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Written Answers

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 14 April 2003

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Bird Registration Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to publish the results of her Department's review of its Bird Registration Scheme. [107933]

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Assembly have completed the public consultation on the bird registration scheme.The consultation provoked over 400 responses from individuals; groups and organisations known to have an interest in schedule 4 and other birds; central and local government organisations; police forces and other enforcement agencies. A summary is being made available on the Department's website.Having analysed the responses, Defra and the Welsh Assembly have decided to:

retain the Bird Registration Scheme; but to
remove the requirement to re-register birds every three years
treat birds already identifiable with an approved CITES mark as having sufficient marking for registration purposes under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
invite their statutory advisers, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, to review the statutory criteria for listing birds under schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

We will now be working to draft the legislation needed to bring these changes into force. The law is unlikely to change before September 2003.

Combustion Plants

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the costs to industry of the adoption of (a) emission limit values and (b) a national emission reduction plan under the revised Large Combustion Plants Directive; [108552](2) whether

(a) a power station and (b) generating unit are treated as combustion plants under the revised Large Combustion Plants Directive;[108554]

(3) whether emission trading will be possible under a national emission reduction plan within the revised Large Combustion Plants Directive. [108553]

The Government are currently considering the implementation of the revised Large Combustion Plant Directive (2001/80/EC), in particular, the costs and benefits of the options.Article 2(7) of the revised Directive defines a combustion plant as "any technical apparatus in which fuels are oxidised in order to use the heat thus generated". It provides for certain qualifications and exceptions to this definition (eg exclusion of gas turbines licensed before 27 November 2002) which do not constitute combustion plants for the purposes of the Directive.Article 1 of the revised Directive provides that it only applies to combustion plants (as defined in Article 2), "the rated thermal input of which is equal to or greater than 50MW, irrespective of the type of fuel used (solid, liquid or gaseous)".Accordingly, if a power station or generating unit falls within the provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Directive and does not benefit from any of the exclusions set out in Article 2(7), it will constitute a combustion plant for the purposes of the revised Directive.Article 4(6) of the revised Directive, which deals with the implementation of the Directive via a "national emission reduction plan" specifies the requirements that those plans must include, which among others comprise "objectives and related targets, measures and timetables for reaching those objectives and targets, and a monitoring mechanism" (Article 4(6) (a)). This Article further provides that "the national emission plan shall reduce the total annual emission of nitrogen oxides (NO

x ), sulphur dioxide (S02 ) and dust from existing plants to the levels that would have been achieved by applying the emission limit values referred to in paragraph 3 to the existing plants in operation in the year 2000".

There is nothing in the revised Directive to prohibit emissions trading in the context of a national emission reduction plan, though any emissions trading would have to comply with all other requirements of Community law, including rules of competition and state aids.

Countryside Access

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to publish regulations relating to the exclusion and restriction of access under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [108796]

Regulations on exclusions and restrictions of access are currently being finalised and I expect to be in a position to lay them by the end of May 2003.

Websites

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) cost of and (b) number of visitors to each website operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible in each year since its establishment. [107631]

The cost of and number of visitors to the main Defra website (www.defra.gov.uk) for each financial year since the formation of the Department in June 2001 are as follows.

Year

Cost (£)

Number of visitors

2001–021525,0001,607,966
2002–032623,0001,418,515

1 From June 2001.

2 To end February 2003.

The Sustainable Development web site www. sustainable-development.gov.uk has running costs of approximately £20–25,000 per annum in the period since June 2001, including start-up costs for subsidiary sites. Numbers of visitors are not readily available for the full period since June 2001 but currently average approximately 12,000 visitors per month.

A number of other smaller websites are operated by the Department, for which costs are incorporated within the budgets for specific programmes and not separately identified. Corresponding information is not held centrally for other websites managed by the Department's agencies and non-Departmental public bodies, and could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

European Working Groups

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress with achieving transparency in respect of the European working groups for which the Department is responsible. [105732]

The Government have long been committed to greater openness in the EU Institutions. This was a key theme of the UK Presidencies in 1992 and 1998. Making it easier to gain access to non-sensitive documents is crucial to this. The Government welcomed Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. As a result, more documents are released to the public, while genuinely sensitive documents are given the protection they need.Accountability and transparency of Council business to Parliament are ensured by the scrutiny process, to which the Government are also firmly committed.We strongly supported the measures agreed at the Seville European Council to make the Council more open when in legislating mode. We remain committed to increasing transparency. The Future of Europe Convention is also looking at ways to make the EU more open.

Farm Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to channel production-linked farm subsidies into rural development schemes. [107806]

Government have redirected, and match funded, a proportion of production linked subsidy payments into rural development measures since 2001. In the current negotiations on CAP reform we are pressing for both a shift in support from production-linked subsidies to environmental and rural development measures and a significant increase in the UK's share of current EU funding for rural development programmes. We are committed to increasing expenditure on the England Rural Development Programme. The detailed arrangements for delivering this commitment will depend on the outcome of the on-going negotiations on the reform of the CAP.

Fur Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 644W, on fur farming, whether the compensation scheme for fur farmers is in conformity with the Human Rights Act 1998. [108035]

On Thursday 13 March 2003 the High Court gave judgment quashing the Fur Farming (Compensation Scheme) (England) Order 2002. The Government's view is that the compensation scheme conforms with Human Rights legislation. An application has been made to appeal.

Over-30-Months Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the value for money of (a) direct incineration and (b) rendering followed by incineration of carcases under the Over-30-Month Scheme. [108928]

The cost of rendering and subsequent incineration of rendered products is less expensive than that of the direct incineration of cattle carcases. However, there are some benefits to the direct incineration of carcases in terms of quicker reimbursement of compensation sums to the Exchequer from the EU. Both methods of disposal are used under the Over-30-Month Scheme and each represent good value for money.

Tallow

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to whom tallow was sold by her Department and its non-departmental public bodies in (a) 2002 and (b) 2003; and for what purposes it was sold. [107816]

In 2002 and 2003, the following companies were contracted to incinerate OTMS tallow:

  • Pointons;
  • Prosper De Mulder (PDM);
  • JG Pears;
  • Lisburn Proteins;
  • Canterbury Mills;
  • William Forrest;
  • Dundas Chemicals; and
  • Ulster farm by products.
All tallow sold is used as a source of energy recovery in that it is used to power the rendering plants.

Water Resources (Cambridge Area)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the adequacy of water resources to sustain the proposed expansion in the number of homes to be built in Cambridge and its environs in (a) the next 10 years and (b) from 2014 and 2024. [108529]

Along with the other water supply companies, Cambridge Water and Anglian Water Services produce water resources plans, which look forward 25 years. These plans are updated annually by the companies, and are reviewed by the Environment Agency for consistency with its national and regional water resources strategies. The proposed housing expansion in and around Cambridge will be factored into this process.

Trade And Industry

Children's Clubs

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on the vetting procedure required for staff employed by British firms operating children's holiday clubs abroad; [107937](2) what measures are required by British holiday companies to ensure staff employed to look after children in

(a) hotel clubs and (b) holiday camps are properly qualified. [107938]

Regulation 15 of The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 states that all Tour Operators are held liable for their customer's safety, this would include children using holiday camps and clubs.The Federation of Tour Operators, who represent 90 per cent. of Tour Operators, recommend in their code of practice that all members should make sure that their children's clubs are supervised at all times by staff who are qualified in child care.

Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department spent on advertising in each of the last five financial years; what the most expensive campaign was in each of these years; and how much these campaigns cost. [109175]

The information requested is as follows:

£
Financial YearAdvertising expenditure (via COI)Most expensive campaignAmount
1998–9913,760,086Action 2000 (all campaigns)8,207,738
1999–200013,341,889Action 2000 (all campaigns)11,619,875
2000–0112,686,309National Minimum Wage3,505,047
2001–027,128,875UK Online for Business2,509,823
2002–03112,284,379SBS business link16,014,079
1Provisional

Trade (Agricultural Products)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will support efforts to ensure that poor countries can protect agricultural products that are important in terms of (a) food security and (b) rural livelihoods; and what plans the Government have to (i) press for reductions i n tariffs for these products and (ii) set limits on the numbers of products that can be protected. [108531]

As part of the current WTO negotiations on agriculture, the Chair of the WTO agriculture negotiations committee, Stuart Harbinson, produced draft agriculture modalities, which included two key proposals aimed at promoting and protecting developing countries' food security and rural livelihoods:

  • 1. developing countries should be allowed to designate a certain number of agricultural products as 'special products' and only minimum tariff reductions would be required on these; and
  • 2. a new special safeguard should be introduced to enable developing countries to protect developing country producers against import surges.
  • The UK Government and the Commission, who negotiate in the WTO on behalf of all EU member states, fully support both these proposals. There will be further technical work on these proposals over the next few months focusing on the detail. The UK Government will contribute fully to that process.

    Export Controls

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will extend the provisions in her Department's Consultation Document on Draft Orders to be made under the Export Control Act 2002 so as to apply the new provision on technical assistance to UK nationals knowingly or unknowingly supplying information on weapons of mass destruction. [106034]

    The scope of the control on the provision of technical assistance in relation to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was drawn up after consultation on the draft Export Control Bill which sought views on the Bill and on the Government's proposals for the content of the secondary legislation. The scope of this control is in line with both the new WMD controls on the transfer by any means of technology and with the WMD provisions contained in the EC Dual-Use Regulation. The EC Dual-Use Regulation requires member states to control the physical export and electronic transfer of dual-use goods or technology which the exporter or transferor knows, or has been informed, is or may be intended use in connection with WMD.The new control on the provision of technical assistance applies to anyone in the UK or any UK person anywhere.

