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4 Nov 2002 : Column 77Wcontinued
Mr. Straw: My Department has received no formal request from the Russian Government asking that permission be granted to issue the Defence of the Soviet Arctic Region Medal (also referred to as the Polar Region Medal) to British Veterans. Were the Russian authorities formally to ask for this campaign medal officially to be recognised in this country, the matter would be carefully considered, as are similar requests from foreign governments.
Mr. MacShane: The British Government looks forward to Turkey's membership of the European Union as soon as possible. Turkey has not started accession negotiations because it does not yet meet the Copenhagen political criteria, which include rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights and minorities.
We welcome the significant EU-related reforms that the Turkish Parliament has passed this year. As the Brussels European Council agreed, this has brought forward the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey. Brussels also encouraged Turkey to pursue its reform process and take further concrete steps in the direction of implementation.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman concerning the operation of UK-owned and operated equipment of Israeli origin from their territories. 
Mr. Rammell: We intend to open offices in Jalandhar and Ahmedabad to make our visa services more accessible to our customers and to provide them with the advice they need. The offices will also act as visa application centres, forwarding completed applications to the relevant visa issuing post for consideration. We are also exploring the possibility of offering similar services in other cities in India.
4 Nov 2002 : Column 78W
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many representations his Department has received concerning the non-payment of pensions (a) by the Zimbabwe Government to British citizens and (b) to former British citizens in Zimbabwe; and what discussions he has had concerning the non-payment of pensions by the Government of Zimbabwe. 
Mr. Rammell: The FCO has replied to 20 letters from hon. Members and five from members of the public between June and September this year concerning non-payment of Zimbabwe civil service or company pensions to British citizens in the UK and overseas. We have also answered five written PQs since February this year.
Responsibility for the payment of these pensions rests with the Zimbabwean authorities and the relevant pension fund managers. We regularly remind the Zimbabwean pension authorities of their responsibility to pay the pensions of those resident outside Zimbabwe in full and on time.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on the National Fruit Scheme by the National Opportunities Fund in (a) 200001, (b) 200102 and (c) 200203 to date, broken down by region. 
Mr. Caborn [holding answer 31 October 2002]: #42 million is available under the New Opportunities Fund National School Fruit programme. Grants are being awarded through an allocation process. 27 areas have been allocated funds in phase 1 of the programme and these projects started in the summer term 2002. Further allocations will be announced during 2002 and 2003.
|Lead organisation||Amount of grant award (#)|
|London Borough of Barking and Dagenham||180,460.00|
|Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust (Teaching)||10,167,600.00|
|London Borough of Brent||103,800.00|
|Northamptonshire Heartlands Primary Care Trust||62,100.00|
|Cornwall County Council||104,060.00|
|Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust||136,540.00|
|City and Hackney Primary Care Trust||130,792.00|
|Enfield Primary Care Trust||155,980.00|
|West Hull Primary Care Trust||59,860.00|
|Lambeth Primary Care Trust||109,340.00|
|Hinckley and Bosworth Primary Care Trust||111,580.00|
|Luton Primary Care Trust||164,860.00|
|Manchester City Council||152,100.00|
|Central Liverpool Primary Care Trust||119,220.00|
|Nottingham City Primary Care Trust||122,580.00|
|Portsmouth City Council||129,300.00|
|Plymouth Primary Care Trust||144,444.00|
|Sheffield West Primary Care Trust||150,340.00|
|Slough Borough Council||158,700.00|
|Barnsley Primary Care Trust||82,792.00|
|North Tees Primary Care Trust||124,860.00|
|Newcastle Primary Care Trust||153,180.00|
|Wakefield West Primary Care Trust||110,340.00|
|Halton Borough Council||90,900.00|
|Newham Primary Care Trust||102,792.00|
|Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust||94,792.00|
4 Nov 2002 : Column 79W
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what (a) recent discussions she has had with and (b) representations she has received regarding the Independent Football Commission; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what research (a) has been conducted and (b) is planned by her Department on the Independent Football Commission; and if she will place the related documentation in the Library. 
Mr. Caborn: The Independent Football Commission was launched in March. In addition to its work in considering individual complaints from supporters, the Commission has already considered issues of racism, merchandising, broadcasting, and the treatment of away supporters. The Commission's success in establishing itself and meeting its initial objectives will be considered in its first annual report, which is due to be published in January 2003. In advance of that report, the Government does not see a need for separate research into the Commission's activities.
I have received one representation on the subject of the Commission since its launch. My Department has, however, drawn the attention of correspondents to it where this is appropriate. I met the Commission's Chairman, Professor Derek Fraser, on 30 April, and will meet him again on 7 January to discuss progress.
Mr Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many representations she has received about the case for village halls to win an appropriate share of Lottery funds; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received numerous representations from Members of Parliament, village halls advisers and others about the funding difficulties facing village halls. Many village halls have received Lottery funding and the community fund alone has to date awarded #109 million for the building, extension and improvement of 2,271 village halls.
We have asked Lottery distributors to work together to make it easier for community groups to access such funding. Last month distributors launched a #2 million trial programme in the West Midlands involving a
4 Nov 2002 : Column 80W
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will issue guidance to direct more funds from the National Lottery receipts to support projects for youth and young people, including the uniformed organisations, which create more facilities and organised opportunities designed to remove young people from the streets. 
Mr. Caborn: The Government has issued policy directions to Lottery distributing bodies which include a requirement to take into account the needs of children and young people in distributing Lottery funds. This summer, 11.5m from the New Opportunities Fund went directly towards diversionary activities for young people to help reduce street crime. We are currently consulting on the future of Lottery distribution and a dedicated Youth Fund is among the options proposed.
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