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Written Answers

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 10 March 2003

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's official estimates are for the total of UK carbon dioxide emissions in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002; what proportion of each total is attributable to emissions from the domestic sector, as defined in the UNECE definitions of end user groups; and whether the Government has made an estimate of what those levels will be in 2003. [100878]

[holding answer 6 March 2003]: The most recent UK carbon dioxide emissions data, published in March 2002 show that total UK carbon dioxide emissions were 152.1 million tonnes of carbon per year (MtC/yr) in 2000. Provisional data suggest that while emissions were around 3.4 MtC higher in 2001 than in 2000, they declined between 2001 and 2002. Final data for 2001 will be available later this month.Data based on the UNECE classification are available for 2000. This classification includes coal, oil and gas delivered for combustion in dwellings. The use of these fuels produced emissions of around 23 MtC/yr in 2000. In addition, approximately 18 MtC/yr were emitted from power stations, refineries and other energy industries serving the domestic sector. End user data for 2001 based on the UNECE classification will be available in April 2003.

Compulsory Purchase

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many properties have been compulsorily purchased by the British Waterways Board in each year since 1999. [101817]

Electronic Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy for it to be possible for correspondence between hon. Members and Ministers to be carried out electronically. [95021]

A great deal of progress has been made recently on tackling the significant difficulties experienced by DEFRA on dealing effectively with Member's correspondence since it's formation in June 2001 and the situation continues to improve. I have asked officials in DEFRA to look at how we might introduce an electronic correspondence system with Members. However, as our highest priority on correspondence at the moment is to ensure that we continue to improve Departmental performance under the existing system.

Environment Agency Inspections

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets were set by her Department for the number of inspections carried out by the Environment Agency in each year since 1997; what percentage were met; and if she will make a statement. [93708]

Operational decisions are delegated to the Environment Agency. Although the Agency publishes a number of output and performance statistics, the departmental requirement upon the Agency is that they should assign resources to inspections that address environmental risk.The Agency makes information about its regulatory inspection activity available in its published Corporate Plans. These record the Agency's performance against its internally-generated targets. The Agency has recorded the following statistics for its planned inspections for each year ending 31 March as follows:

YearWaste targetPercentage achievedPercentage industries targetPercentage achieved
1998171,940823,99880
1999180,000834,34276
2000150,000844,83579
2001125,000964,22770
2002125,000814,27684
The Agency only sets targets for inspecting waste and process industries. Other inspections are not "planned" and therefore do not have targets set for them.

Foot And Mouth

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contracts which her Department and its agencies signed with companies to incinerate animal carcases under the over thirty months scheme have been cancelled since 1996; and if she will list the reasons for those cancellations. [101265]

24 contracts for the incineration of over thirty month scheme animal carcases have been cancelled since 1996. The reasons for cancellation, are as follows:

One contract was terminated for failure to comply with a contractual requirement to commence full operations, Eighteen contracts were terminated at the end of their term, with new contracts being introduced following a competitive tendering exercise; Five contracts terminated following the cessation of the foot and mouth emergency.

Gm Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she will support the 18 applications for marketing consents for GM crops and foods under consideration by the European Commission. [100867]

The United Kingdom has not yet reached an opinion on any of the 19 applications to place GMOs on the market under EU directive 2001/18. Each application is considered initially by the member state where the GMO is to be placed on the market for the first time. Once the lead member state is satisfied that the application complies with the directive it is passed to the other member states with an assessment report. The UK will consider each application on its own merits on a case-by-case basis using the criteria laid down in the EU legislation. The Government's view will be informed by the advice of its relevant independent expert groups, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment and the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, together with advice from the statutory nature conservation bodies, the Food Standards Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. If the UK has comments or reasoned objections to the placing on the market of the GMO in question these will be forwarded to the European Commission. A collective decision will then be taken by member states as to whether or not the GMO in question should be placed on the market in accordance with the provisions of the Directive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the public debate on genetically modified organisms will be concluded. [100868]

The Public Debate Steering Board is due to submit its report on the debate to Government by the end of September.

Greenhouse Gas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what she estimates the cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the UK between 1990 and 2010 will be, relative to the target of 12.5 per cent. [101731]

[holding answer 7 March 2003]: The UK published its Climate Change Programme in 2000. It contains an integrated package of policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the UK economy. The programme estimates that these policies and measures could reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 23 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010, and could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 19 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010. A formal review of the Climate Change Programme will take place in 2004.

Ruddy Ducks

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her written ministerial statement of 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 71WS, for what reason domestic legislation was introduced to protect the ruddy duck population. [101380]

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, all wild birds, as defined by Section 27(1), are protected. As ruddy ducks have been present in this country in the wild since 1953, the Department considers that they fall within this definition.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her written ministerial statement of 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 71WS, on ruddy duck culling, whether those ruddy ducks culled under the control scheme will be made available for human consumption. [101621]

All recovered carcases of ruddy ducks are subject to post-mortem examination to determine age and sex of the animals. This information is used to help assess the consequences of control on population growth rates and productivity. The Department has no plans to make ruddy duck carcases available for human consumption.

Secondments

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of her Department's officials have been seconded to (a) British Energy, (b) BNFL and (c) other (i) companies and (ii) NGOs involved in the nuclear sector since 1 January 2002; and on what areas of policy seconded individuals have worked. [101701]

Tallow

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much compensation from the European Union her Department has received for the incineration of tallow produced under the over thirty months scheme since its inception. [101263]

Compensation paid to producers under the OTMS scheme is funded approximately 70 per cent. by the EU and 30 per cent. by HM Treasury. Of the element that can be reimbursed by the EU, 80 per cent. is payable at the time animals are rendered, and the remaining 20 per cent. after the Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) and Tallow produced by the rendering process have both been incinerated.To date,£106,057,555 has been reimbursed following the incineration of MBM and Tallow.

Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) incinerators and (b) waste to energy plants handle waste collected by local authorities in the UK; and where they are located. [100473]

There are sixteen facilities which burn municipal waste in the UK at the following locations.

  • Bolton (Manchester)
  • Cleveland (Billingham)
  • Coventry
  • Dundee
  • Dudley
  • Edmonton (North London)
  • SELCHP (Lewisham, London)
  • Tyseley (Birmingham)
  • Kirklees
  • Lerwick (Shetlands)
  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield
  • Stoke
  • Wolverhampton
  • Isle of Wight (PDF)
  • Pebsham (RDF)
They all generate power and/or heat. The last two plants on the list burn refuse derived fuel (RDF) prepared from municipal waste.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many waste incinerators are planned by waste disposal authorities; what the capacity is of each incinerator planned; and what information she collates on the contractual arrangements for waste disposal. [99675]