    Correspondence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his letter of 27 February 2003 regarding a constituent. [107209]

    [holding answer 4 April 2003]: I replied to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North on the 5 April 2003.

    E-Envoy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the meetings Ministers in her Department have had with the e-Envoy since his appointment. [105632]

    Since the e-Envoy's appointment in January 2001 DTI Ministers have met him on the following occasions:

    Secretary of State for Trade and industry

    • 5 July 2001
    • 16 July 2001
    • 3 December 2001
    • 4 December 2001
    • 13 February 2002
    • 11 June 2002
    • 4 September 2002
    • 19 November 2002
    • 10 March 2003

    Minister for e-Commerce and competitiveness

    • 23 January 2001
    • 12 February 2001
    • 22 March 2001
    • 5 April 2001
    • 23 April 2001
    • 2 May 2001
    • 14 June 2001
    • 28 June 2001
    • 12 July 2001
    • 11 September 2001
    • 11 October 2001
    • 16 October 2001
    • 23 October 2001
    • 13 November 2001
    • 3 December 2001
    • 13 February 2002
    • 6 June 2002
    • 14 November 2002
    • 12 February 2003
    • 31 March 2003

    Minister for Trade

    • 3 April 2003

    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business

    • 11 July 2001

    Energy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement, in relation to her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible, on (a) the amount of energy consumed, (b) spending on (i) energy and (ii) energy efficiency measures, (c) the amount saved through energy efficiency measures and (d) energy policy in each of the last five years. [108870]

    Details of energy consumed and spending on energy and energy efficiency measures are published in the annual Sustainable Development in Government (formerly Greening Government) report. For ease of reference, details relating to my Department and Executive Agencies for each of the last five years are reproduced in the table.

    Period

    Energy consumed (KWh)

    Energy spend (£)

    Energy efficiency measures spend (£)

    1997–9851,557,1262,312,91530,000
    1998–9951,509,8041,847,81930,000
    1999–200055,744,1482,117,24930,000
    2000–0157,762,6132,095,49160,000
    2001–0251,412,3801,968,873105,000

    The data in columns two and three are aggregates for my Department and its Executive Agencies, the data in column four relates solely to my Department. Disaggregated data could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Definitive quantification of the amount of energy saved through energy efficiency measures is affected by a number of variables such as weather conditions, floor area and number and activities of building occupant, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    My Department's energy is managed within an ISO 14001 certified environmental management system, and energy policy is based on the environmental policy objectives of conserving natural resources and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the United Kingdom oil supply was refined within Wales in the last three years; and how much this represented per head of population. [107535]

    [holding answer 7 April 2003]: There are only two refineries in Wales and the required information is, therefore, regarded as commercially restricted. However, at the end of 2001, refinery processing capacity in Wales was about one-fifth of the total refinery processing capacity of the UK.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the UK (a) electricity and (b) gas supply originated in Wales in the last three years. [107536]

    [holding answer 7 April 2003]: Electricity figures for Wales are not available before 2000. It is estimated that about 8 per cent. of the UK's electricity was generated in Wales in 2000 and the same proportion in 2001.For gas, no supplies originate in Wales, although one pipeline from the Liverpool Bay field comes ashore in Wales.

    Engineering

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations she has received from the engineering profession on changes to the IJK Standards for Registration as a Professional Engineering Technician; [107970](2) what criteria were used in deciding on the proposals for changes to the UK Standards for Registration as a Professional Engineering Technician; [107968]

    (3) what recent discussions she has had with the Engineering Council on the changes in the UK Standards for Registration as a Professional Engineering Technician; [107962.]

    (4) how far the proposed UK Standards for Registration as a Professional Engineering Technician will be compatible with those in other EU countries; [107965]

    (5) what assessment she has made of the extent to which the proposals for changes to the UK Standards for Registration as a Professional Engineering Technician meet the recommendations of the Deering Report. [107969]

    I have not had any discussions on this matter nor received any representations.I understand that the Engineering Council (UK) is consulting extremely widely through major trade associations, training organisations and the engineering institutions about proposals to develop the standards applied in registration of profession engineers and Engineering Technicians in the UK. The intention is to make them more consistent with industry needs. However, no formal proposals yet exist.I know that the Engineering and Technology Board is also considering perceived shortages of Engineering Technicians in order to try and address possible threats to the future productivity of UK industry. The two organisations are working closely together on this and other issues.

    Insurance Premiums

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of increased insurance premiums on the competitiveness of British businesses; and if she will make a statement. [109174]

    In a recent 'omnibus' survey of SMEs for the Small business Service, 28 per cent. of the sample said insurance was an issue for them, although only 3 per cent. said it was the greatest obstacle they faced (competition/sales was most frequently cited as the greatest obstacle, by 24 per cent. of firms). Difficulties with insurance were reported by 19 per cent. of firms surveyed based in England, 22 per cent. in Scotland, 17 per cent. in Wales and 32 per cent. in Northern Ireland. The most common difficulty encountered was high premiums (82 per cent.), followed by non-renewal of cover by an existing insurer (9 per cent.) and inability to obtain cover (5 per cent.). Problems with insurance were most common in the manufacturing (31 per cent. of firms surveyed) and construction (26 per cent.) sectors.The Government also announced on 12 December 2002 details of a review of the operation of the Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance system, one of the objectives which is to

    "Assess the scale and nature of the current difficulties being experienced in relation to ELCI, in particular the extent to which these difficulties are likely to be short-term only, repeated in the future or permanent."

    The review is due to report in spring 2003.

    Iraq (Reconstruction)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the system for awarding commercial contracts for reconstruction in post-conflict Iraq under interim arrangements before a representative Iraqi Government is in place. [108687]

    The awarding of any commercial contracts for reconstruction in post-conflict Iraq will be made in order to assist the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and related efforts until such time as a representative Iraqi authority is in place.

    Langage Power Station Site

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with Wainstones Ltd. about the power station site at Langage, Plymouth; and if she will make a statement. [104709]

    Nuclear Decommissioning

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she has taken to engage stakeholders in plans to create the new Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. [107577]

    My officials are actively engaging with interested stakeholders, in particular, through a rolling series of meetings at regional level. The first round of these meetings is focusing on explaining progress to date and identifying the issues which stakeholders wish to discuss. Subject to their views, the second round in the summer is expected to focus on how the NDA might work with stakeholders with a view to developing a draft stakeholder engagement framework which the NDA can build on once it is in place. This programme of regional events supplements existing arrangements for bilateral dialogue with stakeholders through the BNFL Stakeholder Dialogue, and regular meetings with the nuclear regulators, trade unions, BNFL and UKAEA staff, local authorities, environmental groups and the local liaison committees for individual sites.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value is of the decommissioning and liabilities management fund held by British Energy; and what discussions she has had with British Energy on the release of the decommissioning and liabilities management funds British Energy invested in Sizewell B construction. [107669]

    The value of the Nuclear Decommissioning Fund (NDF) is reported annually in British Energy's report and accounts. I understand from the company that none of the NDF has been spent on the construction of Sizewell B.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 628W, on radioactive waste, if she will list the places identified as possible disposal sites for intermediate level nuclear waste by Nirex in addition to Sellafield and Dounreay. [107699]

    The Department does not hold, and has never held, Nirex's list of these locations.

    The reason given to the House on 10 June 1997 by the then Minister for Science, Industry and Energy, namely that revealing the location of potential sites could unnecessarily cause anxiety to people living nearby, in any case means that it would not be appropriate to disclose the list's contents.

    Parental Leave

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of (a) the number of people in the United Kingdom labour movement and (b) the number of people in her Department who have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive. [108359]

    (a) According to the Autumn 2001 Labour Force Survey there were 7.6 million people in employment who were trade union members. (b) The uptake of parental leave is not centrally recorded within the Department of Trade and Industry: it is agreed locally between staff and their managers.

    Post Offices

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices and sub-post offices there are in each Suffolk constituency; and how many of them transact more than 40 per cent. of their work from paying benefits and pensions. [108626]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 9 January 2003, Official Report, column 299W.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices and sub-post offices there were in Suffolk in each year since 1996. [108629]

    I understand from Post Office Ltd. that historic data on the post office network are not held on a county basis, as the company does not require these data for operational reasons.

    Coal Industry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much coal fired generation capacity she estimates will be taken out of the system by (a) 2008 and (b) 2015. [107981]

    The amount of coal fired generation capacity taken out of the system in future will depend on a range of factors, including energy prices and economic conditions generally, together with any impacts from environmental legislation.In the CH case contained within the most recent official energy projections, published in November 2000 as Energy Paper 68, it was projected that around 14GW of coal plant, including some with dual firing capacity, would close between 2000 and 2010, with little further change by 2015. Since the publication of EP68, coal's competitive position has improved somewhat, leading to relatively high generation from coal plants, in excess of the levels anticipated in Energy Paper 68. My officials are currently beginning the process of formally reviewing the projections and it is expected that the results will feed into other work, including preparations for carbon trading and the review of the UK Climate Change Programme, due in 2004.

