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Written Answers

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 1 May 2003

Treasury

Child Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many couples that have applied for the child tax credit have opted for payment to (a) the mother and (b) the father. [110938]

Statistics on the Child and Working Tax Credit will be published quarterly, beginning in August 2003. The first set of statistics will cover awards at early July 2003

Earnings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 16 December 2002, Official Report, columns 606–7W, on average earnings, what assessment he has made of what population base provides reliable New Earnings Survey data for use by the ODPM to calculate area cost adjustment. [109365]

I have been asked to reply.The area cost adjustment is calculated using New Earnings Survey (NES) data. This data contain no information on the size of an areas resident population. Office for National Statistics uses national insurance numbers to select those who participate in the survey.The NES does contain information on the area in which the survey respondent lives and in which they work. Information on the area in which the survey respondent works is used in the calculation of the area cost adjustment.The area cost adjustment (ACA) has been calculated for each 1991 county in line with the recommendations of the independent Elliott review of the area cost adjustment. The exception to this rule is that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has further refined the ACA geography around London, by acknowledging fringe and non fringe areas in the counties which surround London, and by separating Greater London into four ACA areas.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister calculates the ACA for county areas because we wish to produce robust ACA factors that are stable over time. For individual authorities the NES sample size can be small and small samples can lead to volatility. In reforming the ACA the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has had to strike a balance between more finely reflecting local labour market pressures, by calculating the ACA for smaller areas, and providing stable and robust ACA factors each year.

Families With Children

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families with children there are in the UK. [110836]

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

Letter from Len Cook to David Willets, dated 1 April 2003:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning families with children. (110836)
The number of families with dependent children in the United Kingdom in November 2002 is estimated at 7.2 million.

Iraq

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 19 March, Official Report, column 761W, on Iraq, what plans he has to make new funding available to the Department for International Development for humanitarian relief efforts during the conflict. [105253]

In the Budget Statement of 9 April, the Chancellor announced the provision of $100 million to support the UN and the work of reconstruction and development in Iraq. This is in addition to the £240 million the Government has already set aside for humanitarian relief. The Government will consider further action as needed, in the context of future developments.

National Insurance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of his Department. [107896]

It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in the Budget will increase pay costs on average by 0.7 per cent. this year.

National Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, for a couple with one child under 16 and one adult in work for 35 hours a week receiving the National Minimum Wage of £4.50 an hour from April, by how much she estimates the 30p a week increase in the National Minimum Wage will be eroded by (a) the resulting increase in national insurance contributions, (b) the resulting reduction in housing and council tax benefits, (c) the average increase in council tax on band D in London, (d) the average increase in social housing rents by local authorities and (e) the average increase in social housing rents by housing associations in London. [106591]

As a result of the increase in the National Minimum Wage to £4.50 and the introduction of the Working and Child Tax credits a couple with one earner working full time on the National Minimum Wage will be £6.93 per week better off in real terms from October 2003 than they were over 2002–03. This includes the impact of the rise in National Insurance Contributions.Even after average increases (across England) in rents and Council Tax this family will be £2.39 better off per week. Only some households in these circumstances will be eligible for Housing or Council Tax Benefit.

Regional Pay

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce regional pay for public services following his announcement that he intended to introduce a regional retail price increase table for all regions. [109362]

Remits for pay review bodies and for public sector workers, including the civil service, will in future include a stronger local and regional dimension.Further details will be announced in the coming months.

Transport

Air Transport (Consultation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister about the effect of planning blight on domestic properties as a result of the National Consultation on the Future of Air Transport in the UK. [110362]

Prior to the publication of the airports' consultation documents last year, we consulted a number of departments, including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. We will continue a dialogue within Government in the run-up to the Air Transport White Paper.

Car Clubs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if the Government will establish a challenge fund for local authorities for car clubs; [110934](2) what plans the Department has for undertaking further research into the effectiveness of car clubs; [110932](3) what encouragement the Department is giving to local authorities within its guidance for developing local transport plans for the support of car clubs; and what

(a) financial and (b) other support the Department is giving to local authorities for (i) promotion and (ii) development of car clubs. [110933]

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport announced the Government's response to the Motorist's Forum's Report on car sharing and car clubs on 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 72WS. The response outlined the work and further support it will give in this field.The response was placed in the Libraries of the House and is also available on DfT's website at http://www local-transport.dft.gov.uk/travelplans/mforum/index.htm.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact upon CO2 emissions in 2010 of his revised forecast that car fuel costs will drop by 30 per cent.over the present decade, rather than the 20 per cent. assumption in the original 10 year transport plan. [110074]

In our revised forecasts, fuel costs in 2010 (measured in pence per km driven) are forecast to be only 1 per cent lower than assumed for 2010 in the original 10 Year Plan. This is estimated to increase CO2 by approximately 0.1 MtC in 2010.It should be noted that the forecast drop in car fuel costs between 2000 and 2010 of 30 per cent., compared with 20 per cent. forecast in the original 10 year Transport Plan has arisen from two main factors. The first is that the actual base year (2000) fuel price was higher than that originally estimated (although this has no direct impact on 2010 costs) and secondly, that the forecast for fuel duty, which takes into account changes since 2000, will be lower. The underlying forecast for car fuel efficiency improvements remains unchanged.

Civil Service (People With Disabilities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in meeting targets for the proportion of people with disabilities in senior posts in the Department. [110529]

The Department for Transport currently has 0.1 per cent. of senior civil servants (SCS) with a disability. Following last year's machinery of government changes, we are yet to revise the former DTLR diversity targets for DfT. However, we are reviewing this, and are working with two other departments on work they are doing on modelling for setting targets for under-represented groups in the senior civil service and below. It is expected that a model will be in place by the summer. In addition to this, we propose to undertake a disability resurvey of all our staff later in the year.We are engaged in a number of measures and initiatives to help increase the representation of disabled people in more senior posts. The Department advertises open competition vacancies in media targeted at disabled people eg Disability Now, and Ready, Willing and Able as well as other medium. We also operate a guaranteed interview scheme (commonly known as "Two Ticks") whereby all disabled applicants meeting the minimum criteria for advertised posts are guaranteed an interview.The Department is a corporate sponsor of the Employers Forum on Disability, and has a contract with disability consultants to advise on disability issues including ways in which we might increase the representation of disabled people within the Department.We are continuing to support the Cabinet Office Disability Bursary Scheme, and are providing central funding for two successful applicants on the 2003 scheme. We also ran a short career development workshop for disabled staff in 2000 and 2001. We are offering work placements to disabled graduates in the summer to undertake specific high level projects, and will continue to monitor the progress of these measures, and consider additional initiatives to help bring about an increase in the proportion of disabled staff at senior levels.

District Line

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what investments have been made in the District Line in each of the last six years. [110459]

This is an operational matter for London Underground. London Underground, however, advise that the following has been invested in the District Line:

£ million
1997–9849.5
1998–9964.4
1999–200061.5
2000–0177.5
2001–02101.2
2002–0384.9

Ministerial Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department was in 2002. [101538]

The cost of ministerial cars and drivers for the Department will be addressed in a letter from Mr. Nick Matheson, the Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to the hon. Member.Taxis may be used for a variety of reasons, including disability, personal safety or when it is more cost effective to do so. The cost of taxis to my Department during 2002 was 55079.70. This figure is for the period 1 April to 31 December 2002 and is inclusive of all types of taxi services. My Department does not hold information on the cost of the different types, e.g black cabs or minicabs. The period 1 January to 31 March 2002 was for the predecessor Department of Transport Local Government and the Regions and the cost of taxis was not kept separately from other travel costs.

Culture, Media And Sport

National Minimum Wage

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the estimated cost is in 2003–04 to her Department, agencies and the non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible of the increase in the national minimum wage from £4.20 per hour to £4.50 per hour. [110445]

There would be no increase in paybill costs in DCMS and the Royal Parks Agency because all staff are paid at a higher hourly rate than the £4.50 per hour national minimum wage.

DCMS does not hold central paybill records for non-departmental public bodies. To provide this information could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Pill Boxes

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the pill boxes which are being reviewed as part of English Heritage's Monuments Protection programme. [1088791

English Heritage is carrying out a review of World War II anti-invasion structures, including pill boxes. This review is at an early stage, and there is no definitive list yet of the pill boxes which will be recommended for scheduling as part of the Monuments Protection programme.

