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Cultural Property

Joyce Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the Government will accede to the UNESCO 1970 convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property. [53820]

Dr. Howells: I am very please to announce that the convention has today been published as Command Paper 5500 and laid together with an explanatory memorandum. We hope to achieve our aim of acceding to the convention by July.

Voluntary Service

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the new award for voluntary service by groups in the community. [53821]

Tessa Jowell: The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award (for voluntary service by groups in the community) is announced today. This new, annual award is for groups and teams in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, rather than for individuals. The award will be given in recognition of outstanding voluntary activity that enhances and improves the quality of life and opportunity for others in the community. Groups must be nominated for consideration, for example by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public, representatives of public bodies, or other voluntary groups. Initial selection will be by local panels in the devolved Administrations and Government regions, with final selection being done centrally by the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award Committee. The award illustrates the importance the Queen places on community and voluntary service by dedicated and committed teams and groups, and provides

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an opportunity for communities to nominate and celebrate the invaluable contribution they make. Up to 200 awards will be given each year and the first ones will be announced on 2 June 2003. I have placed details in the Libraries of both Houses and will be writing to all hon. Members later this week enclosing further information.


Policing Arrangements

Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans have been made for the review of Northern Ireland's policing arrangements that arose from the discussions at Weston Park; and when legislation will be introduced. [54009]

Dr. John Reid: Following discussions at Weston Park last year, the Government committed itself to a review of policing involving the Oversight Commissioner.

We intend to introduce legislation as soon as practicable thereafter to amend or clarify certain provisions as set out in the implementation plan, to reflect more fully the Patten recommendations.

Tom Constantine, the Oversight Commissioner, will, under his terms of reference, review and report on the progress made in implementing Patten on the basis of experience during the first year of the board's operation. The Government will draw on his detailed reports in implementing its stated objectives.

Her Majesty's inspector of constabulary, Dan Crompton, will conduct his annual inspection of the PSNI during the summer. He will study the impact of the new arrangements on police effectiveness and will look at the security situation. He will report to me by the end of October.

Where detailed administrative or legislative issues arise, my hon. Friend the Minister of State, as Minister with responsibility for policing, will be the main point of contact. She will take submissions from interested parties and invite the political parties to meetings.

Independent Commissioner for

Detained Terrorist Suspects

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to publish the ninth annual report of the Independent Commissioner for Detained Terrorist Suspects. [53944]

Dr. John Reid: I have today arranged for copies of Dr. Bill Norris' annual report for 2001 to be placed in the Library of both Houses.

I welcome Dr. Norris' report and I will consider it carefully. I will respond as soon as possible.


Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many terrorist-related incidents, excluding murder, have taken place in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 10 April 1998 for which no person has been convicted; and if he will list each of them. [44326]

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Jane Kennedy: The information is unable to be provided in the format requested. A table listing the number of shootings and bombing incidents and deaths as a result of the security situation since 1969 to 10 April 1998 has been placed in the Library. These cannot be linked to any subsequent charge or conviction. Statistics on paramilitary style attacks are only available from 1973.

Scheduled Offences

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been convicted in Northern Ireland of scheduled offences committed before 10 April 1998 between (a) 11 April 1998 to 31 December 1998, (b) 1 January 1999 to 31 December 1999, (c) 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2000, (d) 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2001 and (e) 1 January 2002 to present. [44328]

Jane Kennedy: There were 114 convictions for scheduled offences between 11 April 1998 and 31 December 1998, which had been committed before 10 April 1998. Statistics for subsequent years cannot be provided as the data on scheduled offences are unreliable. A new database is currently being developed for courts and criminal records data since 1999. This development work has been required due to a change in the way in which the PSNI collect and store this information. It is unlikely that this system will be available for use before early summer 2002.

Compensation Agency

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will announce a decision on the future of the Compensation Agency. [53946]

Dr. John Reid: I have agreed that the executive agency status of the Compensation Agency should be continued until 31 March 2004. My decision follows the completion of Stage 1 of a quinquennial review which examined the past performance of the agency and the other organisational arrangements available for the administration of compensation schemes. Stage 2 of the review will look at ways of improving the delivery of services.


Departmental Communications

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list (a) consultation papers, (b) circulars and (c) forms issued to farmers by her Department in the past 12 months. [37532]

Margaret Beckett: As DEFRA was created in June 2001, twelve months have not elapsed yet. The Department lists its print production work using sequential alphanumeric job number/s. To transcribe and list these by title would incur a disproportionate cost.

Our records show that since DEFRA was set up;

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Foot and Mouth

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what was the average level of compensation paid to farmers for (a) sheep, (b) cattle, (c) pigs and (d) other animals during the foot and mouth outbreak in (i) the UK, (ii) France, (iii) Ireland and (iv) the Netherlands; and if she will make a statement. [48558]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The information is as follows.

Type of livestockAverage level of payment per animal (£)

(ii) The average level of compensation paid to farmers for cattle in the Netherlands was £471 per animal. No other information for France, Ireland or the Netherlands is readily available.

Voluntary Environmental Groups

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received from voluntary environmental groups concerning the availability of insurance cover. [51987]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 23 April 2002]: At a recent meeting in Allendale my right hon. Friend the Minister for Rural Affairs discussed with a representative from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) the availability of public liability cover. BTCV have also discussed the issue with my officials, and wrote to me on 17 April providing further information. We are considering whether there is any need for the Government to intervene, and shall respond shortly.

Voluntary Service Councils

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to support the development of voluntary service councils in rural areas. [51986]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 23 April 2002]: My Department does not support Councils for Voluntary Service directly. We provide support via the Countryside Agency to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (£90,000 for the 2001–01 financial year), and to Rural Community Councils (£2.984 million, plus staff costs for a community development worker in each county, for the same year). Rural Community Councils work closely with Councils for Voluntary Service in their area; indeed some operate as Councils for Voluntary Service. The National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service receives funding through the Active Communities Unit at the Home Office.

We are exploring ways to strengthen the capacity of the voluntary and community sectors in rural areas. In particular the Cross-Cutting Review of the Role of the Voluntary Sector in Delivery of Public Services, as part

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of the current Spending Review, is examining the way in which the Government work with the voluntary sector, in urban as well as rural areas.

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