OperatorLocationSize/tonne/yrPlanning statusPermit status
NEWLINCS DevelopmentsGrimsby56,000GrantedPPC application to be submitted
OnyxPortsmouth165,000Granted after appealPPC application expected this year
OnyxMarchwood, Southampton160,000GrantedPPC application being determined
Surrey Waste ManagementCapel, Surrey116,000Permit withdrawn after JR. New application expectedPPC permit issued
GrundonsSlough400,000GrantedPPC application being determined
OnyxChineham, Surrey110,000GrantedPPC permit issued
HLC Waste Management ServicesNeath, Port Talbot85,000GrantedPPC permit issued
Waste Recycling GroupHull150,000Application refused. Planning appeal in progressPPC permit issued
Kent EnviropowerMaidstone, Kent500,000GrantedPPC permit being determined
Riverside Resource RecoveryBexley, London580,000 nominal capacityApplication submitted; public enquiry pendingPPC application pending
Brightstar EnvironmentalDerby55,000 up to 222,000GrantedPPC application to be submitted '03
OnyxSheffield225,000GrantedPPC application determined
County Environment ServicesRoche, Cornwall64,000Application submittedNo application

Waste Electrical Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that there are markets for waste electrical equipment diverted from landfill. [101691]

I have been asked to reply.Markets already exist for many of the materials arising from waste electrical equipment and there is also a wide spread reuse and refurbishment market for specific products such as mobile telephones or washing machines. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, due to be transposed next year, is likely to result in an increase in the availability of materials and components arising from WEEE although the additional tonnages will not be large relative to other sources of these materials.There will, however, be a need to encourage some new market applications where, for example, materials are contaminated or market prices are very low. The DTI will be working with Defra, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) and business to help address this.

Information on the number of waste incinerators which are subject to planning applications determined by local planning authorities is not held centrally.Information is available, however, from the Environment Agency on the number and status of proposed new Municipal Waste Incineration Plants in England and Wales and is set out in the following table. The data are based on information shared with the Environment Agency by prospective applicants for Pollution Prevention and Control permits which are needed before a new plant starts operations. There may be other planning applications or amendments which have been submitted to local authorities on which the Agency has not been consulted. The planning status may have changed since the data were supplied.My Department does not routinely collect information on contractual arrangements for waste disposal which is the responsibility of waste disposal authorities.

Waste Minimisation And Recycling Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria will be adopted for the funding of waste minimisation and recycling schemes when changes to the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme are introduced. [98526]

[holding answer 24 February 2003]: The precise arrangements for the administration of the new public spending programme to encourage sustainable waste management, which will replace parts of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS), are still under development but are unlikely to include a grant scheme for which criteria would need to be drawn up. Details will be set out alongside the Government's response to the Strategy Unit Report "Waste Not Want Not", which we aim to publish in the spring.For the period prior to 1 April 2004, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced on 3 February 2003,

Official Report, columns 5–7WS, that Government would provide transitional funding for waste management and recycling projects currently supported through the LTCS beyond March 2003, for

one year only, provided these projects meet the eligibility criteria included in the announcement and subject to any constraints resulting from EU state aid rules.

Trade And Industry

Arms Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if, when drafting the secondary legislation for the Export Control Act 2002, she will extend the licensing regime for extraterritorial controls on brokered arms deals to cover all types of military and security equipment brokered by UK nationals to any destination, wherever they conduct their activities; [101338](2) if she will extend the provisions in the Export Control Act 2002 to include the licensing of all brokered activities, including the provision of financial services to those involved in the arms trade. [101340]

The consultation document published on 30 January 2003 sets out the draft secondary legislation to implement the Export Control Act 2002 and explains what brokering activities are proposed to be licensed. Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of the House. Final decisions on drafting the secondary legislation will not be taken until after the consultation closes on 30 April 2003 and all the responses have been carefully considered. The current consultation reflects the conclusions reached in the light of the earlier consultations.

Bottled Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the number of litres of bottled (a) sparkling and (b) still water consumed in the United Kingdom in each year since 1992; and what percentage was supplied in (i) plastic, (ii) glass and (iii) other materials. [99291]

I have been asked to reply.The Government do not themselves gather data to this level of detail. However, industry market intelligence data available to us show the following:

UK bottled water consumption
Litres (million)
StillSparkling
1992315180
1993330200
1994350250
1995440288
1996430270
1997495279
1998550285
1999696300
2000862283
2001990270
20021,080300
In addition, the data available reveal that in 2002, 81 per cent. of bottled water was supplied in plastic, nine per cent. in glass and 10 per cent. in other materials.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the number of litres of chilled water cooler water supplied to homes and businesses in the United Kingdom each year since 1992; and what proportion of this water is classified as mineral water. [99292]

I have been asked to reply.The Government do not themselves gather data to this level of detail. However, industry market intelligence data available to us show the following:

UK water cooler water supplies
Litres (million)
199233
199343
199457
199576
199695
1997124
1998153
1999205
2000265
2001335
2002390
In addition, the data available reveal that in 2002, mineral water accounted for 27.4 per cent. of total water volume supplied.

Broadband

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the planned 2002–03 allocation of resources to the broadband category listed in the Better Regulation Section on page 123 of the Department of Trade and Industry's Expenditure Plans 2002–03 to 2003–04, Cm 5416. [100149]

The £15 million listed represents the 2002–03 allocation from the £30 million UK Broadband Fund given to the Regional Development Agencies and the devolved Administrations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures her Department is taking to promote access to broadband in rural areas. [100342]

DTI has established the UK Broadband Task Force to look at the aggregation of public sector broadband demand and it is envisaged that this will help extend broadband availability into rural areas. Projects funded through the £30 million UK Broadband Fund are seeking to develop broadband networks, often in rural and remote areas, and spread best practice from these throughout the country. DTI works closely with DEFRA on rural broadband issues and will continue to do so.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what incentives the Government have offered to encourage (a) BT and (b) other suppliers to provide affordable broadband in rural communities. [100343]

The Government's policy is not to subsidise service providers to roll out broadband but to stimulate a competitive market through fair regulation to provide consumer choice at low prices.

We have provided the RDAs and devolved Administrations with the £30 million UK Broadband Fund to help develop broadband networks. The UK Broadband Task Force through its demand aggregation work will help broadband become increasingly available to areas not currently served by an affordable broadband service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the economic impact on areas where people are unable to access broadband in the next three years. [100344]

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what projections her Department has made of the level of access to broadband by the beginning of next year. [100345]

DTI does not make detailed forecasts of levels of access to broadband. Currently, broadband is available to just over 70 per cent. of the UK population and it is anticipated that this will rise substantially in the future.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of broadband coverage in Liverpool; and if she will make a statement. [101420]

The Government has made no specific assessment of broadband coverage in Liverpool. In the UK as a whole, 71 per cent. of the population has access to a broadband service.A map showing geographical availability of broadband services can be found in the UK Online Annual Report 2002, available at http://www.e-envoy.gov.uk/oee/oee.nsf/ sections/esummit-ukoannrep/$file/indexpage.htm

Controlled Goods

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what records she holds of offsets arranged by UK companies as part of the conditions of sale of controlled goods to overseas buyers; and if the details of these offsets are publicly available; [101710](2) what records she holds of arrangements entered into by UK companies to license the production overseas of controlled goods; and whether the details of these arrangements are publicly available. [101711]

Since information is held only if it was contained in documents provided in support of an export licence application. Such documents are not normally publicly available.An export licence is not a requirement from the Department of Trade and Industry's Export Control Organisation to manufacture items outside the UK. However, where the product to be manufactured under commercial licence has a potential military use, the UK exporter might require an export licence before the goods and technology necessary for the establishment and operation of the licensed production facility can be supplied from the UK.

