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Sri Lankan War Veterans

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government plans to (a) reward financially Sri Lankan soldiers who took part in the Second World War and (b) otherwise assist financially surviving Ceylonese War veterans. [62654]

Dr. Moonie: We acknowledge the valuable role played by Sri Lankan veterans in the Second World War. However, we have no plans to provide financial assistance or recognition. Responsibility for the welfare of such veterans passed to the Government of Sri Lanka when the country became independent.


Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contact was made between his Department and BioReliance after the visit of his Department's officials in late 2001. [57315]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 23 May 2002]: Following the visit by representatives from Dstl Porton Down and the Medical Supplies Agency to BioReliance on 4 December 2001, contact with BioReliance in the form of a series of e-mails was instigated by Dstl Porton Down on 14 January 2002.

There has been no contact between BioReliance and Dstl Porton Down since that date.


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many payments he has made in the past three years to members and former members of HM Armed Forces in compensation for ill-treatment, bullying or harassment experienced while serving; and what the total cost was in each year. [59694]

Dr. Moonie [pursuant to the answer 10 June 2002, c. 743]: The table given in the answer was printed under the wrong headings. The correct answer is reprinted.

17 Jun 2002 : Column 43W

The number of claims settled and the total amounts paid in the past three years to members and former members of HM Armed Forces in compensation for ill-treatment,

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bullying or harassment experience while serving are set out in the table.

YearBullying/ill treatmentSexual harassmentRacial harassment
1999–20009 claims settled, £34,533 paid2 claims settled, £31,000 paidNo claims settled
2000–016 claims settled, £49,165 paid3 claims settled, £15,000 paid1 claim settled, £50,000 paid
2001–0217 claims settled, £132,373 paid1 claim settled, £37,500 paid1 claim settled, £20,000 paid



Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if the Government issues policy guidelines to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals; and to whom it is accountable; [59829]

The Prime Minister: The terms of reference of the Committee are to consider general questions relative to the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals; to review the scales of award, both civil and military, from time to time, to consider questions of new awards, and changes in the conditions governing existing awards.

The Committee is the permanent standing committee to which the sovereign looks for advice about the honours system. It is chaired by the Secretary of the Cabinet, and its members are certain permanent secretaries and the private secretaries to the sovereign and the Prime Minister.

The Committee of Honours and Medals is aware of the past history of the case and of the representations currently being made for a medal. It is considering these representations very carefully.


Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Prime Minister when he last met the Chinese (a) Premier and (b) President to discuss Tibet. [59596]

The Prime Minister: I raised Tibet with the Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji, during his visit to the UK in March/April 1998 and with President Jiang Zemin during his visit to the UK in October 1999. I also discussed Tibet with Vice President Hu Jintao when we met on 29 October last year.

The Government remain of the view that a long-term political solution in Tibet can only be found through dialogue between the Chinese authorities and the Tibetan people, including the Dalai Lama. We continue to urge the Chinese to develop such a dialogue, at both ministerial and official level, including at our biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue, the last round of which took place in Beijing on 15 May.

United Nations Security Council

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Prime Minister what his policy is on giving up Britain's seat on the United Nations Security Council in favour of collective representation by the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [60586]

The Prime Minister: Under the Charter of the United Nations only states may be members of the organisation. Therefore, a Security Council seat for the European Union would not be possible. The responsibility and duty of permanent membership of the UN Security Council is accepted by the United Kingdom and welcomed by its partners and allies.

European Commission

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Prime Minister what his policy is on the call by the President of the European Commission that Britain should give up its place on the IMF and G7 to a representative of the Commission; and if he will make a statement. [60585]

The Prime Minister: The Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund are based on the principle of membership by and representation of national Governments. Membership of the G7/8 is also based on this principle. The European Commission is not represented at the Board of Governors of the IMF, although does participate in G7/8 meetings on some issues. While the Government will continue to cooperate with European Union partners, and others, to promote growth, stability and poverty reduction world wide, the UK does not support a role for the Commission as the sole representative of the European Union in the IMF and G7.

Social Issues

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the conclusions of the report prepared by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on Social Issues in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [60777]

The Prime Minister: We are carefully studying the concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We will take the committee's views into account when we submit our next periodic report and point out to them any inaccuracies in their latest conclusions. The UK has an excellent record of co-operation with UN mechanisms and takes its international obligations very seriously. We will continue to fulfil our reporting obligations under UN human rights treaties we are party to.

17 Jun 2002 : Column 45W


Lynne Jones: To ask the Prime Minister when the Performance and Innovation Unit will publish its report on the future of sport; and if he will make a statement. [61290]

The Prime Minister: The Performance and Innovation Unit's joint study with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport examining long-term sports policy will be published in due course.

Former President Mandela

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will meet former President Mandela to discuss his visit to Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow and meeting with Abdul Bassett al Megrahi. [61135]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 June 2002]: I have no current plans for a meeting with former President Mandela.

Beef Imports

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Prime Minister when he next plans to meet the French President; and if he will raise the issue of the ban imposed by the French Government on imports of beef from the UK. [61328]

The Prime Minister: I expect to meet the French President shortly. The Government continue to make it clear to the French Government that their ban on UK beef exported under the Date-based Export Scheme is illegal and should be lifted immediately.

Regulatory Reform

Brian Cotter: To ask the Prime Minister which Ministers have direct responsibility for regulatory reform within each Government Department. [61335]

The Prime Minister: Each Department involved in regulatory activity has a Minister who is charged with removing any regulations that are outdated or burdensome, and ensuring that new regulations are truly necessary and involve the least burden to business.

The current Ministers are: Dr. Kim Howells MP (Department for Culture, Media and Sport); Lord Whitty (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); Lord Hunt of Kings (Department of Health); Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Home Office); Baroness Scotland of Asthal (Lord Chancellor's Department); Nigel Griffiths MP (Department of Trade and Industry); John Spellar MP (Department for Transport) Dawn Primarolo MP (HM Treasury); Ian McCartney MP (Department for Work and Pensions).

The Ministers for the Department for Education and Skills and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minster have yet to be decided following the recent reallocation of ministerial duties.

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