    Press Office

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed in her Department's press office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108407]

    There are currently 26 staff employed in the DTI Press Office. On 2 May 1997 there were 24 staff employed.

    Secondments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many individuals have been seconded to her Department from (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) other, in each case listing (i) from which organisation and (ii) dates of secondments, in each year since 1997–98. [108091]

    From records held centrally in my Department, the information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many civil servants have been seconded from her Department to (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) other, broken down by (i) grade of civil servants seconded, (ii) location and (iii) dates of secondments, in each year since 1997–98. [108092]

    From records held centrally in my Department, the information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

    Street Works

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to undertake a full regulatory impact assessment on UK broadband development of the effects of proposed Department of Transport street works legislation before it is introduced to Parliament. [107807]

    I have been asked to reply.The Government intend to legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to allow more effective management of activities in the street, including those carried out by utility companies, to ensure that the disruption these cause is kept to a minimum. A regulatory impact assessment on the impact of these measures on relevant parties, notably local government and utility companies, including the telecommunications sector, will, of course, be made available to Parliament to accompany such a Bill when introduced. Among other things, this will need to deal with any impact on the development of broadband.

    Websites

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the (a) cost of and (b) number of visitors to each website operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible in each year since its establishment. [107632]

    [pursuant to the answer, 10 April 2003, Official Report, c. 395 W]: Following is the information from the Chief Executives of the Agencies. A table containing information on Companies House will be placed in the Library.

    Letter from Dr. J. W. Llewellyn to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    The Secretary for Trade and Industry has asked me to reply on behalf of the National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) to your question on the (a) cost of and (b) number of visitors to each website operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible in each year since its establishment.
    (a) The costs (including salary costs) associated with the website operated by NWML are:

    2001–02: £28K

    2002–03: £44K

    RA website (www.radio.gov.uk) costs and hits statistics 1997 to 2003

    Year

    Costs (not including RA staff costs)

    Number of hits

    1997 (August to December only)Information not available117,203
    1998Information not available533,763
    1999£10,000 (CCTA hosting charge)905,831
    2000£10,000 (CCTA hosting charge)1,701,098
    2001£6,000 (OGC hosting charge)2,000,176
    2002£11,394 (amount paid so far out of £26,000 2-year ISP contract with BT Group)2,503,577

    Letter from Kevin Woodrow to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    I am replying to this parliamentary question, tabled on 3 April 2003, about the cost of the Patent Office's website and the number of visitors to the site. The information requested is shown in the following table:

    Website access statistics

    Year

    Cost (£000)1

    Hits

    Visitors2

    Page Views

    1997971,154,93430,18311,758
    1998534,025,85699,502542,259
    19991158,176,657168,7011,892,535
    20008524,372,014310,24313,461,066
    20018597,188,0471,165,90031,558,590
    2002103246,437,4201,528,29549,638,854

    1 Costs do not include development of web based applications.

    2Visitors are unique visitors per month, added together to give an annual total.

    Letter from Roger Heathcote to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    You tabled a Parliamentary Question on 3 April 2003 to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, asking if she will make a statement on (a) the cost of and (b) the number of visitors to each website operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible in each year since its establishment. I have been asked to reply in respect of the Employment Tribunals Service (ETS), which is an executive agency of the DTI, providing the administrative support for the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Great Britain.

    The ETS operates three web sites—one for the EAT, one for the Employment Tribunals and one for the agency itself.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal website has been operational since July 1999. The site was initially developed and hosted by the CCTA, but transferred to Hyperlink Interactive from April 2002, following the withdrawal of the CCTA hosting service. The table below shows the annual cost of the site and the number of visitors.

    (b) During a one year period November 2001 to October 2002, the total number of visitors to the NWML website was 147,460.

    Letter from Ms R. J. R. Anderson to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    I am attaching a table giving details of annual cost of the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) website, and the number of hits for each year.

    The RA website comprises the core website, which is managed in-house by RA staff, and also an Online Services section of the site, held on a separate server and managed by RA7s IT Partner, Radio Spectrum International (RSI). The online services section includes the Sitefinder mobile phone masts database and the Agency's e-licensing services.

    The figures on the attached table refer only to the core RA website. They simply reflect the service provider costs and do not include staff costs. It is not possible, without incurring disproportionate cost, to include website costs for the Online Service of the site, as these costs are an integral part of the development of the Agency's ongoing e-business programme.

    Costs (£)

    Visits

    Ave/m

    1999–200011,000**
    2000–017,500**
    2001–0224,000**(Transfer and migration costs)
    2002–036,50072,6776,056
    *There are no visitor statistics available prior to the transfer in April 2002

    The Employment Tribunal and the ETS sites have been 'live' since September 2001 and visitor statistics are available from November 2001. The sites are not charged separately, so it is not possible to allocate costs to each site individually. The table below shows the annual cost of the sites and the number of visitors.

    Year

    Costs (£)

    ET Visits

    Ave/m

    ETS Visits

    Ave/m

    2001–0280,00013,5432,6917,2461,449
    2002–0355,500116,8229,73530,6882,557

    The web site usage statistics are compiled on a monthly basis and include the number of 'unique visitors' per month. The figures given are the number of unique visitors per month totalled for the year so someone who visits the site only once per month would count as 12 visitors. A monthly 'average' (Ave/m) is also provided.

    Letter from Desmond Flynn to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has asked me to reply to your question (2002/2047) asking or details of the cost of, and the number of visitors to The Insolvency Service's website since its establishment.

    Information in connection with The Insolvency Service's website is only available for the 2002–03 financial year, following a change of Web-host provider in January 2002.

    During 2002–03 The Service's website, at www.insolvency.gov.uk has received some 351,386 visits, of which there were 117,556 unique visitors. The total page views made by users during this period was 1,577,491 with an average user time of 6 minutes.

    The web-host provider charged The Insolvency Service £45,648 exclusive of VAT, for the web-service provided during this period. The website is designed and administered by Insolvency Service staff and other costs are therefore limited to staff training and various software packages.

    Letter from Claire Clancy to Mr. Yeo, dated 10 April 2003:

    I am responding to your recent Parliamentary Question on websites to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on behalf of Companies House, which is an Executive Agency of the DTI.

    The cost of the Companies House website for the financial year 2002/2003 was £143,352 plus of an employee to manage and update as necessary.

    Scheme

    Description

    Regional Selective AssistanceGrant for fixed capital expenditure in Assisted Areas.
    Electronics Design ProgrammeGrants to enhance awareness and adoption of advanced design methods by SMEs in the sector.
    AcornGrants to develop and trail a manageable, staged approach to the adoption of codified best practice environmental systems by SMEs
    EUROIM IIGrant to Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO) to provide information and advice to help businesses find partners and prepare proposals for R&D support from EC programme
    Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment (HEVACR)Grant to Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) to kick-start an industry driven self-help initiative aimed at raising competitiveness in the sector.
    Digital Test BedGrants to projects to promote take-up of digital broadcasting and prevent market.
    Fast TrackFunding to promote and support innovation, knowledge management and knowledge transfer in the construction sector.
    Manufacturing for Biotechnology InitiativeGrants to highlight the possibilities and strategic importance of the sector e.g. advisory service; training grants.
    Basic Technologies ProgrammeGrants to co-ordinate activities aimed at the uptake by industry of new and improved technology.
    CARADDirect grants for civil aerospace sector to assist with research and technology.
    Cleaner Coal Technology ProgrammeGrants for R&D on cleaner coals technologies in collaboration with industry.
    LINKLINK is a generic framework enabling Government Departments and Research Councils to fund research.
    New and Renewable Energy ProgrammeGrants to encourage uptake of renewable.
    Partners in InnovationGrants for collaborative innovation research projects relating to the construction industry.
    FaradayGrants to partnerships of business and research institutions to employ "technology translators".
    Shell Technology Enterprise Programme (STEP)Grants to fund undergraduates working with SME/community organisations undertaking projects specified by business.
    Partnership FundGrants to stimulate a step-change in the way employers and employees work together.
    UK Online for BusinessGrants to businesses to address the "e-productivity gap" to make the UK a world leader in take-up of information and communication technologies.
    Industry ForaGrants for projects devised by industry to transfer best practice in various sectors.
    Manufacturing Advisory ServiceAdvisory service introducing manufacturing best practice and for a national network of Centres of Manufacturing Expertise
    Regional Enterprise GrantsGrants to firms with growth potential for investment in assisted areas.
    Building Up BiomaterialsGrant to establish R&D and knowledge transfer.
    Digital TV Initiative (Part of Digital TV Action plan)Grants to projects to provide groundwork on barriers to switchover.
    BritechBilateral collaborative R&D programme between UK/Israel.
    SmartGrants to feasibility and prototype projects to encourage investment in small, early-stage technology projects.
    Teaching Companies SchemeGrants to fund graduates (TCS Associates) working within a firm/group of firms on a specific technology transfer project.
    ICT Carrier ProgrammeGrants to projects designed to improve process and product in engineering businesses.
    Science and Engineering AmbassadorsGrants to provide external consultancy services to support management of a network of science and engineering ambassadors.
    SETNET (including STEM)Grants to draw together existing and develop new initiatives aimed at fostering the teaching and learning of engineering-related subjects in schools.
    ITEC Skills ProgrammeGrants to programmes designed to improve information technology, electronics and communications skills in schools and the workforce, and to promote diversity in these professions
    Sustainable Technologies InitiativePart of this scheme is delivered through LINK (see above). There is also additional funding for wider collaborative R&D activities.
    Bio-wiseGrants to improve awareness of the potential of the biotechnology industry and to facilitate the take up of biotechnology.
    Applied GenomicsExtension of existing Applied Genomics LINK programme to fully utilise unspent Research Council funds
    Corn-met 2005Grants to Mechanical and Metal Trades Confederation (METCOM) for research into sector's competitive deficiencies and for programmes to address these.