Deloitte & Touche

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the matters upon which her Department and the public bodies sponsored by her Department have obtained recent advice from Deloitte & Touche. [100523]

Deloitte & Touche have provided advice to the Department and its NDPBs on the following issues:

  • Tax advice to various NDPBs
  • Audit work for various NDPBs
  • Risk management
  • Management information system
  • Electronic submission framework
  • Administration strategy
  • Wind up of the Pension scheme of Inward
  • Access to Finance—SMEs
  • Data Protection Act review and Performance Management Framework
  • Work-Life Balance Challenge Fund
  • Royal Mail including the Post Office network
  • National Debtline pilot evaluation
  • BNFL PPP Advisors
  • Financial Systems development
  • Inward Investment Overseas and in UK
The Department's Executive Agencies will be responding directly.

Letter from Roger Heathcote to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

You tabled a question on 27 February 2003 to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, asking if she will list the matters upon which her Department and the public bodies sponsored by her Department have obtained recent advice from Deloitte & Touche. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Employment Tribunals Service(ETS) which is an executive agency of the DTI.
The Employment Tribunals Service have obtained no advice from Deloitte & Touche in the calendar year 2002.

Letter from Alison Brimelow to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Question, tabled on 27 February 2003, about matters upon which the Department of Trade and Industry has received recent advice from Deloitte & Touche.
The Patent Office has received no advice from Deloitte & Touche.

Letter from Dr. J. W. Llewellyn to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

The Secretary for Trade and Industry has asked me to reply on behalf of the National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) to your question if she will list the matters upon which her Department and the public bodies sponsored by her Department have obtained recent advice from Deloitte & Touche.
National Weights and Measures Laboratory have not obtained recent advice from Deloitte & Touche.

Letter from Claire Clancy to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

I am responding to your recent Parliamentary Question on behalf of Companies House, which is an Executive Agency of DTI. I can confirm that Companies House has received no recent advice from Deloitte & Touche.

Letter from Martin Wyn Griffith to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

You asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, if she will list the matters upon which her Department and the public bodies sponsored by her Department have obtained recent advice from Deloitte & Touche.
I am writing to confirm that the Small Business Service has not called upon the services of Deloitte & Touche in the last calendar year.

Letter from Mike Goddard to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 10 March 2003:

I have been asked to reply in respect of the Radiocommunications Agency to your recent Parliamentary Question about advice from Deloitte & Touche.
This Agency has no recent contracts with Deloitte & Touche.

Energy White Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 2.27 of the Energy White Paper, Cm 5761, what areas of liaison she expects to develop with the European Parliament to implement the proposals on emissions trading. [100079]

I have been asked to reply.The Department takes the lead in negotiations on the EU Emissions Trading Directive. Political agreement was reached on the proposed Directive at Environment Council on 9 December 2002. The European Parliament will begin its second reading shortly. Officials from my Department have had meetings with the rapporteur for the Directive in the European Parliament and a number of Members of the Parliament to discuss the agreement reached in Council and the prospects for the Parliament's second reading. I expect further discussions with the European Parliament to take place during the second reading process. The trading scheme is due to begin in 2005. There is provision for the European Commission to bring forward proposals to amend the scheme, including extending its scope to cover other sectors and gases, before the start of the second phase in 2008. Any proposals would be subject to agreement between Council and Parliament, and I would expect these to lead to further discussions with the European Parliament.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage improvement in energy efficiency would be required to deliver from the household sector the (a) 5 MtC saving between 2002 and 2010 and (b) the 6 MtC saving between 2010 and 2020 identified in the Energy White Paper. [100783]

I have been asked to reply.Assuming continuation of past trends for the growth in household demand for energy, an additional annual saving of 5 MtC by 2010 would correspond to an energy efficiency improvement of approximately 20 per cent. relative to the year 2000. This represents broadly a doubling of the average rate of improvement seen in the 1990s.

A further 4 to 6 MtC of annual.savings by 2020 would correspond to an efficiency improvement compared with 2010 of around 18 to 22 per cent.

Hmx

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what conditions were attached to the recent licence for the export of HMX to Iran; and if she will make a statement. [101298]

There were no special conditions attached to the licence since the Government is satisfied that the HMX pellets, specifically designed for cutting collars and perforating tubes, are intended for only legitimate purposes as part of the process of drilling oil and gas wells.

Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it a requirement for the internet sites of companies registered in the United Kingdom to carry the registered address of their company. [101337]

In June 2002, the European Commission published a proposal to update the First Company Law Directive, which sets out basic safeguards for the protection of shareholders, creditors and other third parties dealing with limited companies, to reflect technological developments since the Directive was originally agreed in 1968.A provision within the Commission proposal was that companies should be required to include basic statutory information, including information sufficient to identify the public file relating to the company and the location of its registered office, in electronic documents and on any company website. The UK supports this proposal as an important protection for those dealing with companies via the internet.It is hoped that agreement to the final text can be achieved in the near future. Early consideration of the legislative steps necessary to achieve the objectives of the Directive in the UK will then take place

Miners' Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on progress in reinstating pension rises for miners sacked as a result of the 1984 industrial dispute. [101812]

Following my announcement in December 2001, a scheme was launched in April 2002 to handle applications from those miners dismissed in connection with the 1984–85 strike, and not subsequently re-employed by British Coal.The closing date for the scheme was 31 December. The Department is currently assessing the applications which have been received, and we hope to be able to inform those who are eligible for the enhancement of their pension in the near future.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the operation of the renewables obligation certificate trading system; and if she will calculate the effect of every certificate holder being able to realise the full value by having the right to cash out. [101286]

The renewables obligation certificate trading system is working smoothly and well. The obligation is a market based mechanism and the value of certificates is established in contracts between generators and suppliers or third party traders. The terms of these contracts are a matter for the parties concerned, renewables obligation certificates are trading at a high value at present reflecting the shortage of renewables electricity in the early years of the obligation.

Sudan

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many UK companies are operating in the oil sector in Sudan. [101585]

As the Department is not active in promoting trade with or investment in Sudan, our information on the number of UK companies operating in the oil sector in the country is limited. To our knowledge, no UK companies have any direct investment in the upstream oil sector in Sudan.

Church Commissioners

Ordinands

26.

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what financial provision is being made for an expansion in the number of ordinands. [101632]

The Church of England has always made financial provision for all those who have been recommended for ordination training. In 2003 this will cost in the region of £9 million.

Clergy Pensions

28.

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the ability of the Church of England pension fund to meet its future liabilities. [101634]

Clergy pensions earned on service before 1998, for which the Commissioners are responsible, are covered more than twice over by the Commissioners' assets. Those on service from 1998 are met from the new scheme administered by the Church of England Pensions Board and funded by contributions from parishes. Actuaries provide regular advice on the financial position in both cases.

Bishopstone Estate

29.

