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Written Answers

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 3 April 2003

Cabinet Office

Civil Contingency Plans (Portsmouth)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what resources he has allocated to improve civil contingency plans for the Portsmouth area in the event of a terrorist attack in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. [105354]

Central Government provides funds, in the form of civil defence grant, for local authority emergency planning and civil contingency planning.The allocations of civil defence grant for Portsmouth city council and Hampshire county council from 2000–01 onwards are detailed in the following table.

Local authority
PortsmouthHampshire
2000–0148, 000229, 824
2001–0278, 999276,770
2002–0374, 081298,610
2003–0474,467298,996
Local authorities often supplement the civil defence grant from their revenue support grant. I understand that Portsmouth city council budgeted to provide an additional £17,304 in 2002–03 and £20,533 in 2003–04 and that Hampshire county council budgeted to provide an additional £326,900 in 2002–03 and £336,600 in 2003–04.The civil defence grant is just part of central Government funding for planning for and responding to emergencies. Central Government provides substantial funds to other local responders, including the emergency services and health authorities.

E-Envoy

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to change (a) the level of staffing and (b) the role of the Office of the e-Envoy; [105629](2) how many staff have worked in the Office of the e-Envoy in each month since its establishment; [105628](3) if he will make a statement on the work of the Office of the e-Envoy since its establishment. [105630]

The Office of the e-Envoy was established in September 1999. The following table shows how many staff have worked in the Office of the e-Envoy in each month since this date. All figures are rounded to full-time equivalents (FTE). The Office of the e-Envoy business plan for the 2003–04 financial year assumes an average of 122 FTE staff.

Last November, the Office of the e-Envoy published its third UK online annual report. The report provides a comprehensive summary of the work of the Office and makes recommendations for future activity.

It also highlighted the results of an independent e-economy benchmarking study which found the UK to be second only to the USA in terms of its environment for e-commerce.

The E-Minister, Patricia Hewitt and the e-Envoy, Andrew Pinder also provide a monthly update to the PM outlining activity.

Copies of the annual and monthly reports are available in the Library of the House, from the Office of the e-Envoy and online at www.e-envoy.gov.uk.

2000

2001

2002

2003

April54111142
May56123138
June56125141
July54129140
August52128134
September256138139
October457146140
November660147144
December1060145145
January1262148141
February5171145141
March5392143138

Note:

Figures are full-time equivalents rounded to nearest whole number.

Public Appointments

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many vacancies in public appointments there were in each county in 2002; [106231](2) how many public appointments there were in each county in 2002. [106232]

This information is not held centrally. Individual Ministers, supported by their Departments are responsible for making their own appointments. For my own Department during 2002, six new appointments and 21 re-appointments were made to non-departmental public bodies for which the Cabinet Office was responsible. All were made to boards of public bodies whose headquarters are in London.

Staff Numbers

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff are employed by his Department. [106282]

Staffing figures for Civil Service departments and agencies are published twice yearly by press notice, copies of which are laid in the Libraries of both Houses. The latest information, for October 2002, was published in February this year. The figures are also made available via the world-wide web at http://www.civil-service.gov.uk/statistics/documents/pdf/staffing_03.pdf

Departmental Units (Budgets)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the (a) total budget of and (b) total pay costs incurred by (i) the Strategy Unit, (ii) the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, (iii) the Office of the e-Envoy, (iv) the Office of Public Services Reform and (v) the Prime Minister's Policy Unit have been in each year since their creation. [103068]

For details of the No. 10 Policy Directorate, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 25 March 2003, Official Report, columns 125–27W. The Strategy Unit was not formed until June 2002 so there are no full year's figures on which to report. For the rest of the units inquired about see the following tables:

£000
Total budget
Unit name1998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Office of the e-Envoy042,29955,63356,096
Delivery Unit0001,393
OPSR0001,518
£000
Total actual pay costs
Unit name1998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Office of the e-Envoy05,5667,3278,800
Delivery Unit000614
OPSR000980

Defence

Gulf War Veterans

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he considers that (a) the renal disorder and (b) the post traumatic stress disorder of Paul Connolly, a civilian Gulf war veteran are attributable to that conflict. [105978]

[holding answer 31 March 2003]: The Ministry of Defence does not believe that Paul Connolly's renal disorder is attributable to the 1990–91 Gulf conflict. The nature of traumatic psychological injury is such that the Ministry of Defence would need to carefully consider up to date specialist psychiatric assessment before being able to give a view on whether or not Paul Connolly has PTSD and, if so, its aetiology.

Hms Torbay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there have been problems with HMS Torbay upon its return to active service following its refit. [95416]

HMS Torbay returned to the fleet after her refit in November 2002 following a short delay while the submarine's electrical generation and heat management system and equipment was repaired.As is normal following a substantial maintenance and upgrade period, some defects have been identified since HMS Torbay returned to operational service. These have had no significant impact on operational capability and have either been repaired during routine maintenance or will be addressed when the programme permits.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial support will be made available to the dependants of those killed or injured in the conflict in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [106245]

The Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) provides valuable occupational ill-health benefits, based on years of service and rank, where a service person is injured and medically discharged from the armed forces. If the injury is considered attributable to service, the AFPS benefits are enhanced and paid tax-free. In addition, the War Pension Scheme (WPS) pays a War Disablement Pension and may pay other associated allowances, which include recognition of carer responsibilities.Where the member dies in service from an attributable cause and leaves a widow or widower, and/or a dependant child, the AFPS benefits include a short-term family pension, equal to the service person's annual rate of pensionable pay; this is payable for up to 182 days and maintains the household income level in the early months of bereavement. In addition, a death-in-service lump sum is paid of between 1 and 1½ times the individual's representative rate of pay, and an attributable gratuity is also payable; both these are paid tax-free.Thereafter, a long-term widow's or widower's pension and, as appropriate, children's pensions are paid. Attributable widow(er)'s pensions are significantly enhanced, index-linked and paid for life, regardless of whether the widow(er) remarries or cohabits. The attributable widow's or widower's pension is 90 per cent. of the member's full career pension, less an abatement to reflect the amount by which the WPS war widow's or widower's pension exceeds the basic state widow's pension. Attributable children's pensions are also enhanced and index-linked, and are paid until age 17; they may remain in payment until a later age if higher education is undertaken. The WPS provides additional compensation for families of those service personnel whose death is attributable to their service. This includes a tax-free War Widow's or Widower's Pension.In my written statement of 20 March 2003,

Official Report, column 54WS, I announced that unmarried partners, including same sex partners, of service personnel whose death was attributable to conflict-related service would be eligible for ex-gratia benefits equivalent to those awarded to spouses under the AFPS. Partners would need to demonstrate that the relationship was substantial. However, the policy change is not retrospective with respect to deaths occurring before 20 March and does not affect the WPS, which already has its own rules regarding unmarried partners.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has issued to the media (a) television footage and (b) still photographs of Iraqis taken prisoner by coalition forces in the invasion of Iraq. [106419]

A very limited amount of television footage of Iraqi's taken prisoner, which was taken by the services' mobile news teams, has been issued to the media. We have also made some selected still photographs available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi prisoners of war have been taken in the conflict; and how many (a) were injured and (b) are being cared for by coalition doctors. [106959]

United Kingdom forces are holding approximately 5,000 Iraqi prisoners of war. On 2 April 2003, 37 prisoners were being treated by UK military medical personnel. Of these, 35 had sustained battle related injuries and two were being treated for non-battle related illnesses.Information on other prisoners of war is a matter for the coalition member holding them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi civilians have been (a) injured and (b) killed as a result of the conflict; and of those killed, how many have been buried. [106960]

We have made very clear our commitment to the welfare and future of the people of Iraq, and deeply regret any civilian casualties resulting from coalition action. However, it is impossible to know for sure how many civilians have been injured, or killed and subsequently buried. Figures presented by the Iraqi regime are likely to be inflated or distorted for propaganda purposes, and may include civilians injured or killed by Iraq's own forces.

Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers of what regiment were photographed posing beside a loyalist paramilitary mural on 1 February; what disciplinary action has been taken against these soldiers and their commanding officer; and what measures have been taken to ensure this behaviour is not repeated. [106352]

16 members of the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire were photographed against a loyalist mural on 1 February. No disciplinary action has been taken against the soldiers although administrative action was taken against their Platoon Commander. Since the taking of the photograph instructions have been issued that murals are not to be used as a backdrop for group photographs.

Tritium

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on procurement of tritium. [105792]

Tritium has been produced for the defence programme at the electricity generating station at Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire. Our stocks are sufficient to meet requirements for the foreseeable future.

Minister For Women

Average Earnings

To ask the Minister for Women if she will make a statement on the pay gap between average male and female earnings in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002. [106025]

The gender gap in hourly pay between men and women increased slightly from 18.5 per cent in 2001 to 18.9 per cent in 2002. ONS found the increase was due to a widening of the gap at the higher end of the earnings distribution. The gender pay gap for the bottom 75 per cent. of women narrowed over the same period from 13.3 per cent. to 12.8 per cent.

