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Written Answers

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 30 April 2003

Privy Council

Age Discrimination

To ask the President of the Council what steps the Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109450]

My Department has a commitment that there should be no unfair treatment of staff on the basis of age. The Privy Council Office has implemented the recommendations of the Performance and Innovation Unit report, "Winning the Generation Game", in particular that permanent staff can stay on up to the age of 65 subject to operational requirements.My Department currently employs two staff who are beyond retirement age. Both are fee paid and employed for their skills and to meet the needs of the Department. My Department has also taken advantage of the New Deal for Over 50s.

Sickness Absence

To ask the President of the Council how many staff in his Department were on long-term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109252]

The Privy Council Office is fully committed to Government targets on reducing sickness absence. The sickness levels of all staff are monitored monthly to ensure that the Department is on target to meet, and maintain, this commitment.Due to the size of my Department, I am unable to provide the hon. Member with the information requested as it may lead to the identification of individuals.

Treasury

Accountancy Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in 2002–03. [109487]

This information is not held in the format required and any further examination would be of a disproportional cost.

Benefits Uprating

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to adjust the index by which pension and other benefit levels are uprated. [110236]

The Government made a commitment to raise the full basic state pension by the higher of the September RPI or 2.5 per cent., based on the RPIX, for the remainder of this Parliament.

Budget Data Sources

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a file of Budget data sources. [110230]

The "Budget 2003 technical annex: data sources, and economy charts and tables", is in both Libraries of Parliament, and is available on the Treasury website.

Charitable Organisations

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which charitable organisations his Department has funded in each year since 1997. [105684]

The Government supports causes of a charitable nature (such as international development, help for elderly people and animal welfare) through the relevant Departments, whose programmes include work through the voluntary sector. The Government has also demonstrated its support through the Budget 2000 'Getting Britain Giving' package of tax reliefs to encourage charitable giving, and further reforms in Budget 2002. Tax reliefs are now worth £2 billion a year to charities.The Treasury itself supports charities through practical means. Both Treasury and the Inland Revenue have provided secondments to the Giving Campaign which is also funded jointly by the Inland Revenue and the charitable sector; we have opened the Payroll Giving scheme to our own staff; and we are considering donating life-expired computer equipment for use in developing countries.Furthermore, on Wednesday 30 April HM Treasury will—in conjunction with the Compact Working Group on relations between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector-publish a consultation on the use of the £125 million fttfi/rebuilders fund announced as part of the 2002 Spending Review. The fund is intended to enable the voluntary and community sector to help deliver public services, and as such the proposals were developed jointly with the voluntary and community sector.

Corporation Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the basis for his calculations of increased corporation tax receipts, as summarised in paragraph C46 of Budget 2003. [110228]

The increase in corporation tax receipts shown in Budget 2003 is largely due to the expectation that financial company profits will return to their medium-term trends as recovery in the world economy becomes more firmly established and gathers pace.

Early Retirement

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on economic modelling conducted by his Department to show the impact of early retirement on the economy for the next 10 years. [110405]

No macroeconomic modelling has been done of the impact of early retirement on the economy over the next 10 years. Increased early retirement in the near future would tend to reduce the supply of labour available to employers and so, all other things equal, potentially reduce the growth of employment and output in the near future. However the recent pensions Green Paper explained that the average UK age of withdrawal from the labour force of retirement is relatively high compared to most other EU member states, and set out a range of measures to enable those wishing to work for longer to do so.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement, in relation to his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his 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. [108856]

Eu Committees

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU committee on the harmonisation of the compilation of gross national product at market prices, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110275]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John Bercow, dated 30 April 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the GNP Committee of the EU. (110275)
The GNP Committee is made up of representatives from each member state and chaired by the Commission. The UK is usually represented by the Director of National Accounts Coordination Division of the Office for National Statistics (Senior Civil Service Band 1) accompanied by the Head of Europe and Dissemination Branch (SEO equivalent grade).
Since January 2002 the Committee has met twice; on 24 June 2002 and 5 November 2002.
The main work of the Committee is in ensuring the harmonisation of GNP for Member States and consistency with the conventions of the European System of Accounts (ESA). During 2002, the Committee received reports on the progress of the Commission's work on their detailed examination of the methods for estimating GNP in each member state. It also considered the best approach to complying with the ESA in the areas of consumption of fixed capital, insurance, reinvested income on foreign direct investment, artistic originals and illegal activities. The committee also gave its opinion on the completion of the questionnaires on annual GNP estimates completed by member states.
The Committee took a range of procedural decisions in 2002 which did not require communication to the House of Commons.

Harmonised Index Of Consumer Prices

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent consultations he has had with (a) the Governor and (b) officers of the Bank of England on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices. [110232]

The Chancellor regularly meets with the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss a wide range of issues. The Treasury representative to the MPC and other Treasury officials also regularly discuss economic issues with counterparts in the Bank of England.

Income Tax Regulations

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the Income Tax (Sub-contractors in the Construction Industry and Employments) (Amendment) Regulations. [109971]

Inflation Indicator

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on (a) the progress and (b) the scope of the Treasury's review of the detailed implications of changing the indicator of inflation from RPIX to HICP; and whether the Treasury's review will consider the implications of replacing RPIX with an adapted version of HICP. [110235]

There are several measures of inflation published monthly by the ONS, including RPIX and HICP. The Chancellor made clear in his Budget statement that the Treasury would continue to examine the detailed implications of adopting the HICP. The Government intends that measures of inflation based on the RPI will continue to be published.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the (a) current and (b) future use of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices as a measure of inflation in the United Kingdom. [110233]

The Chancellor said in his Budget statement that the Treasury would continue to examine the detailed implications of changing the inflation target to an HICP basis. He reaffirmed the symmetrical inflation target based on the current RPIX measure for this financial year of 2.5 per cent.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contingency plans he has to adjust the inflation target for the Monetary Policy Committee in the event of a move from RPIX to HICP. [110234]

The Chancellor reaffirmed the inflation target for this financial year at 2.5 per cent. on the current RPIX measure.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions officials from his Department have had with representatives of (a) the European Union, (b) EU member states and (c) the European Central Bank regarding a possible change from using RPIX as the indicator of inflation to using HICP. [110237]

While Treasury officials have regular discussions with counterparts in the European Commission, other member states and the European Central Bank on a wide range of issues, the Bank of England Act (1998) gives the Treasury responsibility for specifying what price stability is taken to consist of in relation to the monetary policy objectives of the Bank of England.

Oil Price

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the price of a barrel of Brent Crude oil at the time of each budget since 1997. [110240]

For the purposes of the public finance projections, the following audited assumption has been adopted since the 1999 pre-Budget report:

"The oil price will be based on the average of independent forecasts for one year ahead. If the average of independent forecasts shows a fall in the oil price, that price in real terms will be used for the remainder of the five year forecast period. If the average of independent forecasts for one year ahead shows a rise, then the previous convention that oil prices would be close to their current levels in nominal dollar terms over the coming year, and remain flat in real terms thereafter, will be adopted."
Between Budget 1997 and the 1999 pre-Budget report it was assumed that oil prices remained close to recent levels in the short term and thereafter remained flat in real terms. These assumptions are set out in more detail in Audit of Assumptions for the pre-Budget report November 1997 (HC 361, Session 1997–98), Audit of the Future Oil Price Convention for the November 1999 pre-Budget report (HC 873, Session 1998–99) and Audit of Assumptions for the 2002 pre-Budget report (HC 109, Session 2002–03).The starting per barrel oil price assumed in each budget since 1997 is listed in the following table.

$
Budget 200326.6
Budget 200221.5
Budget 200124.4
Budget 200022.4
Budget 199911.0
Budget 199814.5
Budget 199718.8

Retirement Benefit Schemes Order

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about The Retirement Benefit Schemes (Indexation of Earnings Cap) Order. [110511]

We have received no representations about The Retirement Benefit Schemes (Indexation of Earnings Cap) Order 2003 (SI 2003 No. 843).