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what income has been derived from the Commissioners' estate at Bishopstone, Wiltshire, in each of the past five years. [101635]

The income for the Bishopstone estate has fallen by just over 14 per cent. during the last five years as a result of the general downturn in agricultural incomes. The Commissioners, in common with other large estate owners, do not publish precise income figures for their estates, as this information is commercially sensitive.

Electoral Commission

Proportional Representation

27.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent discussions the Commission has had with the Scottish Executive regarding proportional representation in Scotland. [101633]

I have been asked to reply.I understand that Commissioners and staff regularly meet members and staff of the Scottish Executive. However, no discussions have taken place on the subject of proportional representation in Scotland.

Culture, Media And Sport

Youth Fitness

13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the Department's strategy is for improving youth fitness. [101467]

The Government's £459 million investment over the next three years in PE and sport in schools will increase youth participation and fitness.Game Plan recommends that participation needs to rise to improve the fitness of the whole population. We are working with the Department of Health to deliver this.

Access To Music

14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she proposes to give greater access to (a) ballet and (b) classical music concerts to persons in social classes C1 and C2. [101468]

In our latest funding allocation to the Arts Council of England, we have asked the Arts Council to put strategies in place to ensure that world class art is accessible to as many people as possible. This will be reflected in the Funding Agreement which is currently being negotiated with the Arts Council. It will now be for the Arts Council to develop measures to address these issues, building on the success of initiatives like Creative Partnerships, the New Audiences Programme and the National Touring Programme.

Stonehenge

15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who will fund the proposed Stonehenge visitor centre. [101469]

The new Stonehenge visitor centre will be primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, DCMS and English Heritage. English Heritage will conduct a fund-raising campaign to cover part of the cost.

2012 Olympics

16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of sites for sailing events for a bid to hold the Olympics in London. [101470]

The Arup report on the costs and benefits of staging the Olympic Games in London in 2012 considers a number of venues that will be required should we win the right to stage the games. Some of the venues, including a venue for sailing, will be located outside the London area. All the venues will be subject to further assessment if the Government decide to support a bid.

Lottery Grants

17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to simplify the application process for lottery grants; and if she will make a statement. [101471]

As part of the Lottery Funding Review, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering a number of proposals further to simplify application processes and will make an announcement in the summer.

International Sporting Events

18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on bringing international sporting events to the United Kingdom. [101472]

The Government remains committed to attracting more international sporting events to the UK. The Department will take forward the recommendation of the Strategy Unit to create a strategy for bidding for mega events. We will consider with UK Sport how best to assist organisations at the bidding, delivery and evaluation stages of major sporting events.

Capital Of Culture

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what reports she has received from the independent expert panel who will judge Liverpool's bid to be designated European Capital of Culture. [101473]

The independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, considered all 12 bids carefully and thoroughly against the criteria laid down by the ED and the Government. The panel thought that all the bids were of a very high standard but the six shortlisted bids are those which the panel considered to be the strongest overall. As my hon. Friend knows, Liverpool's bid has been shortlisted.The Panel will now consider the shortlisted bids in more detail. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will wait for further advice and recommendations from the panel before reaching any conclusions about which city should be the UK's nomination for European Capital of Culture 2008.

Broadband

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to ensure that internet access in public libraries can be by broadband. [101461]

The £100 million, Lottery funded, People's Network programme has enabled internet connections to 99 per cent. of UK libraries so far. It was a condition of the funding that broadband connections should be made, where possible. Through business plans received from library authorities, Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, estimate that around 85 per cent. of our libraries will have broadband internet connectivity of 2 mega-bytes or more. The remaining 15 per cent. of libraries are in areas where it is very difficult to install broadband currently.

Treasury

Translation And Interpreting Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Government contracts for (a) translation and (b) interpreting services are put out to tender. [101579]

Accidental Deaths (Wales)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many accidental deaths there were in Wales in each of the last 20 years. [101239]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 10 March 2003:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many accidental deaths there were in Wales in each of the last 20 years. I am replying in his absence. (101239)
The most recent available mortality data are for the calendar year 2001. Figures on the total number of accidental deaths for each year from 1982 to 2001 are given in the attached table.

Number of deaths from accidents

1, persons' Wales3, 1982 to 20013

Calendar year

Number of deaths

1982803
1983756
1984793
1985780
1986820
1987770
1988632
1989701
1990690
1991706
1992666
1993659
1994678
1995684
1996735
1997706

Number of deaths from accidents

1, persons' Wales3, 1982 to 20013

Calendar year

Number of deaths

1998751
1999720
2000687
2001717

1 The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (1CD-9) codes E800-E928 excluding E870-E879 for the years 1982 to 2000, and, for the year 2001, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes VOI-X59.

2 Figures relate to deaths of people resident in Wales, rather than deaths occurring in Wales.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in the years 1982 to 1992, and for deaths occurring in each calendar year from 1993 to 2001.

Accounting Standards Board

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to his answer of 5 February 2003, Official Report, column 302W, on the private finance initiative, what assessment he has made of the performance of the Accountancy Standards Board; [101191](2) what plans he has for his Department to issue accounting standards in relation to

(a) special purpose vehicles, (b) PFI contracts and (c) other issues; [101194]

(3) whether officials from his Department have met representatives of the Accounting Standards Board to discuss accounting standards relating to special purpose vehicles. [101192]

The issue of accounting standards is a matter for the Accounting Standards Board (ASB), not for HM Treasury.HM Treasury does not assess the performance of the ASB. The ASB is an independent body, a company limited by guarantee, which is formally a subsidiary of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). A full report of the ASB's activities is set out each year in the FRC's Annual Review.HM Treasury has observer status on the Accounting Standards Board and Treasury officials have regular contacts with the Board on a range of issues.

Annuities

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has made to the recommendation from the Financial Services Consumer Panel that the Government should consider establishing an independent charitable trust charged with offering consumers free advice on the purchase of annuities. [101333]

The Pensions Green Paper, "Simplicity, Security and Choice: Working and Saving for Retirement" (Cm 5677), made clear the Government view that compulsory independent financial advice would not be appropriate at this stage. Reforms to the market for financial advice and sales look likely to increase both consumer choice and the availability of low-cost financial advice.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will create a CAT standard annuity. [101332]

Centre For Non-Residents

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance the Centre for Non-Residents has issued for British nationals (a) returning from countries neighbouring Iraq and (b) otherwise affected by Foreign Office advice on safety, concerning their tax liability and legal residency for financial year 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [101781]

The tax position of those returning to the UK from countries neighbouring Iraq on the basis of advice on safety from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is as set out in my answer to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) on 4 March 2003, Official Report, column 919W. Staff at the Inland Revenue's Centre for Non-Residents are advising taxpayers accordingly. They have taken appropriate steps to ensure that their contact telephone number (0151 472 6196) is widely available.

Child Care

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if lone parents will be able to claim the new child care tax credit for a period of time before returning to work. [101049]

The new Working Tax Credit, including the child care element, can be claimed by lone parents who are in qualifying remunerative work for at least 16 hours a week. To meet that test, the person has either to be working 16 hours a week at the date of claim or to have accepted an offer of work at that date and the work is expected to start within 7 days.People who are on paid maternity leave, paid adoption leave or paid paternity leave, and who met the Working Tax Credit remunerative work requirement before their leave started, will be able to claim during their leave for child care costs for the children in the family they were responsible for before the arrival of their new child.