Child Care

To ask the Minister for Women what recent consultations the Minister has had with child care organisations in the last year regarding the provision of child care; and if she will make a statement. [99038]

I have met with various child care organisations over the past six months, as well as speaking at the DayCare Trust conference last November. As part of last year's inter-departmental review of child care, my noble Friend the Minister for Sure Start conducted a broad consultation with organisations with an interest in child care.My Department is continuing to work with child care organisations to consider how we encourage more child care support to working parents, and support the child care business sector.

Eu Equality Advisory Committee

To ask the Minister for Women pursuant to her answer of 27 February 2003, Official Report, column 651W, on the EU Equality Advisory Committee, if she will place the minutes to the EU Advisory Committee Meeting in the Library when they are available. [103831]

[holding answer 24 March 2003]: The minutes of the EU Advisory Committee meeting on 9 October have not yet been published. They have to be approved by the Commission and then to be adopted by the Advisory Committee. It is expected that their adoption will take place at the Committee's next meeting on 28 May. After this date, the minutes will be publicly available and I shall place a copy in the Libraries of the House.

Leicesther Event

To ask the Minister for Women what Government support was given to the LeicestHER event on 7 March. [103220]

As Minister for Women I was pleased to be involved in the second annual LeicestHERday activities which took place in Leicester as part of International Women's Day.No direct Government financial support was given to this event, but the East Midlands Development Agency contributed £12,000.

The success of the day was due to the involvement and support of the many local partners and local women who took part in the weekend's activities.

Public Appointments

To ask the Minister for Women pursuant to her answer of 27 February 2003, Official Report, column 651W, on public appointments, if she will list the other bodies that have shown interest or plan to run similar events in 2003. [103830]

[holding answer 24 March 2003]: We have distributed over 3,400 copies of "Get a Public Life", the practical guide on why and how to run your own seminars. I am aware of the following bodies or individuals that have run events already in 2003 or are planning to do so in the near future:

  • Leicestershire Business Link;
  • Equality Unit in Wales in partnership with Wales Women's National Coalition
  • Waltham Forest Women in Public Life
  • The Women's TUC
  • The City Livery Club
  • Yorkshire Forward and Fairplay
  • Caroline Flint MP
  • The Labour Party

Trade And Industry

Gas Network

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made with the pilot schemes set up to test the practicalities of extending the gas network in rural areas; and if she will list the pilot schemes. [107197]

The report of the working group on extending the gas network made a number of recommendations, including a programme of pilot schemes to assist communities in non-gas areas with high concentrations of fuel poverty. In the absence of central funding for such a programme, the Government have worked with the industry and other interested parties to devise approaches to promoting connections to non-gas areas, drawing on existing funding schemes and using creative approaches. We expect the first industry-led pathfinder projects to begin in the coming months.

Accountancy Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total cost to her Department was for accountancy services in 2002. [101861]

Central records indicate that contracts for accountancy services amount to £6,644,832 for the calendar year 2002.

British Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will undertake a review of the liabilities of British Energy to examine what cost savings can be made. [106060]

Under the restructuring proposal announced by British Energy on 28 November 2002, the Government is taking financial responsibility for the company's historic spent fuel liabilities under contracts with BNFL, and underwriting new and enhanced arrangements by the company in the form of a new Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF) to meet decommissioning and other back-end liabilities.Under the operation of the NLF, the Government propose to put in place a series of controls and incentives to ensure that British Energy runs its nuclear power stations as though it were exclusively responsible for the discharge of nuclear liabilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she has received since 9 September 2002, which indicated that British Energy was offering electricity contracts for sale at below the wholesale market prices. [106513]

The Department receives regularly representations about the operation of the electricity market from a variety of sources. The implementation of the trading strategy announced by British Energy on 28 November 2002 as part of its restructuring proposals is a matter for the company.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with British Energy on financing the cost of installing flue gas de-sulpherisation of Eggborough power station since 9 September 2002; and if she will make a statement. [106514]

My officials have discussed a wide range of matters with British Energy during this period. The installation of flue gas desulphurisation of Eggborough is an operational matter for British Energy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her statement of 28 November 2002, Official Report, column 488, on British Energy, (1) if she will publish the evidence to support the statement that it was necessary to underwrite financial assistance to British Energy because it was the best way of securing the safety of the nuclear power stations; [106580](2) if she will publish the evidence to support the statement that it was necessary to underwrite financial assistance to British Energy because it was the best way of securing the security of electricity supply to the grid and customers. [106579]

Nuclear safety and security of electricity supplies are our main priorities for British Energy whether or not the company's restructuring proposals is successful. Our decision to support the company's proposal involved complex assessments stretching over many years. The detailed calculation of those assessments contain assumptions which are commercially confidential, under Exemption 13, Third Party commercial confidences of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 26 March 2003, Official Report, column 221W, on British Energy, whether an application has been made to draw on the current facility to finance the cost of installing flue gas de-sulphurisation at British Energy's Eggborough Power Station (a) directly and (b) indirectly. [106581]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 March 2003, Official Report, column 685W, on British Energy. Details of individual applications are also commercially confidential, under Exemption 13, Third Party commercial confidence of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Departmental Events

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) press conferences which have been sponsored by

£
CampaignTelevisionRadioPressOtherTotal
UK Online for Business1,100,000329,211506,582947,0392,882,832
Export Licence10,13117810,309
Import Licence88,6851,55390,238
Miscellaneous338,11113,763351,874
SBS Business Link3,051,141979,9071,191,389697,9775,920,414
Fireworks Campaign190,715190,715
National Minimum Wage300,38817,082317,470
Parental Rights650,910225,531876,441
Consumer Gateway43,48343,483
Quality Mark109,365439,045430,374978,784
Ex-miners Compensation85,4724,59490,066
Total4,151,1411,418,4833,610,7132,572,28911,752,626

Energy Consumption

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of UK household energy usage requirements by region were for (a) manufacturing and industry, (b) transport and (c) providing heat, in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [106804]

Total energy consumption by region and final use is not currently available. Data on gas consumption by gas local distribution zone is published in Table 4B of the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2002; data on electricity distributed by public electricity suppliers by region is contained in Table 5B of the same publication, with inland deliveries of petroleum by country shown in Table 3.9.The DTI will continue to develop the work on regional energy consumption and the Energy White Paper "Our energy future—creating a low carbon economy" says that we will be consulting on arrangements to collect and make available data on the pattern of energy usage in local areas, to enable local authorities and regional bodies to target activity more effectively. This is one of a number of measures to be taken to help local and regional bodies to ensure energy objectives are reflected in regional and local priorities.

her Department and which took place on non-Departmental premises in the last 12 months, broken down by title, purpose, date and cost. [104271]

The Department does not keep central records of such events. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department's total spending was on advertising and promotional campaigns between April 2002 and March 2003; and what the cost of each campaign was, broken down by costs relating to (a) television, (b) radio and (c) print media. [106440]

Provisional DTI advertising spend in 2002–03 through the Central Office of Information was £11.7 million. The campaign breakdown was as follows:This will help the DTI to develop a more detailed and consistent system for a regional analysis of some fuels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on the role of wood-burning fuel in the Government's renewable energy policy; and what steps the Government is taking to encourage its promotion as an alternative source of heat production; [106805](2) how much funding the Government has allocated towards

(a) the creation and development of energy crops and (b) the utilisation of fuel wood from existing forests, with regard to the aim of heat production. [106806]

The Government recognises that wood-burning fuel has significant potential in the UK. Wood fuel is an eligible source for the Renewable Obligations, which came into force on 1 April 2002, and electricity supplied by generators fired on wood fuel will qualify for Renewable Obligation Certificates in dedicated biomass plant or through co-firing under certain conditions.A number of programmes have been launched to support and promote bioenergy in the UK, including utilisation of wood fuel. £66 million has been made available by DTI and the National Lottery's New Opportunities Fund to stimulate early deployment of biomass-fired technology for heat, combined heat and power and electricity generation. From this allocation, grants worth over £4 million were announced in January to support the establishment of wood-fired heat clusters throughout the UK.DEFRA, as part of its England Rural Development Programme, has made available £29 million for the establishment of energy crops including short rotation coppice (SRC) under the Energy Crops Scheme.The Woodland Grant Scheme and the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme, co-ordinated by the Forestry Commission in mainland UK and Forest Services in Northern Ireland, provides grants to create and manage woodland, which can help in the production of wood fuel. The Woodland Grant Scheme also supports the establishment of SRC in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.The Clear Skies Initiative, a £10 million grants programme launched by DTI in February, supports eligible community and domestic wood fired heating projects.