Public Service Agreement

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many and what grades of officials are responsible for the monitoring of progress towards the public service agreement targets of her Department. [109475]

Monitoring progress towards the Department's PSA targets is undertaken by a wide variety of staff at all levels of the organisation.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff in her Department were on long-term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109246]

Assuming long-term sick leave is defined as 90 days and over, the numbers of DCMS staff on long-term sick leave in each of the last five calendar years was:

Number
19986
19993
20005
20015
20027
DCMS is committed to managing sickness absence effectively, and in meeting the 2003 target for reduced sickness absence, as set out in the Service Delivery Agreement.

Special Advisers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the salary bill was for special advisers in her Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108501]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 24 April 2003, Official Report, column 45W, by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office.

Defence

Age Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109442]

The Ministry of Defence employs some 90,000 Civil Servants, and it is departmental policy that individuals should not be discriminated against on any grounds, including age. We will be keeping our policy under review against the background of any changes in the law relating to age that may result from the implementation of the EC Employment Directive. The armed forces have an exemption from the age (and disability) provisions of the Article 13 Directive.

Armed Forces Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors underlie the decisions about how MOD houses are graded; if he will make a statement on the differences between the four grades; and which grades are suitable to house service personnel. [110467]

All Service Families Accommodation (SFA) is Graded in accordance with the Ministry of Defence's 4-Tier Grading system. The Grading system takes into account the size and condition of the SFA plus environmental factors such as aircraft noise and distance from amenities. All Grades of SFA are used to house Service personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many MoD houses are empty; how many have been empty for more than six months; and if he will make a statement. [110468]

All services1 April 19971 April 19981 April 19991 April 20001 Apri1 20011 April 20021 March 2003
Surplus/Deficit-8,320-8,190-8,100-7,740-9,440-9,030-6,570
Naval service
Surplus/Deficit-1,230-1,460-1,620-990-1,360-1,690-920
Army
Surplus/Deficit-4,840-4,890-5,370-6,060-6,600-6,560-5,110
Royal Air Force
Surplus/Deficit-2,250-1,850-1,120-690-1,490-790-550

Note:

All Figures are rounded to the nearest 10, totals may not equal the sum of the parts

These figures exclude:

Trained Personnel in the Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service, full and part time), Army Reservists mobilised for service, RAF Reservists mobilised for service, Gibraltar Permanent Cadre and Naval Activated Reservists.

These figures include:

Trained UK Regular Forces, Full Time Reserve Service Personnel (FTRS) and Trained Gurkhas.

Benefits (Service Families)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place to provide spouses of army personnel with (a) maternity benefit, (b) jobseeker's allowance, (c) disability allowance and (d) advice on how to seek these benefits, when they are living or have been living abroad; and if he will make a statement. [110389]

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) issue pamphlet GL26, which gives specific advice on benefits and allowances for Service families moving overseas. Claims are dealt with through the

It is assumed that this question relates to Service family housing in mainland United Kingdom, which is managed by the Defence Housing Executive (DHE). At the end of March 2003, there were 8,161 empty properties, including about 2,000 which the Services have requested DHE hold back from disposal, depending on resolution of Service deployment uncertainties.Of the total vacant, some 2,880 had been empty for six months or more, of which 937 were in the course of disposal, and 1,399 were awaiting planned deployments or refurbishment. The remainder are subject to a rolling review of their long-term retention.

Armed Forces Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Department's recruitment campaign for the armed services; and what the shortfall in manpower was in each year since 1997. [110029]

Overall armed forces recruitment is holding up well. After 11 months of the current Financial Year, the number of new recruits had reached 24,290 representing 96 per cent. of the overall recruiting target. This compares with 95 per cent. in FY 2001–02 and 90 per cent. in FY 2000–01. However, we are not complacent; we recognise that the overall achievement masks recruiting shortfalls in some critical employment groups.The following table provides details of shortfalls in trained strength by individual Service as at 1 April for years 1997 to 2002 along with the current shortfall (as at 1 March 2003).DWP Newcastle office which has a help line; and the availability of the help line is published to Service families. There are also advice leaflets available through British Forces Post Offices overseas. Service welfare organisations will also provide advice to families.The procedures for claiming benefits are set by the Department of Work and Pensions, and will depend upon the benefit being claimed and the circumstances of the individual. The ability to claim benefits overseas will also depend upon the country being visited. There are specific rules for European Economic Area (EEA) countries and there are also a number of two way social security agreements with other countries.

In the case of maternity allowance, if the individual is going to an EEA country and is a United Kingdom or EEA national and is already in receipt of maternity allowance, they can continue to receive it while abroad. If going to a non-EEA country, they may be able to get maternity allowance if a two-way social security agreement exists covering maternity benefit. In other cases, the Ministry of Defence will make an ex-gratia payment equivalent to maternity allowance for accompanying Servicemen's wives when all the relevant qualifying criteria are met.

Jobseeker's allowance can be claimed when moving to an EEA country if all the criteria are met. However, it is not payable in countries outside the EEA. In some cases, it is possible to use UK national insurance contributions to claim an unemployment benefit in countries that have two-way social security agreements with the UK.

Disability living allowance is normally payable for as long as the applicant can be treated as 'ordinarily resident" in Great Britain. It is not payable where the family has severed links with Great Britain and has no plans to return, or where a severely disabled child born abroad has not established ordinary residence in Great Britain. In practice, members of most Service families stationed overseas would be treated as ordinarily resident in Great Britain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what standards have been set for the rapid resolution of benefit claims by Service families; and whether there are complaints procedures available for cases that have resulted in the undue delay of such benefits. [110391]

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a target to process claims for jobseeker's allowance within 12 days. This applies to all claims, including those made by Service families. If there are delays, DWP will consider complaints and claims for compensation which should, in the first instance, be made to the local DWP office. Complaints can also be made by e-mailing Jobcentre Plus via the website at: jobcentreplus.gov.uk or using the "How Do I Complain?" leaflet available at any Jobcentre Plus Office. Service authorities will provide assistance to Service families as necessary in cases where there is dispute over entitlement to a benefit.

Civil Contingencies

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research work is conducted into (a) civil contingency planning and (b) anti-terrorist measures; which Department is responsible; what funds are allocated; who sets the research priorities; and if he will make a statement. [110544]

Lead responsibility for counter-terrorism and civil contingency planning in the United Kingdom rests with the Home Office. Along with many other Government Departments and Agencies, the Ministry of Defence provides support to that planning, drawing upon a wide range of relevant scientific and military expertise. Scientific research funded from the Defence budget supports the development of a number of military capabilities applicable to counter-terrorism, as described in "The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter" (Command 5566) presented to Parliament on 18 July 2002.

Departmental Annual Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the 2002 annual report of the Department will be published. [107868]

The Ministry of Defence's annual report is published each autumn and covers the previous financial year. The annual report for 2001–02 was published on 22 November 2002. We plan to publish the report for 2002–03 in October of this year. A summary of the Department's performance against its Public Service Agreement at the mid-year point will be included in the Government's defence expenditure plans for 2003–04 to 2005–06 to be published by 16 May in common with all other spring departmental reports.

European Amphibious Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what developments have been made regarding the European Amphibious Initiative; and if he will make a statement. [109082]

Since the inception of the European Amphibious Initiative (EAI) at the end of December 2000, progress has been made in determining doctrine, concepts, and procedures—although opportunities to conduct a dedicated EAI exercise have been limited.Work to date has centred on a structured series of Steering and Working Group meetings between the Naval staffs of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Additionally there is a more tactical level annual EAI Seminar, followed by an Amphibious Force Commanders' conference.It was planned to use Exercise Destined Glory 02, a NATO amphibious exercise in the Mediterranean, to test the practical implementation of evolving concepts and other work, but the commitment of the Royal Marines to operations in Afghanistan meant that UK participation was greatly reduced. Since then continuing high operational tempo has made it impossible to plan a further exercise.At the most recent Steering Group Meeting, member nations resolved to take the initiative forward, and the aim, operational commitments permitting, is to hold an EAI exercise in 2004.

