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Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 22 April (WA 55) concerning the 2004 budget for the Irish Language Agency, who attended the meetings on 18 September and 2 October 2003; where these meetings were held; and whether they will place copies of the minutes of the meetings in the Library of the House. [HL2732]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): As a result of a typographical error the Answer given on 22 April 2004 (WA 55), incorrectly stated that a meeting took place on 2 October 2003 rather than 3 October 2003.
I should also clarify that the meeting on 18 September 2003 was held in the Interpoint Centre, 20-22 York Street, Belfast and solely involved officials from the two sponsor departments, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCRGA). Irish Language Agency officials were not present at that meeting.
The meeting on 3 October 2003 was held in the offices of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mespil Street, Dublin, and involved officials from DCAL, DCRGA, the Irish Language Agency and the Ulster-Scots Agency.
Further to the Written Answers by the Lord President on 29 March (WA 127) and 10 May (WA 1) concerning the 2004 budget of the Ulster-Scots Agency, why they state that "proportionality was maintained at the same level as in previous years as no new factors have emerged" if there was no consultation between the agency and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. [HL2851]
Baroness Amos: I have nothing further to add to the Answer given on 13 May (WA 47) regarding the composition of the evaluation panel. Expertise in the Ulster Scots language was not considered necessary for the preparation of a business case.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 20 May (WA 96), whether the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure objected to the Ulster-Scots Agency's organisation of the Washington reception in 2001. [HL3025]
What increases there have been in salary and expenses for civil servants from the United Kingdom and from Eire working on the Cross-Border Implementation Bodies since the bodies were created, expressed in monetary and percentage terms for all grades. [HL3034]
Baroness Amos: Those Northern Ireland and Irish civil servants working on the North/South Implementation Bodies are based primarily in the central finance departments, the sponsoring departments, OFMDFM and the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat. The salaries and expenses of staff in the Irish Civil Service are of course a matter for the Irish Government.
Since the creation of the bodies, the salaries of Northern Ireland civil servants have been reviewed with effect from 1 April in the years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 as part of the annual pay review for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) as a whole. The annual base pay increases awarded to Northern Ireland civil servants working on North/South Implementation Bodies are as follows. These are shown in percentage terms only as it is not possible to express them meaningfully in any other way.
|Senior civil servants|
|2004||Not yet agreed||Not yet agreed|
There is a wide range of out of pocket expenses which can be claimed by Northern Ireland civil servants in connection with their official duties. The most common are in respect of mileage and subsistence. Subsistence rates have remained unchanged since 2000. Mileage allowance changes for the years in question are set out below in monetary terms only, as the basis on which these rates were payable changed radically.
|Cars with||Up to 1000cc||10011500cc||15012000cc||Over 2000cc|
|engine capacity:||p per mile||p per mile||p per mile||p per mile|
|Up to 4,000 miles||28||35||45||53|
|Over 4,000 miles||17||20||25||36|
|All Engine Capacities:||Per Mile|
|Up to 10,000 miles||40p|
|Over 10,000 miles||25p|
Baroness Amos: During the past five years the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has featured the Loyal Order parades on its product database, ensuring that they are available through its consumer website and through tourist information centres. These have also generally featured in its annual events listing brochure throughout this period although in 2004 only the Maiden City Festival (Apprentice Boys of Derry Parade) was featured. NITB has met with the Orange Order to discuss future promotion of the 12 July parades. NITB contributed £20,000 in 200102 and £25,000 in 200203 towards the Maiden City Festival.
Whether they will make representations to the United States Administration concerning the recommendations of the report by the United States Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba which focuses on forcing a regime change in Cuba. [HL3136]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We do not believe that sanctions offer the most effective means of promoting the transition to a pluralist democracy in Cuba. The EU has expressed its rejection of all unilateral measures against Cuba which are contrary to commonly accepted rules of international trade. Our position, which is well understood by the US Administration, is one of constructive engagement and dialogue. This is clearly set out in the EU's common position on Cuba which was adopted in 1996, and which has been regularly reaffirmed since. On 4 November 2003, we again voted against the US embargo at the United Nations General Assembly.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: EU member states are the biggest investors in Cuba, and its major partners in trade and tourism. The UK has shown strong commitment to such engagement, and we welcome and support the fact that an increasing number of British tourists are taking their holidays there. The British Embassy and the British Council have been among the most active of foreign missions in Havana in promoting cultural, educational and sporting exchanges in recent years which themselves are encouraging interest in and tourism to Cuba.
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