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The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The amount of underspend carried forward from 200102 into 200203 in respect of the Northern Ireland departments is set out in the following table, and totals £196.9 million. In accordance with the Treasury's end year flexibility (EYF) scheme, this was determined on the basis of an estimate of departmental spend in 200102 (made in the early summer of 2002). The remainder of the amount available for carry forward, based on actual departmental spend, will be drawn down in 200304, subject (as is always the case in respect of end year flexibility) to agreement by the Treasury of the necessary call on the reserve.
|Department||Amount carried into 200203 (£ million)|
|Agriculture & Rural Development||21.5|
|Culture, Arts & Libraries||11.5|
|Employment & Learning||18.9|
|Enterprise, Trade & Industry||18.7|
|Finance & Personnel||11.1|
|Health, Social Services & Public Safety||39.6|
|Office of the First Minister & Deputy First Minister||3.2|
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested, which relates to the set-up costs of both North South Implementation Bodies and the North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat is provided in the table below.
|Furnishing and Fittings £||IT £||Property including rent/purchases £||Professional fees £||Other costs £||Total £|
|The Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|The Trade and Business Development Body||28,905||226,259||98,467||146,931||168,115||668,677|
|The Special EU Programmes Body||33,271||47,140||91,696||26,965||199,072|
|The North/South Language Body||11,732||9,847||120,839||38,603||160,380||341,401|
|The Food Safety Promotion Board||5,439||45,999||25,562||46,336||123,336|
|The North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat||21,182||18,507||91,000||14,164||144,853|
The chief executive of the Special EU Programmes Body is provided with a Mercedes Benz, which does not have a capital value in accounting terms to the organisation as it is leased. The current taxable benefit of the car is £11,203 or 14 per cent of his remuneration package.
The chief executive of the Loughs Agency has use of a Landrover Freelander which has a current capital value of £8,703. The current taxable benefit of the car is £2,402. This vehicle is not part of the remuneration package.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Unavoidable delays in the process meant that Angela Smith, Minister with responsibility for Culture, Arts and Leisure, would have had to take decisions on appointments immediately before the possibility of devolution being restored. The view was taken that this appointment should, if possible, be made by a devolved Minister. The postponement was agreed with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Northern Ireland (OCPA NI).
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) annual reports for 2000 and 2001 provide financial information in respect of the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat for the periods December 1999 to December 2000 and January 2001 to December 2001 respectively. Copies of these reports can be accessed at the NSMC website, www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org. The annual report for 2002 is not yet finalised, but the indicative total payments for 2002 are in the region of £1,400,000.
I refer the noble Lord to the responses to HL2062 and HL2305, which detailed the Joint Secretariat's set-up costs and provided a breakdown of those costs respectively. Of the £21,182 for furnishings and fittings referred to in HL 2305, there was a zero spend on decorating, £7,257 spent on carpets, £654 spent on furniture and £13,271 spent on other items respectively.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The total cost of the Ulster-Scots Future Search conference, including planning meetings and expenses, was £27,388.38. The conference produced no recommendations. The conference identified around 30 common themes and a larger number of ideas and potential projects that might support these. Discussions are under way with Ulster-Scots groups with a view to establishing a steering group to take forward the work begun at the conference.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): We regularly raise the issue of North Korean refugees with the Chinese, including at the biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue. At the last round of the dialogue, on 21 November 2002, we urged China to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the border areas and to observe its obligations under the 1951 refugee convention.
However, Her Majesty's Government have not held negotiations with either the UNHCR or China on this issue. We believe that it is for the parties involved to interpret their obligations under this agreement.
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