Child Support

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the change in Government financial support for children since 1997. [101364]

From this April, the introduction of the new tax credits, the Working Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, will provide more generous support for families with children—with more for those on lower incomes.The Child Tax Credit combined with Child Benefit will deliver up to £54.10 a week in support for first child, compared to £27.70 a week in April 1997.Under the new tax credits:

the average gain for those currently receiving Working Families Tax Credit will be £12 per week;
families on Income Support and income based Jobseeker's Allowance will gain an average of £11 per week;
students and student nurses with children could gain up to £38 per week for the first child; and
over 500,000 one-earner families with children with incomes over £30,000 a year will become newly eligible for support for their children.

This builds on existing policies to support families financially:

we have provided record increases in Child Benefit. From April 2003, the rate of Child Benefit for the first child will rise to £16.05, a 25 per cent. increase in real terms on the 1997 level;
we introduced the Children's Tax Credit in April 2001, now worth up to £529 a year;
we have introduced the Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC), which benefits over 1.3 million families, and nearly 2.7 million children;
as part of the Working Families Tax Credit, 175,000 thousand families received help with their child care costs, more than three times the number who benefited from the old child care disregard in Family Credit. We are currently paying out £1 million a day in child care tax credit; and
we have increased the children's allowances in Income Support and other income-related benefits, including a doubling in real terms of the rates for children under 11.

Computer Misuse

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 11 February 2003, Official Report, column 653W, on computer misuse, how many Inland Revenue staff have been (a) dismissed and (b) prosecuted as a result of misuse of its computer systems. [101141]

The information, for each of the last five years, is as follows.

DismissalsProsecutions
199810
199970
200080
200160
200230

Consumer Confidence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent research he has commissioned into the level of consumer confidence in the UK economy; and if he will make a statement. [101274]

The Government's Fiscal Statement and Budget Report, to be delivered on 9 April 2003, will include a full assessment of developments in the UK household sector including consumer confidence.

Corporation Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in corporation tax revenue resulting from the introduction of the congestion charge. [101076]

No estimate has been made of the impact of the congestion charge on corporation tax receipts. But estimating its impact would not be straightforward as companies may feel benefits as well as the more obvious costs.

Economic Growth (Eu)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's forecast is of the average economic growth rate in the EU from 2000 to 2010. [101606]

[holding answer 7 March 2003]: In line with the practice of previous Governments, we do not publish growth forecasts for the EU. Growth forecasts for the G7 aggregate are published in the Pre-Budget and Budget Reports.

Euro

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent (a) discussions he has had with and (b) representations he has received from (i) the Bank of England, (ii) representatives of business and (iii) employees representatives on the assessment of the five tests for euro entry. [101863]

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 11 February 2002, Official Report, columns 104–05W.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the (a) terms of reference and (b) guidance issued to the review of the implications for UK statistics of joining the euro. [101275]

The Chancellor has asked Christopher Allsopp to undertake a wide-ranging review of the informational and statistical requirements for monetary and wider economic policy-making, following the end of his term as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.The terms of reference and other details of the review were published in a press notice on 27 February 2003, available on the Treasury's website: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

Economic Reform (Eu)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent proposals he has made to the European Union on increasing the rate of its economic reform. [101864]

The Government's proposals for increasing the rate of EU economic reform are set out in "Meeting the Challenge; Economic Reform in Europe", published on 17 February 2003.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 217W, on Lisbon and Stockholm objectives, if he will (a) make a statement and (b) publish a document listing progress towards each objective listed in Appendix A of the European Economic Reform White Paper 2002. [102048]

Progress towards the Lisbon and Stockholm objectives is described in the progress report on European economic reform, 'Meeting the Challenge; Economic Reform in Europe', and in 'Structural Indicators of European Economic Reform; Measuring Europe's Progress', both published on 17 February 2003.

Financial Services Authority

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 3 February 2003, Official Report, column 30W, whether the FSA will continue the advertisement complaints procedure to its conclusion in cases in which the offending advert has been removed. [101396]

Decisions about the action to take in response to complaints about advertisements, and when and how to bring that action to a conclusion, are a matter for the FSA, taking into account the circumstances of each case.

Fraud

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions for tax fraud the Inland Revenue's special compliance office has pursued in each year since 1997; and how many of these prosecutions resulted in convictions. [102005]

Statistics on prosecutions and convictions by the Inland Revenue are published each year in their Annual Reports, copies of which are available in the House Library.

House Price Inflation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment HM Treasury has made regarding the level of house price inflation in the UK economy. [101698]

The Government's Fiscal Statement and Budget report to be delivered on 9 April will include an assessment of recent house price developments.

Household Debt

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce the level of household debt as a percentage of disposable income in the UK. [101053]

Within a sound financial framework, the Government believe that households are best placed to decide on the level of debt that they should hold. Growth in household debt reflects strong fundamentals with a robust labour market, low interest rates and strong gains in housing wealth.

Inflation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the inflation rate was for (a) the public sector and (b) the private sector in each of the last 12 months. [101280]

Public and private sector inflation, as measured by the implied Government and private consumption deflators respectively, are not available on a monthly basis as they are derived from quarterly nominal and real consumption data. The latest data were published by the Office for National Statistics in the First Release on UK output, income and expenditure for the fourth quarter of 2002 on 26 February 2003.

Insurance Premiums

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions officials from his Department have had with representatives of (a) employers and (b) employees concerning the cost of insurance premiums. [101700]

Officials from HM Treasury and other Government Departments have meetings with a wide range of representative groups on issues related to insurance, including the cost of insurance premiums.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what revenue has been received from Insurance Premium Tax in each year since 1997; [101704](2) what plans he has to provide business with a rebate from Insurance Premium Tax revenues. [102117]

The total amount of insurance premium tax collected in the UK can be found on the HM Customs and Excise website: www.hmce.gov.uk/about/ reports/ann-report/n2.pdf.As with all taxes, Insurance Premium Tax is kept under review and any changes would be announced in the annual Budget.

Labour Statistics (Wales)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people aged 16 to 21 there were in low rates of pay in Wales for each of the last 20 years; [101241](2) how many people aged 16 to 21 were unemployed in Wales in each of the last 20 years. [101243]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Mr. Colin Mowl to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 10 March 2003:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions about unemployment and low pay rates in Wales. I am replying in his absence. (100241, 100243)
The attached table gives estimates of the number of unemployed people aged 16 to 21 in Wales for the three month periods ending May of each year from 1984 to 2002. These estimates are from the Labour Force Survey and are not seasonally adjusted. This information is not available on a consistent basis for 1983.
For years from 1998, ONS has published estimates of the numbers of people paid below the National Minimum Wage on the basis of sample survey data. However, for the group requested, sample numbers are too small to provide a reliable estimate.

