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Written Answers

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 14 May 2003

Culture, Media And Sport

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many organisations in the Birmingham, Erdington constituency have (a) applied for and (b) claimed awards from the Community Fund in each year since the National Lottery began. [112992]

Comprehensive information on applications for Lottery grants is not centrally held at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.The following table, which is based upon information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the National Lottery awards database, shows the total number of awards made by the Community Fund to applicants within the constituency of Birmingham, Erdington.

Number of awards within the constituency of Birmingham, Erdington
1 May 1994 to 30 April 19950
1 May 1995 to 30 April 19963
1 May 1996 to 30 April 19972
1 May 1997 to 30 April 19982
1 May 1998 to 30 April 19996
1 May 1999 to 30 April 200012
1 May 2000 to 30 April 20015
1 May 2001 to 30 April 20024
1 May 2002 to 30 April 20030

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans are in place to strengthen local advertising campaigns in order to encourage more successful applications for National Lottery funding, with particular reference to regions where there is a record of failing to secure them. [113000]

The consultation paper on Lottery distribution (published July 2002) sought views on a number of issues, including raising awareness of Lottery funding and application mechanisms. Ideas included a National Lottery Day, One Stop Shops, to provide a single point of access for advice and a single promotional body, which would raise awareness of the achievements of the Lottery nationally, regionally and locally.Proposals from the review will be published in the summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list (a) the average grant given for all constituencies, (b) the average grant given for West Midlands constituencies and (c) the average grant given for Birmingham, Erdington under the National Lottery Awards For All scheme in each of the last three years for which statistics are held. [113001]

The following table, which is based upon information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the National Lottery awards database, sets out the average grant given for all constituencies, the average grant for West Midlands constituencies1 and the average award to Birmingham, Erdington under the National Lottery Awards For All scheme in each of the last three years.

1 Using the definition of the West Midlands (as provided by the House of Commons website) comprising the following constituencies:

Birmingham, Edgbaston; Birmingham, Erdington; Birmingham, Hall Green;
Birmingham, Hodge Hill; Birmingham, Ladywood; Birmingham, Northfield
Birmingham, Perry Barr; Birmingham, Selly Oak; Birmingham, Sparkbrook and Small Heath
Birmingham, Yardley; Sutton Coldfield; Coventry North East; Coventry North West;
Coventry South; Dudley North; Dudley South; Halesowen and Rowley Regis; Stourbridge
Halesowen and Rowley Regis; Warley; West Bromwich East; West Bromwich West; Meriden;
Aldridge-Brownhills; Walsall North; Walsall South; Wolverhampton North East;
Wolverhampton South East; Wolverhampton South West.

£

1 May 2000 to 30 April 2001

1 May 2001 to 30 April 2002

1 May 2002 to 30 April 2003

Average grant given for all UK constituencies3,3243,5373,617
Average grant given for west Midland constituencies3,5443,8764,009
Average grant given for Birmingham, Erdington3,2344,1154,276

Sport (Young People)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department gives to sporting activities for the young outside of the formal school environment. [113018]

This Department is committed to increasing and improving opportunities for young people to participate in sporting activities both within and beyond the curriculum. Initiatives beyond the curriculum include: the Community Club Development programme (£60 million); the New Opportunities Fund's Out of School Hours Learning/School Sport Co-ordinators programme (over £19 million); the School to Club Links programme (£9 million) and Step into Sport (£15 million). These complement or directly support delivery of the joint DCMS/DfES national strategy for PE, school sport and club links, in which we are investing a total of £459 million over the next three years.

Transport

Driving Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many claims for lost driving licences the DVLA has received in each of the last five years. [113035]

An application for a duplicate driving licence is appropriate where licences have been lost, stolen or defaced after being held by the driver for a certain length of time. From the statistics available it is not possible to state specifically how many applications are for lost licences only. However, during the past five years applications for duplicate driving licences have been.

Number
1998–99661,000
1999–2000467,000
2000–01510,000
2001–02584,000
2002–03700,000
DVLA does not meet claims for lost licences.