European Security And Defence Identity

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy objectives for a European security and defence identity. [110795]

The European Security and Defence Identity was initiated within NATO to enable European Allies to make a more coherent and effective contribution to the missions and activities of the Alliance and to respond to European requirements. In addition to its objective to improve European military capabilities, it recognised the European Union's resolve, supported by the United Kingdom Government, to have a capacity for autonomous action so that it could take decisions and approve military action when the Alliance as whole was not engaged. Our policy is for NATO and the EU to be strategic partners in crisis management and the development of military capabilities. This partnership is underpinned by the recent implementation of the 'Berlin Plus' arrangements through which the EU has assured access to NATO planning capabilities and a presumption of availability of NATO common assets and capabilities. This will ensure that the EU's European Security and Defence Policy continues to develop in a manner that is supportive of, and supported by, NATO.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the provenance of the missile which hit the al-Nassar market in the Shula area of Baghdad. [108013]

There is no evidence to suggest that allied weapons caused the damage in the al-Nassar market in the Shula area of Baghdad. The crater in the market place is inconsistent with that normally created by an air-to-ground missile. Moreover the nearest target attacked by coalition aircraft at the time of the explosion was some 8 km away from the market.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment the Government have made of the likely time scale for the administering and governance of Iraq to be put into the hands of the Iraqi people and the total withdrawal of coalition forces. [110348]

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear at the Hillsborough summit, our aim is for Iraqis to take charge of the administration and Government of Iraq as soon as possible. The process of establishing a transitional Government, representing all Iraq's ethnic groups, regions and diaspora, began with the National Dialogue Conference on 15 April 2003. It is impossible to know with certainty precisely how long this process will take. We anticipate that coalition forces will remain in Iraq as long as their presence is necessary to help the Iraqi people in the political and economic reconstruction of their country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the Government have for the total withdrawal of British forces from Iraq. [110350]

Our Military Campaign Objectives contain a commitment to withdrawal of British military forces from Iraq as soon as is practicable. It is too early at this stage to predict when the appropriate circumstance will arise to allow a full withdrawal. We will maintain an appropriate military presence in Iraq as long as is necessary to enable the conditions within which the Iraqis can get their country running effectively, politically and economically.We have kept the House fully informed of deployments to the middle east and of subsequent withdrawals of forces from the region. We will continue to keep deployments to the region under review and will keep the House informed of future withdrawals.

Military Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment his Department has made of environmental damage to (a) Woodbury Common, (b) Dartmoor and (c) Salisbury plain training areas caused by military exercises. [109637]

The Ministry of Defence has always been committed to minimising any environmental damage caused by our training activities, an approach which has now been formalised through the Defence Estate Strategy and taken forward through the implementation of ISO 14001, the Environmental Management System.A wide variety of military training activity is undertaken on Woodbury Common, Dartmoor and Salisbury Plain Training Areas and specific surveys of the environmental impacts of this military training are carried out as part of Departmental management plans. As part of existing management plans, recent surveys have been undertaken to ensure environmental impacts are managed within agreed limits in consultation with statutory bodies.

National Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms are in place for monitoring the payment of national insurance by families of soldiers when living abroad; and if he will make a statement. [110390]

There are no mechanisms in place to monitor the payment of national insurance by families of soldiers or other Service families when living abroad. The continued payment of United Kingdom national insurance when living overseas will depend upon an individual's employment circumstances and the country they have moved to.

Nato

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the objectives of Her Majesty's Government's policy towards NATO reform. [110797]

The United Kingdom's principal objective towards NATO reform is to ensure the continued effectiveness and relevance of an enlarged Alliance.The NATO summit in Prague, which took place during November last year, focused on transformation, and Alliance leaders agreed a comprehensive package of measures aimed at ensuring NATO has the flexibility and capabilities to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. These measures include: enlargement; a streamlined Command Structure; the creation of a NATO Response Force; a new capabilities initiative; and the modernisation of NATO's internal structures and processes.

Nordic Brigade

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what developments the UK has made in respect of the Nordic Brigade; and if he will make a statement. [109083]

Last year, at the Nordic Defence Ministers' meeting in Alesund, I signed a Letter of Intent that provides the basis for the United Kingdom's co-operation with NORDCAPS (the Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support). NORDCAPS provides the formal planning and cooperation framework for a possible Nordic Brigade for Peace Support Operations.NORDCAPS builds on the co-operative arrangements that we have enjoyed with our Nordic partners in the Balkans. Our involvement does not commit the United Kingdom to a military contribution to NORDCAPS. We support this initiative in addition to our existing bilateral links with the Nordic countries.

Part-Time Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact of the part-time Workers Directive on staff in his Department. [109265]

The Ministry of Defence is committed to the work/life balance of its civilian staff. A range of flexible working patterns including part-time working, flexible working hours, home working and job share is available to civilian staff by agreement with their management.The number of civilian staff employed part-time has increased steadily during the last five years from 4,055 in April 1998 (4.5 per cent. of total work force excluding trading funds) to 5,323 in March 2003 (7 per cent. of total work force excluding trading funds). There has, however, been no attempt to assess the specific impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on this increase as MOD's policies to ensure equal treatment of part-time workers were largely in place well before the European Directive came into force.

Reservists Standard Awards

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether increases to maximum levels for Reservists Standard Awards will continue to be fixed to (a) inflation levels and (b) an earnings index; [110466](2) whether reservists serving in the Gulf will be able to backdate any increase in the Reservists Standard Award that is agreed on in the next year to include the time spent in the Gulf at any point in 2003; [110465](3) when his Department will be implementing increases to the Reservists Standard Award under SI 1997/309. [110464]

The current regulations covering Reservist Standard Awards, as set out in SI 1997/309 (The Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall)(Financial Assistance) Regulations), do not contain a provision to increase the maximum levels of the banded rates. A consultation paper with proposals for revising the financial assistance available to reservists under SI 309/97 when called out into permanent service will be issued shortly. Such a consultation is required under the Reserve Forces Act 1996, prior to any changes being implemented.

Royal Irish Regiment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future use of the three home battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment. [110791]

The Royal Irish Regiment comprises three Home Service battalions, the General Service battalion which has been serving in Iraq, and a TA battalion.Until there is agreement on Security Normalisation in Northern Ireland, it would be premature to come to any conclusions on the final composition of the Northern Ireland garrison. Current planning is addressing the implications of security normalisation for the Home Service battalions. The role of the Home Service element is Military Aid to the Civil Power; as the security environment improves we expect the need for this role will decline.

Service Personnel (Gulf)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been put in place to provide support to families of armed forces personnel who have been killed or injured serving in the Gulf; and if he will make a statement. [110418]

The Service authorities take very seriously the need to ensure adequate welfare support for personnel and their families and have well-established procedures in place to cater for instances of injury or death.Where Service personnel are, for whatever reason, classified as very seriously ill or seriously ill, up to two family members will be eligible to visit them at public expense for up to seven days, extendable to 10 days on medical advice. Unit Welfare Officers will assist families as the need to do so arises.Following a death, be it through natural causes, as a direct result of peacetime Service, e.g. an accident, or on the battlefield, the Services have detailed guidelines for Commanding Officers on the procedures to be implemented. In the first instance, the next of kin or other nominated person will be advised of the death through a visit by an officer from the deceased's unit. Following initial notification, an officer is appointed to assist the family in the ensuing days and months and will do so through emotional or administrative support, including matters relating to housing and finance. This support will continue for as long as necessary according to individual circumstance and needs.Where families are housed in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), bereaved families can retain their SFA for as long as they feel they need in order to assess their longer term housing requirements.Financial support is provided in accordance with the terms of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and the War Pension Scheme, as detailed in my answer of 3 April 2003,

Official Report, columns 781–82W to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley). I also explained that, where a Service person dies as a result of Service related to conflict, ex-gratia payments equivalent to benefits paid to a

surviving spouse under the AFPS may be awarded to their unmarried partner where there is a substantial relationship.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109245]

The number of non industrial staff in the Ministry of Defence who were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years are as follows:

YearNumber of staff
1998
19993,304
20003,411
2001
20023,993
Long term sickness is defined as staff who have been on sick leave for a spell of 30 calendar days or more. Due to data inaccuracies, the figures for 1998 and 2001 cannot be given. Figures are not currently available for industrial staff.A programme of measures is being implemented to help meet the target in MOD's Service Delivery Agreement to reduce sickness absence to 7.0 days by the end of 2003 (target adjusted following the reorganisation of Government Departments in 2000). This includes a regular audit of long term sick cases. MOD is committed to improving the health of its staff and managing sick absence more effectively.

Minister For Women

Domestic Violence

14.

To ask the Minister for Women if she will make a statement on the Government's plans to tackle domestic violence. [110646]

As a Government, we are consulting with a view to bringing forward legislation to tackle the issue of domestic violence, we are putting funding into refuges, and establishing a new helpline for women fleeing violence. My own Department is developing initiatives to raise awareness, and my right hon. Friend the Solicitor-General is working with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to change the way the police and prosecution services work on domestic violence.

Regional Development Agencies

16.

To ask the Minister for Women what action she is taking to promote the appointment of women to the boards of Regional Development Agencies. [110649]

Nearly one in three of RDA board members are women. This includes the first woman chair of an RDA whom I appointed in December 2002.I am committed to increasing the diversity of the boards of all public bodies sponsored by my Department. I have spoken at events to encourage women to apply for public appointments and specifically mentioned the RDA appointments. My officials run awareness raising events and distribute leaflets to women's groups and other interested bodies in the regions. The material for these posts stresses that appointments are made on merit and that applications from women, ethnic minorities and the disabled are particularly welcome.