Savings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes there have been over the last decade in the amount of money placed in private savings by those aged between 20 and 30 years of age. [110407]

In order to provide a complete picture of changes in saving patterns over time, one would need disaggregated household data covering all asset classes—from liquid financial savings to longer-term investments such as pensions and housing—as well as debt. Such a comprehensive survey of assets and debt does not currently exist in the UK. However, as the recent pensions Green Paper made clear, it is essential to develop good-quality data about people's saving over time; their overall assets; and the savings and assets of partners. Action is being taken to address these issues. The Office for National Statistics recently reviewed pension contribution statistics. This review highlighted a number of new data sources that are currently planned or under way, including a survey of assets and wealth.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department were on long-term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109258]

The number of staff who had a period of sick absence lasting more than 30 working days is as follows:

Number of staff
200224
200123
200014
199910
19985

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he is taking to address hardship caused by delays in the payment of child tax credit to claimants previously in receipt of working family tax credit; [109369](2) what action he is taking to minimise delays between the final payment of working families tax credit and the first payment of child tax credit to claimants; [109337]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why some taxpayers who were previously receiving working families tax credit are experiencing delay in receiving payments of child tax credit; how many cases of delay are occurring; and when it is expected that the new system of child tax credits will be working properly and handling claims expeditiously. [109374]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: The Inland Revenue asked people to make claims for the Child Tax Credit by the end of January to ensure that as many claims as possible could be processed in time for first payment in April or May. Whether first payment of the Child Tax Credit is due in April or May depends on whether people are due to receive it weekly or four weekly. Two thirds of all claimants are due to receive their direct payments of tax credits every four weeks. If they sent their claim to the Inland Revenue by the end of January, and there are no outstanding enquiries, they can expect to receive their first tax credit payments no later than 2 May.The vast majority of those opting to be paid weekly and who claimed by the end of January should have received their money already. Claimants are being contacted in the small minority of cases where further information is needed to process their claims.Claims received after the end of January are being processed as quickly as possible. Claims from former recipients of Working Families' Tax Credit and Disabled Person's Tax Credit are being prioritised.In the tiny minority of cases where a payment is due and has not been received, as an alternative to phoning the helpline, claimants may want to visit their local Inland Revenue office. Local offices can check the status of a claim and, where appropriate, can arrange an emergency payment of tax credits.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many families are receiving (a) child tax credit and (b) amounts equivalent to child tax credit through income support or jobseeker's allowance who will be automatically transferred on to child tax credit before October 2004; [110474](2) what the take-up rate was for working families' tax credit in each year since 1999; what target he has set for the take-up rate for working tax credit; and what estimate he has made of the likely take-up rate of working tax credit. [110475]

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 162W.

Tax/Social Security Changes (Budget)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the basis for his calculations of increases in net taxes and social security contributions as a percentage of GDP in the years to 2007 as summarised in Table C10 of Budget 2003. [110227]

Changes in net taxes and social security contributions as a percentage of GDP, as shown in Table Cio of Budget 2003, are due to a number of factors, including:

The return to trend of financial company profits from their current levels;
Normal fiscal drag; and
Measures announced in Budget 2002.

Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has commissioned into the relationship between (a) direct and (b) indirect taxation and an individual's incentive to work; and if he will publish the results. [108461]

The Government is committed to developing a wider base of knowledge to help evaluate the effect of measures and inform the effect of possible future policies on work incentives. Policy advice, analyses and research is being used to develop our understanding of the interaction of reform to the tax and benefit system arid work incentives.No research has been commissioned that looks at the effect of indirect taxes on work incentives.

Two-Year Test

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 14 April 2003, ref. 109148, on the two-year test, if women on the reduced rate of national insurance contributions who were out of work for more than two years had to make a claim to be treated as full-rate contributors. [110170]

No claim is required. The election to pay reduced rate contributions is automatically terminated.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Departmental Annual Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the annual report of her Department will be published. [107885]

The spring 2003 Departmental Reports are to be published between 28 April and 16 May 2003. We will publish our Departmental Report within this window.

Departmental Events

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) other conferences sponsored by her Department and which took place on non-Departmental premises in the last 12 months, broken down by title, purpose, date and cost. [104270]

The following is a list of the events commissioned centrally by Defra and which were part of the Department's publicity programme. The events, incurred by Defra's centralised publicity budget were commissioned at a cost of £1.2 million.The information for each agency and non-departmental body for which Defra is responsible could only be collated at a disproportionate cost.

Shows 2002–2003

  • Agrivision At the National
  • Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh
  • Towards Tomorrow's Countryside
  • Sprays and Sprayers 2002
  • Lincolnshire Show
  • Tatton Park Flower Show 2002
  • Fruit Focus 2002
  • Pig and Poultry Fair
  • Devon County
  • Grassland (and MUCK)
  • Beef 2002
  • Royal Bath and West
  • Royal Cornwall
  • South of England
  • Cereals
  • Three Counties
  • East of England
  • BBC Gardener's World Live
  • Royal Norfolk
  • Royal Show
  • Hampton Court Flower Show
  • Great Yorkshire
  • CLA Game Fair
  • New Forest and Hampshire
  • Sheep
  • Royal Lancashire
  • Northumberland Show
  • National Scrapie Plan Stand
  • The Royal Welsh Show
  • Agrivision Roadshow 2002–2003
  • The Royal Smithfield Show
  • Discover Dogs
  • Town and and Country Show 2002
  • The Supreme Cat Show 2002
  • The National Cat Club Show
  • Scientific Advisers Presentations
  • British Equine Event November 2002
  • Sustainability In Public Service
  • E-nabling Defra Conference
  • The Daily Mail Ideal Home Show
  • Events 2002–2003
  • Eight Regional Events On Sustainable Food and Farming
  • European Dairy Event
  • Career Fair and Welcome Events
  • Sustainable Development Strategy Launch
  • British Equine Event
  • Abbotts Hall Farm (Agri-Environment)
  • Skill City
  • International Food and Drink Exhibition 2003
  • Brockhole Visitors Centre
  • Wildlife Crimes Unit
  • Marine Stewardship Event
  • Launch of New Atlas of British and Irish Flora
  • Enabling Defra Event
  • Communications Directorate Diversity Workshops
  • Community Renewable Initiative Workshop
  • DEFRA Hunting Hearing
  • OECD Launch
  • ESC Study Group Meeting (EU)
  • Public Appointments Seminars
  • Sustainable Development
  • Conferences and Seminars 2002–2003
  • Bio Energy Conference
  • Flood and Coastal Management Conference
  • Countryside Stewardship Campaign, 10th Anniversary
  • Conference
  • Noise Forum Conference
  • Creating the Future 2002

Employment Relations Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. [108338]

Defra has contractual arrangements in place which are generally more generous than those provided for by the Act. Such arrangements apply to all staff irrespective of grade or working pattern and form part of Defra's wider commitment to have arrangements in place which allow staff to create an appropriate work/life balance. The Department does not keep a separate record of the number of staff who have had time off work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999.

Letter from Peter Greig-Smith to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply on behalf of CEFAS to your question concerning how many staff have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999.
The information is not collated centrally within the Agency and could only be collected at disproportionate cost from individual personnel records.
The Secretary of State has also asked me to reply to your question regarding how many staff have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
There have been no requests for parental leave under the provisions of this Directive.

Letter from Johnston McNeill to Mr. John Bercow, dated 11 April 2003:

I have been asked to respond directly to your two recent Parliamentary Questions concerning the Employment Relations Act 1999 and the Parental Leave Directive.
Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff in her Department have taken time off work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999.
Reply: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has policies in place which allow for special leave for staff to attend to domestic incidents. Responsibility for authorising and monitoring such leave is devolved to individual management units and can only be collated at disproportionate cost.
Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
Reply: The RPA is fully committed to helping employees achieve a better balance between home and work through family friendly policies Accordingly, the RPA has policies in place to allow for Parental leave but the information required is not held centrally and cannot be collected without incurring disproportionate cost.

Letter from Steven Edwards to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on 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.
For the period 1/4/02 to 31/3/03 approval was given in 43 cases for staff to attend to domestic incidents. There were a further 13 cases of paternity leave which is also provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. (Figures for earlier years are not held.) The VLA has contractual arrangements in place which are generally more generous than those provided for by the Act. Such arrangements apply to all staff irrespective of Pay Band or working pattern and form part of the VLA's wider commitment to have arrangements in place which allow staff to create an appropriate work/life balance.