    Northern Ireland

    Grants (Non-Government Bodies)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the grants paid by (a) his Department and (b) Northern Ireland Government Departments to non-government bodies in the last year for which information is available. [109033]

    I have been asked to reply.In financial year 2002–03 my Department made a large number of grant payments to non-government bodies under various schemes and activities including the following:

    I am unable to give details of individual grants paid under these schemes for reasons of third party's commercial confidences.

    My Department is not responsible for grants paid by Northern Ireland Government Departments.

    Teenagers (Health Services)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are for a teenage cancer unit in Northern Ireland. [109217]

    In January 2003 the Department agreed that the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust should prepare an Outline Business Case for the development of services at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. The Trust is currently preparing the Outline Business Case, which includes a proposal for the establishment of a dedicated multi-disciplinary adolescent unit containing provision for teenagers with cancer.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many teenagers with cancer in Belfast South were treated on wards for children or old people in each of the last three years. [109218]

    The following table shows the number of teenagers from the Belfast South parliamentary constituency who were admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland when the primary diagnosis was cancer.

    Number of admissions
    1999–200036
    2000–0115
    2001–0220

    Source:

    Hospital in-patients system

    Information about the type of wards in which patients are treated is not readily available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps primary care trusts in South Belfast are taking to tackle late and mis-diagnosis of teenagers with cancer. [109219]

    Most young people with suspected cancer are usually seen by a specialist within 24 hours of referral by their GP. Cancers in teenagers are very rare and are mostly haematological malignancies. The Department's Regional Advisory Committee on Cancer is currently developing regional guidance on haematological malignancies, including paediatric malignancies, which will be issued to all relevant clinicians, including doctors in primary care.The Department and the Eastern Health and Social Services Board are not considering any further specific action at this time in relation to late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of teenagers with cancer.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons the Government does not recognise teenagers as a separate category for delivery of health services. [109220]

    The Government do recognise that in many areas of health care adolescents have particular needs. Work is being taken forward in areas such as cancer, mental health, learning disability, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy to address, where possible, the particular needs of teenagers.

    Prime Minister

    Departmental Staff

    To ask the Prime Minister what reasons underlie the increase in staff employed by his Office between 1998 and 2002. [108948]

    The main changes to my office are outlined in the answer I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 25 March 2003, Official Report, columns 125–27W.The number of staff has increased in response to the changes made following the June 2001 election, as outlined in the press notice which I placed in the Library of the House at the time, and in order to cover additional pressures on my office which include operational matters and dealing with more correspondence, over one million letters over the last year alone.

    Hospitality

    To ask the Prime Minister how much was spent on hospitality by the (a) strategic communications unit and (b) corporate communications division in 2001–02. [108949]

    During 2001–02, the units spent £730 on hospitality, including refreshments at meetings and seminars for government officials and other external visitors. All hospitality was provided in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in "Government Accounting".

    Iraq

    To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 2 April 2003, Official Report, column 910, what evidence he has received that (a) the Iraqi authorities have used children as human shields in battle zones, (b) the Iraqi authorities plan to desecrate religious shrines and blame the damage on United Kingdom and United States invasion forces and (c) the Iraqi authorities have placed military assets on or near ancient historical and religious monuments as deterrents. [107597]

    As I said in the House on 2 April, we have a concern, based on intelligence, that the Iraqi regime intended to damage holy sites with a view to blaming the coalition falsely for that damage.I am aware also of media reports that children have been used as human shields and we have seen indications from the field and coalition partners that the Iraqi authorities have placed military assets near schools and hospitals.

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the steps he has taken to press the UN to create an international court to try Saddam Hussein for (a) war crimes and (b) genocide. [108275]

    I refer the hon. Member to the statement I gave in the House today.

    To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 2 April 2003, Official Report, column 912, on postage to Her Majesty's forces in Iraq, when he expects that a free mail service will be available for families wishing to send parcels to British forces serving in Iraq. [109397]

    I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence on 10 April 2003, Official Report, columns 32–34WS.

    To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether it is his policy to endorse the rearmament of Iraq following the conflict in the Gulf; [108546](2) what discussions he has had relating to the rearmament of Iraq following the conflict in the Gulf. [108549]

    I have had no discussions concerning the rearmament of Iraq. Iraq is currently subject to UN sanctions prohibiting the import of all military and dual use goods. It will be for the UN Security Council to decide whether and when the conditions are in place to lift these sanctions.

    Research And Information Unit

    To ask the Prime Minister what categories of information are held about (a) individual hon. Members and (b) opposition parties by the Research and Information Unit. [108975]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 20 June 2002, Official Report, column 463W.

    Deputy Prime Minister

    Absenteeism

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of absenteeism rates in days per annum for staff in his Department in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [104177]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established following Machinery of Government changes in May 2002. Information on absenteeism, other than sick absence, is not kept centrally. Absenteeism is managed by the line, and no estimates are made, or kept centrally.

    Advertising Campaigns

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his 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. [106443]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002.From May 2002 to end March 2003 the total spending on advertising and promotional campaigns was £3,718,767 (ex VAT).Of this, the spend of individual campaigns on

    (a) television, (b) radio and (c) print media was as follows (all figures are ex VAT):

    Fire Safety

    Action Plan (September 2002-November 2002)

  • (a) Television: £1,569,694
  • (b) Radio: £17,514
  • (c) Print media: n/a
  • Kitchen Safety (February-March 2003)

  • (a) Television: £959,184
  • (b) Radio: £110,877
  • (c) Print media: n/a
  • Fire Strike publicity (October 2002-January 2003)

  • (a) Television: n/a
  • (b) Radio: £312,936
  • (c) Print media: £349,063
  • Neighbourhood Renewal

    Print media: £27,675

    Asylum Support

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what help will be given to district councils that have asylum seekers in respect of (a) housing, (b) health and (c) education. [107332]

    In respect of housing, the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) has entered into contracts with the private and public sector to provide accommodation for destitute asylum seekers. Only local authorities contracted to NASS would be asked to provide accommodation for asylum seekers placed in their areas. Other district councils would not be required to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.Only upper tier authorities are responsible for providing education and healthcare. People applying for asylum in the UK are entitled to full use of the NHS without charge. Primary Care Trusts are the statutory organisations responsible for providing their residents—including asylum seekers—with health care and are funded directly to enable them to achieve this. Local education authorities fund the education service and receive most of their funding through general grant.

    Council Tax

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research his Department has undertaken into the ability to pay of (a) pensioners and (b) low waged households in England in relation to the council tax. [108425]

    We have not undertaken such research. However, council tax benefit, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, is available to help low income households pay their council tax. Council tax benefit is paid to around 3.9 million households in England, of which around 2 million are pensioners.

    In addition, central Government surveys collect some relevant information on an ongoing basis. The Expenditure and Food Survey, for example, collects information on the percentage of household income that is spent on local taxes, and information is available for each income decile.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average council tax as a percentage of the average (a) wage and (b) state pension in England was in each financial year since 1997. [108426]

    The following table gives figures for the average council tax per dwelling (net of council tax benefit) as percentages of average gross earnings and of the full basic state pension for each year since 1997–98.It should be noted, however, that the figures given do not necessarily reflect the relative abilities of wage earners and pensioners to pay council tax. Gross earnings and basic state pension figures are not comparable as measures of income, and neither of them can be said to represent disposable income. Gross earnings figures are, for example, before tax and other deductions, whereas the basic state pension represents a relatively small proportion of the income received by many pensioners. Furthermore, it has been assumed, in the absence of precise information, that reductions in council tax as a result of council tax benefit are spread evenly across all council taxpayers, whereas it is likely that, in reality, pensioners are assisted by benefit to a greater extent than wage earners.

    Average net council tax per dwelling as a percentage of average gross earnings1Average net council tax per dwelling as a percentage of full basic state pension2
    1997–983.017.4
    1998–993.118.2
    1999–20003.218.9
    2000–013.219.9
    2001–023.219.7
    2002–033.420.5
    2003–04Not available22.5
    Sources:
    1Office for National Statistics—Average gross weekly earnings for all ages based on full-time employees whose pay was unaffected by absence (figures are for Great Britain).
    2Department for Work and Pension—based on basic state pension for under-80s (Great Britain).

