|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
All these downgrades were undertaken to ensure that missions in the Europe Network were appropriately staffed to meet changing priorities and more efficient ways of working driven by the Europe Zero Based Review efficiency programme.
The European Fast Stream (EFS) has been suspended since 2007. This is because for several years there were no major concours being run by the EU institutions which were open to UK candidates. There was therefore no demand from Government Departments for Cabinet Office to supply them with European Fast Streamers through the Graduate Fast Stream (GFS) scheme. Cabinet Office, in conjunction with other interested Government Departments, is currently considering whether a revised version of the EFS should be reintroduced for 2010.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of Ethiopia on the (a) welfare of the leader of the Union for Democracy and Justice and (b) the conduct of elections in 2010 in Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised both issues with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in February 2009 pointing out the potential damage to Ethiopia's international image that both issues could cause. Our ambassador to Ethiopia also raises these issues with both the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin on a regular basis.
Officials from our embassy in Addis Ababa attended the trial of Birtukan Midekssa, leader of the Union for Democracy and Justice political party, in April 2009. We will continue to urge the Ethiopian Government to resolve this issue quickly.
We regularly raise our concerns about the perceived closing of political space in Ethiopia and the potential impact this might have on the 2010 elections. In support of efforts to promote democracy, the UK and other donors are helping to build the capacity of the National Election Board of Ethiopia. We are also committed to continue to work with the Ethiopian Government, opposition and civil society to promote free and fair elections.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since 27 December 2006 the UN Sanctions Committee established pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 has recommended ways to strengthen the effectiveness of sanctions imposed on Iran by the resolution; and what the outcome was of the recommendation in each instance. 
David Miliband: The UN Sanctions Committee for UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737 (2006) has reported to the UN Security Council at least every 90 days on its work, as required by UNSCR 1737. The reports comment on the implementation of the Resolution and recommend ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the sanctions measures. The Committee has submitted nine reports since 27 December 2006. Full details of the UN Sanctions Committee reports are publicly available at:
The UN Security Council considers all recommendations made by the Committee. Recommendations that have been implemented include the creation of a model text to assist member states in drafting their reports to the Committee, and making the consolidated lists of individuals and entities subjects to assets freezes and travel bans more user-friendly.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on a UN prohibition on the export of arms and related material to Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The Government fully support UN Security Council Resolution 1747, paragraph six of which calls upon all states to exercise vigilance and restraint in the supply, sale or transfer of a variety of arms and related material to Iran. We urge all states to comply with the resolution.
A UN prohibition on the export of arms and related materiel to Iran may be required in due course, however, as I said in the House on 31 March 2009, Official Report, column 769, now is not the time to rush for more UN sanctions. Instead, now is the time to back American outreach, which is a once-in-a-generation opportunity both for us and for the Iranians. If the Iranians do not respond in a positive way, we can then
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer by Lord Davies of Oldham of 13 March 2009, Official Report, House of Lords, WA288, on Israel, what the remit of his Department's assessment of arms exports is; and when he expects the assessment to be complete. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Daventry of 18 March 2009, Official Report, column 1187W, on piracy, what the outcome was of the 5 March 2009 meeting of experts from the International Contact Group on Somalia; and whether the International Contact Group has issued guidance on the arrest and transfer of persons suspected of committing acts of piracy. 
The role of the Working Group is to provide advice to the governments of member states, the Contact Group countries and to the participating organisations, not itself to issue guidance. The Working Group discussed national legislation, the exercise of jurisdiction, arrangements between states, capacity building and potential future work areas for the Group. The Contact Group meeting in Cairo on 17 March 2009 recognised the need for the Working Group to continue its work. The Contact Group also agreed to task the Working Group to set the legal framework for a possible International Trust Fund to help defray the expenses associated with prosecution of suspected pirates as well as to support the costs of other activities related to implementing contact group objectives regarding combating piracy in all its aspects.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the political situation in Darfur of restrictions on movement of the joint UN-AU force for Darfur imposed by the government of Sudan since the beginning of 2009; and what discussions he has had with the government of Sudan on those restrictions. 
