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Mr. Bradshaw: We share the deep concern of Britain's Muslim and Hindu communities over the current religious tensions and violence in Gujarat. We welcome the efforts of the Indian Government in raising the security presence in these areas to restore law and order. We are also concerned by reports that the Gujarat police failed to take adequate steps to reduce the conflict once it became clear that the violence was escalating. Our High Commission in New Delhi will continue to monitor the situation closely.
India is a secular country in which the right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution. However, we continue to raise our concerns over incidents of religious intolerance in India, including attacks against Muslims, Hindus and Christians. We will continue to urge the Indian authorities to ensure the right of freedom of religion is upheld, and that those responsible for attacks on religious minorities are brought to justice.
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Redcar (Vera Baird) of 26 February, Official Report, column 1159W. Since then the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has raised our concerns about religious freedom with the Vietnamese Ambassador, and the EU Human Rights Working Group in Hanoi has raised our concerns with the Vietnamese government about their treatment of the Mennonite leader Pastor Quang.
Mr. MacShane: Although the Secretary of State has had a number of contacts with Yugoslav leaders, he has not visited the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since taking up his duties in June 2001. There are no immediate plans for such a visit.
26 Mar 2002 : Column 811W
displaced Karen people and other minorities; and what resources are being provided to support the Karen refugees leaving Burma for Thailand. 
Mr Bradshaw: The UK has been at the forefront of the international community's effort to press for national reconciliation, respect for human rights and democracy in Burma. The ethnic minority areas of Burma, including those of the Karen, suffer disproportionately as a result of the regime's rule. The EU has adopted a Common Position including an arms embargo, bans on high level visits, items which may be used for torture, non-humanitarian aid, and a visa ban and asset freeze on members of the regime. We are also active in the United Nations, annually co-sponsoring resolutions at the UN General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Rights.
In financial year 200102 we have increased funding for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Burmese Border Consortium and the United Nations High Commission for Refugee's work with Burmese refugees and those internally displaced within Burma.
Mr. Bradshaw: Ministerial contact with the Burmese authorities is limited by the EU Common Position. However an FCO official visited Rangoon from 27 February1 March where he met both Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the Burmese government. The Burmese government is aware of our views about the urgent need for national reconciliation, respect for human rights and the restitution of democracy in Burma.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the human rights situation in Burma and steps taken by the Government to help the Karen people. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The overall human rights situation in Burma remains poor and a cause of grave concern. The ethnic minority areas, including those of the Karen, suffer disproportionately under the regime's rule. We are currently working with EU colleagues to prepare a resolution to be submitted at the UN Commission on Human Rights that will express our concerns and call upon the Burmese regime to take urgent action to improve the situation.
In 200102 we have increased funding for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Burmese Border Consortium and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees' work with Burmese refugees and those internally displaced within Burma. Both these groups include large numbers of Karen.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plan he has to bring investment sanctions against Burma (a) unilaterally and (b) with the (i) UN, (ii) EU and (iii) Commonwealth. 
26 Mar 2002 : Column 812W
members of the regime. The EC has also suspended Burma trading privileges in response to the use of forced labour in Burma. In addition, the UK does not encourage trade, investment or tourism with Burma. We do not offer assistance to any British company wishing to trade with Burma. There is hardly any new investment into the country.
There is no consensus at this point to implement a formal ban in any of the international forums listed. Against this background and in consideration of the evolving political situation in Burma, including the gradual release of political prisoners and the lessening of the pressure on opposition parties, there are no plans to pursue formal investment bans at this point. We will follow events closely and will respond proportionately to further developments, positive or negative.
Mr. Pound: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish the (a) aggregate amount of civil defence grants to be made for the financial year 200203, (b) amount of grant to be paid in to each local authority and (c) criteria used to determine the allocation between authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: The aggregate amount is #18,968,850 of which #100,000 will be retained as discretionary grant for special projects and special events deemed of benefit to the wider emergency planning community in England and Wales.
The following formula has been adopted to determine these allocations. First, each authority receives #53,000. Second, each county council receives #12,000 in respect of each shire district within the authority's boundaries. These flat-rate payments account for some 65 per cent. of the aggregate grant in recognition of the fact that every authority, regardless of size and population, must incur similar unavoidable costs in conducting the basic emergency planning function. The remainder of the total grant (approximately 35 per cent.) is then distributed according to the Bellwin threshold in recognition of the fact that population size provides a rough proxy for the scale of the emergency planning that authorities need to undertake.
A simple application of the formula would result in some authorities facing a significant decrease on the grant they had received during the current financial year, whilst others would receive a significant increase. Mindful of the importance of keeping such year-on-year changes within reasonable bounds, a damping has been added to the formula so that no authority loses more than 10 per cent. or gains more than 20 per cent. compared with the current year.
Before reaching decisions on this allocation method, consultations were held with Local Authority representatives on the basis of a draft formula. As a result of the representations made, that original formula was amended to give greater weight to the flat rate
26 Mar 2002 : Column 813W
element and lesser weight to the element distributed by reference to the Bellwin threshold. The damping was also changed to reduce the floor level for losses.
|Local Authority||Grant allocation for 200203 (#)|
|Barking & Dagenham||75,583|
|Bath and N.E. Somerset||89,625|
|Blackburn with Darwen||70,272|
|Brighton & Hove||80,786|
|City of London||59,759|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||71,880|
|Greater Manchester EP||63,674|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||76,333|
|Hull (Kingston upon Hull)||71,879|
|Isle of Anglesey||60,956|
|Isle of Wight||71,844|
|Isles of Scilly||53,322|
|Kensington and Chelsea||74,402|
|Kingston upon Thames||67,268|
|Neath Port Talbot||69,873|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||102,437|
|North East Lincolnshire||71,238|
|Redcar and Cleveland||69,307|
|Rhondda Cynon Taff||81,933|
|Richmond upon Thames||69,038|
|South Yorkshire EP||83,970|
|Telford and Wrekin||71,999|
|Tyne & Wear||34,506|
|Vale of Glamorgan||71,999|
|West Midlands EP||60,000|
|West Yorkshire EP||61,207|
|Windsor & Maidenhead||66,410|
|York, City of||71,834|
26 Mar 2002 : Column 815W
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