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Gujarat

Ann Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in the Gujarat state of India. [46021]

Mr. Bradshaw: We share the deep concern of Britain's Muslim and Hindu communities over the current religious tensions and violence in Gujarat. We welcome the efforts of the Indian Government in raising the security presence in these areas to restore law and order. We are also concerned by reports that the Gujarat police failed to take adequate steps to reduce the conflict once it became clear that the violence was escalating. Our High Commission in New Delhi will continue to monitor the situation closely.

India is a secular country in which the right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution. However, we continue to raise our concerns over incidents of religious intolerance in India, including attacks against Muslims, Hindus and Christians. We will continue to urge the Indian authorities to ensure the right of freedom of religion is upheld, and that those responsible for attacks on religious minorities are brought to justice.

Vietnam

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Vietnam regarding the persecution of Christians. [46307]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Redcar (Vera Baird) of 26 February, Official Report, column 1159W. Since then the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has raised our concerns about religious freedom with the Vietnamese Ambassador, and the EU Human Rights Working Group in Hanoi has raised our concerns with the Vietnamese government about their treatment of the Mennonite leader Pastor Quang.

Ministerial Visits (Yugoslavia)

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited Yugoslavia; and what plans he has to visit in the future. [45244]

Mr. MacShane: Although the Secretary of State has had a number of contacts with Yugoslav leaders, he has not visited the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since taking up his duties in June 2001. There are no immediate plans for such a visit.

As the Minister responsible for relations with the FRY I have visited Belgrade twice, from 18–19 July 2001, and from 6–7 February 2002 as well as other visits to the former Yugoslavia.

Burma

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she is making to the Burmese Government with regard to their treatment of internally

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displaced Karen people and other minorities; and what resources are being provided to support the Karen refugees leaving Burma for Thailand. [45453]

Mr Bradshaw: The UK has been at the forefront of the international community's effort to press for national reconciliation, respect for human rights and democracy in Burma. The ethnic minority areas of Burma, including those of the Karen, suffer disproportionately as a result of the regime's rule. The EU has adopted a Common Position including an arms embargo, bans on high level visits, items which may be used for torture, non-humanitarian aid, and a visa ban and asset freeze on members of the regime. We are also active in the United Nations, annually co-sponsoring resolutions at the UN General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Rights.

In financial year 2001–02 we have increased funding for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Burmese Border Consortium and the United Nations High Commission for Refugee's work with Burmese refugees and those internally displaced within Burma.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings he has had with representatives from Burma; and what was discussed. [45483]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ministerial contact with the Burmese authorities is limited by the EU Common Position. However an FCO official visited Rangoon from 27 February–1 March where he met both Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the Burmese government. The Burmese government is aware of our views about the urgent need for national reconciliation, respect for human rights and the restitution of democracy in Burma.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the human rights situation in Burma and steps taken by the Government to help the Karen people. [45482]

Mr. Bradshaw: The overall human rights situation in Burma remains poor and a cause of grave concern. The ethnic minority areas, including those of the Karen, suffer disproportionately under the regime's rule. We are currently working with EU colleagues to prepare a resolution to be submitted at the UN Commission on Human Rights that will express our concerns and call upon the Burmese regime to take urgent action to improve the situation.

In 2001–02 we have increased funding for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Burmese Border Consortium and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees' work with Burmese refugees and those internally displaced within Burma. Both these groups include large numbers of Karen.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plan he has to bring investment sanctions against Burma (a) unilaterally and (b) with the (i) UN, (ii) EU and (iii) Commonwealth. [45484]

Mr. Bradshaw: The EU has adopted a Common position including an arms embargo, bans on high level visits, items which may be used for torture, non-humanitarian aid, and a visa ban and asset freeze on

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members of the regime. The EC has also suspended Burma trading privileges in response to the use of forced labour in Burma. In addition, the UK does not encourage trade, investment or tourism with Burma. We do not offer assistance to any British company wishing to trade with Burma. There is hardly any new investment into the country.

There is no consensus at this point to implement a formal ban in any of the international forums listed. Against this background and in consideration of the evolving political situation in Burma, including the gradual release of political prisoners and the lessening of the pressure on opposition parties, there are no plans to pursue formal investment bans at this point. We will follow events closely and will respond proportionately to further developments, positive or negative.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Defence Grants

Mr. Pound: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish the (a) aggregate amount of civil defence grants to be made for the financial year 2002–03, (b) amount of grant to be paid in to each local authority and (c) criteria used to determine the allocation between authorities; and if he will make a statement. [46856]

Mr. Leslie: The aggregate amount is #18,968,850 of which #100,000 will be retained as discretionary grant for special projects and special events deemed of benefit to the wider emergency planning community in England and Wales.

The remaining #18,868,850 will be allocated to individual authorities as set out in the table below.

The following formula has been adopted to determine these allocations. First, each authority receives #53,000. Second, each county council receives #12,000 in respect of each shire district within the authority's boundaries. These flat-rate payments account for some 65 per cent. of the aggregate grant in recognition of the fact that every authority, regardless of size and population, must incur similar unavoidable costs in conducting the basic emergency planning function. The remainder of the total grant (approximately 35 per cent.) is then distributed according to the Bellwin threshold in recognition of the fact that population size provides a rough proxy for the scale of the emergency planning that authorities need to undertake.