Gillian Merron: Intermittent restrictions on UN-African Union hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID)'s movement continue to be imposed by the Government of Sudan. This has a negative impact on the ability of the UN-African Union force to provide protection for civilians and monitor the humanitarian and security situation. However, despite the challenges, UNAMID continues to expand its operations. During the upsurge in conflict around Muhajeriya in January and February 2009, UNAMID successfully resisted requests from the Government of Sudan that they should withdraw.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary called on the Sudanese Government to facilitate UNAMID deployment in his statement of 4 March 2009. The statement may be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the treason (a) charge and (b) trial of Dr. Kizza Besigye in Uganda; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Dr. Kizza Besigye remains on bail and his trial on hold pending the outcome of a petition to the Constitutional Court, for which a date has not been set. We continue to be in close contact with Dr. Besigye's lawyer and carefully follow developments in the case.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the February 2009 Annual Conference of the Forum for Democratic Change in Uganda; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) held its second national delegates conference in February 2009, during which its members elected key party officials. This included the re-election of Dr. Kizza Besigye as FDC President. I welcome the Conference and the transparent contest for the FDC presidency and other party offices as a positive contribution to the strengthening of multiparty democracy in Uganda.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 20 October 2008, Official Report, column 99W, on Uganda: politics and government, what reports he has received on the trial of Lieutenant Ramathan Magara of the Uganda Army following the shooting of three people at Dr. Kizza Besigye's election rally in February 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
The responsibility for investigating incidents such as this lies with the local authorities. However, we continue to regularly raise with the Ugandan Government the importance of good governance, the rule of law, engaging with the opposition and building towards the next elections in 2011.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to support removal of a reference to foreign occupation in the draft text of the UN Durban 2 anti-racism conference; what recent discussions he has had with the government of Israel on this matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The UK supported the removal of the reference to foreign occupation in the outcome document of the Durban review conference. This did not, however, achieve consensus, as the reference was generic and did not apply to any specific state or region.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount and proportion of child benefit paid to families earning more than (a) £100,000 and (b) £150,000 per annum in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North of 16 March 2009 concerning a constituent reference PO3/09295/2009. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean of 13 March and 26 March 2009 on Equitable Life, reference LT2480. 
Budget 2009 announced that the September Guarantee of a place in education and training to every 16 and 17 year-old who wants one will be met in full. There will be additional investment of £251 million in 2009-10 and £404 million in 2010-11. This will cover an extra 54,500 student places in the next academic year.
And to support the long-term unemployed, Budget 2009 also guaranteed that every young person between 18 and 24 who has been claiming JSA for 12 months will be offered a job, work placement, or work-related skills training for at least six months. In total Budget 2009 allocated over £260 million to support additional training places, training allowances, and recruitment subsidies, to support young people to learn skills or gain experience in sectors where there will be strong future demand.
In addition to the £260 million, Budget 2009 also announced extra funding for Care First to offer 50,000 traineeships for young people in the care sector. Social care providers will receive a subsidy for offering sustained employment and training to young people who have been out of work for 12 months. This will give them the skills and experience they need for a career in this growing sector.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was (a) spent from the public purse and (b) raised for the Exchequer from Northern Ireland in the latest year for which information is available. 
Yvette Cooper: Public expenditure in Northern Ireland was £17.2 billion in 2007-08 as set out in table 9.1 of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2008 (HC489). However, we do not hold regional and country breakdowns for the aggregate amount of taxation raised for the Exchequer. The latest figures on tax raised in the UK as a whole can be found in the 2009 Budget Report (HC 407).
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made in each month since June 2008 of the likely effects on small businesses as a result of the downturn in the economy; what assistance he plans to give during the next 12 months to small businesses; what representations he has received on this issue; from whom; what response he gave; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: BERR makes use of official statistics produced by ONS on a range of economic indicators, and findings from a large number of regular surveys of business confidence and trading conditions conducted by business representative bodies (for example, the quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey). In addition, figures published by the British Banking Association enable trends in net lending to small businesses to be monitored each month. In addition, the Department receives lending data on a monthly basis. BERR also periodically conducts surveys of business which examine a wide range of issues of concern to business. These are published on the BERR website at
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|