European Funding

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government will publish its proposals for replacing European structural funds with its own regional funding system; whether the Government will ensure that all Objective 1 and 2 areas receive the same level of funding as they receive under the Objective 1 and 2 programmes; whether all Objective 1 and 2 areas will continue to receive pound for pound matching funding for regeneration programmes; whether the Government's proposals will offer the same seven-year guarantee of funding as that offered by the Commission's proposals; whether the Government will maintain the same level of non-structural regeneration funding to Objective 1 and 2 areas over this period; and whether money will be targeted at Objective 1 and 2 areas whose economic performance is below that of the national average. [106233]

The Government set out their proposals for the future of the European Structural Funds post-2006 in "A Modern Regional Policy for the United Kingdom" which was published on 6 March; a parliamentary statement was issued on that day. This paper puts forward a new EU Framework for Devolved Regional Policy, and launches a consultation on the proposition that this should form the basis for a UK negotiating position in the debate in Europe. The consultation period ends on 4 July.It is not possible at this stage to be precise about the details of how the Framework and funding will operate in individual regions. However, approximately three-quarters of UK regional development funding already comes directly from the UK Government. And, if the Government's proposals for the future of the Structural Funds were accepted, the Government would guarantee that regional spending would be increased so that the nations and regions of the UK receive a level of resources which ensures that they do not lose out from the UK's proposals on Structural Funds reform, for example from the transitional funding they would automatically have received from the application of the eligibility criteria to EU 25 instead of EU15.

The Government have already introduced three-year multi-annual budgeting to encourage long-term planning. And the Government guarantee on future regional spending would extend over the entire seven-year period of the next EU Financial Perspective. As part of this guarantee, the Government would commit to ensuring that the nations and regions have sufficient resources to continue to be able to promote regional productivity and employment from increased UK Government spending on regional policy, targeted on those areas of high unemployment and low GDP.

The Government have also committed to a new PSA to

"make sustainable improvements in the economic performance of all English regions and, over the long term, reduce the gap in growth rate between the regions, defining measures to improve performance and reporting progress against these measures by 2006".

Export Credits Guarantee Department

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what rate of return will be expected on the trading fund of the Export Credits Guarantee Department; what proportion of guarantees by value she expects it to cover; and if she will make a statement. [104427]

ECGD and HM Treasury are currently working on the policy and objectives, financial and regulatory frameworks and operational details of the ECGD Trading Fund. The aim is to complete this work by the summer recess. There has therefore been no decision yet as to the rate of return that the ECGD Trading Fund will be expected to generate, but the Government's policy remains that ECGD's premium rates will not be increased to pay a return on capital.The Trading Fund will cover all guarantees issued by ECGD, with the exception of instances where guarantees are issued under Ministerial Instruction, used only rarely in the past. The Government have made a firm commitment that ECGD will continue to support broadly the same amount of business as it does now, but given that the precise volume of ECGD's future business, it is not possible to divide the business in the way the hon. Member has requested.

Fur Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and industry (1) what customs classifications apply to animal furs being imported into the country; and if she will make a statement; [105357](2) how many fur pelts have been imported under the customs classification of other fur since January 2000; and if she will make a statement. [105356]

The commodity headings used, since 2000, for classifying animal furs being imported into the United Kingdom are given in the table. The classification is based on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, which incorporates the Combined Nomenclature of the European Communities. Within the UK, responsibility for the classification lies primarily with HM Customs and Excise.

Commodity

Description

Note

43011000Raw furskins of mink, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43012000Raw furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(a)

43013000Raw furskins of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43014000Raw furskins of beaver, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(a)

43015000Raw furskins of muskrat, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(a)

43016000Raw furskins of fox, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43017010Raw furskins of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43017090Raw furskins of other seal, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018010Raw furskins of sea otter or of nutria (coypu), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018030Raw furskins of marmot, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018050Raw furskins of wild felines, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43018090Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(a)

43018095Other raw furskins (including rabbit, hare, beaver or muskrat), whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(b)

43019000Raw heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use
43021100Tanned or dressed furskins of mink, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021200Tanned or dressed furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(c)

43021935Tanned or dressed furskins of rabbit or hare, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(d)

43021300Tanned or dressed furskins of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021910Tanned or dressed furskins of beaver, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021920Tanned or dressed furskins of muskrat, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021930Tanned or dressed furskins of fox, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021941Tanned or dressed furskins of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021949Tanned or dressed furskins of other seal, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021950Tanned or dressed furskins of sea otter or of nutria (coypu), whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021960Tanned or dressed furskins of marmot, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021970Tanned or dressed furskins of wild felines, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021980Tanned or dressed furskins of sheep or lambs, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43021995Other tanned or dressed furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws
43022000Tanned or dressed heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use
43023010"Dropped" furskins
43023021Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of mink
43023025Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of rabbit or hare
43023031Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of lamb, the following: Astrakhan, Broadtail, Caracul, Persian and similar lambs, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian or Tibetan lambs
43023035Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of beaver
43023041Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of muskrat
43023045Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of fox
43023051Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of whitecoat pups of harp seal and of pups of hooded seal (blue-backs)
43023055Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of other seal
43023061Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of sea-otter or nutria (coypu)
43023065Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of marmot
43023071Whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped", of wild felines
43023075Other whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped"

Notes:

From 2002, the four codes indicated by (a) were replaced by the one code indicated by (b). Changes such as these are negotiated as part of the continuing process of international harmonisation of customs codes negotiated at the World Customs Organisation and at EU level in the General Rules Committee. Also from 2002, the code indicated by (c) was replaced by the code indicated by (d).

UK imports of fur classified under "other" categories, since January 2000, in metric tonnes, are given in the table. In 2002 imports of furs classified as "other" were

Commodity code

Description

2000

2001

2002

January 2003

43018090Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws9.5859.0

(e)

(e)

43018095Other raw furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws

(e)

(e)

27.42.4
43021995Other tanned or dressed furskins, whole, with or without head, tail or paws129.266.660.63.2
43022000Tanned or dressed heads, tails, paws and other pieces or cuttings, suitable for furriers' use3.31.51.10.0
43023075Other whole furskins and pieces or cuttings thereof, assembled other than "dropped"24.024.820.10.4

(e) Until 2001, raw furskins of rabbit or hare, beaver and muskrat were separately identified. Since 2002 any imports of these products would have been included under code 43018095 as explained in notes concerning commodity codes (a) and (b) in the previous table.

a third lower than in 2000 and nearly 90 per cent. lower than in 2001, despite including some additional products, as described under note (e) to the table.

Iran

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value of (a) exports to and (b) imports from Iran were in the last year for which figures are available. [106132]

The value of UK exports in 2002 was £402 million; imports were worth £36 million. These statistics are published by HM Customs and Excise in the December 2002 issue of OTS1, Overseas Trade Statistics, UK Trade with Countries Outside the European Community.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which British companies have (a) tendered for and (b) been awarded (i) contracts and (ii) sub-contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. [105124]

We wish to see UK companies play a substantial role in the humanitarian and redevelopment process in Iraq. We understand that a number of UK companies are pursuing contracts for post-conflict redevelopment work. It would not be appropriate to name individual companies.

Medical Research Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans she has to assess the working practices of the Medical Research Council; and if she will make a statement; [106247](2) what plans the Medical Research Council has to fund future alpha rated research projects; [106246](3) what plans the Medical Research Council has made to increase funding for research into obstetrics; and if she will make a statement; [106249](4) what plans she has to assess the funding and management of the Medical Research Council. [106248]

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is internationally renowned for its promotion of excellent medical research. Its core mission is to support research that will have an impact on human health. Everyone is in agreement that it does this very well.The Office of Science and Technology (OST) has processes in place to review the planned activities of all the Research Councils. Each council, including the MRC, submits an annual Operating Plan which sets

Whole life award values
£ million
2003–042004–052005–06
Provision for renewals of existing long-term investments (grants and units), to meet anticipated demand65105180
Career Establishment Grants666
Training/Career Development: Fellowships and studentships394041
SR2002 specific initiatives045105
All other new awards302938
Totals140225370

out their planning and funding assumptions for the following year. The MRC will be publishing its 2003–04 Operating Plan on its website in due course.

Some of the recommendations and conclusions of the Select Committee report on the MRC issued on 25 March related to management and planning. We will be responding in detail to the recommendations of the SC report in due course and as part of this will consider what additional elements we might need to introduce in this specific case into the standard monitoring and reporting processes that we have with Research Councils in order to address the issues identified.

OST recognised some time ago that the processes underpinning the ability of the MRC to make a judgment of the financial implications of forward commitments could be improved. OST have been working with them to address this and are pleased with the progress made to date.

The MRC does not normally earmark funds for particular topics: research proposals in all areas will compete for the funding available. The MRC spent an estimated £19.1 million in 2001–02 on its reproductive health portfolio. Reproductive health research includes normal and abnormal fetal and placental development and growth, as well as conditions affecting pregnancy and childbirth.