Unemployed people aged 16–21 in Wales; Spring (March to May) 1984 to 2002

Thousand, not seasonally adjusted

March to May

198449
198545
198647
198735
198831
198923
199025
199128
199223
199333
199422
199523
199623
199728
199821
199926
200021
200124
200223

Note:

These Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates are Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) and have not been adjusted to take account of the Census 2001 results.

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey

Maastricht Criteria (Budget Deficits)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the prospects for the United Kingdom meeting the Maastricht criteria relating to budget deficits. [101645]

I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 2.61 of the 2002 pre-Budget report. A copy can be found in the Library.

National Health Service

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the increase in spending on the national health service announced in the Budget Statement 2002 in relation to (a) productivity, (b) efficiency and (c) savings due to economies of scale. [101278]

The health settlement announced in the 2002 Budget Statement, which covers the period from 2003–04 to 2007–08, is linked to a programme of reform to deliver the NHS Plan. Progress against this will be assessed and reported regularly by the Department of Health in their annual Departmental Report and in their Autumn Performance Report, both of which are available on the Department of Health website.

National Insurance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 28 February 2003, Official Report, column 769W, on national insurance contributions, what assessment his Department has made in recent economic forecasts of the effect that the increase in national insurance in April will have on (a) disposable income, (b) consumer spending as a percentage of GDP, (c) personal borrowing levels and (d) the savings ratio. [101911]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given him by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General on 28 February 2003, Official Report, column 769W.

Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has made to the European Commission on its inquiry into whether UK pensions tax rules meet EC requirements. [101362]

In common with all other member states, the UK was asked to provide details of existing tax rules for pension schemes, and whether any changes to those rules were contemplated. The response was a factual description of the reliefs and tax treatment currently available. Reference was also made to the pensions simplification review then under way.

Personal Sector Wealth

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of total personal sector wealth was owned by the wealthiest half of the adult population in each year since 1997. [102112]

The available information which relates to the distribution of UK marketable wealth, including that owned by the wealthiest half of the adult population, is given in Table 13.5 of Inland Revenue Statistics 2003 which is available at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/ index.htm.

Public Sector Comparators

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish Treasury investment appraisal guidance used to construct Public Sector Comparators; and if he will make a statement. [101759]

Guidance on Public Sector Comparators is set out in Treasury Taskforce Technical Note 5, "How to Construct a Public Sector Comparator".Work is currently under way to assess how guidance might be updated to reflect recent changes in the 2002 Green Book.

Public Service Agreements

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the contribution Public Service Agreements will make to the Government's sustainable development strategy. [101506]

Public Service Agreements make a significant contribution to the delivery of the Government's sustainable development strategy. The Spending Review 2002 required each Department with its own Public Service Agreement to produce a Sustainable Development Report, explaining the sustainable development implications of its policy priorities. Further information on the specific contribution Public Service Agreements make can be found in the 2002 Spending Review White Paper and in the Government 2002 Annual Report on sustainable development, "Achieving a Better Quality of Life".

Revenue Qualifying Regimes

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2003, Official Report, column 33W, on revenue qualifying regimes, whether changes to the qualifying regime will be subject to an assessment of the likely impact to those on low incomes. [101810]

I confirm that in considering changes to the qualifying policy regime the Government will assess the likely impact of those changes on those on low incomes.

Secondments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 220W, on secondments, from which private accounting firms the three people are seconded; how long the secondment is of each; and what their responsibilities are. [102046]

Duties: General Business Taxation (including corporation tax, capital gains for companies, tax issues for multinational businesses, taxation of insurance, offshore funds and other collective investment schemes, rural tax issues and film tax relief).

Arthur Andersen—2.1.02–30.6.03

Duties: Team Leader responsible for Public Enterprise Partnerships

PKF—-22.7.02–21.7.04

Duties: Accountancy advice. Post-Enron work and Corporate Governance issues.

Suicides (Wales)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many suicides of those aged 15 to 24 there were in Wales in each of the last 20 years. [101244]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Mr. Colin Mowl to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 10 March 2003:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question concerning how many suicides have been recorded in each of the last 20 years for those aged 15 to 24 in Wales. I am replying in his absence. (101244)
The most recent available mortality data are for the calendar year 2001. Figures for each year from 1982 to 2001 are given in the attached table.

Number of deaths from suicide and injury undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted

1, persons aged 15 to 24, Wales2,1982 to 20013

Calendar year

Number of deaths

198231
198336
198428
198526
198631
198740
198835
198931
199033
199142
199242
199340
199444
199546
199640
199753
199847
199950
200035
200141

1 The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (1CD-9) codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 excluding E988.8for the years 1982 to 2000, and, for the year 2001, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (1 CD-10)codes X60-X84 and Y10-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending,

2 Figures relate to deaths of people resident in Wales, rather than deaths occurring in Wales

3 Figures are for deaths registered in the years 1982 to 1992, and for deaths occurring in each calendar year from 1993 to 2001.

Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 604W, how much each mailshot to potential new tax credit claimants has cost. [100764]

The answer I gave to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) referred to a reminder mailing in November and a further mailing in February. The approximate costs for these mailings are as follows:

£
DatePrint and productionPostage
November299,000588,000
February70,000364,000

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Northampton, South will be entitled to the new Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit; and of these, how many (i) have applied for them and (ii) have returned their claim form. [100788]

Six million families in the United Kingdom are expected to benefit from the new tax credits in 2003–04, including 1.3 million families with children who receive Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance and who will receive the additional support through those benefits until they move into the Child Tax Credit itself in 2004. By the end of February we had already received over three million claims. Numbers for Northampton South are not available.

Tax Evasion

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the rate of prosecution for tax evasion. [102012]

The Revenue tackle fraud, error and avoidance using civil investigation and settlement, and applying financial penalties where appropriate. The Revenue also operates a selective prosecution policy intended to bolster the overall enforcement strategy. The focus is on cases where prosecution will do the most to promote compliance by deterring tax, contribution and tax credit fraud.Statistics on prosecutions and convictions by the Inland Revenue are published each year in their Annual Reports, copies of which are available in the House Library.

Tax Revenues

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 222W, on tax revenue forecasts, what estimate he has made of the effect on public sector net borrowing (a) this year and (b) next year if GDP growth were 1 per cent. lower than assumed over the coming year. [102047]

I refer the hon. Member to paragraph B17 of the 2002 Pre-Budget Report (Cm 5664), where the estimates are set out.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of lower than forecast manufacturing growth on total tax revenues; [102118](2) if he will make a statement on the strength of the growth of tax revenues. [102107]

Consistent with the Code for Fiscal Stability, projections for the public finances, including tax revenues, will be set out in the Budget to be presented to the House on 9 April 2003.

Teenage Pregnancy (Wales)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many births there were to girls conceiving under the age of 16 in Wales for each of the last 20 years. [101240]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 10 March 2003:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many births there were to girls conceiving under the age of 16 in Wales for each of the last 20 years. 1 am replying in his absence. (101240)
The latest available figures are for 2001. The information requested is given in the attached table.