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to raise the level of council tax as a percentage of total revenue expenditure. [108750]

    The Government have no such plans. Decisions on council tax levels are a matter for individual local authorities, after consulting their council tax payers.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the 10 district councils in England with the largest rise in council tax for this year. [108983]

    The 10 English non-metropolitan district councils with the largest percentage increase in their own Band D council tax (excluding local precepts) between 2002–03 and 2003–04 are, in descending order:

    • Stratford-on-Avon
    • Weymouth & Portland
    • West Oxfordshire
    • Eastbourne
    • Fenland
    • Cherwell
    • Runnymede
    • Purbeck
    • Daventry
    • South Staffordshire

    Departmental Expenditure

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much his Department spent on (a) publicity, (b) promotions, and (c) hospitality in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [103230]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) was created following the Machinery of Government changes on 29 May 2002. The table shows the Office's expected spend on publicity, including fire safety advertising; promotions, including housing, planning and neighbourhood renewal initiatives; and hospitality; from 1 June 2002 to 31 March 2003.

    £000
    Publicity5,830
    Promotions5,150
    Hospitality14

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent by his Department, its predecessors and its agencies on external consultants, in each year since 1997; what annual cost savings this expenditure resulted in; and if he will make a statement. [103231]

    The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Departmental Invoices

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the occasions on which (a) his Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department failed to pay valid invoices within 30 days or after the agreed credit period in the financial year 2001–02. [104325]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created in May 2002. The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Departmental Pay

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made with the pay review in his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible, with particular reference to the gender pay gap; and if he will make a statement. [106755]

    Following the Government's response to the Equal Opportunity Commission Task Force 'Just Pay' report, all departments and agencies are committed to reviewing their pay systems by April 2003 and to prepare action plans to close any equal pay gaps. The Cabinet Office has issued guidance to assist in these reviews. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and its agencies are on course to complete the reviews by the end of April. non-departmental public bodies were not formally covered by the commitment, but they are undertaking reviews as a matter of good practice.

    E-Voting

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what safeguards are being put in place to ensure that e-voting does not make it easier for dishonest individuals to abuse the system. [108953]

    There is a range of measures in place to guard against abuse in the e-voting pilots. This includes the use of voter specific PIN numbers and passwords, real time electronic registers to cast and record votes and systems to prevent an electronic vote being cast where voter identification has been used previously. Should a voter find that a vote has already been cast in his name, he will be entitled to ask for a tendered ballot in the normal way. All pilot authorities are under a legal obligation to report instances of fraud to the Police and the Electoral Commission, the appropriate authorities to investigate alleged electoral abuse. The Commission will conduct a thorough post-election evaluation exercise looking at all aspects of the programme, including fraud and security, to consider what lessons need to be learnt for the future.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what is being done to maintain public confidence in the security and privacy of the electoral system in the introduction of further e-voting pilots in May. [108982]

    All e-voting pilots will be subject to pre-election independent security checks and post-election surveys and evaluation, the results of which will be made available to participating authorities and the public. E-voting authorities are required to work closely with all stakeholders including the public to demonstrate how their arrangements do not enhance the opportunity for fraud or undermine the secrecy and security of the poll. This includes use of public testing demonstrations and voter awareness programmes to gauge opinion and instil public confidence.

    Employment Relations Act

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108343]

    Responsibility for authorising and monitoring time off is devolved to individual management units within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and this information could be collected only at disproportionate cost. Staff in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Headquarters, the Agencies, and the Government Offices are provided with the ability to apply for special leave to deal with a range of domestic incidents subject to the approval of line management. This special leave provision is generally more generous than that required under the Employment Relations Act 1999.

    Energy White Paper

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how his Department was consulted in the preparation of the Energy White Paper, Cm.5761. [109020]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was consulted in the preparation of the Energy White Paper primarily through a Ministerial Cabinet Sub-Committee on Energy Policy attended by ODPM Ministers and chaired by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister. Officials were also closely involved through a variety of inter-Departmental arrangements specifically set up for the Energy White Paper.

    Entertainment Costs

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he has entertained Labour hon. Members at public expense in the last 12 months; and at what cost. [106392]

    All meetings between my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and hon. Members which have included refreshment have been working meetings on departmental and Government business.

    Government Grant

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the government grant per head for 2003–04 is for each London borough. [108661]

    The following table gives formula grant, ie Revenue Support Grant, Redistributed Business Rates and Police Grant (for the City of London), per head for each London borough.

    London borough2003–04 Formula Grant (£ million)Mid-2001 population estimates2003–04 Formula Grant per head (£ per head)
    City of London96.27,21613,336.05
    Camden204.4198,4321,029.92
    Greenwich245.7215,2381,141.71
    Hackney274.4203,3521,349.32
    Hammersmith and Fulham154.5165,476933.38
    Islington216.9176,1031,231.86
    Kensington and Chelsea129.1159,147811.08
    Lambeth283.3266,7911,062.03
    Lewisham270.3249,4511,083.38
    Southwark312.5245,4161,273.47
    Tower Hamlets324.9196,6301,652.19
    Wandsworth217.4260,847833.61
    Westminster216.2181,6911,189.86
    Barking and Dagenham161.8164,346984.56
    Barnet215.8315,267684.46
    Bexley165.2218,756755.29
    Brent251.3263,805952.43
    Bromley181.1296,155611.57
    Croydon246.0331,530742.02
    Haling249.5301,553827.53
    Enfield236.2274,343861.06
    Haringey232.3216,8091,071.42
    Harrow147.1207,988707.04
    Havering154.4224,720687.16
    Hillingdon182.1243,052749.14

    London borough

    2003–04 Formula Grant (£ million)

    Mid-2001 population estimates

    2003–04 Formula Grant per head (£ per head)

    Hounslow182.8212,668859.34
    Kingston upon Thames86.5147,625585.92
    Merton122.2188,348648.65
    Newham341.1244,2911,396.40
    Redbridge190.3239,329795.06
    Richmond upon Thames86.9172,808503.07
    Sutton126.6180,174702.69
    Waltham Forest216.8218,649991.33

    It is not possible to calculate the total amount of grant that each London borough will receive for the period 2003—04 as some grant allocations have not yet been announced.

    Sustainable Communities

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment of the liveability of the plans for the growth areas in the Sustainable Communities-Communities plan (a) has been carried out and (b) is planned to be carried out; and if he will make a statement. [107989]

    The individual growth area studies looked at the long term sustainable growth options within each area. Further assessment of the sustainability of the growth areas will be carried out as a part of the review of Regional Planning Guidance for each area. As indicated in Sustainable Communities: Building for the future, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to bringing together the best of design and planning to ensure that the built environment in new and expanded communities is of a high quality, and the surrounding countryside is protected and enhanced.

    Housing

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Departmental Expenditure Limit for housing was in the financial year 1999–2000. [102633]

    The 1999–2000 Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions included an element for housing on which outturn was £2,838 million.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department will continue to produce monthly data on housing starts and completions. [105603]

    I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reason his Department proposes to replace monthly monitoring of housing starts and completions with a quarterly series. [105604]

    I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

    Isle Of Wight

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received since 1997 from organisations and individuals other than hon. Members on (a) the financial implications of the costs incurred by the Isle of Wight Council due to physical separation from the mainland, (b) the case for the Isle of Wight to be recognised separately from Hampshire in the compilation of regional statistics and (c) the implications for the Isle of Wight of being included with Hampshire in the compilation of regional statistics. [108838]

    The information is as follows:

  • (a) The Isle of White Council have made representations in successive local government finance settlements, and in response to last summer's formula grant consultation, stating that they incur costs from separation from the mainland which should be recognised.
  • (b) and (c) Since 1997 the Office for National Statistics has been approached directly by the Isle of Wight Council several times, most recently in 2002, and has been asked to contribute to a reply to a request that the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce made of the Department of Trade and Industry in 2002.
  • Mobile Phones

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many mobile phones have been used and at what cost by (a) himself and Ministers in his Department, (b) special advisers in his Department and (c) his departmental officials in each year since 1997. [98575]

    Since the creation of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 29 May 2002, the number of mobile phones used by Ministers, special advisers and departmental officials and their costs are set out in the following table.

    Number of mobile phonesCost (£)
    Ministers31,454
    Special advisers1617
    Departmental officials1Records not held1Records not held
    centrallycentrally
    1Records on mobile phones are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost—the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently in the process of compiling a comprehensive list following the Machinery of Government changes.

    Online Sales/Purchases

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) products, (b) goods and (c) services were (i) bought and (ii) sold online by his Department in each of the last five years. [97471]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established on 29 May 2002. Since that date the following products and goods have been bought online:

    • Products and goods
    • IT equipment
    • IT consumables
    • Stationery
    • Books
    • Periodicals

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not buy services online, and neither does it sell products, goods or services online.

    Parental Leave

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108421]

    Since the establishment of the Office in May 2002, 12 staff have benefited from entitlement to parental leave in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, its Agencies and the Government Offices.

    Private Finance Initiative

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the expected saving to public funds from the private finance initiative schemes due to become operational in 2003. [105722]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South on 10 April 2003, Official Report, column 400W.