Corporate Social Responsibility

17.

To ask the Minister for Women how her work on Corporate Social Responsibility has affected women. [110650]

Our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility is to encourage companies to make environmentally and socially responsible practices an integral part of their business operations, to the benefit of both society and business.Where companies do so, women will benefit as employees, customers and citizens. Women, especially in developing countries, are disproportionately affected by bad working conditions and environmental damage. The Government's policies to tackle these issues will directly benefit women both in the UK and overseas.

Business Start-Ups

To ask the Minister for Women what measures she is taking to help women to set up their own businesses. [110651]

I will shortly launch a national strategic framework for women's enterprise, which has been developed by the Small Business Service, in conjunction with Prowess (Promoting Women's Enterprise Support) and a cross-Government policy group. This framework will provide a cohesive, co-ordinated and long-term approach to the development of women's enterprise across the UK.

Trade And Industry

Manufacturing Industry

10.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department is taking to improve productivity growth rates in manufacturing industry. [110642]

The Government's Manufacturing Strategy, published in May last year, identified seven key areas of activity for Government and industry that are crucial for manufacturing success. We are taking action in all of those areas—for example, with the setting up of the Manufacturing Advisory Service—to help UK manufacturers improve productivity in very difficult global conditions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to increase productivity in UK manufacturing business. [110625]

The Government's Manufacturing Strategy, published in May last year, identified seven key areas of activity for Government and industry that are crucial for manufacturing success. We are taking action in all of those areas—for example, with the setting up of the Manufacturing Advisory Service—to help UK manufacturers improve productivity in very difficult global conditions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has to increase the UK's productivity levels in manufacturing industry; and if she will make a statement. [110629]

We are taking action to help manufacturers facing difficult conditions through the Government's Manufacturing Strategy, developed in partnership with industry. The supporting measures we have established, such as the Manufacturing Advisory Service, will help UK manufacturers to improve their productivity.

Broadband

11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the take-up of broadband internet access in the UK. [110643]

According to Oftel's Internet and Broadband Brief for March 2003, take-up of broadband continues to increase substantially. Total broadband subscribers are over 1.77 million.

Export Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether her Department invited submissions from the Metropolitan Police to the DTI's consultation on the secondary legislation for the Export Control Act 2002. [109657]

The fully public consultation on the DTIs Export Control Act 2002 invites views from all organisations with an interest in strategic export controls. The draft secondary legislation to be made under the Export Control Act was drawn up in consultation with all relevant Government Departments, including the Home Office. We will be working with all relevant enforcement authorities to ensure them new controls operate efficiently and effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what mechanisms are in place for independent assessment of the Government's exemptions to its export control policy. [110396]

The Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development, and Trade & Industry Committees, appointed by the House of Commons under Standing Order No. 152, can independtley examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Ministry of Defence, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Department of Trade & Industry, and any associated public bodies.

Exports (Syria)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the export licences granted in respect of exports to Syria since 1997; and if she will make a statement on exports to Syria with a possible military application. [110224]

The details of all export licences granted in respect of exports to Syria since 2 May 1997 are published in the Government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls. Copies of the Annual Reports are available in the Libraries of the House. Between 1 January 2003 and 7 April 2003, no Standard Individual Export Licences or Open Individual Export Licences were issued, where the end users were in Syria.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value has been of UK chemical exports to Syria in each year since 1997. [110225]

According to information published by HM Customs and Excise, the value of UK exports of chemicals to Syria, in each of the years since 1997, was as follows:

Year£ million
199716.5
199821.0
199920.7
200018.9
200115.3
200219.0
Chemicals are defined by Section 5 of the Standard International Trade Classification, revision 3 and include a list which comes to 40 pages.

Inward Investment (North-West)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to promote inward investment in the North-West. [110631]

Securing new foreign investment is a key element of the North West Development Agency's Regional Economic Strategy (RES). This aims to strengthen key sectors and encourage the commercial exploitation of the region's science and technology base. In so doing the North West Development Agency will support and complement the work of Invest UK.

Paternity Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of recent changes to paternity leave on small businesses. [110630]

None. A new right to two weeks' paid paternity leave was only introduced on 6 April.

Retail Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the prospects for the retail sector. [110640]

Although the Department has not specifically estimated the future prospects for the retail sector, we fully recognise the importance of the industry and are working closely with it, through the formation of a Retail Strategy Group, to identify and address the key issues affecting its productivity and competitiveness.

Trading Standards Professionals

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Trading Standards Professionals were employed by local authorities in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 and how many are budgeted to be employed by local authorities in (i) 2003 and (ii) 2004. [110359]

The total number of Trading Standards Professionals employed by local authorities in England and Wales for 2000–01 and 2001–02 was 3732.1 and 3586.9 respectively.The total number of staff in Trading Standards Authorities in Scotland for 2000–01 and 2001–02 was 534.5 and 511.6 respectively.The data for the budgeted total numbers of Trading Standards professionals to be employed by local authorities in 2003–04 are not yet available. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance is currently collecting this data in an annual return.

Universal Service Obligation

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what recent representations she has received on the Royal Mail's universal service obligation; [109197](2) what recent discussions she has had with Royal Mail on the universal service obligation to rural and remote areas of Scotland. [109196]

DTI Ministers and officials regularly hold discussions with Royal Mail on strategic postal issues. The Government considers the maintenance of a universal postal service to be of the highest importance. Under the terms of the Postal Services Act 2000, universal service is a matter for the postal regulator (Postcomm), which has the primary statutory duty to ensure the provision of a universal postal service at an affordable uniform tariff, and for Royal Mail as the licence holder with the universal service obligation. Following a wide-ranging consultation. Postcomm has established its policy on when exceptions might be permitted, and identified where exceptions exist. This document is available on their website at http://www.psc.uov.uk/docuinents/licensiiiR. Under this policy, exceptions to the universal service daily delivery can only be allowed in very specific and restricted circumstances.On 10 April, Postcomm launched a further three-month consultation to find out what users expect from the universal postal service currently provided by Royal Mail. All postal users are invited to comment on the universal service, to say what matters to them, and how they expect the service to develop. Again the information on this consultation can be obtained from Postcomm's website.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Antibiotics

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the most recent annual report into the sale of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK has been published. [110086]

The Report of the Sales of Antimicrobial Products authorised for use as veterinary medicines, growth promoters, coccidiostats and antiprotozoals, in the UK in 2001, was published on 10 April 2003 on the VMD website. I have placed a copy in the Library.

Agricultural Sludge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the consultation on Proposals to Amend the Statutory Controls for the use of Agricultural Sludge was carried out in accordance with the Government's code of practice on written consultation. [109993]

I can confirm that the consultation on the proposals to amend the statutory controls for the agricultural use of sludge was carried out in accordance with the code of practice for written consultation including allowance for a 13 week consultation period.

Agricultural Trade Barriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of agricultural trade barriers on legal and illegal migration to the EU. [108815]

My Department has not made any such assessment. There are many factors which might contribute to legal or illegal migration to the EU. The impact of agricultural trade barriers would be difficult to gauge but it is considered unlikely that it would represent a significant factor.

Agricultural Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of workers in Shrewsbury and Atcham were working in agriculture in each year since 1997. [109678]

Figures from the 2001 Population Census show that, of the 46,100 people in employment in the district of Shrewsbury and Atcham, three per cent were working in agriculture. The Population Census is the only source of information on the percentage in employment in agriculture for which sufficiently precise figures for Shrewsbury and Atcham are available, but it is only conducted decennially.

