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Overseas Electors: Rolling Registration

Baroness Young asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The ability of an overseas elector to vote in a Parliamentary election will depend upon the date of the election and the date on which the Overseas Electors Declaration is made. Overseas voters will be included on the register to the same deadlines as any other applicant under "rolling" registration.

I understand that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has circulated to all posts information about the legislative changes relating to overseas electors and has asked them to publicise this information amongst the expatriate community as appropriate. Revised explanatory information and an Overseas Electors Declaration form will be available in due course.

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 does not deal with the question of who is entitled to vote in any national or regional referendum

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to which Part VII of the Act applies. The normal practice has been for the legislation providing for a particular referendum to specify the persons entitled to vote.

In the case of a referendum held under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000, Section 45(4) of that Act provides that for any such referendum the electorate would comprise those persons entitled to vote at local government elections in the area of the authority conducting the referendum. Overseas voters are not entitled to vote in local government elections.

Police Recruit Training: Re-Coursing

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there has been any change in the extent of "back classing" of police recruits undertaking the 18-week initial training course at Hendon.[HL730]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has told me that back-classing, or re-coursing, of students has always been an option available to trainers during the Foundation Training Course and will continue to be used.

It is normally considered in the case of officers who suffer illness, injury or a welfare problem (such as illness in the family) who may have missed parts of the course or have found it difficult to keep up with their colleagues. Re-coursing may also be an appropriate option for recruits who have demonstrated the potential to become competent officers but who need to spend longer addressing certain areas of skill or knowledge.

I understand that between 3 per cent and 6 per cent of recruits are re-coursed each year for the reasons given above.

Fixed Penalty System: Extension

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they expect the workload on the police to be increased or to be decreased by current proposals to extend the range of offences subject to fixed penalty notices.[HL731]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Extending the fixed penalty system to offences associated with disorderly behaviour will provide the police with an immediate and swift response to a range of minor offending. The scheme will provide the police with an additional

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means of dealing with these offenders: all existing options will remain open. Although we expect there to be a net saving of police time, the precise effect on police workload will depend upon the operation of the scheme in practice. If penalty notices are issued to offenders who would otherwise have been charged, there will be a saving in police paperwork and time attending court. Issuing notices to offenders who were previously moved on or informally warned would clearly bring additional offending within the criminal justice system, with the extra demands on time that that entails.

Terrorism Act 2000: Proscribed Organisations

Lord Naseby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the Terrorism Act 2000.[HL675]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I confirmed, by means of a Written Answer on 15 February, that the Terrorism Act 2000 will be brought into force on 19 February. After the Act has come into force, the Secretary of State will in due course lay a draft order recommending to Parliament which organisations should be added to Schedule 2 of the Act, which lists proscribed terrorist organisations. That draft order will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure and will accordingly only come into effect, on a specified date, following debate and approval by both Houses.

European Cohesion Fund: Beneficiary States

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which countries have benefited from the European Cohesion Fund; how much they received in each year; and whether they are still in receipt of these funds.[HL725]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): During the last programming period 1993-99, four member states benefited from the European Cohesion Fund: Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. These countries continue to receive Cohesion Funding during the current programming period 2000-06. However, in 2003 their eligibility will be reviewed in the light of updated GNP levels.

Payments received by member states 1993-99.

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Millions of ECU £ millions

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In March 1999 the Berlin European Council decided to allocate the Cohesion Fund a budget of £18 billion for the period 2000-06, with the following indicative allocation (in £millions at 1999 prices):


Resources are to be distributed among the four recipient countries in accordance with the following bands:

Spain: 61-63.5%

Greece: 16-18%

Portugal: 16-18%

Ireland: 2-6%

UN Conference Against Racism

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have established a national committee to prepare for the United Nations conference on racism to be held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001.[HL673]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government have not formed a national committee to prepare for the UN World Conference Against Racism. The Government are instead holding regular consultations with non-governmental and community organisations from throughout the UK. These contacts began in 1999. A further series of government-funded consultation meetings begins on 1 March and will include events in seven UK cities. These activities will continue up to and after the Durban Conference.

Mr Sirdar Tanis and Mr Ebubekir Deniz

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the "Urgent Action" notice from Amnesty International, on behalf of Mr Sirdar Tanis and Mr Ebubekir Deniz, arrested in Silopi on 25 January and since believed to have disappeared; and whether they will raise this matter with the government of Turkey.[HL701]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are very concerned about the apparent disappearance of Mr Tanis and Mr Deniz. The British Ambassador in Ankara raised our concerns at a senior level on 13 February.

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European Security and Defence Policy

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 26 January (WA 25), whether the French Presidency Report to the Nice Council on the European Strategic and Defence Policy is the same thing as the new European Strategic and Defence Policy; and, if not, what are the differences between the two.[HL719]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no single document which sets out the EU's Common European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). ESDP has been developed in a succession of European Council decisions on the basis of the relevant EU Presidency Reports, the latest Report being that to the Nice European Council.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Expenditure Limits

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are any proposals to amend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental Expenditure limit/running cost limit for 2000-01.[HL762]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for Class VII Vote 1, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2001-01 will be increased by £42,289,000 from £1,210,333,000 to £1,252,622,000 and the running cost limit has been increased by £1,797,000 from £531,982,000 to £533,779,000. This is the net effect of:

    (i) a transfer of £16,000 to the Ministry of Defence (Class VI, Vote 2), in respect of our final contribution to the grant-in-aid to the Atlantic Council of the UK;

    (ii) an increase of £5,441,000 in respect of an adjustment for overseas price movements;

    (iii) a transfer of £1,920,000 to the Cabinet Office (Class XVII, Vote 2) for drugs assistance programmes;

    (iv) a transfer of £880,000 to the Cabinet Office (Class XVII, Vote 2) for revisions to charging regime;

    (v) an increase in both running costs and appropriations-in-aid of £1,248,000 in respect of increased receipts from OGDs;

    (vi) a transfer of £32,000 from BBC monitoring service to the Cabinet Office (Class XVII, Vote 2);

    (vii) an increase in both running costs and appropriations-in-aid of £5,300,000 to reflect an increase in our VAT recovery forecast;

    (viii) a decrease of £5,500,000 in both capital expenditure and A-in-A for FCO Estates Rationalisation;

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    (xi) a PES transfer of £1,500,000 to the MoD representing the FCO's contribution to the enhanced package for the Sierra Leone Army;

    (x) a PES transfer of £168,000 from the war pensions agency to cover the costs of medical examinations for overseas pensioners;

    (ix) additional provision of £39,808,000 on Section B for UK contributions to United Nations Missions in the former Yugoslavia (includes UK Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) and the former Soviet Union, United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Iraq), United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission, United Nations Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara, United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor, United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, European Community Monitoring Mission and Western European Union Police Mission in Albania. This is partially offset by an increase of £344,000 in appropriations-in-aid in respect of non-baseline peacekeeping and by £10,761,000 from Section E, General VAT Refunds;

    (xii) the supplementary estimate is also required to note an increase in Section C, to reflect PES transfers of £46,000 to the Cabinet Office (Class XVII, Vote 2) and £52,000 to the Cabinet Office (Class XVII, Vote 1);

    (xiii) the supplementary estimate is also required to note an increase of £1,998,000 of Section D, in respect of an adjustment for overseas price movement for the British Council.

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