment of Launch Investment with a rate of return in the form of levies on sales of the products developed. BAES no longer has such commitments to the Department of Trade and Industry. Comprehensive information on BAE Systems' outstanding commitments to the Government cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.

Arms Sales

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from BAE Systems concerning the sale of arms to (a) South Africa and (b) India. [28292]

Mr. Wilson: The promotion of any legitimate UK defence exports, in co-ordination with industry, is the responsibility of the Defence Export Services Organisation of the Ministry of Defence.

30 Jan 2002 : Column 380W

Electricity Generation

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence she has collated on the impact on conversion efficiency of generation of electricity on a small localised scale. [29493]

Mr. Wilson: The Department publishes conversion efficiencies for power stations operated by major power producers in Table 5.9 of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics. Efficiencies of CHP systems are given in Table 6A of the Digest and electrical efficiencies within CHP systems can be calculated from the data in Table 6.8. Conversion efficiencies of electricity from biofuels, onshore wind and hydro can be calculated from data given in Chapter 7; by convention, energy inputs to wind and hydro are equivalent to the electricity produced.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average cost is per kilo-watt hour of (a) onshore wind, (b) gas-fired, (c) nuclear and (d) hydro-electric-generated electricity. [30314]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 25 January 2002]: The Department published estimates of the cost of gas- fired generation in the 1998 White Paper (Cm 4071, paragraph 5.38).

The last study of nuclear costs was published in 1995 and indicated that generation costs would be around 3.9p/kWh. Since then nuclear generators have produced generation cost estimates for new designs of around 2.6p/kWh.

Estimates of the cost of renewables technologies are contained in a report by the Energy Technology Support Unit (New and Renewables Energy Prospects in the 21st Century: Supporting Analysis) published in March 1999. This report is available in the Library of the House.

The Department has also contributed to the work of the energy review being undertaken by the Performance and Innovation Unit at the Cabinet Office, which has looked at the cost of new nuclear generation. A copy of their paper which covers estimates for a range of generation technologies (including onshore wind) can be found at: http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/innovation/2001/energy/ 2050.pdf.

The full PIU report is expected to be published shortly.


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