    Public Sector Land

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when English Partnerships was given its new strategic role for surplus public sector land; when its register of surplus public sector land will be published; what land has been transferred to English Partnerships from other public sector bodies; and if he will make a statement. [108427]

    The Deputy Prime Minister gave English Partnerships a new strategic role for surplus public sector land on 24 July 2002 as part of his announcement about the outcome of the Review of the organisation.This new role will help ensure that we make better use of surplus public sector land. It will make an important contribution to the targets set out in "Sustainable communities: building for the future" which we published in February. Working with the Regional Development Agencies, English Partnerships will help ensure that wider Government objectives, such as housing and regional economic strategies, are factored into future site disposals.English Partnerships hope to complete an initial version of the register of surplus of public sector land in late May. They will then develop this into an interactive register, which will be available to all Government Departments, their agencies and non-departmental public bodies. The register will enable them to identify suitable sites to help meet their operational objectives and information from it may be made available publicly.No sites have yet been acquired by English Partnerships from other public bodies under their new strategic role. It is likely that any sites acquired by English Partnerships will be purchased at open market value.

    Regional Assemblies

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many responses from Cambridgeshire the Minister received to the public consultation on regional assemblies. [109183]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has to date received 48 responses from Cambridgeshire to the soundings exercise on the level of interest in holding a referendum about establishing an elected regional assembly.

    Regional Development Agencies/Government Offices For The Regions

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the administrative costs of each (a) Regional Development Agency and (b) Government Office for the Region was in financial year 1999–2000; and what estimate he has made of their administrative costs in 2003–04. [104655]

    The administrative costs for the Government Offices for the Regions for 1999–2000 and the estimate for 2003–04 are in the table.

    Table 1
    £000
    Government Offices1999–20002003–04
    North East8,312.048,272.25
    North West13,048.5913,484.94
    Yorkshire and Humber8,888.699,314.12
    West Midlands9,330.159,076.90
    East Midlands6,951.297,245.19
    East7,005.467,763.10
    South East8,658.609,260.98
    South West7,796.859,712.91
    London13,715.7911,674.43
    Total83,707.4685,804.82
    The administrative costs for the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) for 1999–2000 are in the Table 2. The London Development Agency did not begin operations until July 2000.Figures are taken from the RDAs annual accounts for the year ended 31 March 2000 (Income and Expenditure Account—salaries and wages, plus other administrative expenditure). The administrative costs of the Regional Development Agencies for the year 2003–04 are currently being considered, and will be agreed shortly.Responsibility for RDAs now lies with the Department of Trade and Industry.
    Table 2
    £ million
    North East16.6
    North West15.2
    Yorkshire14.9
    East Midlands8.3
    West Midlands9.2
    East4.4
    South East6.8
    South West11.0
    Londonn/a

    Fire Service

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many retained firefighters there were at each fire station in Suffolk in each year since 1997. [108782]

    Information on the retained firefighter establishment figures for each fire station in Suffolk is in the following table, from the most recent available year which is 1999.

    Number of retained firefighter posts
    Name of station1999200020012002
    Aldeburgh10111111
    Beccles14111111
    Brandon9111111
    Bungay9111111
    Bury St. Edmunds16161618
    Clare11111111
    Clifton Road11111111
    Debenham9111111
    Elmswell12111111
    Eye12111111
    Felixstowe16141414
    Framlingham9121212
    Hadleigh11111111
    Halesworth10111111
    Haverhill16161616
    Headquarters13181818
    Holbrook9111111
    Ixworth10111111
    Leiston8111111
    Long Melford10111111
    StartEnd
    OrganisationYearMonthYearMonth
    Private Sector
    Pinsant Curtis Biddle2002September2003March
    Sport England2002November2004November
    SPLASH2003February2005February
    Institute for Public Policy Research2003February2003March
    Urban Projects2002July2003July
    Save the Children2003February2003March
    Shelter2002August2003April
    National Housing Federation2002October2004September
    British Urban Regeneration Association2003February2004February
    NGOs
    Local Government Ombudsman2002November2003November
    Audit Commission2003January2003May
    Audit Commission2003January2004January
    Audit Commission2003January2003May
    Audit Commission2003January2004March
    Audit Commission2003January2004March
    Other
    London borough of Newham2002September2003May
    Elmbridge borough council2003February2003August
    Test Valley borough council2003January2003July
    Newcastle city council2002August2003March
    South Gloucestershire council2002October2003December
    Irwell Valley Housing Association2002June2003June
    Manchester Housing2002November2003July
    London Thames Gateway Forum2002August2003August
    South West Dev Agency2003January2004June
    Capacity2002October2004October
    Bracknell Forest council2003March2004March
    London borough of Camden2002September2003May
    Chesterfield Primary Care Trust2002October2003July

    Staff Numbers

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff are employed by his Department. [106281]

    Number of retained firefighter posts

    Name of station

    1999

    2000

    2001

    2002

    Mildenhall10111111
    Nayland1011111111
    Needham Market1111111111
    Newmarket16161618
    Normanshurst18161616
    Orford11111111
    Princes Street11121212
    Saxmundham11111111
    Southwold11111111
    Stowmarket11111111
    Stradbroke11111111
    Sudbury17161716
    Wickhambrook9111111
    Woodbridge9111111
    Wrentham811111111
    Total399422423426

    Retained firefighter establishment, year ending 31 March (as required by Section 19(1) of the Fire Services Act)

    Secondments

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many individuals have been seconded to his Department from (a) the private sector, (b) NGOs and (c) other, in each case listing (i) from which organisation and (ii) dates of secondments in each year since 1997–98.[108095]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. The following table shows the number of individuals seconded to the Office since that date.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Alexander) on 3 April 2003, Official Report, column 779W.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff were employed by his Department in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [106981]

    I refer the hon. Member to, the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South on 4 April 2003, Official Report,column 891W.

    Staff Union Duties

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in 2002. [106738]

    The number of staff who received paid leave to undertake union duties (excluding health and safety activity) in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, including Government Offices, its Executive Agencies and NDPBs is 97.5 (the majority are part-time representatives). The total number of days allocated to the staff is 2,055. The costs of time spent on industrial relations and/or trade union activities, based on average salary costs is £261,778.

    SI NoSI TitleRIA
    1670The Boroughs of Halton, Thurrock and Warrington (Changes to Years of Elections) Order 2002No
    1689The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002Yes
    1718 (c.48)The Local Government Act 2000 (Commencement No 8) Order 2002No
    1719The Local Government Act 2000 (Model Code of Conduct) (Amendment) Order 2002No
    1723The Local Government Commission for England (Winding-Up) Order 2002No
    1751The Leasehold Reform (Notices) (Amendments) (England) Regulations 2002No
    1799 (c.56)The Homelessness Act 2002 (Commencement No. 1) (England) Order 2002No
    1852The Local Government Pension Scheme (Management and Investment of Funds) (Amendment) Regulations 2002No
    1878The Local Authorities (Discretionary Expenditure Limits) (England) Order 2002No
    1912 (c.58)The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (Commencement No. 1 Savings and Transitional Provisions) (England) Order 2002No
    1951The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre Trading Fund (Variation) Order 2002No
    2227The Long Residential Tenancies (Principal Forms) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2002No
    2244The Local Authorities (Goods and Services) (Public Bodies) (England) (No. 2) Order 2002No
    2298The Local Authorities (Companies) (Amendment) (England) Order 2002No
    2299The Local Authorities (Capital Finance) (Amendment) Regulations 2002No
    2324The Homelessness Act 2002 (Commencement No.20 and Transitional Provisions) (England) Order 2002No
    2624The Local Authorities (Goods and Services) (Public Bodies) (England) (No.3) Order 2002No
    2682The Town and Country Planning (Enforcement Notices and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2002Yes
    2683The Town and Country Planning (Enforcement) (Written Representations Procedure) (England) Regulations 2002Yes
    2864The Town and Country Planning (Enforcement) (Hearings Procedure) (England) Rules 2002Yes
    2685The Town and Country Planning (Enforcement) (Determination by Inspectors) (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2002Yes
    2686The Town and Country Planning (Enforcement) (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2002Yes
    2842The Architects Qualifications (EC Recognition) Order 2002No
    2871The Building (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2002Yes
    2872The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2002Yes
    2876The Borough of Blackburn with Darwen and the City of Peterborough (Changes to Years of Elections) Order 2002No
    2954The City of Plymouth (Scheme for Elections) order 2002No
    3021The Non-Domestic Rating Contributions (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002No
    3208The Leasehold Reform (Collective Enfranchisement) (Counter-notices) (England) Regulations 2002No
    3209The Leasehold Reform (Notices) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2002No
    3264The Allocation of Housing (England) Regulations 2002No
    5The Revenue Support Grant (Specified Bodies) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003No
    195The Local Authorities (Alterations of Requisite Calculations) (England) Regulations 2003No
    225The Greater London Authority (Allocation of Grants for Precept Calculations) Regulations 2003No
    248The Local Authorities (Capital Finance) (Rate of Discount for 2003/04) (England) Regulations 2003No
    329The Rating Lists (Valuation Date) (England) Order 2003No
    354The Local Authorities (Goods and Services) (Public Bodies) (England) Order 2003No
    464The Town and Country Planning (Costs of Inquiries etc.) (Standard Daily Amount) (England) Regulations 2003No
    498The Housing (Right to Buy) (Limits on Discount) (Amendment) Order 2003No

    Statutory Instruments

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the statutory instruments issued by his Department in the last 12 months, indicating (a) the purpose of each and (b) the cost of each to (i) public funds, (ii) businesses and (iii) individuals. [106320]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was formed on 29 May 2002. From that date until 31 March 2003 it issued 48 general statutory instruments and 31 local statutory instruments. The purpose of each instrument is explained in its explanatory note.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not hold the information requested concerning the actual cost of implementing the instruments in question. However, in the case of a number of instruments a regulatory impact assessment was prepared which indicates the likely cost of the measure on business, charities and the voluntary sector. Copies of these assessments will have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The general instruments referred to above are listed below. The list identifies those for which a regulatory impact assessment was prepared.