Letter from Mike Roberts to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply, with respect to the Central Science Laboratory, to your question concerning how many staff have taken time off work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999.
CSL offers both paid and unpaid special leave to staff faced with urgent domestic crises. No claims for unpaid leave have been received since the introduction of this entitlement.
A number of applications have been made for paid special leave in these circumstances and the overwhelming majority have been granted. However, the details of these claims for paid leave are not held centrally and the information could only be collected at disproportionate cost.

Nuclear Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cubic metres of low-grade nuclear waste from decommissioned power stations have recently been identified by the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee. [109621]

The Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee's (RWMAC's) Advice to Ministers on the Management of Low Activity Solid Radioactive Wastes Within the United Kingdom was published in March 2003. What the Committee pointed out is that as nuclear site decommissioning plans, including those on which nuclear power stations have operated, progress, and radioactive contamination is identified and characterised, substantial volumes of building rubble and soil with levels of contamination at the bottom of the low level waste activity range—of the order of that of the very low level wastes produced by small users—are being identified. Initial estimates of volumes are set out in Annex 4 of the RWMAC report and amount in total to more than 3,300,000 cubic metres, of which more than 3,000,000 cubic metres is attributed to the Sellafield site. The Committee believe that a substantial proportion of this very low activity waste from nuclear site decommissioning and clean-up activities has not been included in past inventories, although they acknowledge that, at this stage, estimates are very approximate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what definition of nuclear waste was used as the criterion for inclusion in the Government inventory of nuclear waste. [109622]

The latest 2001 United Kingdom Radioactive Waste Inventory describes four categories of waste—high level wastes, intermediate level wastes, low level wastes and very low level wastes. The definitions of these categories correspond with those given in the 1995 White Paper, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Final Conclusions" (Cm2919). The inventory records total UK stocks and projected future arisings under the first three of these categories, based on latest estimates provided by those responsible for the wastes. The fourth, the very low level wastes category, which is intended to apply in particular to wastes produced by "small users" of radioactivity—such as hospitals, universities, research laboratories and non-nuclear industries—contains very little radioactivity, and no central records of arisings are compiled or contained in the inventory.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what method is to be used to dispose of the low-level nuclear waste recently identified by the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee. [109623]

This is a matter for those responsible for the waste to propose, and to secure, regulatory agreement. All disposals of radioactive waste must be the subject of application to, and authorisation by, the environment agencies—the Environment Agency in England and Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland—operating under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 and in accord with current UK Government and Devolved Administration radioactive waste management policy.

Organic Farmers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many organic farmers have been registered in North Yorkshire in each year since 1997. [109010]

According to our latest records there are currently 71 organic farms registered in North Yorkshire. Information for earlier years, broken down by county, is not available.

Parental Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive. [108358]

Departmental figures for parental leave show that four people took leave in 2002 followed by a further two in 2003 to date. Defra came into being in 2001 for which no figures are available.The Department is committed to having arrangements in place which allow staff to create an appropriate work/life balance and the unpaid parental leave entitlements sit alongside a range of alternative working patterns and contractual entitlements many of which offer some form of paid absence. They are offered to staff irrespective of grade or working pattern.

Letter from Peter Greig-Smith to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply on behalf of CEFAS to your question concerning how many staff have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999.
The Information is not collated centrally within the Agency and could only be collected at disproportionate cost from individual personnel records.
The Secretary of State has also asked me to reply to your question regarding how many staff have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
There have been no requests for parental leave under the provisions of this Directive.

Letter from Johnston McNeill to Mr. John Bercow, dated 11 April 2003:

I have been asked to respond directly to your two recent Parliamentary Questions concerning the Employment Relations Act 1999 and the Parental Leave Directive.
Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 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.
Reply: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has policies in place which allow for special leave for staff to attend to domestic incidents. Responsibility for authorising and monitoring such leave is devolved to individual management units and can only be collated at disproportionate cost.
Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
Reply: The RPA is fully committed to helping employees achieve a better balance between home and work through family friendly policies Accordingly, the RPA, has policies in place to allow for Parental leave but the information required is not held centrally and cannot be collected without incurring disproportionate cost.

Letter from Steven Edwards to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on how many staff in her Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
There has been only limited take-up of this facility in the VLA. Figures for parental leave show that one person took leave in the period 1/4/02 to 31/3/03. Figures for earlier years are not held.
The VLA is committed to having arrangements in place which allow staff to create an appropriate work/life balance and the unpaid parental leave entitlements sit alongside a range of alternative working patterns and contractual entitlements many of which offer some form of paid absence. They are offered to staff irrespective of Pay Band or working pattern.

Letter from Professor Mike Roberts to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply, with respect to the Central Science Laboratory, to your question concerning how many staff have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive.
CSL allows staff to apply for unpaid Parental Leave. These claims are recorded centrally and records show that since the Parental Leave rights were announced in 1999, a total of 12 requests for unpaid Parental Leave have been received and all have been granted. The periods of leave range from 3 to 20 days.
CSL is committed to the continued use of family-friendly working practices and views Parental Leave as merely one aspect of an organisational approach to flexible working that includes flexible working hours, part-time working, job-share, special leave, annual leave, tackling 'long hours' cultures, etc.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in her Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109260]

There is no central definition of what constitutes long-term sickness absence, but this Department, as part of its ongoing commitment to the effective management of sickness absence routinely records and monitors all sickness absence and automatically refers cases to its Occupational Health Adviser when an absence has reached 90 days.

Defra was created in 2001 and the following figures reflect such referrals and cover staff in the core Department and Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Pesticides Safety Directorate Agencies, for absences beginning in the years listed:

Year

2001127
2002107

Responsibility for attendance matters within the Central Science Laboratory Agency, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Rural Payments Agency and the Centre for Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Agency has been delegated to Chief Executives and they have been asked to reply direct on this issue.

Letter from Johnston McNeill to Mr. John Bercow, dated 15 April 2003:

I have been asked to respond directly to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning sick leave absence.
Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff in her Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years.
Information on the number of staff who were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years is not available for the Rural Payments Agency. RPA is a relatively new organisation formed in October 2001. RPA is still developing a computerised Personnel System to provide sickness absence data of the kind requested. Specific information on numbers of staff on long term sick leave could only be obtained at disproportionate administrative cost and time, but the Agency refers cases to the Medical Adviser as appropriate.
RPA is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and to meeting targets for reducing sickness absence as set out in the Agency's Business Plan for 2003–04.
RPA has developed a sickness absence management policy and procedures, that includes a revised strategy for managing long term sickness absence, for implementation from May 2003.

Letter from Peter Greig-Smith to Mr. J. Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply to your question regarding how many staff were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. I am replying on behalf of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).
For CEFAS staff, a review point of 60 days (i.e. 2 months or more) is used to define long term absence. During the past five years, the numbers of staff on long term absence were as follows:

Year

19982
19993
200010
20019
20027
CEFAS has successfully introduced a scheme for 'Return to Workplace' interviews and is fully committed to managing attendance effectively. We are on target for achieving the reduced levels of sickness absence we have set out for the Agency.

Letter from Professor Mike Roberts to Mr. John Bercow, dated 15 April 2003:

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has asked me to reply, with respect to the Central Science Laboratory, to your question concerning how many staff were on long-term sick leave in each of the last five years.
CSL has no formal definition of what constitutes "long-term" sick leave but does automatically refer to Occupational Health all staff who are absent for more than 90 days. Our records show that the numbers of staff on long-term sick leave (i.e. exceeding the 90-day absence referral point) were as follows:

Year

19982
19994
20003
20017
20027
CSL has been successful in managing sickness absence through innovations such as recruiting a dedicated Occupational Health professional, running regular health awareness campaigns and carrying out all-staff health surveys. The organisation remains committed to the continued effective management of sickness absence.

Letter from Steven Edwards to Mr. John Bercow, dated April 2003:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on how many staff in her Department were on long-term sick leave in each of the last five years.
There is no central definition of what constitutes long-term sick absence. VLA has adopted a pro-active stance to monitoring attendance with earlier and speedier referrals to the Occupational Physician.
The following figures cover staff within VLA for absences beginning in the years listed:

Year

199810
199920
200020
200115
200220
VLA is committed to the effective management of sickness absence and to meeting sickness absence reduction targets.