Fallen Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department has made available to farms in Worcestershire on dealing with fallen stock. [109101]

The Department will be writing to all livestock farmers in England about the new rules on disposal of fallen stock before Easter. In addition there is information on the Defra website and advice may be obtained from the Worcester Animal Health Office.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the European Commission on the subject of the regulation banning on farm burial of fallen stock from 1 May in respect of (a) the challenges posed to farmers who have long distances to the nearest rendering plant and (b) the need for sufficient time for the Government to consult the industry on how it proposes to address the consequences of the ban. [108758]

The consequences of the ban on burial of livestock have been animal by-products regulation was proposed.The Government has been discussing the possibility of establishing a national scheme for the collection of fallen stock with representatives of the farming industry since April 2002, but progress was hindered by the industry's initial reluctance to accept anything less than 100 per cent. Government funding. The industry were forewarned of the proposed ban even before these discussions and have had considerable time to prepare for the impending legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what opportunities her Department has to secure derogations to the on farm burial ban of fallen stock equivalent to those secured by the Scottish Executive. [108759]

Member States may derogate from the ban on the burial of animal carcases, for fallen stock in respect of remote areas, and in certain circumstances during disease outbreaks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department has given to cooperative groups of neighbouring farmers assessing the prospect of purchasing jointly a biodigestor or incinerator to deal with fallen stock in respect of (a) siting and (b) the transport of dead stock from one member's farm to the farm on which the facility is sited. [108774]

Guidance on on-farm incinerators, including shared incinerators, was included in a letter sent to all livestock farmers in England on 17 April. A copy of this letter is on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/by-prods/default.htm. Further guidance will be made available shortly.Biodigesters are not a permitted means of disposing of fallen stock under the EU Animal By-Products Regulation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the geographical spread of rendering facilities in the UK and its effect on collection of fallen stock; [108964](2) if she will make a statement on the implementation of the EU fallen stock regulations in Scotland; [108956](3) what additional resources will be required by trading standards departments in respect of new fallen stock regulations. [108963]

Rendering or incineration facilities are available throughout the UK to deal with disposal of fallen stock. The collection and disposal industry have stated that there is sufficient capacity to deal with the expected increase in the volume of material when the EU Animal By-Products Regulation comes into effect from 1 May.Responsibility for implementing the EU Animal By-Products Regulation in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.Allocation of resources for enforcement of the new rules on disposal of fallen stock is a matter for local authorities.

Animal By-Products Order

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will nominate a representative to take forward discussions with bio-dynamic agriculture on the subject of the animal by-products order; and how many cases of BSE have been identified on bio-dynamic holdings. [110159]

Defra has a number of officials negotiating the Animal By-Products Regulation, who have been taking account of all comments made in the course of our consultations, including those relating to bio-dynamic agriculture. The statistics requested are not available, as BSE statistics do not identify biodynamic holdings separately.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what exemptions are allowable under the animal by-products order, where agriculture involves a closed cycle of animal rearing. [110160]

The new EU Animal By-Products Regulation permits member states to exercise a number of derogations. None of these provides for derogations simply because there is a closed cycle of animal rearing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with representatives of bio-dynamic agriculture on the implications of the animal by-products order. [110157]

The Department has undertaken extensive consultation on the new regulation. Comments made by the Biodynamic Agricultural Association are being considered, as are all others.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the EU on the introduction of the animal by-products order, with specific reference to obtaining exemptions for bio-dynamic agriculture. [110158]

The practice of using animal by-products in the production of fertiliser was discussed at a working group meeting in Brussels on 17 March. It was noted that the European Commission intends to lay down further rules on fertilisers, and the TSE Regulation (999/2001) already prohibits the use of Specified Risk Material in the production of fertiliser.

Benzone

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her Answer to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) of 27 March 2003, Official Report, column 311W, on benzone, if she will make a statement on the chemical composition of benzone. [108764]

Benzoic acid (or its sodium, potassium or calcium salt) is permitted by the Miscellaneous Food Additives Regulations 1995 to be used with cooked prawns.

Bovine Tb

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the prevalence of bovine TB in Buckinghamshire. [110450]

The prevalence of bovine TB in Buckinghamshire is relatively low.Of the 862 herds registered in Buckinghamshire, and the area covered by the Milton Keynes Unitary Authority, only one herd is under bovine TB movement restrictions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the prevalence of bovine TB in Worcestershire. [109100]

Of the 1,266 herds registered in Worcestershire, 73 (or 5.8 per cent. of herds) are currently under TB restrictions.Last year there were 93 new TB incidents in the county, 55 of which were confirmed and 29 unconfirmed, and nine with laboratory results outstanding. Provisional figures for 2003 show there have been four new herd breakdowns in January and seven in February all of which were confirmed.The State Veterinary Service has worked hard over the last year to reduce the number of overdue TB herd tests. At the end of February there were 782 TB tests overdue in Worcester region.

Cap (Transitional Arrangements)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the transitional arrangements are for the Common Agricultural Policy in relation to the forthcoming EU enlargement. [108814]

In becoming members of the European Union, the new member states have agreed to take over and apply EU rules, subject to certain transitional measures, limited in both time and scope. For agriculture, the most significant include the gradual phasing in of direct payments, enhanced rural development measures, and certain veterinary and phytosanitary provisions. In the public health sector a number of time limited and tightly controlled transition measures have been agreed for individually named food production premises to correct certain structural defects. Crucially, products from such premises cannot enter the single market. No transitional arrangements relate to the food hygiene acquis.Further details can be found on the European Commission's website: europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/negotiations/chapters/negotiationsguide.pdf and in the Government's forthcoming Explanatory Memorandum on the Accession Treaty.

Carcase Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the impact of proposed new legislation on animal carcass disposal on pest control, with respect to the tracking of injured pests. [108132]

The carcases, or parts of carcases, of wild animals will be exempt from the scope of the Animal By-Products Regulation unless they are thought to be diseased or are used to produce game trophies. Although the Regulation places them under no legal obligation, owners of property on which there are dead wild animals are advised to contact their local authority for advice on appropriate disposal methods.Injured pests should, where practical, be tracked and humanely killed.

Common Fisheries Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the United Kingdom has the right to withdraw from the EU Common Fisheries Policy, without withdrawing from the EU itself. [109693]

A change to the Treaty of Rome would be required for the UK to withdraw from the Common Fisheries Policy without withdrawing from the EU.

Darwin Mounds

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has to establish a no-fishing zone over the Darwin Mounds; [109620](2) what steps the Government is taking to protect the Darwin Mounds off the coast of Scotland prior to its formal designation as a Special Area of Conservation. [109618]

We have identified the Darwin Mounds area as a likely candidate for designation as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the Habitats Directive. However, legislation to apply the Habitats Directive in the offshore area which would enable the UK to designate offshore SACs and to take measures to protect them is not yet in place. Consultation on the necessary legislation will take place in the near future.In the absence of such legislation, I wrote in October 2002 to Margot Wallstrom, the Commissioner for the Environment, and Franz Fischler, the Commissioner for Fisheries, seeking assistance in protecting the Mounds. We have since been exploring with the Commission the most effective means for putting in place measures to protect the area from the impact of fishing, including whether it would be appropriate to use emergency powers available under the new Common Fisheries Policy framework regulation, (EC) No. 2371/02.

Deer Sanctuary Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 9 April, Official Report, column 272W, if she will place in the Library the vets' report on the League Against Cruel Sports Deer Sanctuary at Baronsdown. [110063]

A copy of the welfare report cannot be placed in the Library as the results of welfare checks conducted by the State Veterinary Service are confidential between the State Veterinary Service and the keeper/owner of the animals concerned. The report cannot be divulged to a third party.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 27 March 2003, Official Report, column 311W, when final decisions will be made on the level of expenditure in support of energy efficiency in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [110423]

Final decisions have now been taken. In 2003–04 the total spending available from Defra to support energy efficiency will be £268,042,000.This includes £33,500,000 for The Carbon Trust, £22,487,000 for the Energy Saving Trust and £22,055,000 for the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme. In spite of heavy pressures on Defra's overall spending, these budgets remain broadly unchanged from last year reflecting the importance we attach to energy efficiency following the Energy White Paper. In addition, over £34,000,000 of capital grants and development support are available under the Community Energy. The budget for fuel poverty will be £156,000,000. No decisions have yet been taken about spending levels in future years.