A simple application of the formula would result in some authorities facing a significant decrease on the grant they had received during the current financial year, whilst others would receive a significant increase. Mindful of the importance of keeping such year-on-year changes within reasonable bounds, a damping has been added to the formula so that no authority loses more than 10 per cent. or gains more than 20 per cent. compared with the current year.

Before reaching decisions on this allocation method, consultations were held with Local Authority representatives on the basis of a draft formula. As a result of the representations made, that original formula was amended to give greater weight to the flat rate

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element and lesser weight to the element distributed by reference to the Bellwin threshold. The damping was also changed to reduce the floor level for losses.

Local AuthorityGrant allocation for 2002–03 (#)
Barking & Dagenham75,583
Barnet80,268
Barnsley75,690
Bath and N.E. Somerset89,625
Bedfordshire136,125
Bexley78,372
Birmingham186,994
Blackburn with Darwen70,272
Blackpool66,276
Blaenau Gwent62,697
Bolton82,288
Bournemouth69,736
Bracknell Forest63,513
Bradford125,370
Brent86,206
Bridgend67,937
Brighton & Hove80,786
Bristol98,100
Bromley84,594
Buckinghamshire200,171
Bury70,809
Caerphilly72,702
Calderdale74,188
Cambridgeshire162,671
Camden83,789
Cardiff86,936
Carmarthenshire73,472
Ceredigion63,757
Cheshire189,583
City of London59,759
Conwy64,425
Cornwall188,893
Coventry77,390
Croydon90,280
Cumbria215,730
Darlington63,513
Denbighshire71,048
Derby76,117
Derbyshire220,073
Devon216,908
Doncaster85,130
Dorset175,500
Dudley82,522
Durham213,215
Ealing89,958
East Riding of Yorkshire71,880
East Sussex207,902
Enfield87,812
Essex314,726
Flintshire77,355
Gateshead78,754
Gloucestershire189,574
Greater Manchester EP63,674
Greenwich86,096
Gwynedd67,312
Hackney87,759
Halton67,751
Hammersmith & Fulham76,333
Hampshire298,610
Haringey85,238
Harrow65,340
Hartlepool64,264
Havering77,299
Herefordshire69,843
Hertfordshire310,500
Hillingdon81,000
Hounslow80,356
Hull (Kingston upon Hull)71,879
Isle of Anglesey60,956
Isle of Wight71,844
Isles of Scilly53,322
Islington83,038
Kensington and Chelsea74,402
Kent339,200
Kingston upon Thames67,268
Kirklees95,045
Knowsley73,973
Lambeth87,403
Lancashire314,847
Leeds172,601
Leicester City88,510
Leicestershire192,571
Lewisham83,592
Lincolnshire212,407
Liverpool97,262
London FEPA151,439
Luton59,508
Manchester147,281
Medway81,161
Merseyside72,946
Merthyr Tydfil60,612
Merton71,667
Middlesbrough70,969
Milton Keynes81,018
Monmouthshire61,768
Neath Port Talbot69,873
Newcastle upon Tyne102,437
Newham87,840
Newport68,230
Norfolk276,427
North East Lincolnshire71,238
North Lincolnshire69,146
North Somerset70,862
North Tyneside73,705
North Yorkshire244,137
Northamptonshire238,874
Northumberland187,736
Nottingham City85,935
Nottinghamshire210,541
Oldham78,908
Oxfordshire202,073
Pembrokeshire66,349
Peterborough71,828
Plymouth81,322
Poole66,249
Portsmouth74,081
Powys85,500
Reading67,000
Redbridge82,180
Redcar and Cleveland69,307
Rhondda Cynon Taff81,933
Richmond upon Thames69,038
Rochdale76,924
Rotherham81,268
Rutland56,057
Salford72,000
Sandwell88,027
Sefton83,629
Sheffield96,000
Shropshire153,448
Slough Borough68,180
Solihull73,330
Somerset163,973
South Tyneside71,130
South Yorkshire EP83,970
Southampton77,084
Southend71,580
Southwark76,957
St Helens72,947
Staffordshire226,456
South Gloucestershire75,797
Stockport79,606
Stockton-on-Tees73,491
Stoke-on-Trent74,027
Suffolk221,400
Sunderland100,721
Surrey297,002
Sutton72,740
Swansea78,547
Swindon70,969
Tameside76,924
Telford and Wrekin71,999
Thurrock68,280
Torbay67,054
Torfaen64,490
Tower Hamlets93,123
Trafford75,368
Tyne & Wear34,506
Vale of Glamorgan71,999
Wakefield86,281
Walsall83,253
Waltham Forest83,146
Wandsworth78,769
Warrington72,418
Warwickshire181,336
West Berkshire67,429
West Midlands EP60,000
West Sussex225,000
West Yorkshire EP61,207
Westminster86,418
Wigan84,111
Wiltshire194,400
Windsor & Maidenhead66,410
Wirral89,475
Wokingham66,142
Wolverhampton81,644
Worcestershire186,449
Wrexham72,540
York, City of71,834

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