Tb Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what efforts her Department makes to trace the source of a bovine TB reactor in cases where the cattle was (a) not born on the holding and (b) brought onto the holding since the last bovine TB tests. [108767]

Where there is evidence, following epidemiological investigation, that bovine tuberculosis has been introduced by the movement of infected cattle onto the premises, such movements are traced back and, where appropriate, the originating herd is tested for TB.

Trade And Industry

Budget (Scotland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the statement in paragraph 3.22 of the Budget report encompasses Scotland. [110154]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: Paragraph 3.22 of the Budget report does not encompass Scotland; the paragraph describes the position in relation to England. Pharmacy control of entry regulations are devolved and Devolved Administrations made their own announcements regarding their responses to the OFT's recommendation on pharmacy entry controls on 26 March 2003.

Gibraltar

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had on marking Gibraltar's 300th anniversary with a commemorative stamp issue for 2004; and what representations were received on the issue. [109552]

None. The stamp programme is a matter for Royal Mail, which as I understand, had a number of representations on this issue.

Special Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the salary bill was for special advisers in her Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108492]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 45W.

Supermarkets

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the effect on the UK economy of the growth of multinational supermarket chains. [105899]

As part of the process of globalisation and greater integration of the world economy, there has been a trend by some of the largest food retailers, in the UK and other countries, to expand their business beyond the borders of their country of origin. We welcome overseas investment that improves competition in markets, which is to the benefit of consumers and the UK economy as a whole.

Trading Standards Professionals

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many scholarships were awarded to Trading Standards professionals under the Department of Trade and Industry's Modernisation Fund in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002; and how many scholarships have been budgeted for (i) 2003 and (ii) 2004. [110419]

As part of the Modernisation Fund for consumer protection, extra funding has been provided to support the training and development of Trading Standards professionals by funding scholarships, which help local authorities increase the number of staff they train. In 2001–02, 167 candidates were supported by scholarships, and in 2002–03, 216 candidates received funding.£1 million has been made available in 2003–04 to continue to support the training of Trading Standards personnel.

Wales

Nhs Dentistry

10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will meet the First Secretary to discuss NHS dentistry. [109794]

I meet the First Secretary regularly to discuss a range of issues including health care in Wales.

Digital Terrestrial Television

11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to meet colleagues in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to discuss the roll out of digital terrestrial television in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [109796]

None—but I maintain close contact with my ministerial colleagues on matters affecting Wales.Our Digital Television Action Plan aims to ensure the widest range of consumer choice, quality, affordability and accessibility.

Departmental Report (Objective 3)

12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what meetings he attended in 2002–03 to secure objective 3 of the Wales Office as set out in the departmental report for 2002. [109797]

I meet my colleagues regularly, both collectively and bilaterally. Our discussions cover a wide range of matters including many where I am able to represent the Welsh interest.

Cap Reform

13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary on the impact of CAP reform in Wales. [109798]

My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the First Secretary and I meet the Assembly Agriculture Secretary and DEFRA Ministers to discuss a variety of issues, including Common Agriculture Policy Reform.

Agriculture

14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales regarding agriculture in Wales. [109799]

My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the First Secretary and I meet the Assembly Agriculture Secretary and DEFRA Ministers to discuss a variety of issues, including the future of the agriculture industry in Wales.

Barnett Formula

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary on reform of the Barnett formula. [109788]

Home Department

British Citizenship Applications

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful appeals there were against a refusal of British citizenship in each of the last five years. [109607]

There is no statutory right of appeal against a refusal to grant British citizenship.Very few individuals seek to challenge the refusal to grant British citizenship by way of application for judicial review—an estimated average of one case per year over the past 10 years. No figures are kept on the number of unsuccessful applicants who make informal representations—either in person or via an MP or other intermediary—against refusal. It is estimated that less than a quarter of those refused citizenship subsequently make representations against the refusal. The outcome of such challenges varies from case to case.99,825 decisions on applications for British citizenship were made in 2001, of which 9,530 (10 per cent.) were refusals. 88,995 decisions on applications for British citizenship were made in 2000, of which 6,785 (8 per cent.) were refusals.Information on decisions of applications for British citizenship are published regularly in "Persons Granted British Citizenship United Kingdom, 2001", a copy of which is available from the Library. It is planned that information relating to decisions made in 2002 will be published at the end of August 2003.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter to him dated 4 March 2003 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. Paul Kirby. [109366]

Immigration Removal Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff there were at each immigration removal centre in the UK in each of the last five years, broken down by grade. [109508]

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

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the ban on paid employment for immigration detainees held in removal centres. [109510]

We have no plans to provide paid employment to persons detained in immigration removal centres. Immigration detainees are able to participate in a wide range of constructive activities during their detention based on education, sport, recreation, physical education and religion.

Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies his Department has undertaken on the impact of the withdrawal of public indemnity insurance liability by insurance companies on the voluntary sector; and if he will make a statement. [109718]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: I am aware of the problems being experienced by those in the voluntary and community sector, as a result of the volatility in the insurance market since 11 September 2001. It is deeply worrying that small groups of volunteers who are making a real contribution to their communities are being faced with such difficulty.The Active Community Unit in the Home Office has set up the "Insurance Cover Working Group (ICWG)" to look into the situation and advise on practical solutions. The ICWG has engaged external specialists to undertake a study into the current position regarding the provision of insurance for the voluntary and community sector, including public indemnity liability, and to make practical recommendations that will bring relief to the problems.The consultants report is to be delivered to the ICWG on 16 June 2003 when the Government will be better placed to consider actions and initiatives to address the issue of rising premiums and the withdrawal of insurance cover, that is in some cases affecting the voluntary and community sector's ability to deliver services.Once the recommendations of the report have been considered, decisions will be taken to implement agreed practical solutions in partnership with the voluntary and community sector, the insurance industry, local authorities and Government Departments.

Nationality, Immigration And Asylum Act

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with (a) the Department for Education and Skills, (b) the Local Government Association and (c) representatives of local education authorities on the implementation of provisions contained in sections 36 and 37 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002; and if he will make a statement. [109518]

Discussions with the Department for Education and Skills continue on a regular basis. Representatives from local education authorities for the areas where accommodation centres have been proposed and from the Local Government Association attended meetings with officials from the Home Office and Department for Education and Skills on 20 August, 20 September, 14 October and 15 January.

Passports

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports have been mislaid by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate over the past three years; and how many of these have subsequently been found. [108291]

[holding answer 14 April 2003]: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. In 2002, the Integrated Casework Directorate issued 390 lost passport letters for documents that could not immediately be found. However, a range of measures, including secure holding areas and early return of sponsors' passports, is being taken to improve performance.

Study Visas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visas have been issued for children of parents who have been given permission to study in the UK in each of the past 10 years. [109727]

I regret that the information requested is not available.Information on whether visas have been issued for adults or children is not collated centrally. It is therefore not possible to identify separately the number of visas issued for children.

Defence

Biological Agents (Testing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many defence analytical laboratories in the UK have the (a) equipment and (b) expertise to provide a testing service for (i) anthrax, (ii) botulism, (iii) staphylococcus enterotoxin B, (iv) ricin, (v) plague and (vi) smallpox. [109290]

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Porton Down is the only defence laboratory within the United Kingdom that possesses this capability.

Service Personnel (Deaths)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial and other assistance is available to the families of servicemen who have died in combat or training; if he plans to increase support; what assistance is available to non-married partners of servicemen; and if he will make a statement. [110024]

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 3 April 2003, Official Report, columns 781–82W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) and to my written ministerial statement of 20 March 2003, Official Report, column 54WS.The proposals for the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme would result in substantial improvements in benefits for family and dependents. This will be achieved at no additional cost through re-balancing the benefits elsewhere in the scheme. The new arrangements would not, however, be introduced before 2005–06.With regard to wider assistance, on the repatriation of a deceased Service person to the United Kingdom, facilities are made available to host close relatives and associates who wish to attend the arrival of the aircraft and any accompanying ceremony. A package of allowances is available for the family which includes travel and subsistence costs.Familes of Service personnel who occupy Service family accommodation are able to stay in the accommodation for as long as they feel they need to assess their longer-term housing requirements.Where children are at boarding school, boarding school allowance (BSA) continues for the school term immediately following the date on which the death occurs, provided that there is a liability to pay boarding school fees for that term. When the child has embarked on and is within two years of taking GCSE or GCE A Level examination or an academic equivalent, BSA will continue up to and including the term in which the examination is taken.In every case an officer is appointed to provide wider emotional and administrative support and assistance to the family in the following days and months. There is no time limit on this support, which continues for as long as necessary.