The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards will continue to be made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health.

In respect to funding alpha rated research projects, it is not possible to anticipate the number of applications MRC will receive, nor what the outcome of the subsequent peer review and rating will be at this stage in the cycle. However, set out as follows is a table representing the MRC's current estimate of the value of awards MRC will be making over the coming session:

Estimates for funding for sessions 2003–04 to 2005–06

These figures reflect the estimated value of awards which the MRC could make for the session which runs September to July as a useful guide to applicants. Alpha rated research projects would be included in all but the third row of the table. Whole life award values are the total value of awards. (A grant of £1 million per annum would show as a total of £5 million in the table). They do not represent MRC's annual expenditure on awards.

These estimates are necessarily very approximate since final totals still depend critically on the mix of awards made from the different forms of MRC support and assume no other change in MRC's circumstances or calls on its budget.

Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the expected saving to public funds from the private finance initiative schemes due to become operational in 2003. [105717]

There are no PFI schemes due to become operational in 2003 within the Department.

Solar Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will make a decision on funding for phase 2 of the Solar PV Major Demonstration Programme in 2003–04; and if she will make a statement. [106201]

The success of the £20 million first phase of the Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Programme will be reviewed against its objectives in the first half of 2004, and a decision on funding for any subsequent phase will be made thereafter.

Temporary Workers Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had on the appropriateness of Article 137 of the Nice Treaty as a legal base for the proposed EU Directive on Temporary Workers; and if she will make a statement. [105849]

The UK has raised the question of whether a directive with a treaty base of Article 137(6) can cover pay. The European Commission and several other member states are of the view that it can because it only addresses pay in terms of non-discrimination and does not set absolute pay levels. The Government have continued to reserve their position on the inclusion of pay under Article 137 pending further clarification of the definition of pay.

Travel Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost was of travel by train by staff in her Department in 2002. [106334]

Information in respect of the year 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In 1997–98 sampling carried out in preparing the Department's Green Transport Plan indicated that about 90 per cent. of travel by staff for official business was by public transport, mostly by train. It is estimated that the cost of this rail travel was about £1.3 million.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Food Imports

15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) beef, (b) lamb, (c) port and (d) chicken was imported into the United Kingdom during the last 12 months; and from which countries these imports are allowed. [106696]

During the last 12 months the United Kingdom has imported, 224,000 tonnes of beef, 102.000 tonnes of lamb, 291,000 tonnes of pork and 305,000 tonnes of poultry meat.Meat imports are permitted provided that the exporting country is approved to export to the EU; the meat is accompanied by appropriate animal and public health certification and that the meat originates from EU approved establishments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps she has taken to strengthen the system of checks on food imports. [104909]

[holding answer 25 March 2003]: The EU operates a system of strict controls on imports of animal products. All products of animal origin must be checked on entry into the UK at a border inspection post (BIP). Following the outbreak of FMD, the State Veterinary Service have introduced an audit programme for BIPs to ensure consistent application of these import checks. During the visits officers provide advice to BIPs and monitor progress to correct any deficiencies found.Additional measures have been introduced at ports and airports to tackle illegal imports. Temporary agency staff attached to the local and port health authorities and funded by Defra, have been recruited to carry out checks to detect smuggled goods—teams of six are based at our major airports and teams of two at major seaports. We are also paying for additional checks through overtime elsewhere. Further inspection resources have also been provided through the detector dog pilot, and a publicity campaign which has targeted ports, airports and points of departure. We have announced that with effect from 11 April, HM Customs and Excise will be taking over responsibility for anti-smuggling activity since they have the infrastructure, intelligence and experience to target more effectively.The Food Standards Agency has responsibility for public health checks on all other imported foods. Following a Cabinet Office review of checks on imports the Food Standards Agency are leading a step change project to deliver improved co-ordination of all imported food controls by local authorities and port health authorities at seaports, airports and inland.

Waste Incinerators

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many waste incinerators have been (a) approved and (b) built since May 1997. [106702]

I understand that since 1997 19 municipal incinerators have been approved for operation or a change in operation by the Environment Agency under relevant pollution control legislation. Of these eight have been built or substantially modified, and have commenced or re-commenced operation.

Farmers' Markets

20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further support she intends to give to farmers' markets. [106703]

We welcome the development of farmers' markets and the benefits they can bring consumers and farmers alike. Farmers' markets continue to be eligible for support under the Rural Enterprise Scheme and the Agriculture Development Scheme, provided that the projects for which funding is sought meet the required eligibility criteria. A number of projects relating to farmers' markets have received funding under these schemes. In addition, the National Association of Farmers' Markets continues to receive financial support from the Countryside Agency, which we grant-aid.

Climate Change

21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on the impact on climate change of aviation. [106704]

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that forcing of the climate due to aviation was responsible for 3.5 per cent. of man-made forcing of the climate in 1992. Forcing due to aviation is projected to grow by between 2.6 and 11 times by 2050. This is projected to be equivalent to 3 per cent. to 15 per cent. of total man-made forcing of the climate in 2050. The aviation industry, like other industries, needs to pay for the environmental damage that it causes, and the Government will shortly be holding discussions with stakeholders on the appropriate use of economic instruments to achieve this.

Electronic Collars For Animals

22.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on her policy on electric shock collars for animals. [106705]

I have just completed a consultation exercise on animal welfare law. I would not wish to make any announcement concerning official views on electronic collars for animals in advance of any announcement of the measures that may be introduced as part of the Animal Welfare Bill.

Flood Protection (Rural Areas)

23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make a statement on the public money made available to fund flood protection in rural areas. [106706]

Defra provides grant aid on capital flood and coastal defence projects that meet specified criteria and an appropriate priority score but decisions regarding which projects to promote and their timing rest with operating authorities. The Government's provision overall is set to rise to £564 million in 2005–06 but provision is not made within this specifically for rural areas.

Agri-Environment Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on her Department's agri-environment schemes. [106698]

The Department has received 150 external responses to the consultation on a draft framework for future agri-environment schemes in England that closed at the end of February 2003. These responses are currently being analysed and we will publish the results once this exercise is complete.Defra also continues to receive a small number of individual representations on this subject.

Agri-Monetary Compensation (Buckinghamshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been paid in agri-monetary compensation in the county of Buckinghamshire since 9 January 2002. [106375]

The RPA has paid £222,358.12 in agri-monetary compensation in the county of Buckinghamshire between 9 January 2002 and the end of March 2003.

Aquaculture

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to promote research and development in aquaculture. [106808]

The LINK Aquaculture programme, launched in 1996 and sponsored by Defra, SEERAD and the National Environment Research Council contributed approximately £5.3 million to thirty-seven R and D projects, which, together with industry match funding, created an R and D programme valued at approximately £10 million. The Defra contribution to this was £2.2 million. This highly successful programme which comes to an end this year has been subject to comprehensive independent review, see the Defra website (http://www.defra.gov.uk/esg/economics/econeval/LINK-Aqua.PDF).Defra's average current annual spend on research into sustainable aquaculture and fish/shellfish health issues is £1.75 million. In 2002 Defra provisionally set aside £1 million for funding finfish and shellfish aquaculture research jointly with industry and with other sponsors over the next five years. My officials are giving careful consideration to the priority research areas which the various sectors of the industry identified and discussed with sponsors at a recent meeting of the UK-wide Committee for Aquaculture Research and Development.

Bovine Tb

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the reasons for TB infections in cattle; and what estimate she has made of the percentage of cases that involve cattle-to-cattle transmission. [106662]

The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) attaches a high priority to the relative importance of cattle-to-cattle transmission, but it is not possible to put a percentage figure on it at present. Current research will help fill the gaps. While the badger culling trial is looking at the part badgers might play in the transmission of cattle TB, other research, such as the TB99 epidemiological questionnaire and cattle pathogenesis studies, should provide data about cattle-to-cattle transmission. A research project looking at TB in herds restocked after the foot and mouth outbreak should also provide valuable data. A preliminary analysis of the risk factors associated with cattle TB is set out in the ISG's Third Report, which is available online at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/isg/report/isg3.pdf

Cap Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she will next meet EU partners to discuss the Mid-Term CAP Review. [106700]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, will next meet EU partners to discuss reform of the CAP at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 8 April.

£ million
2003–042004–052005–06
Expenditure on existing agreementsFunds available for new applicationsExpenditure on existing agreementsFunds available for new applicationsExpenditure on existing agreementsFunds available for new applications
Countryside Stewardship Scheme172.58.565.630.455.755.3
Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme45.22.845.22.845.22.8
Organic Farming Scheme6.515.52.420.61.521.5
Farm Woodland Premium Scheme10.70.310.41.610.42.6
Woodland Grant Scheme7.413.65.416.64.117.9
Hill Farm Allowance234.80.027.20.027.20.0
Rural Enterprise Scheme10.213.82.333.70.735.3
Processing and Marketing Grant6.61.41.56.50.37.7
Vocational Training Scheme1.72.30.83.20.23.8
Energy Crops Scheme0.14.90.05.00.05.0
1The rising profile of available funds for new applications will be reduced each year by the expenditure on applications approved in the preceding year(s).
2Expenditure on the Hill Farm Allowance is determined by claims from farmers in the Less Favoured Areas who in any one year have an eligible forage area and keep sheep and/or breeding cattle. Payment rates are set according to demand and the available funds. The budget is planned to be spent in full each year.
The budget for each of the schemes is kept under review, and some limited re-balancing of the available funds may be necessary, with European Commission approval as required, to meet the changing priorities of the Programme.