Environment Agency Fees

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will provide a breakdown of the Environment Agency's fee of £108 per hour for chargeable pre-application advice on Operator Performance and Risks Appraisal to show the amounts calculated by the agency to consist of (a) salaries of the account manager, (b) employers' costs, (c) admin support, (d) management and specialist expertise, (e) accommodation, (f) IT, (g) other support services, (h) corporate costs and (i) depreciation and rate of return. [110221]

The level of application charge for Pollution Prevention and Control permits assumes that a maximum of 15 hours of direct staff time will be spent on pre-application discussions. The costs of any additional pre-application advice are recovered at the rate of £108 per hour of adviser's time. In some circumstances, the Environment Agency may waive this fee: if, for example, a pre-application discussion breaks new ground that would benefit applicants more widely. The breakdown, calculated in accordance with the HM Treasury Fees and Charges Guide, is as follows:

£
Direct costs
Salary of account manager (adviser)32
Employer's contributions (national insurance and pensions)6
Direct administrative support2
Management and specialist supporting expertise19
Infrastructure and policy costs
Accommodation5
IT9
Other support services17
Policy development5
Other corporate costs10
Depreciation and rate of return3
Total108

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions her Department had with the Scottish Executive prior to the decision of the European Commission to extend the area of fisheries restrictions to (a) Klondyke Bank, (b) North East Rough and (c) Coral Bank; [109142](2) what

(a) discussions she had with and (b) representations she made to the European Commission prior to the extension of fisheries restrictions to the (i) Klondyke Bank, (ii) North East Rough and (iii) Coral Bank; [109190]

(3) what fishermen's organisations in Scotland were consulted by her Department prior to the decision by the European Commission to extend the area of fishing restrictions to (a) Klondyke Bank, (b) North East Rough and (c) Coral Bank. [109191]

[holding answer 14 April 2003]: The Commission proposed the amendment to the derogated area in ICES areas IV and IIIa to ensure that the boundary of the area subject to the EU days at sea scheme was consistent with that of the closed area operating in the zone during 2001.The Commission also proposed a series of other amendments, designed to clarify their original intentions and provide additional flexibility in operation and enforcement of the scheme. We and colleagues in the Scottish Executive considered the package on offer to be of considerable value to the UK and were keen that the new arrangements should apply as soon as possible. We were not therefore prepared to see implementation of the package delayed and thus voted in favour of it at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 8 April. The UK industry were consulted on the text, before the decision to agree it was taken.

Gm Crop Trials

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) the consent reference number, (b) the six figure grid reference, (c) the size, (d) the date of planting and (e) expected period of harvest are for the GM crop trials in the UK which have been notified for the 2002–03 growing season but which are not part of the farm scale evaluations or the National Seed Listing Trials. [110543]

Consent numberSix-fig gridSize (maximum)Date of planting (expected)Date of harvest (expected)GM crop
02/R4/12TF 0740091000 m2March 2003November 2003Potato
01/R9/4TF 124 136100 m2Spring 2003Autumn 2003Wheat
01/R29/3TG 179 07730 m2February 2003September 2003Barley
03/R29/4TG 180 0704 m2May 2003October 2003Pea
02/R36/01TL 124 136100 m2Spring 2003Autumn 2003Wheat

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether the timing of the public consultancy over GM crops will allow the public to express views on the result of the GM field trials; [110374](2) when she expects to release the results of the GM field trials. [110375]

A series of scientific papers describing the outcome of the farm-scale evaluations for the three spring-sown crops (maize, beet and spring oil seed rape) has been submitted by the research consortium to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. The acceptance of the papers for publication, and the specific timing of publication, is entirely at the discretion of the journal. I understand that the papers are unlikely to be published before September. The main phase of the GM public debate will be conducted in June and July, and the Public Debate Steering Board is due to submit its report to Government in September. The results of the field trials are therefore unlikely to be available to the public taking part in the debate. However, once published, the results will be in the public domain and available for comment in the usual way.

Horticulture

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the future of the Horticultural Development Council. [109179]

The Horticultural Development Council was established under the provisions of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947, and is therefore subject to statutory review at five yearly intervals. The last review was completed in July 1999 when Agriculture Ministers agreed that the Council should continue for a further term. The next statutory review is due to be completed by July 2004 when a decision will be made on the continuence of the Council and any changes proposed to its covering legislation. As required by the Act, bodies representative of persons carrying out business in the horticultural industry, and organisations representing persons employed in the industry, will be consulted as part of the review.

There were no GM crop trials carried out in the winter of 2002–03 other than those in the farm scale evaluation programme and for the purpose of national seed listing trials.The following GM crop trials will be carried out in the UK during the 2003 growing season, these releases are for the purpose of small scale research and development trials (they are not part of the farm scale evaluations or for the purpose of national seed listing trials).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what analysis her Department has undertaken to assess the impact on the UK horticulture industry of the EU proposals for decoupled agricultural support payments. [110012]

Our published economic analysis of the Commission's proposals for reform of the CAP indicates an overall economic benefit to the UK of about £500 million. We are in discussion with industry representatives about the impact on individual horticulture producers of the proposed new system.

Inspection Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) staff and (b) staff engaged in inspection work have been employed by (i) the Environment Agency and (ii) the Countryside Agency in each year since 1997. [105870]

The number of staff employed by the Environment and Countryside Agencies is as follows:

(i) Environment Agency
YearTotal full time equivalentsEngaged in inspection work
19979,1232,926
19989,0732,927
19999,7072,953
200010,2963,081
200110,4763,031
200210,8242,962
200311,0872,979
(ii) Countryside Agency
YearTotal full time equivalents
19971245
19981241
19991243
2000436
2001435
2002520
2003587
1Staff employed by the Countryside Commission, the main predecessor body of the Countryside Agency. The Countryside Agency was established on 1 April 1999.

The Countryside Agency's has no staff engaged in inspection work, its statutory powers do not include inspection, or the appointment of inspectors.

Landfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to publish guidance (a) defining corrosive materials in a landfill environment and (b) defining the waste treatment requirements of article 6a of the Council Directive 1999/31/EC. [110219]

Corrosive materials were banned from landfill with effect from 16 July 2002. The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002, that implement the Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC) in England and Wales, define waste as corrosive

"if it consists of substances and preparations which destroy living tissue on contact".
Those Regulations define treatment, as referred to in Article 6a of the Directive, as meaning
"physical, thermal, chemical or biological processes (including sorting) that change the characteristics of waste in order to reduce its volume or hazardous nature, facilitate its handling or enhance recovery".
Extensive guidance on all aspects of the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 is available on the Environment Agency website.

Offshore Natural Features

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the protection of offshore natural features. [109619]

The Government is committed to a range of initiatives aimed at protecting the marine environment as outlined in our first Marine Stewardship Report "Safeguarding Our Seas: A Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of our Marine Environment". This includes extending the protection afforded by the Habitats and Birds Directives to offshore areas to protect important natural habitats and species. We aim to consult on draft regulations this summer. We are also looking at ways to improve the

TitleFunding BodyContractor contactContractorRemarksStart dateEnd dateStatus
Genetic variation in susceptibility to chronic effects of organophosphate exposureHSEDr. Nicola CherryCentre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of ManchesterLetter published in Lancet (2002 March, v159). Available at VMD website at http://www.vmd.gov.uk/via > Research & Development > Current Projects Final report imminentJanuary 1999March 2002Completed
Survey of health complaints among sheep–dippersDefra Science DirectorateDr. Tony FletcherLondon School of Hygeine and Tropical MedicineJanuary 2001December 2002Completed
Dose effect profiles for OP sheep dip on brain electrical activity and cognitive performanceDefra Science DirectorateDr. Leah ScottDSTL, Porton DownAvailable at VMD website at http://

www.vmd.gov.uk/via > Research & Development > Current Projects
April 1998December 2002Completed—final report awaited
Prospective cohort study of sheep dip exposure and dipper's fluHSEDr. Andrew PoveyCentre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of ManchesterCommencement of project negotiations delayed by FMD, then contractual reconciliation within contractor consortiumJanuary 2003July 2005Work imminently starting

protection available to marine species and habitats, including in the offshore area, through our Review of Marine Nature Conservation. We expect the Review to publish its recommendations early next year.

Organic Farmers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many organic farmers have been registered in Buckinghamshire in each year since 1997. [110415]

According to our latest records there are currently 14 organic farms registered in Buckinghamshire. Information for earlier years, broken down by county, is not available.The Department is developing the collection, collation and publication of information on organic food production as one of the commitments under the Action Plan to Develop Organic Food and Farming in England published on 29 July 2002.

Organophosphates

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the most recent independent research commissioned by the Government into the toxic effects on humans of the use of organophosphate chemicals was; what response the Government made to its conclusions; and if she will make a statement. [109809]

[holding answer 29 April 2003]: As part of the Government's Four Point Plan on OPs a research requirements document was published on 20 July 2000.The current state of play on each of the successful bids is set out in the table. The table also details two Government sponsored OP research projects that were already underway before the announcement of the Government Four Point Plan:A University of Manchester study into genetic variation in susceptibility to Ops; and A Porton Down study into the effects of OP exposure on brawn activity.In addition, Defra is funding a survey on health complaints amongst sheep dippers by Dr. Tony Fletcher (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). The first results for this survey are expected shortly.