    SI No

    SI Title

    RIA

    515The Local Authority (Capital Finance) (Amendment No.2) (England) Regulations 2003No
    530The Local Government (Best Value) Performance Standards Order 2003No
    533The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003No
    714The Financial Assistance for Environmental Purposes (England) Order 2003No
    768The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003No
    907The Local Authorities (Charges for Specified Welfare Services) (England) Regulations 2003No
    940The Regulatory Reform (Housing Management Agreements) Order 2003No
    956The Town and Country Planning (Electronic Communications) (England) Order 2003No
    986The Regulatory Reform (Schemes Under Section 129 of the Housing Act 1988) (England) Order 2003No

    Sunset Clauses

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the sunset clauses included in legislation from his Department since 1997. [106948]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002, and none of its Bills since then have included sunset clauses.

    Helplines

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many telephone helplines are sponsored by his Department; and which of these helplines are charged at (a) national rate, (b) premium rate and (c) local rate. [95718]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has 43 helplines, switchboards and contact points, of which none are charged at the national rate, none at the premium rate and four at the local rate. The details are in the following table.

    Helpline nameNumberRate
    Public Fire Information Line0845 0800 723Local
    Emergency Information Cell (Fire)0845 0800 716Local
    Local Government Ombudsman—England0845 602 1983Local
    The Standards Board for England0845 0788 181Local
    Of the remaining 39 helplines within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, two are free and the other 37 are charged at the normal geographic rate which is dependent on where the caller is ringing from.

    Telephones

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what procedures were used by his Department in awarding contracts for the supply of mobile and car telephones to his Department and its executive agencies; which companies were involved in tendering for these contracts; what agreements his Department and its executive agencies have with companies for the provision of mobile and car phones; if he will list the companies having these contracts, the duration of the contracts, the number of telephones covered by each agreement and the cost to public funds of each agreement; what costs his Department and executive agencies have incurred as a result of withdrawing from contracts under which mobile telephones are provided in the last three years; and if he will list the companies concerned. [104183]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's current policy is to use a Central Government contract for the provision of mobile phone services. This is an EC tendered contract let by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), who alone dealt with the contract award process. Use of the OGC contract is available to those public bodies who sign up to the OGC Framework agreement. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's central offices, Rent Service Agency, Fire Service College and Planning Inspectorate all use this contract, and as such, procure mobile services from it via a simple ordering procedure. The contract can supply services from Orange, O2 and Vodafone; the latter are the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's predominate supplier.The further information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was spent on telephone costs by (a) his Department, (b) his Department's agencies and (c) his Department's non-departmental public bodies staff in each year since 1997; and if internal telephone directories are available to staff in all areas of (a) to (c). [104184]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created on 29 May 2002. Since then, £912,000 has been spent on telephone costs for the central Office of the Deputy Prime Minister during financial year 2002–03. Figures for Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's agencies and non-departmental public bodies are not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's internal directory is stored electronically and all its staff and one of the Executive Agencies (The Planning Inspectorate) have on-line access to it. The remaining three agencies and the non-departmental public bodies have no on-line access, but are provided with data extracts on request.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many mobile telephones are supplied for his personal use; what the cost of each phone is on a monthly basis; and how much he has paid for personal usage since June 2001. [104220]

    The Deputy Prime Minister has been supplied with one mobile phone, not for his personal use but for Departmental business use by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; the cost of the phone varies from month to month depending on the number of calls made, but the line rental/service charges are £10.58 a month; and the Deputy Prime Minister has paid £40.04 for personal usage since June 2002.

    Tunbridge Wells And Kent Councils

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what (a) type and (b) value of (i) specific and (ii) special grants have been provided by central government to (A) Tunbridge Wells borough council and (B) Kent county council in each year since 1997. [104694]

    [pursuant to his answer, 25 March 2003, Official Report, c. 184W]: The following two tables give all the special and specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance (AEF) provided to Tunbridge Wells and Kent. The information is taken from the Reporting Officer forms returned on an annual basis by authorities to ODPM. The entries for

    £000
    Tunbridge Wells1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–0022002–03 Budget only
    Emergency planning1
    Total ring-fenced specific grants000100
    Housing benefit administration158165164162150249
    Council tax benefit administration7374749387
    Total unring-fenced specific grants231239238255237249
    Revenue support grant3,2422,9722,8722,7493,1032,787
    National non-domestic rates3,2793,2923,5033,9133,8714,352
    Gross AEF6,7526,5036,6136,9187,2117,388
    Percentage ring-fenced of gross AEF0.000.000.000.010.000.00
    £000
    Kent1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03 Budget only
    AIDS support30814050127115105
    Asylum seekers2674,95522,97449,17646,52234,003
    Building care capacity4,447
    Carers' grant2,169
    Child care and early years1,4053,23716,041
    Children's services (Quality Protects)1,4622,3025,97410,442
    Civil Defence323273
    Class size reductions777
    Community care special transitional grant9,7379,045
    Deferred payments977
    Education budget support grant100
    Education of travellers and displaced persons275310
    Emergency planning273252375260
    Ethnic minorities achievement grant837748
    Former GM schools transitional grant37542
    Guardians ad litem205
    Magistrates courts5,8056,0556,0866,0936,3135,884
    Mental health1,4671,3172,3062,5943,1363,235
    Nursery education grant for 4-year-olds5,8615,964
    Nursery education grant for 3-year-olds11,203
    Other grants within AEF191,1599,2523,094591
    Performance fund1,254
    Preserved rights30,044
    Probation (ordinary 80 per cent. grant)8,2828,2218,8729,781
    Promoting independence7,3837,4519,4403,958
    Provision for 3-year-olds4755,242
    Residential allowances2,269
    Rural bus services1,2521,2301,2921,6441,885
    School budget support grant1,463
    Section 11 (ethnic minorities) grant935
    Social services training support program776643514689791673
    Standards fund5,3426,26413,62026,20731,16235,137
    Supported employment1231002496103
    Supporting people implementation grant700
    Teachers' pay reform2,89617,63712,000
    Teenage pregnancy local implementation grant240
    Under-5s specific grant5,709
    Young people's substance misuse grant91
    Total ring-fenced specific grants33,84545,14073,339127,890134,927177,608
    The private finance initiative331842885850
    Total unring-fenced grants03318428858500

    1997–2002 are actual figures. These are not yet available for 2002–03 and therefore budgeted figures have been given. The definition of ring-fencing was updated last year to reflect the types of grant which now exist. Some grants previously classified as ring-fenced are not now classified in this way. The key distinction made remains that ring-fenced grants are those which restrict local authority spending. For completeness the following list includes all special grants inside Aggregate External Finance. Further details of classifications are in an annex to the freedoms and flexibilities announcement of 26 November.

    £000

    Kent

    1997–98

    1998–99

    1999–2000

    2000–01

    2001–02

    2002–03 Budget only

    School standards grant17,51417,975
    Revenue support grant451,972386,147389,996382,868427,589385,874
    National non-domestic rates301,690268,337292,938332,884327,578359,413
    Gross AEF787,507699,955757,115844,527908,458940,870
    Percentage of gross AEF ring-fenced %4610151519

    War Pensions

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities count war pensions (a) in full and (b) in part when calculating entitlement to housing benefit or council tax benefit. [107417]

    I have been asked to reply.A statutory disregard of £10 is applied to War Disablement Pensions and War Widows Pensions when calculating entitlement to income-related benefits. In the case of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, local authorities have the discretion to apply a further disregard up to the full amount of any War Pension in payment. Any amount on top of the statutory disregard is funded from authorities' own resources.Local authorities, through their discretionary schemes, are best placed to determine the needs of their local residents, taking account of local priorities. At the end of March 2003, 387 local authorities were disregarding War Pensions in full and from this month April 2003, six more authorities have given an undertaking to apply a full disregard. A further four authorities apply a disregard in excess of the statutory £10, and have confirmed their intention to make further improvements to their local schemes. The remaining 11 authorities apply the statutory disregard.Lists of the authorities which fall into each of these categories have been placed in the Library.

    International Development

    Opium Poppy Cultivation (Afghanistan)

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's assessment is of the change in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in the last 12 months. [108048]

    I have been asked to reply.The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This reported that the level of cultivation in 2002 was 74,000 hectares. This was higher than the mid-1990s average but below the record level of 1999 (91,000 hectares).The UNODC is in the process of carrying out the 2003 survey. Its results will be published in the autumn. In March 2003 the UNODC published an Opium Rapid Assessment Survey for Afghanistan. This gave an early insight into the pattern of opium poppy cultivation for the 2002–03 growing season but did not predict the level of opium poppy cultivation for 2003 or beyond. It did find however that there was a trend for farmers to cultivate opium poppy in increasingly remote and inaccessible areas.

    Departmental Annual Report

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the annual report of his Department will be published. [107881]

    The spring 2003 Departmental Reports are to be published between 28 April and 16 May 2003. We are aiming for publication on 13 May.