Landfill Tax Credit Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the

Departmental Creche Facilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what creche facilities are provided by her Department; and at what cost. [104289]

Defra provide 149 full-time subsidised nursery places for Departmental and Agency staff at six sites. The actual number of children using the nurseries is higher than this figure due to many of the places being allocated on a part-time basis. The cost of nursery places and the amount of subsidy varies for each location.School holiday playscheme places are also available to Departmental and Agency staff working at eight sites. The number of users varies at each site and for each school holiday period.The overall cost of this provision for the HQ offices (York and London) during the 2002–2003 financial year is estimated to be £88,500. Childcare facilities at other sites are funded from local budgets. Defra keeps its childcare provision arrangements under regular review.

English Rural Development Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 502W, on the English Rural Development Programme, how much of each of the amounts shown is accounted for by expenditure already agreed to; and how much is available to new applicants, broken down by scheme in each case. [106227]

The planned expenditure on schemes under the England Rural Development Programme is broken down as follows:statement made by the hon. Member for Wentworth on 3 February,

Official Report, column 5WS, on the landfill tax credit scheme, (1) how much her Department is paying ENTRUST to administer the transitional funding application process in England; and whether this activity of ENTRUST for the public sector is being subsidised by private sector payments to ENTRUST; [103504]

(2) what the terms of engagement are between DEFRA and ENTRUST regarding ENTRUST's administration of the transitional funding application process in England. [103505]

To administer the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) Sustainable Waste Management Legacy Fund, ENTRUST will receive a fee of 2 per cent. of the total amount distributed (i.e. if the Fund distributes £20 million to eligible applicants, the administration fee received will be £400,000). The precise figure will not be known until all applications have been processed. The closing date for applications is 31 March. This fee is in line with the separate payment ENTRUST receives to regulate the LTCS and represents good value for money. The cost of administering the Legacy Fund is not being subsidised by payments from tax credits to regulate the LTCS.The rules of engagement between Defra and ENTRUST regarding the administration of the Fund are set out in a memorandum of understanding between the two parties. A copy of this memorandum will be posted on the ENTRUST website.

Live Animal Transportation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has collated about the European Commission's policy on the future of live animal transportation. [107268]

The European Commission has stated that it intends to present a proposal to replace the existing EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport and that this proposal will aim at:

providing more harmonised and stricter procedures in order to ensure better enforcement. This aspect will relate to the conditions for transporters, road drivers and vehicles to be authorised, certificates for transporters, drivers and vehicles and exchange of information between national authorities in case of infringements;
updating the technical standards in line with the new scientific data on animal transport provided by the 2002 report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare. This report covers a wide range of subjects, and in particular, includes aspects on travelling time sequences, space allowances, training of drivers, fitness of animals to be transported, higher standards for the transport of horses and requirements for the means of transport;
extending some training and operational requirements for livestock markets; and
providing detailed rules for livestock vessels.
This statement and additional information following public consultation by the Commission on this topic at the end of 2002 is set out on the European Commission's website under the work of the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General.

Lobsters

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to introduce a statutory instrument to ban the landing of buried lobsters; and if she will make a statement. [106757]

We have held a consultation exercise with the industry and there was broad consensus that, in the absence of an established European management regime, we should act to provide additional protection for lobster stocks. As soon as resources become available we will publish a draft Statutory Instrument to prevent the landing of buried lobsters. This will be subject to the normal consultation process.

Power Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the sulphur bubble she calculates arises from power stations operating during 1996 to 2000. [106466]

I presume that this question refers to a sulphur dioxide 'bubble' in a national plan under the revised Large Combustion Plant Directive (2001/80/EC) for plants that were in existence in 1987. We have a choice whether to implement the revised Directive for these plants by the emission limits approach or by adopting the national plan approach. Measures under the Directive would apply to these plants from 2008. If we adopted the national plan approach, we expect power stations in the electricity supply industry to contribute about 66 per cent. to the calculation of the bubble, which would be about 177 kilo tonnes. This is based on current information about operation of these plants between 1996 and 2000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the quantity of coal to be burnt in UK power stations in 2010; and if she will make a statement. [106471]

I have been asked to reply.The most recent energy projections for the UK, published as Energy Paper 68 in November 2000, show an estimated range for coal demand in the major power stations of approximately nine to 20 million tonnes of oil equivalent in the year 2010. This corresponds to a coal tonnage of around 15 to 31 million tonnes. The estimated range is based on two different energy price assumptions, a working assumption for the means by which operators would react to the revised large combustion plant directive and a number of other assumptions.As noted in supporting material published alongside the Energy White Paper, coal burn in electricity generation over the past couple of years has been higher than levels that might have been expected based on Energy Paper 68. In the light of recent market experience and policy developments we will be moving on to review the projections.Illustrative figures in supporting material to the Energy White Paper indicate that coal can continue to make a significant contribution to the UK's future energy needs, but the White Paper acknowledges that coal may face increasing pressures from an environmental perspective.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the terms of reference are of ENTEC to consider the New Large Combustion Plants Directive; and if she will make a statement. [106472]

ENTEC is undertaking consultancy work on the revised Large Combustion Plant Directive (2001/80/EC) for plant that were in existence in 1987. This work is primarily focussing on establishing the costs and benefits of the implementation options under the revised Directive. We have a choice whether to implement the revised Directive for these plants by the emission limits approach or by adopting the national plan approach, and results from the consultancy work will inform our decision. Measures under the Directive would apply to these plants from 2008.

Rural Payments Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for delays in payments to farmers by the Rural Payments Agency regarding set-aside land after grass crops; and what information the Rural Payments Agency may require in order to effect the payments as speedily as possible. [106847]

The payments to farmers to which the hon. Member refers result from a decision of the European Court of Justice in a case concerning penalties imposed in the United Kingdom for set-aside following grass. That decision was subsequently clarified in a judgment of the High Court of England and Wales on 14 November 2002.Defra lawyers are currently awaiting a response from the NFU lawyers in respect of those farmers in the group litigation. Of those 260 farmers affected by the judgment who are not in the group litigation, 188 have already been contacted for further information relating to the cultivation and harvesting of grass from the areas of land that had been the subject of penalties. 27 of these cases have been rejected as not meeting the relevant criteria for settlement.

Six-Day Rule

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) farming unions and (b) organisers of rural fairs and festivals regarding the effect of the six-day rule. [106699]

Defra Ministers and officials regularly meet and correspond with farming union representatives and other stakeholders, including agricultural shows organisers, on a number of animal health matters.

Water Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many water meters were installed in houses (a) in England and Wales and (b) in the Buckingham constituency in 2001–02. [106381]

The net increase in the number of household customers charged on the basis of metering for the year 2001–02, in England and Wales, was 230,915.Information is not collected on a constituency basis.

International Development

Aid Convoy Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with aid agencies about protection for aid convoys being provided by the British military. [106961]

The UK military is working to establish safe and secure environments in the areas of Iraq it controls. This will allow humanitarian agencies to enter and provide humanitarian assistance where it is needed. It is likely that some areas will be made secure quickly; others will take longer.NGOs based in Kuwait have been given passes to enter southern Iraq and are intending to enter soon. The UN is carrying out its own security assessment of parts of southern Iraq, the results of which will determine the timing of UN operations there.Aid agencies prefer to operate within a 'humanitarian space' made secure by the controlling forces rather than being directly escorted by military forces. The latter could be seen to undermine the independence and impartiality the agencies require to gain access to those in need.

Hague Convention

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to encourage countries to sign the Hague Convention. [106914]

Our objective is to support countries in their plans to eliminate poverty. Our discussions with them focus on the most effective way we can work in partnership with them to achieve this.