Civil Contingency Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's (a) responsibilities and (b) assets with regard to civil contingency planning; what funds are committed; what action he is taking within his Department to improve such planning; and what action he is taking in collaboration with other Departments. [102627]

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement given on 3 March 2003, Official Report, columns 72–77WS by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Blunkett) on civil contingencies as part of the debates on the approval of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, Order 2003 and the Intelligence and Security Committee Report on the Bali bombing. The statement refers to the Lead Government Department Paper which the Cabinet Office placed in the Library of the House on 23 July 2002, and which sets out the role of the lead Government Departments in planning for and managing crises.I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 21 March 2003,

Official Report, coilumns 957–58 by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Alexander).

The Ministry of Defence does not take the lead in any area, but regularly provides support to lead agencies and Departments in responding to civil contingencies through the provision of Military Assistance to the Civil Authorities (MACA). In doing so, the Department draws on its military, scientific, and technical expertise. The Department plays a similar supporting role in preparation and planning the response to these contingencies. With the exception of a small number of specialist operations, however, no assets are dedicated to the task. Support draws on those resources available at the time. Unless life is in danger, the civil authorities are charged for this support.

The MOD has recently conducted a detailed review of its response to the threat from international terrorism. The Home Office and other Departments and agencies were involved in this work, and the MOD actively sought the views of the public. The results were published in the White Paper, "The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter" (CM5566 volume 1), presented to Parliament on 18 July 2002. These include improvements to the regional command and control mechanism across the United Kingdom, the formation of 14 Civil Contingencies Reaction Forces (drawing on the Armed Forces Reserves) and an enhanced role for 2 Signal Brigade. All of these improvements are designed to enhance the MOD's capacity to provide support in the event of a serious terrorist incident in the UK. These enhancements are currently being implemented, at an estimated cost to the defence budget of £60 million over four years.

Cluster Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the use of cluster bombs in urban areas of Iraq; how many cluster bombs have been used by British forces in the campaign; and what efforts are being made to minimise the risk to civilians of the use of cluster bombs. [108808]

[holding answer 14 April 2003]: On the use of cluster bombs in urban areas in Iraq, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 14 April Official Report, column 571W to the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Mr. Price), which also explains the provisions in international law to minimise the risk to civilians. On efforts to minimise the risk to the civilian population, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 11 April Official Report, column 423W to my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. Caton).As of 9 April, United Kingdom Forces have dropped some 66 RBL755 cluster bombs in Iraq.

Defence Medical Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the exit rates were for (a) GPs, (b) consultants and (c) trainees in each of the defence medical services in each year since 1981 (i) at the end of a short service commission, (ii) at immediate pension point, (iii) through premature voluntary retirement, (iv) through redundancy and (v) in total; and if he will make a statement. [109324]

It is only possible to provide detailed information on the exit rates of medical officers for the last 10 years. Medical officers may leave the Defence Medical Services for various reasons, but the only breakdown of the exit rates available centrally is for those leaving due to Premature Voluntary Retirement (PVR) or on the completion of their commission. This information is provided as follows:

Percentage
PVRCompleted commissionOtherTotal
Short service commission1
1993–941.781.210.9
1994–953.611.52.117.2
1995–962.814.4118.2
1996–971.25.91.18.2
1997–9817.91.110
1998–990.85.20.46.4
1999–20001.25.30.26.7
2000–012.33.20.45.9
2001–0212.51.34.8
Medium/long commission2
1993–942.33.20.15.6
1994–955.42.71.59.6
1995–964.84.54.213.5
1996–9752.98.416.3
1997–984.32.20.46.9
1998–992.910.54.4
1999–20004.82.91.18.8
2000–0151.20.26.4
2001–023.31.70.45.4
1 Figures represent percentage outflow against the total strength of medical officers on Short Service Commissions at the start of each financial year.
2 Figures represent percentage outflow against the total strength of medical officers on Medium/Long Commissions at the start of each financial year.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which British officials will serve in the US Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. [109330]

I have been asked to reply.British officials are being seconded from a range of Government Departments to help the US Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. So far 19 have been identified with appropriate expertise and we are looking to increase this number. At this early stage there is no set ceiling.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department is taking to ensure the International Committee of the Red Cross gain access to all prisoners of war in Iraq. [109707]

The Ministry of Defence has been working closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since the start of military operations in Iraq. The ICRC has had full and free access to all United Kingdom-held prisoners of war, and at its request, visited UK prisoner of war camps on numerous occasions. The ICRC also has access to all UK prisoners held in US theatre internment facilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment is being made of the quantity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being emitted as a result of UK military activities in the invasion of Iraq. [107605]

None, though an assessment carried out by the Meteorological Office of 1992 Gulf War concluded that the carbon dioxide emitted during that operation had a negligible effect on the global climate.

International Development

Secondments

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development 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 2000. [108079]

The following statistics relate to secondments started in each financial year.

Seconded to DfidPrivate SectorNGOOtherOrganisationsTotal
2000–0111 Other Government Dept1
2001–02161 International Alert7
2 Other Government Dept
1 Metropolitan Police
1 Crown Agents
2 European Commission
2002–031514 Other Government Dept15
1 European Commission
2003–04111 Rio Tinto2
1 Other Government Dept

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development 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. [108080]

The following statistics relate to secondments started in each financial year. The statistics for years 1998–99 to 2000–01 are based on annual returns to Cabinet Office, and detailed information on location is not available in these returns.

DatesPrivate SectorNGOOtherLocationGradesTotal
1997–981 Band A: 22
1998–99Band A: 910
2 Band B: 1
1999–2000SCS: 210
Band A: 8
2000–01SCS: 416
Band A: 10
Band B: 2
2001–02129England: 5SCS: 330
Scotland: 1Band A: 25
Wales: 1Band B: 2
N. Ireland: 0
EC: 10
Other: 13
2002–03139England: 14SCS: 740
Scotland: 1Band A: 24
Wales: 1Band B: 7
N. Ireland: 03 Band C: 2
EC: 8
Other: 16
2003–043England: 2Band A: 23
Scotland: 0Band B: 1
Wales: 0
N. Ireland: 0
Other: 1
1 Band A = SEO-G6
2 Band B = EO/HEO
3Band C = AA/AO

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Accountancy Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in 2002–03. [109496]

The total cost to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for accountancy services in 2002–03 was £1,772,000.

British Embassy (Dubai)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reasons for Raul Fernandes' dismissal from his employment at the British Embassy in Dubai on 5 March 2002. [108632]

Raul Fernandes has filed his case at the UK employment tribunal. We should not comment until the conclusion of the legal proceedings.

Eu Committees

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU committee on the introduction of a uniform format for visas, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110278]

The Visa Working Party does not have a fixed membership, but consists of delegates drawn from each of the 15 European Union member states. Since 17 April 2003, delegates from the 10 EU accession states have also been invited to attend most EU committees, including the Visa Working Party, as active observers. The Visa Working Party holds a regular meeting once a month, and occasional extraordinary meetings are held as necessary. It discusses a range of EU-related visa matters relating mainly to the development of a common visa policy under the Schengen acquis, including the introduction of a uniform format visa. This forms part of the process of negotiation which culminates in legislative proposals being considered by the Council of Ministers. Domestically, such legislative proposals are submitted to Parliament under established scrutiny procedures and are considered and reported on by the House of Lords European Union Committee, the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, and the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland.

European Constitution

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the draft European Constitution's proposals on the area of freedom, justice and security for Britain's Schengen opt-out; and if he will make a statement. [109553]

The Future of Europe Convention's proposals on justice and home affairs do not have any implications for the Protocols attached to the current Treaties. Article E of Part Three (General and Final Provisions) of the draft Constitution provides that the protocols shall remain an integral part of the new Treaty. The question of reconsidering these protocols has not been raised in the Convention. The Government position on the protocols relating to our frontier controls has not changed. We will maintain controls at the UK's frontiers.