    Employment Relations Act

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in her Department have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108342]

    The responsibility for authorising and monitoring such leave is devolved to individual management units and could only be collected at disproportionate cost.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions the Government have had with the US Administration on the effectiveness of the provision of untied aid for reconstruction in Iraq. [108686]

    The UK's position on aid untying is well known internationally. The US and other donors are well aware of our position on tied aid.International participation in Iraq's reconstruction will be vital. We expect some of the most substantial funding to come with the full involvement of the World bank and the UN. Contracts from these institutions are awarded transparently through competitive international processes.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if her Department will support the development of micro-credit organisations to develop a sustainable economy in post-conflict Iraq. [108689]

    It is too soon to determine specific areas of UK focus in post-conflict Iraq. We will work with the UN and International Financial Institutions to establish a sustainable post-conflict economy drawing on our experience in Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what role is envisaged for other countries in (a) providing humanitarian aid and (b) providing peacekeeping troops in a post-war Iraq. [108873]

    It will be important for as many countries as possible to support a UN-led humanitarian effort. Others providing humanitarian assistance include Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.It is premature to consider the composition of any UN peacekeeping operation for Iraq. For the immediate future the coalition forces will be responsible for security in Iraq under the terms of the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there are Oil For Food officials in Umm Qasr; and whether food is being distributed through the Oil for Food Programme in Umm Qasr. [108874]

    The UN Office of the Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI) reported last week that 30 Oil for Food distribution agents were still present in Umm Qasr and willing to return to work. The ration card system is also reportedly still in place. The World Food Programme (WFP) plan to try to restart the food distribution system in Umm Qasr shortly.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the US Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance regarding the role of her Department and her Department's officials in the reconstruction of Iraq. [108875]

    DFID has one secondee in ORHA working on humanitarian issues. My officials will be visiting Kuwait this week for further discussions on ORHA's work, including the coalition's obligation under international humanitarian law to keep the civil administration running.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of ethnic strife between Kurds and Arabs in the north of Iraq. [108883]

    We are aware of the potential for ethnic strife which is a result of the Government of Iraq's policy of Arabisation', which forced many Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians from their homes in Kirkuk and other towns in the north of Iraq over the past 10 years. The coalition are monitoring the situation closely.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the timescale for the allocation of the money given to her Department by the Treasury for Iraq; and what this money is being spent on. [108884]

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list, by sector, her Department's (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral funding of development aid for Iraqi citizens in the current financial year. [109117]

    Total DFID funds earmarked for humanitarian work in the current crisis are £210 million. £90 million of this is from DFID budgets, and £120 million is from the Treasury Central Reserve. Of this, DFID has committed £115 million to support work by humanitarian agencies in the current crisis and has £95 million set aside for further contributions. In addition, the Chancellor announced on 9 April that he would set aside a further £60 million for DFID to claim from the Treasury if and when needs arise.The £115 million was committed as follows:£65 million on 28 March to the UN flash appeal;£32 million to the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement in March, to fund preparedness and relief activities in Iraq and neighbouring countries;£8 million to the World Food Programme (£1 million February, £1 million early March with a further £6 million mid-March) to pre-position and distribute food;£2 million to UNICEF (£1 million February, £1 million March), to assist with the pre-positioning and distribution of health kits, water purification units and other supplies;£1.75 million to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (£0.75 million February and £1 million March) to aid the supply of winter kits for 350,000, and the procuring of kits for a further 600,000;£1 million to the World Health Organisation (£0.5 million February and £0.5 million March) for procuring, positioning and distributing emergency health kits;£150,000 in February to Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the deployment of co-ordination personnel and development of public information;£100,000 in February to the United Nations Office of the Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD), to enhance UN security;£5 million during March to non-governmental organisations (of which £2.6million has been specially agreed with individual NGOs to date: Save the Children UK £500,000, Merlin £265,000, International Medical Corps £220,000, HelpAge £150,000, GOAL £306,000, BBC World Service Trust £314,000, War Child £613,000 and MedAir £296,000).DFID are ready to make further contributions in line with emerging humanitarian needs.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what military strategy is in place to move humanitarian supplies quickly through Iraq. [108885]

    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 more quickly than others.Aid agencies seek 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.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the capacity of the hospitals in Baghdad to handle the civilian and military casualties caused by United Kingdom and United States forces. [108976]

    Baghdad hospitals have considerable capacity and high quality staff. The main immediate requirements of Baghdad's hospitals are for more medical supplies, reliable power/water supplies, and protection from looting.

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the Iraqi refugee situation at Mehran, on Iran's western border. [109383]

    The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report that there are an estimated 30,000 newly displaced people at Mehran, on the Iran/ Iraq border. They do not appear to be in immediate humanitarian need. We are monitoring the situation closely.

    Parental Leave

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108424]

    The responsibility for authorising and monitoring such leave is devolved to individual management units and could only be collected at disproportionate cost.

    Press Office

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people are employed in her Department's Press Office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. [108402]

    The information for all years from 1996–97 is as follows:

    YearNumber of press officersAnnual cost (£)
    1996–976195,000
    1997–986243,000
    1998–994240,000
    1999–20003.3100,000
    2000–014.5150,000
    2001–024148,000
    2002–035191,000
    For 1996–97 to 1997–98 the figures are taken from the "Government Information and Communications Service" (HC 770) published by the Select Committee on Public Administration (29 July 1998) and include the Head and Deputy Head of Information Department who were not fully employed on press duties but whose costs cannot be disaggregated from the totals. Separate records have not been maintained by DFID for those years.From 1999–2000 to 2002–03 the costs include annual salary and pension contributions.

    There are five people employed in the DFID press office. From the information available, as indicated above, there were six people employed on 2 May 1997.

    Property Portfolio

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the estimated value is of the Property Portfolio held by her Department. [108365]

    The general practice in my Department is to rent office accommodation. The only owned property in UK is our East Kilbride office, Abercrombie House. This is 23-years-old and was valued at £3 million in 2002. It is presently undergoing refurbishment following which, Government Appointed Valuers anticipated the potential value would be between £14 and £16 million.

    Secondments

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the role of her Department's officials seconded to the Ministry of Defence; and whether they will remain in the Ministry of Defence (a) for the duration of the war in Iraq and (b) to influence the postwar reconstruction of Iraq. [108882]

    My Department has seconded two humanitarian advisers to the Ministry of Defence to assist UK forces in the provision of humanitarian assistance as part of their obligations under the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations governing armed conflict. DFID advisors will provide advice for as long as it is necessary for the military to engage in the humanitarian response.The UK is committed to humanitarian assistance being provided by civilian agencies wherever possible. The military fully appreciates the need to hand over to humanitarian agencies as soon as the situation allows.

    Special Advisers

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the salary bill was for special advisers in her Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108497]

    My department has employed two Special Advisers since 1997. The salary cost for the two years requested is as follows:

    £
    YearSalary costs
    2002–0374,220
    2003–04185,141
    1Estimate

    Water Forum (Kyoto)

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking following commitments made at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto; and if she will make a statement. [108745]

    The provision, use and management of water are central to both sustainable development and poverty reduction. Nearly two thirds of the world's population will be living in countries of significant water stress by the year 2025. If we do not pay more attention to equitable water management we will see conflict and war generated by water shortages. 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. The provision of clean drinking water and sanitation is essential to prevent 2 million children dying of diarrhoea every year. Carrying water also exhausts women and keeps girls out of school.The UN has designated 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater, acknowledging that global water issues need to be placed high on the international agenda. Global water issues were discussed at the Kyoto World Water Forum in March and will also be discussed at the G8 Summit in Evian in June. The UK made no new commitments at Kyoto. The third World Water Forum and the Kyoto Ministerial Declaration added little to the achievements of WSSD in Johannesburg last year but has reinforced efforts towards ensuring that the international community delivers on its promises made at WSSD.I also refer the hon. Member to see my written Statement to Parliament on Water on 28 January 2003 ahead of the World Water Forum in Kyoto in March setting out our view of the key issues in the sector and our approach to addressing them.

    Zimbabwe

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the number of people affected by famine in Zimbabwe; what steps her Department is taking to alleviate the problems; and if she will make a statement. [109166]

    Zimbabwe continues to suffer from a major humanitarian crisis. Assessments indicate that 6.7 million people (50 per cent. of the population) required food assistance from December 2002 until the next harvest due in May. However, there has been little access to displaced farm workers or to urban areas where there are serious concerns about vulnerability. Early indications are that this year's maize harvest while double last years will still be 40 per cent. less than required.DFID, have contributed £51 million to help Zimbabwe since the humanitarian crisis began in mid 2001. We are supporting the World Food Programme, which is now feeding 4.6 million people, while government and NGOs are also supplying food. We have directly funded NGOs that are providing supplementary food to 1.5 million, mostly children, pregnant and nursing women and the elderly. We have supported home care programmes for families affected by HIV/AIDS and have provided seeds and fertilisers to 180,000 households to assist food production.The international response has averted a crisis and malnutrition rates have increased only marginally. Adequate supplies of food have been secured until June when the harvest will temporarily improve the situation. However, the disastrous economic policies in Zimbabwe mean that food aid will still be needed particularly for the large numbers of poor who are unable to buy food.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Cfe Treaty

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals have been made by (a) NATO and (b) Russia concerning the Adapted CFE Treaty; what the outstanding issues are; and if he will make a statement. [107746]