Hipc

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms are in place to ensure the proper ownership of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative by debtor nations. [106185]

The enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative was agreed by the international community at the Annual Meetings of the World bank and the IMF in September 1999. These institutions work jointly with the HIPC countries to assess the level of debt relief required to bring debt sustainability ratios down to the HIPC thresholds-150 per cent. debt to export earnings and 250 per cent. debt to government revenue. Linked to this process, countries are required to develop national poverty reduction strategies setting out how government resources, including savings from debt relief, will be spent. These strategies, which are produced in consultation with civil society and donors, are increasingly owned and led by the countries themselves, reflecting a fundamental change in the relationship between donors and developing country partners.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking, along with other donor country governments, to improve long-term debt sustainability in heavily indebted poor countries. [106191]

The UK, along with other donors, is committed to countries exiting the HIPC process with sustainable levels of debt. The World bank and the IMF have agreed to provide additional debt relief at Completion Point to those countries that have suffered a fundamental change in their economic circumstances due to external shocks. The UK is pressing these institutions to widen their approach to topping up, so that any HIPC eligible country facing unsustainable debts, that has demonstrated its commitment to poverty reduction and economic reform, should qualify for this additional relief. It is essential that countries take strong measures to improve their economic position in order to maintain long term debt sustainability. This means strengthening their debt management offices, taking out new borrowing on concessional terms only, and diversifying their export markets. Through the multi donor HIPC Capacity Building Programme, we are helping countries to learn to plan and manage their debt more effectively, and to negotiate with their creditors better terms on their external debts.

Humanitarian Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for how many protracted humanitarian crises the UK Government is providing aid (a) directly and (b) through the UN. [106143]

My Department is providing aid to 13 protracted humanitarian crises, some of the funding goes through the UN agencies and other humanitarian agencies.

  • Afghanistan
  • Burma
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Guinea
  • Liberia
  • Iraq
  • Palestine
  • Sierra Leone
  • Southern Africa
  • North Korea
  • Cote D'Ivoire
  • North Caucasus

Infant Malnutrition

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information she has collated on the number of children aged under five years who have died of malnutrition in each of the last five years in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Cote d'Ivoire,(c) Ethiopia, (d) Iraq, (e) Malawi, (f) Palestine and (g) Pakistan. [106530]

Malnutrition is rarely a direct cause of death in children. However, it is frequently an underlying cause, and estimates suggest it is a contributing factor in over 50 per cent. of all deaths in children under five years of age. This is because malnourished children have lowered resistance to infection, and are more likely to die from common diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.Because it is normally a contributing factor rather than a direct cause, reliable figures on numbers of deaths from malnutrition are difficult to obtain, and tend not to reflect the true nature of the situation. The proportion of children under the age of five years who are underweight is generally considered a better measure on nutritional status within a particular country. National data is rarely available on an annual basis, but the most recent figures, and the total number of deaths in children under the age of five years are given in the table for the countries you have requested.

CountryPercentage of under-fives underweight (1995–2000)Under 5 mortalityrate (per 1000 livebirths), 2000
Afghanistan48257
Cote d'Ivoire21173
Ethiopia47174
Iraq16130
Malawi25188
Palestine425
Pakistan38110

Sources:

Unicef and WDI

Iran

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which aid projects her Department supports in Iran. [106131]

Since 1999 my Department has been supporting the work of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation in Iran for medical and sanitary support for Iraqi refugees from the southern marsh area of Iraq, both in and outside of designated refugee camps. This support so far has been for a total of £1.45 million.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contingency plans she has to provide reconstruction assistance to Iraq in the event of no further resolution being made by the United Nations relating to reconstruction in Iraq. [106189]

A UN mandate for reconstruction is a legal requirement for UK involvement in significant reform of Iraqi institutions, and a precondition for the engagement of the World bank, the International Monetary Fund and many countries.Without a UN mandate the UK's assistance would have to be limited to providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring the continuity of the civil administration, according to our obligations under the Geneva and Hague conventions governing armed conflict.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to reestablish a logistical distribution team, funded by her Department, to handle the distribution of humanitarian aid in Iraq. [106962]

DFID's policy is to work through partner agencies such as the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs who have relevant expertise and local experience in the distribution of humanitarian assistance.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Basra, Iraq. [106958]

Our daily published reports on the humanitarian situation in Iraq have reported regularly on the situation in Basra and the problems with water supplies.The World Health Organisation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and others are very concerned about the possible health impact of ongoing water supply problems in Basra. We share these concerns. The ICRC are working to try to maintain and improve supplies.

Western Sahara

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has made available to Saharan people living in refugee camps. [105624]

DFID's assistance to the Saharawi refugees is channelled through contributions to the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). We believe that this collaborative approach towards funding, alongside our international partners, represents the best way of addressing the problems faced by the refugee population.A global plan for assistance to the Saharawi was agreed by the EC in May last year. This will provide 14.34 million euros (approximately £9 million) of assistance over a 15 month period. This brings the total assistance provided since 1993 to over 95 million euros, including over 79 million euros in food aid programme co-ordinated by ECHO, the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Approximately 19 per cent. of this funding comes from my Department's budget.DFID also supports refugees through UNHCR including, but not specifically, Saharawi in camps in Algeria. My Department signed a four year Institutional Strategy Paper with UNHCR in 2002 which guarantees the agency core funding for each year of the partnership. For 2003 this contribution is £14 million. As this contribution is unearmarked it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the £14 million is spent in the context of this specific refugee situation.

Transport

Bus Companies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of bus companies' income in 2002 was generated from (a) local and (b) national subsidies. [106454]

Based on statistics for England (including London) in 2001–02, 25 per cent. of total bus company income was provided by local authorities and Transport for London, in the form of subsidy for bus services and reimbursement of concessionary fares. 10 per cent. was provided by my Department in the form of Bus Service Operators Grant (formerly called Fuel Duty Rebate).

Daylight Saving

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) the change in the number of lives lost per year and (b) the economic benefits if Britain adopted daylight saving. [106672]

I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 28 March 2003, Official Report, column 410W.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the expenditure of his Department on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in 2002. [106310]

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 15 January 2003, Official Report, column 623W.

Departmental Running Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the running costs in 2002 were of (a) his Ministers private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff. and (b) his Department. [105990]

My Department was formed on 29 May 2002. Information in relation departmental running costs for 2002–03 will be published shortly in departmental appropriation and resource accounts.

Eu Second Railway Package

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of the EU Second Railway Package. [107266]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Transport, to my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Falkirk East (Mr. Connarty) on the 2 April 2003, Official Report, columns 703–05W.

Maritime And Coastguard Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many contracts the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has given to independent assessors in the last two years; and what assessors were appointed to the Humber. [106786]

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) appointed an assessor in December 2001 in order to observe the transitional arrangements made by Associated British Ports to overcome the strike by their former pilots on the Humber. His findings are included in the Department's report on the new Humber pilotage service, which was published in April 2002.

Maritime Inspections

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) qualifications and (b) training are required for Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspectors to inspect living and working conditions on UK registered ships. [106859]

On entry to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), marine surveyors must have a master mariner or chief engineer qualification, or a relevant maritime degree. Qualifications and experience are supplemented by internal training and guidance based on International Labour Organization (ILO) and UK requirements.In-service training is provided by experienced surveyors and a specialist food and hygiene inspector. The MCA also uses a competency framework to maintain and develop its surveyor skills, which includes Ship Health and Safety and Welfare. Training is kept under review.

Ministerial Meetings

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meetings of the 27 and 28 March with European transport ministers. [107366]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend. the Minister for Transport, to my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Falkirk East (Mr. Connarty) on the 2 April 2003, Official Report, columns 703–05W.

Rail Cards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Association of Train Companies regarding the use of railcards for train journeys costing less than £10; and what his policy is on encouraging short journeys by train. [106424]

Ministers have frequent discussions with representatives of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), al: which a range of issues have been discussed, including their proposals for the use of the South East Network card. The availability of rail cards are not regulated. Decisions on its availability and conditions of use are therefore a matter for the train operators.

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on (a) recent changes and (b) planned changes to (i) funding arrangements for freight on the railways and (ii) his Department's strategy for increasing the volume of freight carried on Britain's rail network. [104939]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) on 25 February 2003, Official Report, column 486W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research has been used to assess passenger (a) personal security and (b) perceptions about their surroundings on the railways; and if he will make a statement. [106888]

The Department is currently reviewing passenger perceptions of personal security in public transport journeys. This review follows on from earlier Departmental research published in 1997. We are also currently identifying good practice on on-train personal security. Part of this work includes considering the perceptions of passengers.Analysing the perceptions of rail passengers has also been included in recent research projects to find out the transport needs of women, older people, and people from minority ethnic communities.The Secure Stations Scheme is a national accreditation scheme recognising set standards of good practice in rail station, staff and passenger security. An independent survey of passenger perceptions is undertaken as part of the station's application process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidences of arson on the railways there were in each year since 1995, broken down by (a) train operating company and (b) line. [87629]

[pursuant to his reply, 17 December 2002, c. 685 W]: There is no legal obligation for the industry to report the TOC involved in an incident reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). However, since January 2000 the industry has agreed to record the TOC on a voluntary basis. Line details are reportable under RIDDOR but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has only been able to capture this information since January 2000 with the introduction of its new database system.A table provided by the HSE, which records details of arson instances between January 2000 and March 2002 including the TOC and line involved, has been deposited in the Libraries of the House. In addition, a table provided by the British Transport Police on the number of reported incidents of arson since 1999 has also been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Stansted Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reasons underlie the differences between the projected capacity figures for the three expansion options for Stansted Airport outlined in The Future of Air Transport in the South East and SERAS report No. 51. [106503]

The terminal capacities for both the one and three additional runway options at Stansted presented in the "Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" do not differ from those quoted in the SERAS report No. 51 (Stansted options five and seven). Both documents quote capacities of 82 and 129 million passengers per annum (mppa) respectively.The consultation option for two new runways at Stansted was developed as a variant in the early stages of the study and is presented in the "SERAS Stage One Appraisal Findings report (section 4.1.9)". The capacity quoted for this option in the consultation document and that report is 102 mppa. Copies of all reports are available in the House Libraries.