Births to mothers conceiving below 16 years of age, Wales 1982–2001

1

Number

Year

2

Births

3

1982273
1983303
1984288
1985308
1986287
1987259
1988275
1989241
1990293
1991231
1992253
1993267
1994276
1995330
1996360
1997318
1998322
1999282
2000265
2001(P)235

1 Figures are for mothers who were usually resident in Wales at the time of birth.

2 Age at conception was estimated before 1987 using complete months, and from 1987 onwards using exact dates.

3 Includes live births and stillbirths.

(P)Provisional data.

Voluntary Service (Young People)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what funding he is making available to encourage gap year voluntary service by young people. [102010]

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has allocated £5 million of the Spending Review 2002 settlement for the Young Volunteer Challenge scheme to promote volunteering for 18–19 year olds from lower-income backgrounds. Through this scheme, young people will receive a weekly allowance of £45 and a lump sum end of experience award of £750 to support them during a period of full-time voluntary activity.

War Chest

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money has been allocated, by continent, by HM Treasury for the global war on terror since 11 September 2001. [101279]

Such information is not kept in the format requested. Apart from funds for military operations in Afghanistan, which totalled £618 million from 2001 to 2003, and £1.75 billion set aside this year to cover the costs of military and overseas operations so that the UK can continue to play a leading role in the global war against terror, the Treasury does not hold information on all departmental expenditure on counter terrorism and UK resilience measures since 11 September 2001. The Government are committed to ensuring that UK domestic security is given a high priority and the strengthening of the UK's defences against the threats posed by international terrorism was a key theme of last year's Spending Review. Consequently, departments have prioritised measures for improving the UK's resilience to, and capability to deal with, a terrorist attack. UK resilience arrangements have been reviewed and planning has been mainstreamed as a routine activity.

Northern Ireland

Arts Council Steering Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who the members of the Steering Group for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's research project on the Arts of Irish and Ulster-Scots are; and what organisations they represent. [100445]

The current members of the Steering Group are as follows:

Roisin McDonoughArts Council of NI
Noirin McKinneyArts Council of NI
Nick LivingstonArts Council of NI
Aodan Mac Poilinlontaobhas Ultach/ Ultach Trust
Deirdre DavittForas na Gaeilge
George HolmesTha Boord o Ulster Scotch
Maurna CrozierNI Community Relations Council; seconded to DCAL at the time of the setting up of the Steering Group

Royal Victoria Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Royal Victoria Hospital is retaining body parts from recent autopsies. [101940]

The Royal Victoria Hospital has only retained body parts from recent post mortem examinations with the valid consent in writing of the next of kin or closest living relative.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many post mortems had been performed at the Royal Victoria Hospital between the setting up of the numbered post mortem system and 31December 2002, broken down by (a) coroners and (b) hospital post mortems. [101936]

There was a total of 49,956 post mortems carried out in the period between the commencement of the current post mortem numbering system and 31 December 2002. It is not possible to provide further information in the form requested, as it is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Burns Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the report by Professor Gardiner on the practical issues of implementation of the Burns Report, commissioned by the Educational Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly, will be published. [99339]

As I explained to the hon. Gentleman in my reply on 13 February 2003 Official Report, column 934W, it is my understanding that this report cannot be made publicly available until the Assembly Education Committee has had the opportunity to consider and approve it.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the estimated impact on the environment the European Union Working Time Directive will have in respect of carbon dioxide emissions from heavy goods vehicles in Northern Ireland; and if he will seek derogation from this Directive on behalf of the quarrying and construction industries. [101738]

The European Working Time Directives are designed to protect the health and safety of people at work.I have not assessed the impact of the Directives on the environment and I do not propose to seek a derogation along the lines suggested.

Columba Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many annual reports the Columba Initiative have published; and if he will place them in the Library. [100442]

The Columba Initative registered as a company limited by guarantee in April 2002. Its first annual report is expected to be published in the summer of this year on completion of annual audited accounts. The annual report and accounts will be placed in the Library.

Credit Strategy

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with counterparts in Edinburgh, Cardiff and London regarding the development of a pan-UK credit strategy, particularly with respect to a credit transcript system. [100433]

The introduction of a unit based curriculum with credit attached remains a major aim of the Department for Employment and Learning's (DEL) lifelong learning strategy. Officials are working with the relevant Departments in England, Scotland and ales to try to secure complementarity across the UK.In 1999 DEL commissioned a three year, Northern Ireland Credit Accumulation and Transfer System (NICATS) implementation project, to develop the specifications for a single credit framework which could be used to support the operation of a credit accumulation and transfer system in NI including a template for a standardised NICATS credit transcript to provide a summary of each learner's achievement.DEL has tasked the NI Council for the curriculum, examination and assessment (CCEA), as the regulatory authority for Northern Ireland, to provide advice on the next phase of NICATS taking account of funding implications, added value and work of credit systems in the rest of the UK.

Hospital Post-Mortems

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether (a) parents and (b) relatives of deceased persons are entitled to refuse a hospital postmortem. [101938]

Hospital post mortems are only carried out with the consent of the parents, legal guardian or relative of the deceased, as appropriate.

Organ, Block And Slide Retention

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether (a) organs, (b) blocks and (c) slides (i) are and (ii) have been retained at (A) Moyle Hospital, Lame, (B) Omagh Hospital, (C) Foster Green Hospital, Belfast, (D) Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, (E) Antrim Hospital, (F) Erne Hospital, Enniskillen, (G) Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, (H) Coleraine Hospital, (I) Ards Hospital, Newtownards, (J) Wavenay Hospital, Ballymena, (K) Mid Ulster Hospital and (L) Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. [101939]

The Royal Group of Hospitals has previously retained and continues to retain organs, blocks and slides. Antrim Area Hospital has previously retained organs, blocks and slides and currently retains blocks and slides. The Ulster Hospital has previously retained, and continues to retain, organs. The Waveney Hospital previously retained organs, blocks and slides. This has ceased and all pathology has moved to Antrim Area Hospital.The other hospitals listed have never had the on-site laboratory facilities to produce blocks and slides and at the time of the Chief Medical Officer's survey in May 2001 had no retained organs. Beyond that, the information is not available in the format requested.

Police Service Of Northern Ireland Band

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the Northern Ireland charitable organisations that have benefited from a performance from the PSNI Band. [101609]

The names of the charitable organisations who have benefited from a performance of the PSNI Band are not available. In 2002, the band played at six functions affiliated to registered charities and fourteen other fund raising functions for various community organisations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many, and what proportion, of Police Service of Northern Ireland band members have been returned to normal policing duties. [101610]

The PSNI Band will be stood down on 31 March 2003. When the decision to stand down the band was taken 32 officers were serving with the band. On 1 April 2003, 30 police officers will be returned to duties at District Command Units, 1 officer will take up duties in Crime department and 1 officer has resigned.

Policing Partnerships

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people applied to be members of the Belfast District Policing Partnership; and how many were deemed to be appointable candidates. [100440]

203 people applied to be members of the Belfast District Policing Partnerships and of those, 63 were deemed to be appointable candidates.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have applied to be members of the District Policing Partnerships in Northern Ireland; and how many were deemed to be appointable candidates. [100435]

1,511 applications have been received for membership of District Policing Partnerships and of those, 737 were deemed appointable candidates.