Title

Funding Body

Contractor contact

Contractor

Remarks

Start date

End date

Status

Disabling neuropsychiatric disease in farmers exposed to organophosphates.Defra Science Directorate/DHDr. Andrew PoveyCentre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of ManchesterAvailable at VMD website at http://
www.vmd.gov.uk/via > Research & Development > Current Projects Identification of, and access to worker records has delayed survey
January 2002December 2006Work in progress
Characterisation of non-
acetylcholinesterase actions of organophosphates by identification of novel protein targets
Defra Science DirectorateDr. David RayNeurotoxicology Section, MRC Applied Neuroscience Group, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham.Available at VMD website at http://
www.vmd.gov.uk/via > Research & Development,lb/> > Current Projects
June 2001June 2003Work in progress
Investigation of possible autoimmune responses induced by organophosphate exposureDefra Science DirectorateDr. Howard MasonHealth and Safety Laboratory, SheffieldAvailable at VMD website at http://
www.vmd.gov.uk/via > Research & Development > Current Projects
April 2001September 2003Work in progress
A review of the effects of low level exposure to organophosphate pesticides on foetal and childhood healthDHDr. Leonard LevyMRC Institute for Environment and Health, University of LeicesterFinal Report available on IEH website, http://
www.le.ac.uk/ieh/via > reports & publications > human exposure & risk assessment > W11
April 2001May-2002Completed
A case-controlled study of neuropsychological and psychiatric functioning in sheep farmers exposed to organophosphate pesticidesDefra Science DirectorateDr. Sarah Mackenzie-RossUniversity College LondonStart imminent (3 years expected duration)
Assessment of pattern and extent of autonomic abnormalities in a group of sheep farmers and dippersDefra Science DirectorateDr. Goran JamalImperial CollegeProposal under peer review by Royal SocietyProposal

The findings of all Government sponsored research into this issue are routinely referred for advice to the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC), the Government's independent advisory committee established to advise Ministers on the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines. The VPC's latest advice on OP research was on a research letter published in the Lancet on 2 March 2002 describing findings from the Health and Safety Executive funded research project into ill health in sheep dip farmers and polymorphism of paraoxonase (PON 1). The research letter concluded that these results "support the hypothesis that organophosphates contribute to the reported ill health of people who dip sheep".

Although the full results of this study are still awaited. The VPC, under guidance from its Medical and Scientific Panel (MSP), has advised that the differences reported from the study were not large and were not, in themselves, sufficient to support the hypothesis that organophosphates contribute to the reported ill health of people who dip sheep. However, the VPC considered that the hypothesis postulated by this study could merit a more robust and better designed study. The VPC considered that once the full findings had been published the authors of the study should be invited to present them to the MSP.

The VPC also considered that the evidence in the research letter did not justify any additional regulatory action on the current authorisations for organophosphate sheep dips.

A further report on the findings of this research was published in the February 2003 edition of "Pharmacogenetics" and this is being studied by the MSP.

Pesticide Residues

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 28 March., Official Report, column 476–7W, on pesticide residues, how many tests were carried out on (a) British foods and (b) imported foods; what proportion of samples were found to have residues of banned substances; and what proportion of samples were found to have excessive residues of (i) pesticides, (ii) fertilisers, (iii) fungicides and (iv) other synthetic crop enhancers. [108927]

During the seven year period in question (1995–2002) the total number of samples analysed for pesticide residues totalled around 24,000, of which around 14,000 were of UK origin and 10,000 were imported. Only 26 residues were found of the withdrawn substances listed in the reply of 11 March. 8 samples were of UK origin and 18 were imported. The proportion of samples containing residues of withdrawn substances were therefore 0.06 per cent. UK and 0.18 per cent. imported.Over this period the proportion of samples with pesticide residues exceeding the maximum residue level averaged 1 per cent. The most recently published data for 2001 indicate that this was based on 1 per cent. of imported samples and 0.5 per cent. of UK origin samples exceeding these levels. These figures relate to all pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. Detailed analysis of these figures by pesticide type and by year could only be provided at disproportionate cost.Residues of nitrates and other fertilisers, which may leave residues in crops, areissues for the (FSA) Food Standards Agency.

Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will attend the Environment for Europe ministerial meeting in Kiev in May; and if the UK will sign the UNECE Protocol or Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (Aarhus Convention) at that meeting. [110379]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will represent the UK at the Kiev Environment for Europe conference between 21 and 23 May 2003. The Government is considering its position in relation to all three protocols which will be opened for signature at Kiev including the Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers. I will write confirming the Government's position once this has been finalised.

Ruddy Duck

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of the cost to her Department of the strategy to cull ruddy ducks. [110336]

I refer my right hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member. for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 505W.

Snares

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the ability of a snare to discriminate between species. [110425]

No recent assessment has been conducted on the discernment of snares for species. However, free-running snares are designed to be a restraining device that is intended to slacken, not continually tighten, thus not causing bodily injury. They are not considered an indiscriminate means of either capture or killing provided they are set correctly and are checked every 24 hours.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made as to the compatibility of the use of snares and the terms of the Bern Convention. [110426]

The Bern Convention is implemented in England through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.Free running snares are permissible under Section 11 of the 1981 Act provided that the snare is not placed in such a way to allow injury to any animal listed on Schedule 6 of the 1981 Act, which includes badgers. Section 11(3) makes it an offence to set in position, or knowingly cause or permit to set in position, any snare which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal. The snare must also be inspected at least once every 24 hours, so as to avoid any animal held in the snare suffering unnecessarily through starvation or dehydration. All non-target species must be released from the snare.Free-running snares are not considered an indiscriminate means of either capture or killing provided they are set correctly and are checked every 24 hours. They are designed to be a restraining device that is intended to slacken, not continually tighten, thus not causing bodily injury.The purpose of Section 11 is to expressly prohibit the use of indiscriminate means of capture and killing, in accordance with our international obligations, under the Bern Convention. Penalties for offences under Section 11, including not checking snares and not releasing non-target species, include fines of up to £5,000 and/or a custodial sentence of up to six months for each offence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 27 March 2003, Official Report, column 310W, how and when her Department is considering ways in which to improve the correct use and effectiveness of snares; and whether this will include a public consultation. [110427]

The Department is currently undertaking discussions with various organisations on an informal basis. Once these discussions have been concluded we will be examining how to take this matter forward.

Sustainable Energy Partnership

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the progress of Cornwall's Sustainable Energy Partnership's Home Health programme operating in the districts of Kerrier and Penwith, with the support of regeneration funding, in respect of (a) the adequacy of the partnership of local organisations, (b) the method of securing new clients to the programme, (c) its success in geographical targeting and (d) its efforts to reassure clients of their domestic security. [109314]

We are aware of this project which receives funding through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and the Community Action for Energy Programme of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes. An interim evaluation of the Home Health programme has just been completed on behalf of the Partnership and the findings will be considered by my Department.

Tb Reactors

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) steps have been taken and (b) outcomes achieved to reduce the time taken to remove cattle which have had a bovine TB reactor from farms in (i) England, (ii) South-west region, (iii) Cornwall, (iv) Devon, (v) Gloucestershire and (vi) Staffordshire. [108797]

(a) The following steps have been taken by the State Veterinary Service (SVS) to reduce the time taken to remove TB reactors from farms:

Reminders have been issued to Veterinary Inspectors to submit TB test charts to the SVS without delay after TB tests have been carried out.

Additional staff have been employed in Animal Health Offices to help process TB tests charts.

The SVS has asked the National Audit Office, Internal Audit and consultant valuers to look at ways to reduce delays caused by the valuation process.

The SVS has opened up discussions with representatives of the slaughter industry to see if the current arrangements can be improved by better coordination of transport with the slots available at slaughterhouses.

(b) The SVS are currently undertaking a review of all their business processes. This review is still underway, and discussions such as those mentioned above are still taking place. It is too soon therefore to measure performance improvements.

A snapshot of the situation for the last quarter of 2002 is given in the table. Data are not available by county, but by Animal Health Divisional Office(AHDO). Figures for 2003 are not yet available.

Number of reactors disclosed

Number of reactors removed from farm within 10 working days

Percentage of reactors removed from farm within 10 working days

England5,3731,23523
SW Region14,59282912
Cornwall AHDO811314
Devon AHDO1,06236935
Gloucester AHDO1,26515012
Stafford AHDO260026544

1The figures for SW region cover Exeter AHDO (Devon) Gloucester AHDO (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Avon). Taunton AHDO (Somerset and Dorset), Truro AHDO (Cornwall) and Worcester AHDO (Hereford and Worcester).

2Stafford AHDO covers Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire

T3327

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the wild animal poison known as T3327 is species specific; and what assessment (a) she and (b) the Central Science Laboratory has made of the impact of it being consumed by (i) other wild mammals, (ii) escaped domestic mammals and (iii) wild birds. [108140]

T3327 is a shorthand code name for a carbamate and as such is not species specific, but is toxic to all animals. The trial site was carefully chosen and fully licensed under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) and by other relevant bodies (note see replies to PQs 1608 and 1609). The Advisory Committee on Pesticides, made an assessment of the potential impact of the poison. The Central Science Laboratory, as the holder of the Experimental Permit and data owner, has agreed to copies of the environmental assessments being placed in the Westminster parliamentary Library. During the field trial in 2002 there was no effect on other wild mammals (other than badgers), domestic mammals or wild birds. The baits are buried to reduce the chances of being found by domestic livestock and wild birds. A full report of the trial will be published in due course.

Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ask the Environment Agency to examine the operation of Crabbe Yard, Wadborough, Worcestershire, for compliance with regulations relating to the disposal of waste. [109856]

I have been assured that the Environment Agency has visited the site on several occasions this year and is working in cooperation with other organisations to regulate this site and the company operating from it. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that any waste activities are being carried out on the site that would require a waste management licence from the Agency, although the site has registered an exemption from waste management licensing for the storage of road planings. The Agency will continue to monitor the site to ascertain whether activities being carried out come within the scope of Waste Management Licensing.

Waste Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of household waste was recycled in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [102356]

Household waste recycling figures are not collected for individual constituencies. The following figures show household recycling rates (including composting) from 1997 onwards for South Tyneside, the North East and England. This is a devolved matter, so figures are shown for England only. The data are available on the Defra website.

Percentage
Area1997–981998–991999–20002000–01
South Tynesiden/a446
The north east4.43.73.64.1
England8.29.010.311.2

Water Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the Water Industry (Charges) (Vulnerable Group) (Amendment) Regulations. [109959]

None. The Water Industry (Charges) (Vulnerable Group) (Amendment) Regulations, which came into force on 31 March 2003, were technical amendments to reflect changes to the benefits and tax credits system.

The consultation paper, "Reductions for Vulnerable Groups", issued by my Department on 25 February 2003 explained these changes and invited comments on proposed extensions of the regulations. The consultation period will end on 9 May after which we shall publish a response to consultation including a list of all those organisations and individuals who responded.

Wild Mammal Trials

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what trials the Department is engaged in with the Central Science Laboratory; and whether such trials relating to wild mammals involve the use of (a) repellants, (b) electric fencing and (c) condition taste aversion. [108141]

The Department has commissioned the Central Science Laboratory to carry out a range of studies of wild mammals and birds with the aim of developing effective, humane and environmentally sensitive approaches to wildlife management. Ongoing work with wild mammals includes the potential use of repellents and conditioned taste aversion as non-lethal means of resolving conflicts between wildlife and other interests. There are no current trials on electric fencing although previous studies have developed effective methods to manage some problems posed by rabbits, foxes and badgers. Advisory leaflets on these methods are available from the National Wildlife Management Team of Defra's Rural Development Service www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/leaflets.htm.

Wildlife Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support her Department has given to wildlife rescue services in each of the past 10 years; and what recent representations she has received about the funding of such services. [109725]

The Department welcomes the activities of groups who seek to rehabilitate wildlife. We do not give financial assistance to these organisations. We are not aware of specific representations made concerning the funding of such services.While the Government cannot see a case for extending the use of public money to directly fund their work, it has policies in place to increase the value of these gifts by generous tax concessions, thereby supporting the work of all charities without compromising their independence.As part of the Government's policy to encourage more people to give to charity, the tax incentives for charitable giving were improved from 6 April 2000. There are now no limits on the amounts that individuals can give through the Gift Aid and Payroll Giving Schemes. In addition, for the first time, there is a new income tax relief for gifts to charity of listed shares and securities. Businesses can also get tax relief when they donate money, stock or equipment to charities in general.

Wales

Accountancy Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in 2002–03. [109492]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 12 March 2003, Official Report, column 249W.

Aerospace Industry (North Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the aerospace industry in North Wales. [97547]

I remain positive about the prospects for this sector in North Wales, which, happily, provides employment opportunities for the hon. Gentleman's constituents. I continue to support extensions to services across Wales, which of course benefit local support industries.My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales recently visited Airbus Industries in Broughton. He has also met Aerospace Wales, who have a clear and ambitious vision, representing an exciting future for the industry throughout Wales.

Building Supplies

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of UK (a) aluminium, (b) tinplate, (c) steel and (d) timber supply originated in Wales in the last three years. [107513]

(a) There are no output figures available for Welsh aluminium supply. However, in both 1999 and 2000 the number of employees in aluminium production at Welsh based firms was 22 per cent. and in 2001 19 per cent. as a proportion of GB figures.

Source:

Annual Business Inquiry. Office for National Statistics.

(b) There are no employees in tin manufacturing in Wales, as recorded on the Annual Business Inquiry.

(c) In 1999, Wales accounted for 42 per cent. of UK crude steel production, 45 per cent. in 2000 and 34 per cent. in 2001.

Source:

Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.

(d) Annual timber production in Wales over the last three years has been around 1.35 million tones. It is not possible to say what this represents in terms of a proportion of UK timber supply needs.

Employment Relations Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. [108346]

My Department does not keep records of staff who take time off work under the Employment Relations Act 1999. Staff are granted 5 days paid special leave to deal with short-term domestic incidents and special leave without pay may be granted for longer periods according to circumstances.

Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what scale of funding was offered to LG Electronics in seeking to attract the firm as an inward investor for their operations in Newport, South Wales; [105607](2) if he will list each grant given to

(a) LG Electronics and (b) LG Semiconductors from public funds for their operations in Newport, South Wales, and the dates on which they were given. [105608]

In 1997, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Hague) co-ordinated offers to LG Electronics Wales Ltd. and LG Semicon Wales Ltd., public sector funding packages of £129.5 million and £117.5 million respectively. The combined package of £247 million comprised:

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) of £69.5 million;
£10 million infrastructure work funded by the WDA;
WDA property grants of £118.9 million;
Site development support of £17 million;
Land to the value of £14.2 million;
Training support of up to £17.6 million;
This related to anticipated investment of over £1.6 billion and the creation of 6,100 jobs.With regard to payments made, companies dealing with the Welsh Assembly Government expect such details to be handled confidentially.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much funding was (2) how much funding was (a) offered and (b) provided to LG Semiconductors following the offer aimed at attracting the firm as an inward investor for their operations in Newport, South Wales. [105609]

In 1997, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Hague) co-ordinated offers to LG Electronics Wales Ltd. and LG Semicon Wales Ltd., public sector funding packages of £129.5 million and £117.5 million respectively.With regard to payments made, companies dealing with the Welsh Assembly Government expect such details to be handled confidentially.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on grant aid given to LG for their operations in Newport, South Wales. [105610]

Following the announcement of the Welsh Office's intentions by the then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Hague), a package of support to LG Semicon Wales Ltd. and LG Electronics Wales Ltd. was approved by the European Commission in 1997. However, responsibility for administrating RSA in Wales has now passed to the Welsh Assembly Government. Since then, I understand that considerable private sector investment has gone into the Newport site in terms of infrastructure, buildings and equipment with assistance from the public sector. A significant number of jobs were created by LG Electronics Wales Ltd. and subsequently the joint venture LG Philips Displays, but the volatility of the semiconductor sector and issues in the Korean economy, meant that the semiconductor plant has not proceeded into production.

Manufacturing

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on manufacturing industry in Wales. [109965]

The Government recognise that manufacturing in the UK, including Wales, has had a tough time and is still enduring the effects of the general global economic slowdown.Manufacturing represents 30 per cent. of GDP in Wales and still has a fundamental role as a generator in the Welsh economy. While some traditional manufacturers are moving to Asia and the Far East, many new jobs are being created in Wales in hi-tech sectors.The Chancellor's recent Budget announced a number of measures to support manufacturing which will help companies in making the transition from high volume/low worth to low volume/high worth production. These include a further ex tension of volume based Research and Development tax credit to all companies, the continuing process of establishing regional centres of manufacturing excellence, and an independent review aimed at ensuring a strong supply of highly skilled scientists and engineers.In the past, when the world economy did badly, Wales did much worse—always first into the recession and last back out. Today, with the global economy again contracting, Wales is doing far better.

Parental Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department have used their leave entitlement under the Parental Leave Directive since it came into force. [108418]

Public Service Agreement

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (a) how many and (b) what grades of officials are responsible for the monitoring of progress towards the public service agreement targets of his Department. [1094701

Secondments

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many civil servants have been seconded from his 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 1999–2000. [108088]

The permanent civil servants in my Department are all on loan or secondment from other organisations. As such their home departments are responsible for forward secondments and loans to elsewhere. There have been two such secondments, one to the Home Office and the other to Buckingham Palace.

Advocate-General

Accountancy Services

To ask the Advocate General what the total cost to her Department was for accountancy services in 2002. [101858]

The Advocate-General for Scotland