Northern Ireland

Crime (Clear-Up Rate)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the clear-up rate for crime was in each of the District Council Units in Belfast in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [106238]

The following table shows notifiable offences recorded and cleared by the police in each of the District Command Units in Belfast for the period January—December 2002.These figures are provisional and may be subject to revision.

District Command UnitRecordedClearedClearance rate (percentage)
Belfast East8,2571,21014.7
Belfast North12,3151,52312.4
Belfast South18,3732,73714.9
Belfast West6,2311,25920.2

Hmp Maghaberry

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to implement the recommendations set out in the recent report on HMP Maghaberry by HM Inspector of Prisons and to ensure that more female officers and managers are deployed in Mourne House. [106049]

The Northern Ireland Prison Service have in place an action plan to implement the accepted recommendations contained in the HM Inspector of Prisons Report on Maghaberry Prison. The Service has also commissioned a feasibility study to address female

Number of firearms, ammunition and explosives recovered: 1 January 1996 to 28 February 2003
Belfast areaNorthern Ireland
YearFirearmsAmmunitionExplosives (Kgs)FirearmsAmmunitionExplosives (Kgs)
1996251,318452.239710,7011,677.03
1997364,00187.461058,8041,257.70
1998213,314209.568812,189883.35
1999385,8622.3511316,47289.26
2000426,06431.5913410,722311.21
2001343,50015.409710,986119.58
2002386,6882.1012513,6008.21
2003181202.33241,57112.82
Total24230,867803.0278385,0454,359.16
1 28 February

prisoner and immigration detainee accommodation in light of a recent Strategic Prison Estate Review. The deployment of staff within the Service takes account of operational requirements and must be in line with equal opportunities regulations.

Murders

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many murder cases in Northern Ireland opened in the last 30 years remain unsolved. [106239]

Four hundred and eighty-six murders remain unsolved from 1987 to 2003. Statistics were not held on computer prior to 1987 and the information requested from 1973 to 1986 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Police (Lisburn)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police officers are attached to the Lisburn District Command Unit; and what plans there are to increase this number. [106870]

On 1 April 2003 the complement of police officers in Lisburn District Command Unit was as follows:

Police OfficersNumber
Regular Officers217
Full-time Reserve Officers89
Part-time Reserve Officers58
The Police Service in consultation with the Policing Board has produced a human resource planning strategy to ensure that there is sufficient support for operational policing. There will also be a redeployment of police officers from many Headquarters roles which should see an increase of officers in District Command Units over the next three years.

Weapons Finds

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many finds of arms and bomb making material there have been in (a) Belfast and (b) Northern Ireland in each year since 1996. [105910]

Note:

  • 1. The following types of incidents are included:
    • Weapons, ammunition and explosives recovered as a result of a person/rummage search (e.g. house/vehicle searches).
    • Ammunition recovered as a result of intimidation incidents (e.g. bullets received in mail).
    • Weapons, ammunition and explosives found by members of the public.
    • Other violent incidents where weapons/ammunition have been used and recovered (e.g. armed robberies).
    • Paramilitary style attacks involving shootings where weapons/ammunition have been recovered.
  • 2. Explosives recovered figures have beer supplied by the army and exclude those seized as a result of ATO defusing devices.
  • 3. Belfast area includes those PSNI stations covered by Belfast east, Belfast west, Belfast north and Belfast south DCUs.
  • 2002 and 2003 statistics are provisional and are subject to minor amendment.

    Culture, Media And Sport

    Departmental Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) the total budget and (b) the cost of administration were in the latest year for which figures are available for (i) her Department and (ii) each of the non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department. [105009]

    As published in the Department's resource accounts 2001–02, the total budget and administration costs of the Department were £33,032,000 and £31,584,000 respectively.The total budgets of the non-departmental bodies sponsored by the Department are listed in Note 7, Section M, to the resource accounts 2001–02 under the estimate column. Copies of the Department's resource accounts may be obtained from the Library of the House.Information on administration costs of each of the non-departmental bodies is not held centrally and can be obtained from the bodies' annual reports and accounts for 2001–02, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the running costs in 2002 were of (a) her Ministers' private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff, and (b) her Department. [105999]

    The running costs information relating to the Ministers' private offices and the Department for 2001–02 is shown in the table. Figures for the running costs for 2002–03 will be published later in the year in the departmental resource accounts 2002–03.

    FY 2001–02(£ millions)
    DCMS running costs31.584
    Ministers' private offices running costs1.667
    Ministers' private offices staff costs1.263

    Departmental Staff

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff were employed by (a) her Department and (b) each of the non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department in each of the last five years. [105010]

    Staff

    2003475
    2002468
    2001405
    2000400
    1999372

    The Department does not maintain a central record of staff within each of the non-departmental bodies sponsored by us. This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures are in place to ensure that British broadcasters do not violate the Geneva Convention in their coverage of the war in Iraq. [106221]

    [holding answer 1 April 2003]: The ITC establish high standards in relation to privacy and human dignity by placing, in their programme code, certain requirements on UK broadcasters. These include guidance on respect for human dignity and treatment of minorities. Broadcasters must adhere to these rules and respect them as regards prisoners of war. Equally these rules apply to the treatment of footage of dead soldiers and civilians. I expect that current ITC regulations will prevent the violation of the Geneva Convention occurring in material broadcast from a UK licensed service.BBC producers' guidelines also recognise the principles of the Geneva Convention. The BBC believes that its editorial policies are fully consistent with the principles of the Geneva Convention. Their editorial policies (which are in the public domain) include guidelines on the coverage of casualties, death and injury and prisoners of war.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will investigate whether there has been a violation of the Geneva Convention by the BBC following their televising of film of United States soldiers held by Iraq as prisoners of war; and if she will make a statement. [106222]

    [holding answer 1 Apri1 2003]: The BBC producers' guidelines recognise the principles of the Geneva Convention; individual editorial decisions on content are ultimately matters for the BBC Board of Governors.

    Staff Numbers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff are employed by her Department. [106292]

    Education And Skills

    Academic Achievement

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on academic achievement at (a) Key Stage 3, (b) GCSE and (c) A-level for pupils from pupil referral units in each academic year since 1997. [102557]

    (a) Key Stage 3 Test for pupils in Pupil Referral Units in England 1997–2002
    199719981999200020012002
    Percentage of pupils achieving level 5 or above
    English793457
    Mathematics14117101316
    Science107361011
    Number of eligible pupils
    English301381742581730741
    Mathematics331419811627781784
    Science324406779599751778
    (b) GCSE/GNVQ achievements of 15 year old pupils in Pupil Referral Units in England 1997–2002
    199719981999200020012002
    Percentage achieving
    5 or more grades A*—C0.60.80.70.61.11.5
    1 or more grades A*—G36.245.243.263.162.763.0
    Number of 15 year old pupils3,8533,8354,1393,0043,0812,960

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 24 February, ref 96714, what assessment he has made of the impact of narrow in-school variation on value-added standards of achievement at Key Stage 3 and GCSE. [100255]

    The variation within schools in pupils' Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 attainment is only slightly associated statistically with the progress they make during Key Stage 3 (as indicated by the 2002 Performance Tables school-level Key Stage 2–3 Value Added measure). In general, the smaller the variation in Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 performance between pupils within their schools, the marginally greater the level of aggregate relative progress recorded by the value added measure. These features are also evident in the progress made during Key Stage 4.

    Autism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) autism units attached to maintained schools, (b) generic special schools and (c) autism specialist schools there were in Kent in each year since 1997. [105864]

    The Department for Education and Skills does not currently hold this information centrally. The total number of special schools in Kent in each of the years 1998 to 2002 is shown in the following table:

    Special schools
    MaintainedNon-maintainedTotal
    199834438
    199931435
    200030434

    The tables refer to the Key Stage 3 and GCSE achievements of pupils solely registered at Pupil Referral Units at the time of the tests and examinations. These pupils are not obliged to take Key Stage 3 tests nor GCSE examinations.Information on the GCE A level achievement of pupils in PRUs is not readily available. Very few students in the PRUs take A-levels and for some years there are no students at all.