Interfaith Initiatives

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money has been allocated annually to interfaith initiatives in each year since the inception of this policy; and what projects have been supported under this initiative. [110353]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, both in London and overseas, actively supports and promotes religious freedom and interfaith relations in a number of ways. This includes the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, the FCO's Sponsored Visits Scheme, and the Human Rights Project Fund, which spent over £57,000 last financial year on projects to promote religious freedom. The Religious Freedom Panel, held twice a year, also helps foster interfaith links and promotes mutual understanding.The FCO does not have a separate, specific budget for interfaith initiatives.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the terms of reference are for the US Office of Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction in Iraq; and if he will list the people appointed, their nationalities and their gender. [109304]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) was established by the US Department of Defence to provide transitional civilian authority for post-conflict Iraq, under coalition control. ORHA continues to recruit specialist staff as the scope of the reconstruction of Iraq becomes clearer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the organisations invited by the USA to attend a conference to discuss the Iraqi Interim Authority; and which are women's organisations. [109320]

[holding answer of 28 April 2003]: The US organisers issued invitations to individual Iraqis, not organisations, to participate in a meeting in Nasiriyah on 15 April. Six Iraqi women were invited; four are reported to have attended and three spoke publicly. The Coalition is committed to promoting the inclusion of women in all phases and at all levels of the reconstruction of Iraq in line with UN Resolution 1325 (October 2000).

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of the people flown back to Iraq by the US to work with Ahmad Chalabi are women. [109739]

[holding answer 29 April 2003]: We have no information on how many of Chalabi's group are women.

Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what budget in financial year 2002–03 his Department has for outside public relations and marketing. [93868]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office budgeted £327,529 (including VAT) for outside public relations and marketing in FY 2002–03.

Transport

Aeroplane Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to encourage aviation companies to replace older and noisier aeroplanes with aeroplanes with the latest technology low-noise engines through (a) financial incentives, (b) legislative measures and (c) other incentives. [110458]

Government plans for the future of aviation in the UK are currently the subject of comprehensive review in preparation for a White Paper it is hoped to publish later this year. These plans will be decided in the light, inter alia, of the outcome of current discussions with stakeholder groups on the appropriate use of economic instruments for encouraging the aviation industry to limit aircraft noise and its other environmental impacts. Regulations to transpose EU Directive 2002/30/EC, which sets out rules and procedures for introducing noise-related operating restrictions at Community airports, are in preparation. It is hoped to lay them before the summer recess.

Air Transport (Consultation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will publish a summary of responses to the National Consultation on the Future of Air Transport in the UK, broken down by (a) region and (b) subject matter, with reference to partial planning blight; [110420](2) how many representations he has received concerning domestic property prices as a result of the National Consultation on the Future of Air Transport in the UK. [110421]

We have not yet analysed all the responses but we will produce a summary after the consultation closes.

Firstgroup Rail Franchise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the reasons for excluding the Firstgroup rail franchise from bidding for the new Greater Anglia rail franchise. [109891]

Meole Brace Post Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to increase the level of public transport provision for those people affected by the closure of Meole Brace post office in Shrewsbury to travel to other post offices. [109664]

This is a matter for Shropshire County Council as the Local Highway Authority to determine. However, I understand that there are no plans to increase the service currently operated by Arriva Midlands on behalf of Shropshire County Council.

Private Finance Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many PFI contracts his Department or its agencies (a) have with and (b) are being tendered for by (i) Amey plc and (ii) consortia involving Amey plc; what the total value is of those contracts; what the average length is of the contracts or proposed contracts; and what assessment his Department has made of the financial position of Amey plc and the implications for his Department. [108329]

Amey plc retains no sole interest awards in PFI contracts for the Department for Transport or its agencies.Amey plc retains an interest in three PFI contracts awarded to consortia by the Department for Transport and its agencies. These contracts have a total capital value of £5,705 million; two of them are for 30 years and the other for 99 years.Neither the Department for Transport nor any of its agencies have any PFI contracts out to tender with Amey plc.The PFI procurement process includes an assessment of the financial robustness of bids. In most cases the bids involve more than one party and this adds to their financial strength.The Government does not maintain an exhaustive list of which companies have financial interests in particular projects. Such interests vary both in degree and over time and do not necessarily impact on the quality, continuity or the ongoing viability of the project concerned.It would be inappropriate for Government to comment on the financial position of particular companies, which is a matter for the shareholders concerned.

Prime Minister

Air Transport

To ask the Prime Minister how many representations have been received by 10 Downing Street on the National Consultation on the Future of Air Transport in the UK. [110363]

Since October 2002, I have received over 6,000 letters, campaign cards and petitions about air transport, the majority or which relate to the current consultation on the Future Development of Air Transport in the UK. The consultation responses have been forwarded to the Department for Transport for inclusion in the formal consultation process.

Gibraltar

To ask the Prime Minister what plans the Government have to celebrate Gibraltar's 300th anniversary (a) in the UK and (b) in conjunction with the Government of Gibraltar. [109554]

We shall consider carefully the question of UK Government participation in commemorative events. So far, there have been some informal exchanges between officials about the 300th anniversary.

Iraq

To ask the Prime Minister how many United Kingdom and United States inspectors have been deployed in Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction; what expertise those from the United Kingdom have to conduct the inspections; from what budget they are being paid; and if he will (a) place in the Library and (b) post on the 10 Downing Street website daily updates on the work of the US-UK Iraqi inspection teams. [110113]

As I said in the House on 14 April, a specialised team is beginning work and we are in discussion with allies and the UN as to what the future role of the UN in such a process may be.The initial United Kingdom contribution centres around a number of dedicated survey teams, totalling around 120 personnel, including nuclear, chemical and biological specialists, explosive ordnance disposal personnel; experts in forensic science and evidence-gathering, debriefing and interviewing specialists; and, supporting functions. This initial activity is being funded as part of the overall additional military costs of the operation as a whole. The funding of the United States contribution is a matter for the Government of the United States.We will aim to release information concerning evidence of Iraqi WMD programmes when and where appropriate, as we did before the conflict began.

Deputy Prime Minister

New Millennium Experience Company

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list appointees on the New Millennium Experience Company. [109406]

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is in voluntary, solvent liquidation. Richard Heis and Stephen Treharne of KPMG are the appointed liquidators of the company. The directors of NMEC, who surrendered their powers to the liquidators when the company was placed in liquidation, are:

  • David James
  • David Quarmby
  • Len Duvall
  • Sir Brian Jenkins
  • Bob Hewes

Planning Policy Guidance 22

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has and over what time scale to revise Planning Policy Guidance 22. [109833]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently preparing the revised planning guidance on renewable energy (PPG22) following informal consultation with a number of interested parties and publication of the recent Energy White Paper. We intend to consult on a draft later this year.

Public Indemnity Insurance

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to prevent the closure of services provided in association with local government by the voluntary sector due to the unwillingness of insurers to provide public indemnity insurance; and if he will make a statement. [109720]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: I have been asked to reply.I am aware of the problems being experienced by those in the voluntary and community sector, as a result of the volatility in the insurance market since 11 September 2001. It is deeply worrying that small groups of volunteers who are making a real contribution to their communities are being faced with such difficulty.The Active Community Unit in the Home Office has set up the "Insurance Cover Working Group (ICWG)" to look into the situation and advise on practical solutions. The ICWG has engaged external specialists to undertake a study into the current position regarding the provision of insurance for the voluntary and community sector, including public indemnity liability, and to make practical recommendations that will bring relief to the problems.The consultants report is to be delivered to the ICWG on 16 June 2003 when the Government will be better placed to consider actions and initiatives to address the issue of rising premiums and the withdrawal of insurance cover, that is in some cases affecting the voluntary and community sector's ability to deliver services.Once the recommendations of the report have been considered, decisions will be taken to implement agreed practical solutions in partnership with the voluntary and community sector, the insurance industry, local authorities and Government Departments.

