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World Trade Organisation: Developing States

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: In recognition of the difficulties faced by poorer developing countries in participating effectively in WTO negotiations, particularly those without representation in Geneva, DfID supports three Geneva-based institutions which provide information, networking services and advice to developing country trade negotiators on complex technical issues. These are: the Agency for International Trade Information and Co-operation (AITIC) offering country-specific support and facilities and services to least developed countries (LDCs) enabling effective LDC participation in multilateral negotiations; the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) offering technical legal support in dispute settlement cases; the WTO South Centre offering support to least developed countries developing agricultural negotiating positions.

The UK also contributes to the multi-donor Trade and Investment Access Facility (TIAF). This supports developing Commonwealth countries in their preparation and participation in WTO negotiations.

More generally, DfID is funding a variety of initiatives to help developing countries including support to enhance their ability to negotiate favourable deals in trade negotiations, helping them interpret trade agreements and supporting them in taking advantage of new trading opportunities. To this end, the government have committed £45 million to trade-related capacity building since 1998.

Chaplaincy Services

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Chaplaincy provision for these different types of establishment is managed separately. The Chaplain General of the Prison Service is in regular contact with the chief executive of the Hospital Chaplaincies Council and with officials in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. If the noble Lord has particular concerns or is aware of areas in which closer co-ordination would be helpful, the Chaplain General would welcome any such information or suggestions.

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Criminal Records Bureau

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 16 June (Official Report, col. 522) concerning the Capita contract for the Criminal Records Bureau, what "further checks" are contemplated; over what time will they be introduced; and what their cost will be.[HL3470]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It has always been the intention that the Criminal Records Bureau should issue three levels of disclosure, and the contract provides accordingly. We have made it clear that the lowest level of disclosures—basics, which will show any unspent convictions—will be introduced as soon as practicable. But the priority for the CRB is to ensure that demand for higher-level disclosures is fully met, and that applicants for such disclosures receive a satisfactory service. Basic disclosures will not be introduced until these objectives have been met. The level of fee will be announced at the appropriate time.

Immigration Detention Centre Rules

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will review and compare the application of immigration detention centre rules as they currently operate in removal centres.[HL3520]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are no plans for a specific review of the application of the detention centre rules in individual removal centres. Monitoring compliance with the rules is a continuous process carried out by Immigration Service contract monitors and managers. Compliance with the rules is also a matter of proper concern to the independent monitoring boards (visiting committees) appointed to each centre and can be expected to be considered by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons as part of their inspection programme.

Money Laundering: Reporting Regime

Baroness Lockwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to review the effectiveness of the regime for reporting suspicions of money laundering.[HL3727]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report on the effectiveness of the regime for reporting suspicions of money laundering—suspicious activity reports. A copy has also been placed on the Home Office website.

The Home Office commissioned the review, which was carried out by KPMG and funded from recovered criminal assets, because we recognised that the current

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system needs to work better in the fight against money laundering and the tracking of criminals' assets.

The report concludes that the present reporting system does lead to criminals being caught but makes a number of recommendations to make it much more effective. The Government welcome the broad thrust of the report. We are determined to ensure that all elements of our asset recovery strategy, of which the money laundering reporting system is one, are working effectively. As a first step we are taking forward the report's principal recommendation and setting up a high-level task force, chaired by a senior Home Office official and comprising senior representatives of the private sector and law enforcement, to oversee the changes which are necessary.

We will be working with the key stakeholders to ensure that the reporting system delivers maximum intelligence and benefit to law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime and that it operates as efficiently as possible.

Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the 2002 annual report on strategic export controls will be published.[HL3688]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The 2002 annual report on strategic export controls was published at 14.30 today as a Command Paper, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The report includes information on licensing decisions made during 2002 as well as describing UK policy and international development in export control regimes.

Since 1997 the Government have taken great strides to make our defence exports licensing system one of the most rigorous and open in the world and this annual report, the sixth of its kind, is a symbol of our commitment to transparency and accountability. The report will be available on the FCO website and also published through the Stationery Office.

Gulf Region: British Armed Forces

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 30 April (WA 109), what plans they have for the return to the United Kingdom of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Black Watch, the Irish Guards, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the two squadrons of the Queen's Royal Lancers, currently serving in the Gulf region. [HL2860]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Irish Guards and the Queen's Royal Lancers have already returned to their barracks in Germany. The Black Watch and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will complete their return to barracks in Germany in early July.

Iraq: Ammunition and Explosives

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many weapons and what quantities of ammunition and explosives have so far been:

    (a) recovered, and

    (b) destroyed

    in the British sector of Iraq. [HL3461]

Lord Bach: United Kingdom forces have recovered and destroyed significant quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives since the conflict began. During combat operations arms and munitions were detroyed, as there were no facilities to hold or transport such items. UK forces continue to find extensive amounts of weapons and ammunition and explosives and detailed inventories of all found to date have not yet been made. This is an ongoing process and some of the recovered items will be kept for use by the future Iraqi Army.

Local Government Structures: Review inTwo-tier Areas

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the timetable for the review of local government structures in two-tier areas in the three northern regions of England. [HL3492]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): As my right honourable Friend the Deputy Prime Minister made clear in the Statement on 16 June 2003, (Official Report, col. 21), the Boundary Committee was directed to start its reviews no later than 17 June 2003 and to complete them by no later than 25 May 2004.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated cost within each region, both centrally and to each local authority, of the review of local government structures in two-tier areas in the three northern regions of England.[HL3493]

Lord Rooker: The Boundary Committee estimates that it will incur costs in the region of £6.5 million in conducting reviews of the three northern regions. It is not possible to attribute these costs to individual regions.

The level of costs incurred by each local authority will depend on their own decisions about the extent and nature of their participation in the review process.

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