Resettlement Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been paid in resettlement grants to prisoners released under the early release scheme in Northern Ireland since the scheme began; and if he will make a statement. [100616]

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has made payments of £44.5k to organisations or individuals assisting with the resettlement of prisoners under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

British Indian Ocean Territories

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many joint financing arrangements, at what estimated budgetary cost, have been made since 1997 with the United States for (a) site preparation, (b) construction, (c) maintenance and (d) operation of facilities on British Indian Ocean Territories. [100886]

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the islands in the British Indian Ocean Territories that have buildings and facilities used or set aside for future use by the United States or UK for defence purposes. [100894]

Charlotte Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Burundi since the killing of British aid worker Charlotte Wilson in December 2000. [98985]

Since the tragic death of Charlotte Wilson we have made numerous representations to the Burundi authorities. As soon as our Embassy in Kigali was made aware of her killing, we made contact with the Burundi authorities, urging them to bring the perpetrators to justice. They assured us that they would do all they could to apprehend Charlotte's killers. The Burundi Foreign Ministry has confirmed this in writing.Since that time, our Ambassador in Kigali and other Embassy staff have frequently raised Charlotte Wilson's case with the Burundi authorities and will continue to do so. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Charlotte Wilson with Burundi President Pierre Buyoya and Minister of Justice, Fulgence Bakana, during his visit to Burundi in January 2002. More recently, on 10 February 2003, my noble Friend Baroness Amos raised Charlotte's case with the Burundi Foreign Minister, Therence Sinunguruza, during his visit to London. We also arranged for Charlotte's mother to meet the Foreign Minister on the same day.We have offered assistance to the Burundi authorities from the Metropolitan police, should they require it. We continue to press for a full investigation and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of progress towards the ratification of the all inclusive agreement signed in December 2002 between the participants of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue; and if he will make a statement. [101047]

Three issues are blocking the establishment of the transitional national government (TNG) provided for in the Global Accord (signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002):

  • (i) Agreeing the constitution for the TNG;
  • (ii) Provision of security in Kinshasa for the TNG and its institutions;
  • (iii) Formation of a new national army.
  • Talks aimed at resolving these issues started in Pretoria on 25 February under the mediation of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative and the Government of South Africa. Our diplomatic staff in Kinshasa and Pretoria are monitoring the talks and remain on hand to support the mediation as required.

    Detention

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on paragraph 18 of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion 16/2002; and what additional information his Department has sought from the authorities in Dubai. [99941]

    The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in paragraph 18 of its opinion 16/2002 of 29 November 2002, comes to the conclusion that

    "with regard to the present period of detention, dating from 13 December 1999, the Working Group considers that it does not have sufficient information to give an opinion on whether or not the continued detention is of an arbitrary nature, which would involve interpreting a domestic regulation on the granting of early release".
    We have previously advised Mr. Atkinson in Dubai that a local lawyer would be best placed to address the issue of the application and interpretation of the laws governing his imprisonment. Early last year, our embassy supplied Mr. Atkinson's UK based lawyer with a list of Dubai lawyers. We will continue to offer Mr. Atkinson all the assistance we properly can.

    Diego Garcia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultation has taken place with the United States concerning the use of construction labourers on Diego Garcia since 1997; and how many workers from Mauritius and the Seychelles have been employed on such construction projects. [100887]

    Matters relating to the workers employed on Diego Garcia by the US contractors are regularly discussed between the United Kingdom and United States authorities at all levels. The number of workers fluctuates from year to year and within any given year. Currently, about 40 Mauritian workers are employed by US contractors on Diego Garcia. No workers have been engaged from the Seychelles for many years.

    Diplomatic Corps

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the range of salary scales for Her Majesty's ambassadors and high commissioners. [100857]

    Her Majesty's Ambassadors and High Commissioners abroad are appointed from the following Foreign & Commonwealth Office grades. The current salary ranges for these grades are shown in brackets.

    Current Salary Ranges

    (£)

    D634,544 to 776
    D742,640 to 58,182
    SMS51,250 to 145,550
    Grade 1 Ambassadors115,000 to 189,000

    Guantanamo Bay

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for how many hours in each month since their initial detention each of the UK citizens held at Guantanamo Bay has undergone interrogation. [100888]

    :The detainees at Guantanamo Bay are in US detention. We do not know the length of time each detainee has been interrogated.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the legal authority for the detention of UK citizens at Guantanamo Bay. [100890]

    The question of the status of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay under international humanitarian law is complex and has to be considered in the light of the facts relating to each individual detainee. We have made clear our position that, whatever their status, the detainees are entitled to humane treatment, and, if prosecuted, a fair trial.

    Hms Mauritius

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK personnel are stationed at HMS Mauritius; and at what annual cost in the last five years. [100892]

    HMS Mauritius was a Royal Navy Communications Centre in Mauritius. It was established under an Agreement on Mutual Defence and Assistance that came into force on 12 March 1968 when Mauritius became independent. HMS Mauritius closed at the end of March 1976 and all personnel were withdrawn.

    Iran

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will press European Union partners to introduce a censure resolution on human rights abuses in Iran at the next session of the UN Human Rights Commission. [100942]

    All EU partners are concerned about the human rights situation in Iran and we are currently consulting on how to encourage positive change. A resolution is one of a number of possibilities, which are being discussed.

    Ituri Pacification Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representation he has made to the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda to ensure the effectiveness of the Ituri Pacification Commission; and if he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [101027]

    The humanitarian situation in Ituri (north-eastern DRC) remains serious. We have urged all Congolese parties and the Governments of Rwanda and Uganda to play their part in stabilising the situation, and to give their full support to the lturi Pacification Commission. But we believe that the real key to bringing stability to the region is the formation of a transitional national government in Kinshasa.We are working closely with our partners on the UN Security Council and at the EU to maintain pressure on the parties to address the situation in Ituri, and to take forward the formation of the transitional national government.

    Myanmar

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on trade sanctions against the Government of Myanmar; and if he will make a statement. [101383]

    We do not encourage trade or investment in Burma. We offer no assistance at all to companies wishing to pursue trade or investment with Burma. Companies asking for our advice are told of our policy, the regime's appalling human rights record and its economic mismanagement.Due to a combination of these factors, there is virtually no new foreign investment in Burma and Burma's international trade is falling.

    Rwanda

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received regarding the arrest of the Rwandan journalist Ismail Mbonigaba; and if he will make a statement. [101026]

    We received a report in January that Ismail Mbonigaba (editor of the Rwandan newspaper Umuseso) had been arrested for allegedly inciting "divisionism and discrimination" through an article and cartoon which appeared in his paper. On 27 February the Court of Appeal released Mr. Mbonigaba provisionally pending a further hearing. No date has yet been set for this hearing.We will continue to monitor events closely and to urge the Government of Rwanda to respect the principle of freedom of the press and free speech. I, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development and my noble Friend Baroness Amos discussed this with President Kagame in January.

    Smoking

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what policy his Department has adopted on smoking in the workplace. [100951]