Lord Chancellor's Department

Child Contact Centres

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many child contact centres are in operation; and what plans he has to extend the use of child contact centres as neutral venues for children to meet their non-resident parent. [110371]

A survey of child contact services in England and Wales last year identified 522 private law child contact centres. 83 per cent. of these are affiliated to either the National Association of Child Contact Centres or NCH. We are working closely with key providers and users to extend service provision and develop service standards. The Government is providing £2.5 million over the next three years from the Children's Fund for child contact services. This includes developing new supervised child contact services in parts of the country with no such service. We are also working with Sure Start and local authorities, through the Local Government Association, to utilise public law contact facilities.

Contact Orders

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures his Department has taken to combat the breach of contact orders between separated parents. [110370]

Deliberate refusal to obey any court order (breach) is contempt of court that can be punished with a fine or imprisonment. The court might also consider a change in the child's place of residence. Imposing a fine or imprisonment must be balanced against their likely impact on the child at the centre of the dispute. The Government considered the recommendations contained in the report of the Children Act Sub-Committee of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law, "Making Contact Work" and published its initial response on 6 August 2002. An expert group has been considering alternative enforcement mechanisms. A full response to the report will be published in the summer.

Criminal Defence Service

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations she has received about the Criminal Defence Service (Funding) (Amendment) Order. [109970]

Special Advisers

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the salary bill was for special advisers in her Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108505]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 45W.

Education And Skills

Connexions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many representatives from local business are members of management boards for each of the Connexions partnerships. [110197]

The current position is:

15 of the 47 partnerships had two or more employer representatives
26 of the 47 partnerships had one employer representative
6 of the 47 partnerships had no employer representative

TO ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received from (a) teachers and (b) organisations representing teachers on the work of Connexions. [109721]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: While the Secretary of State receives a number of representations from teachers and organisations representing teachers these are not collated in any particular form.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how he monitors the success of Connexions in meeting service targets and objectives; and if he will make a statement of Connexions' success in meeting those targets and objectives to date. [109722]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: The Connexions Service National Unit (CSNU) has put in place a performance management framework to monitor the success of Connexions in meeting targets and objectives. Key elements of this are:

  • (a) management information, collected by Connexions Partnerships and other agencies dealing with young people;
  • (b) quarterly reviews of performance between Connexions Partnerships and Government Offices;
  • (c) local and national evaluation to provide both quantitative and qualitative information on the impact of the Service at national and local level;
  • (d) Inspections of Connexions Partnerships by Ofsted. Full inspections began in September 2002, and it is expected that Partnerships will be inspected on a four yearly cycle.
  • Priority to date has been to establish Connexions across the whole of EnglandThis has now been achieved, with nearly 9000 Personal Advisers and front line delivery staff in post at the end of February 2003. Increasing numbers of young people are being helped by Connexions, and partner agencies are reported to be working more closely together. Ofsted findings are being analysed nationally to inform future planning at national and local level. Evidence from the first wave of evaluation at national level should be available from summer 2003.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the Connexions service is marketed; what the total expenditure on marketing the Connexions service has been to date; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the marketing of Connexions. [109723]

    [holding answer 28 April 2003]: The Connexions Service is marketed primarily at local level through the 47 Connexions Partnerships. This is for two reasons—the local nature of the delivery of the Service and the incremental roll out of the Service, which meant that it was not available nationally until April 2003. (The first partnerships went live in April 2001 and the last in April 2003.)The Connexions Service National Unit has supported that local activity with two bursts of nationally funded marketing in areas where Connexions was live, using media that could be bought regionally. The marketing focused on raising awareness of the Service's existence among young people. The bursts were:

    February to March 2002 (advertising on radio and outdoor poster sites)
    November 2002—January 2003 (advertising at local cinemas, on local radio stations and on outdoor poster sites)

    Other marketing activity has been focused on communicating with stakeholders, practitioners and the wider public via specialist, sector arid regional press.

    At a national level, the total expenditure on the above nationally funded marketing to date has been £3,446,898.21.

    Individual partnerships receive grant funding from the Department to provide services for young people. Part of that grant is spent on marketing. The National Unit does not require partnerships to provide information on spend to the level of detail that would allow a meaningful figure to be provided for the total expenditure for all partnerships to date.

    The effectiveness of Connexions' national marketing is evaluated in two ways tracking research conducted pre and post advertising activity and quarterly media evaluation to assess the effectiveness of our media activity and penetration across our target audiences.

    Tracking research was conducted for both bursts of advertising to assess its effectiveness by monitoring levels of awareness of Connexions among 13–19 year olds. Following the February to March advertising campaign, awareness of Connexions among young people rose from 27 per cent. to 36 per cent. Pre-advertising research also showed that 32 per cent. of young people didn't know what Connexions was—this figure fell to 19 per cent. following the advertising.

    Research conducted before the second burst of advertising in November 2002 recorded awareness levels of 35 per cent.. Following the advertising this figure increased to 51%. Young people also reported that their use of the Service during the period of the advertising rose from 9 per cent. to 16 per cent.

    Separate ongoing evaluation of media coverage for the Connexions Service is also conducted. The latest report (to the end of January 2003) shows that reach among adults in England is at 39 per cent. with 100 per cent. of articles appearing in the last quarter as strongly or slightly favourable.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many clients of the Connexions service are aged (a) 13, (b) 14, (c) 15, (d) 16, (e) 17, (f) 18, (g) 19 and (h) over 19; and what percentage of the total number of clients this represents in each case. [109724]

    [holding answer 28 April 2003]: Information in the following table has been taken from data supplied by the 46 operational Connexions Partnerships at the end of February 2003.Information on young people who are of compulsory education age is collected by school year group, rather than the age of the individual, this data is not currently available by each year group but only as a total of all those in years 8 to 11. Information on those who have completed compulsory education is collected by the age of the individual.

    EnglandProportion (percentage)
    Young people of compulsory education age
    Years 8–1 12,083,12349.2
    Young people who have completed compulsory education
    16334,7407.9
    17596,12314.1
    18586,79413.9
    19572,82413.5
    20+57,2321.4
    Total4,230,836

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what involvement young people have had in the design and delivery of services provided by Connexions; and through what mechanisms this involvement has occurred. [109730]

    One of the key principles of Connexions is that Partnerships will listen to, and take account of, the views of young people in the design, delivery and evaluation of the service. In the first operational year over 18,000 young people were involved in shaping the service through local activity and at a national level. All Partnerships employ at least one person with responsibility for youth participation and they support youth forums and other activities.Connexions has involved young people in a variety of ways. Young people from all backgrounds and ages have been involved. They have undertaken specific roles, ranging from consultation to peer research.Young people have played a key role in the selection of Partnership staff up to and including Chief Executives.Young people have also helped to develop guidance for Connexions Partnerships on such subjects as involving young people in the governance of Connexions Partnerships, developing Connexions Youth Charters and involving 'hard to reach' young people.Their feedback has directly influenced policies and procedures. Over 200 one stop shops have been established as a result of young people's views.

    The achievements of Connexions in actively involving young people were recognised in December 2002 by being awarded runner up status in the Young People's category of the Institute of Public Policy Research/Guardian Public Involvement Awards.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what strategy the Connexions service has to enhance the effectiveness of voluntary organisations working with young people. [109732]

    In October 2002, the Connexions Service National Unit published its "Strategy for Engaging the Voluntary and Community Sector in Connexions". That strategy includes many actions which will enhance the effectiveness of voluntary organisations working with young people. Examples include the creation of "VCS Liaison Officer" type posts to encourage the participation of smaller organisations and to provide information and support; VCS representation on Connexions Boards and other local fora; establishment of a Good Practice Database; development of a set of clear goals and performance indicators for Connexions Partnerships working with the VCS and newsletter and electronic mailing.Connexions Partnerships will decide how to implement the strategy locally, including any grant awards for capacity building.In addition the Department for Education and Skills' National Voluntary Youth Organisation (NVYO) Grant Scheme is the only source of direct Government support for the voluntary youth sector. The current cycle of grants to the headquarters of 90 NVYOs supports a total of 98 projects.DfES has also made allocations from the "Transforming Youth Work Development Fund" to the NVYOs. £2 million was allocated in 2002–03 and £1 million in 2003–04.A further aspect of the DfES' strategy is the Neighbourhood Support Fund (NSF). The NSF supports local (and often small) voluntary and community organisations to provide innovative projects, and aims to create and develop local capacity to address the issues associated with the hardest to reach young people. There are currently around 650 NSF projects within 40 of the most deprived local authority areas with a total budget of £60 million (until September 2003). In the next phase we plan to embed NSF fully into Connexions.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to encourage the participation of local businesses in the delivery of Connexions. [110193]

    Our guidance to connexions partnerships requires them to involve employers on their Boards. In some cases the independent Chair has a business background. We also encourage the inclusion of local employers on local management committees.A number of Connexions Partnerships manage Education Business Partnership activities, which helps facilitate work experience for year 10 and 11 pupils, enabling employers to directly influence the future career decisions of young people. The Connexions Service also works closely with local employers to help them recruit young people to local vacancies.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what safeguards are in place to ensure confidentiality for young people who share information with Connexions service personal advisers. [110195]

    Connexions Partnerships are required to operate within the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act. Bespoke personal adviser training and guidance to partnerships on the professional conduct of personal advisers and the assessment of young people's needs cover confidentiality. They make it clear that personal advisers should work with the informed consent of the young person.