    Special schools
    MaintainedNon-maintainedTotal
    200129433
    200229433
    Kent local education authority has informed the DfES that there are seven specifically designated resourced mainstream maintained provisions for children and pupils on the autistic spectrum in Kent, in addition 119 Ken: maintained mainstream schools meet the needs of pupils with statements of special educational need w here the primary need type is identified as autism and the need is described as very severe and complex. Many other Kent maintained mainstream schools meet the needs of pupils on the autistic spectrum, some with statements of special educational needs and others without.There is no DfES definition of a generic special school. However the Kent authority has told us that there is one Kent special school which meets the needs of pupils with both moderate learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties, which may be one definition of "generic". There will be many other Kent special schools which cater for children with a range of special needs.None of the Kent maintained special schools is specifically designated for children with autism. However there are 16 that will meet the needs of pupils who are on the autistic spectrum and there are other special schools which will take pupils who have needs associated with autism.

    There are also a number of independent and non-maintained schools in Kent that make provision for pupils with primary autistic needs.

    Classroom Sizes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what average classroom sizes

    Maintained primary and secondary schools1: average size of one teacher classes2Position in January each year.
    JarrowSouth TynesideNorth EastEngland
    PrimarySecondaryPrimarySecondaryPrimarySecondaryPrimarySecondary
    199726.422.727.022.727.222.027.521.7
    199826.222.026.922.527.322.227.721.7
    199925.922.426.222.826.722.327.521.9
    200025.422.125.822.726.222.127.122.0
    200125.521.725.822.425.822.126.722.0
    200224.821.825.222.025.321.826.321.9
    1 Includes middle schools as deemed.
    2 Classes as taught during the one selected period in each school on the day of the census in January.

    Source:

    Annual Schools Census

    Graduate Tax

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) when he will publish details of the principal alternative models of university and student funding which Hs Department has considered; [104662](2) if he will publish details of the principal variations on a graduate tax which his Department has considered; [104663](3) what assessment has been made of the financial implications for

    (a) the Exchequer, (b) students and (c) universities of the principal variants on a graduate tax which his Department has considered;[104664]

    (4) what assessment has been made of the financial implications for (a) students, (b) universities and (c) Exchequer of the principal alternatives for a flat, non-differential tuition fee structure which his Department has considered. [104665]

    [holding answer 31 March 2003]: I will write to the hon. Member shortly and will place a copy of the letter in the House of Commons Library.

    Materials Science

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will introduce an AS/A level course in materials science. [105774]

    There are currently no plans to introduce an AS/A level course in materials science.

    Parenting Orders

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parenting orders have been sought by and granted to schools in the Buckingham constituency since July 2001. [106369]

    The information requested is not collected centrally. However, Buckinghamshire local education authority advises that local magistrates have granted parenting orders in nine of the cases it has brought to prosecution since July 2001.

    were in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north east and (d) England in each year since 1997. [105853]

    Pupil Exclusions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many decisions taken by schools in the Buckingham constituency permanently to exclude pupils were reversed by independent appeal panels in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02. [106010]

    Information on exclusion appeals is collected at local education authority (LEA) level. The available information for Buckinghamshire LEA is shown in the table. Figures for the academic year 2001–02 will be available in May 2002.

    Summary of school exclusion appeals in academic years 1999–2000 and 2000–01: Buckinghamshire LEA
    Exclusions appeals by parents
    HeardDecided in Parents'Favour
    Lodged

    Number
    NumberPercentage1Number Percentage2
    Primary, Secondary and Special Schools
    1999–200010880.0450.0
    2000–01161381.3646.2
    1 Shown as a percentage of appeals lodged.
    2 Shown as a percentage of appeals heard.

    Source:

    School Exclusion Appeals Survey

    Pupil Setting

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the guidelines are to local education authorities with regard to the in-school setting of pupils by ability at secondary level; [105402](2) what proportion of state secondary schools he estimates set pupils by ability at Year 7; [105403](3) for which

    (a) subjects and (b) year groups it is (i) mandatory and (ii) optional to set classes of pupils by ability at secondary school level. [105405]

    Setting by pupil ability is not mandatory in any subject in secondary schools. We have not issued general guidelines to local education authorities over approaches to in-school setting of pupils, although we have encouraged setting as part of a range of measures which schools can adopt to meet the learning needs of their more able pupils.We do not collect data on setting in secondary schools. Within about 87 per cent. of the secondary schools inspected by Ofsted during 2001/02 at least one setted/banded lesson was inspected.Ofsted also found that the level of setting increases throughout Key Stage 3, from 26 per cent. of lessons inspected in Year 7, to 38 per cent. in Year 8, rising to 44 per cent. in Year 9, with setting much more common in subjects such as mathematics, science, modern foreign languages and English.

    Sats

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what change there has been in SAT results of primary schools students over the last five years. [106512]

    The National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies have brought about significant improvements in primary school test results over the last five years. The tables below show the percentage of seven and 11 year olds achieving the expected level in the Key Stage 1 and 2 tests.

    Key Stage 1 test results (percentage of children achieving level 2 or above)
    199819992000200120021
    English2
    Reading8082838484
    Writing8183848686
    Spelling6671727578
    Mathematics8487909190
    1 Provisional
    2 There is no overall English result at Key Stage 1.
    Key Stage 2 test results ( percentage of children achieving level 4 and above)
    199819992000200120021
    English6571757575
    Mathematics5969727173
    Science6978858786
    1 Provisional

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of school pupils achieved level 4 at Key Stage 2 in (a) English and (b) maths in (i) England and (ii) schools in the Buckingham constituency in 2002. [106766]

    The percentage of pupils achieving Level 4 or above in the 2002 Key Stage 2 tests in (i) England and (ii) schools in the Buckingham constituency:

    Percentage
    English
    Buckingham83
    England75
    Mathematics
    Buckingham80
    England73

    School Absences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many unauthorised absences there were in each school in each year since 1998, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [104595]

    [holding answer 24 March 2003]: I will write to the h an. Member with the information when it is available, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library.

    School Exclusions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will reverse the policy on exclusion in secondary schools. [105539]

    [holding answer 31 March 2003]: As a result of the SEN and Disability Act 2001, children who have statements of special educational needs (SEN), have a stronger right to mainstream education where this is what their parents want, and where it is compatible with the efficient education of other children. The Act also amended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to provide protection from discrimination for disabled pupils and prospective pupils, and introduced duties on LEAs and schools to plan strategically to increase access to schools for disabled pupils.There are strong educational, as well as social and moral, grounds for educating children with SEN or disabilities with their peers, and we believe that with the right strategies and support, the vast majority of children with special educational needs or disabilities can be included in a mainstream school. An increasing number of schools are showing that an inclusive approach can reinforce a commitment to higher standards of achievement for all children. This approach applies equally to early years settings, primary, and secondary schools. However, we also see a continuing and vital role for special schools, and are currently consulting on the proposals of the Special Schools Working Group, who have made recommendations on how special schools could work with mainstream schools to further develop their role within the Government's inclusion framework.

    Special Educational Needs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children per 1,000 are issued with a statement of special needs in (a) Haltemprice and Howden and (b) the East Riding of Yorkshire. [105234]

    As at January 2002 there were 420 children attending schools in Haltemprice and Howden with statements of SEN. This equates to 26.7 pupils in every 1,000.For East Riding of Yorkshire there were 1,264 pupils attending schools with statements of SEN which equates to 23.9 pupils in every 1,000.

    This data is derived from Annual Schools' Census returns made by schools to the Department in January each year.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the gender ratio is of pupils (a) receiving special education and (b) statemented in mainstream schools, on account of emotional and behavioural difficulties; and if he will make a statement on (i) provision of places and (ii) appropriateness of educational experience among teachers in the light of that ratio. [105310]

    The available information is shown in the table.There is currently no requirement for schools to submit information in the Annual Schools' Census on the nature of such pupils' disability or learning difficulty. However, in June 2001, the Department carried out a pilot study involving a sample of 200 mainstream and special schools to assess whether it would be possible to collect data from schools on a broad range of types of Special Educational Needs (SEN). From January 2004 the Department is planning to ask schools and Local Education Authorities to provide this information.Local Education Authorities and schools have statutory responsibilities under the Education Act 1996 to identify, assess and make appropriate provision for children with special educational needs, including those with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Guidance on carrying out those responsibilities is given in the Speicial Educational Needs Code of Practice.

    Maintained Primary Secondary and Special Schools: Ratio Boys: Girls with Special Educational Needs January 2002 England
    1Maintained Primary1Maintained Secondary2Maintained Special
    SEN Pupils without statementsPupils with statementsSEN Pupils without statementsPupils with statementsSEN Pupils without statementsPupils with statements
    Ratio boys: girls1.8:12.5:11.7:12.6:12.3:12.1:1
    1 Includes middle schools as deemed.
    2 Excludes General Hospital Schools.