    Nannies (Registration Scheme)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to introduce a comprehensive registration scheme for nannies. [108428]

    There are no current plans to introduce compulsory registration for nannies. However, my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sure Start has received a number of proposals and representations on this issue which she is looking at.

    Accessibility Strategies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Local Education Authorities in England and Wales have not published accessibility strategies and accessibility plans under subsections (2) and (9) of section 28D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. [R] [109419]

    The Planning Duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 require local education authorities (LEAs) in England to develop accessibility strategies and schools to develop accessibility plans. LEAs must make their strategies available for inspection to interested parties at reasonable times. Schools must publish information about their accessibility plans in their governors' report to parents. LEAs strategies and school plans were required to be in place by 1 April 2003.The Department for Education and Skills does not collect the information requested centrally. However, as part of their regular inspections of LEAs and schools, Ofsted will monitor the implementation of these Planning Duties. The National Assembly is responsible for the implementation of the Planning Duties in Wales.

    Accountancy Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in 2002–03. [109486]

    The total of costs classified as accountancy services in the accounts of the Department in 2002–03 is £69,584.00.

    City Academies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills where the accounts of city academies will be recorded. [110056]

    As Academies will be registered charities as well as companies, their accounts will be recorded with both Companies House and The Charity Commission. Academies will also keep a record of their accounts at their registered offices.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools have become City Academies in each year since 1997, broken down by local education authority. [110140]

    Three Academies opened in 2002 in Bexley, Haringey and Middlesbrough. Nine further Academies will open in September 2003. These are in Brent, Bristol, Ealing, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Walsall and two in Southwark.

    Class Sizes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average class size in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools, broken down by school year and LEA, was in each year since 1997. [110214]

    The available information has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

    Departmental Funding

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many bodies received some or all of their funding from his Department; how much funding was received by each body; and who the chief executive of each body was in each year since 1997. [110134]

    The information on funding of executive non- departmental public bodies is published annually in the Departmental Report. Information on the chief executives is contained in the individual annual reports published by each of the executive non-departmental public bodies. Information on other bodies is not available, except at disproportionate cost.

    Departmental Staff

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff are employed by his Department. [106279]

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 4 April 2003, Official Report, column 891–92W.

    Domestic Repair Work

    To ask the Secretary of state for Education and skills how many (a) plumbers, (b)joiners and (c) electricians were employed doing domestic repair work in Greater London in 1993; and how many there are now. [108383]

    Figures for those employed solely doing domestic repair work in the occupations listed are not collected.However, the Labour Force Survey estimates the numbers employed for all types of work undertaken in London in 1993 were 11,000 plumbers, 19,000 joiners and 19,000 electricians; and in 2003 there are 16,000 plumbers, 18,000 joiners and 23,000 electricians.

    Education Spending

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total budget was for each school in (a) Norfolk, (b) Suffolk, (c) Kingston-upon-Hull and (d) Durham in each year since 1977. [110253]

    The information requested is contained in tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total budget is for each school in (a) Norfolk, (b) Suffolk, (c) Kingston upon Hull and (d) Durham for the financial year 2003–04; and what the projected total budget is for each school in Norfolk, showing projected deficits for the subsequent financial years in (i) 2004–05, (ii) 2005–06 and (iii) 2006–07. [110254]

    The information requested is not yet available. The Department is in the process of collecting the data relating to the 2003–04 financial year. I shall write to the hon. Member when the information for 2003–04 is to hand.The information requested for financial years 2004–05 to 2006–07 is not due to be collected by the Department until March of those years.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the amount spent per pupil is in the financial year 2003–04 for each school in (a) Norfolk, (b) Suffolk, (c) Kingston upon Hull and (d) Durham. [110256]

    The information requested is not yet available. The Department is in the process of collecting the data relating to the 2003–04 financial year. I shall write to the hon. Member when the information for 2003–04 is to hand.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total budget was for each local education authority in England for each year since 1997, showing (a) the amount and (b) the percentage of the total LEA budget held at the centre in each case, and (i) the amount and (ii) the percentage of the total LEA budget handed on to schools. [110257]

    Examination Results

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (1) the breakdown of grades achieved by students who sat the GCSE (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) science examination prior to reaching school year 11 was in each year since 1997; [110091]

    (2) how many children sat the GCSE examination in a foreign language prior to reaching school year 11 in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) school year and (b) local education authority; [110092]

    (3) how many children sat the GCSE (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) science examination prior to reaching school year 11 in each year since 1997, broken down by (i) school year and (ii) local education authority; [110093]

    (4) what the breakdown of grades achieved by students who sat a GCSE examination in a foreign language prior to reaching school year 11 was in each year since 1997. [110099]

    Excellence In Cities

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many excellence in cities projects in England (a) opened, (b) closed and (c) were operating in each year since 1997, broken down by local education authority. [110143]

    [holding answer 28 April 2003]: The EiC programme was launched in 1999—there were no programmes running in either 1997 or 1998. No EiC partnership has closed.The programme was introduced in three phases.Phase 1 began in September 1999 with 25 LEAs. These were Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Bradford, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Camden, Corp of London, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster.Phase 2 in September 2000 extended the programme to 23 additional authorities: Halton, Rochdale, Sefton, St. Helens, Wirral, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Redcar and Cleveland, South Tyneside, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland, Kingston upon Hull, Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent, Leicester, Nottingham, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, BristolPhase 3 in September 2001 again extended the programme to include 10 additional authorities: Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Oldham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Luton, Enfield, Hounslow.September 2001 also saw the inclusion of Excellence Clusters in the programme to tackle smaller pockets of deprivation. Further Clusters have since been established in the following authorities:

    2001

    Lancashire(2), Tameside, Cumbria, Kirklees(2), Walsall, Coventry, Croydon, Portsmouth, Kent,

    2002

    Thurrock, Barnet, Durham, Cheshire, Derby, Buckinghamshire, Hillingdon, Lancashire, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Peterborough, Stockport, Wigan. In addition Preston Education Action Zone transformed to a cluster.

    2003

    From September further clusters will be created in the following authorities: Kent(3), Lincolnshire(3), Northamptonshire, Essex, Derbyshire, Havering, Bexley, Swindon and North Lincolnshire. The current Phase 2 Solihull Partnership will convert to a cluster.

    In addition:

    Five Education Action Zones will transform into clusters:

    Croydon (New Addington), Grimsby, Herefordshire, Trafford and Weston.

    2004

    In January a further six Zones will transform into clusters:

    East Basildon, East Brighton, Halifax, Plymouth, Thetford and Wigan.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding has been provided to each Excellence in Cities project in each year since 1997, broken down by local education authority. [110145]

    [holding answer 28 April 2003]: The main Excellence in Cities programme now covers 58 local education authority areas. Smaller pockets of deprivation are covered by Excellence Clusters in 37 authorities.The tables which have been placed in the Library show the funding allocated to LEAs since the programme began in 1999 for:

    EiC phase 1, 2 and 3 partnerships, and
    LEAs with an Excellence Cluster.

    Faith Schools

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools that select some or all of their pupils on the basis of faith have (i) opened and (ii) closed in each year since 1997, broken down by local education authority. [110137]

    Mr. Damian Green