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria the Strategic Rail Authority used in deciding to award the Greater Anglia Franchise to the successful bidder; and what representations he received on that decision. [113096]

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) has not yet awarded the Greater Anglia franchise. It issued Invitations to Tender (ITTs) to three bidders—and a consultation document to stakeholders—on 15 April. That followed a process of "Qualification to receive an ITT document", in which applicants were ranked on their responses to a questionnaire.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the reopening of (a) the Matlock to Buxton railway line and (b) the Bletchley to Bicester line. [113199]

The Strategic Rail Authority is currently undertaking a feasibility study on the proposal to re-open the Matlock to Buxton line. The study is expected to be completed in two stages. The first stage will look at options to re-instate the link that formerly existed. This is expected to be completed in September 2003. If the partners agree to continue, stage two would develop the preferred option in detail. Stage two will be completed in April 2004. The Strategic Rail Authority is also currently examining the case for reopening the section of line between Bicester and Bletchley for freight and diversionary purposes. This would potentially enable the introduction of passenger services on the eastern section of the route. For these projects to be taken forward, they would have to represent value for money and be affordable.

Home Department

Age Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109440]

The Home Office has continued to integrate age into its equal opportunity policies and to apply its commitments that there should be no unfair discrimination on the basis of age and that staff of all ages and backgrounds should be provided with opportunities to maximise their skills and achieve their potential. Action on diversity will continue to tackle any negative attitudes towards older staff, particularly through the training and development of managers and through the monitoring of recruitment, selection and appraisal statistics.Since 1 April 2002, following a review of the Department's age retirement policy, Home Office staff in all grades below the Senior Civil Service have been allowed to retire at any point between the ages of 60 and 65. From the same date, the Home Office changed its recruitment policy to allow the recruitment of staff up to the age of 64 subject to their meeting normal standards of health and provided that there is an expectation of a reasonable period of employment and return on recruitment and training.The Prison Service is carrying out a separate review of its age retirement policy. However, on 16 December 2002 a temporary relaxation of its policy was issued, applicable to all non-operational staff below the Senior Civil Service, effective until 1 July 2004. This allows staff covered by the policy to apply for an extension of service beyond 60, subject to health and efficiency considerations.In making these various changes, the Home Office has been implementing recommendations of the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) report 'Winning the Generation Game'.

Anti-Terrorism (Detainees)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been detained under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; how many people are detained; and how many of those currently detained are Muslims. [112931]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: 15 foreign nationals have so far been detained using powers in part 4 of the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. Eight were detained in December 2001, one in February 2002, two in April 2002, one in October 2002, one in November 2002, and a further two in January 2003.Of the total detained, two have voluntarily left the United Kingdom. The other 13 remain in detention.

Under the Special Immigration Appeals Commission's direction under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1987, we are directed that 'there shall be no publication of any matter which may identify them or any of them'. Therefore it would not be appropriate for me to provide personal information on those detained, and this has been our position since the passage of the Act.

Anti-Terrorism Website

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) set-up and (b) running costs are of his Department's anti-terrorism website. [109512]

The anti-terrorism site (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/terrorism) is a part of the core Home Office website and the running costs are met from the existing budget for running the main website. Costs directly associated with setting up these pages are:

  • 1. Copy-writing services: £3,150
  • 2. Template design: £1,410
  • The site had 275,000 page impressions during March and April. A service guaranteeing resilience of the servers in the event of increased traffic or security breaches was also procured at a cost of £30,000 per annum. Although this has been put in place to protect the site as a whole in accordance with security requirements, its implementation was timed to tie in with the launch of the anti-terrorism site in order to ensure that the site would cope with the large volume of traffic.

    Antisocial Behaviour Orders

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many antisocial Behaviour Orders are in force; [111774](2) how many breaches there have been of antisocial Behaviour Orders. [111773]

    From 1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000 data on the number of antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) issued was collected by police force area. From 1 June 2000 official statistics on the number of ASBOs issued are based on quarterly returns from Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs).Available information shows the number of notifications received by the Home Office of ASBOs issued from 1 April 1999 up to 31 December 2001 was 532. The number of notifications received from 1 January 2002 up to 30 November 2002 (latest available) was 253. Data are not collected centrally on the number of ASBOs in force at any given time.We are aware that the number of ASBOs made nationally have been consistently under-reported in returns made by magistrates courts and are considering how reporting can be improved. 66 persons had breaches of their ASBOs proved to the satisfaction of the court and notified to the Home Office in 2000 and a further 258 in 2001 (persons breaching an ASBO more than once and dealt with on separate occasions will be counted more than once in these figures).However, as the number of ASBOs made is known to be under-reported and breaches of ASBOs count persons every time they appear in court, these figures cannot be used to calculate a breach rate. For this reason a special exercise was undertaken, covering the period 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2001, to match persons convicted of breaching their ASBOs on at least one occasion (as notified by the police and the courts) with ASBOs made (as notified by the MCC). This showed that during this period 125 persons had breached their ASBOs out of 428 for whom ASBOs had been made and notified to the Home Office, a breach rate of 20 per cent.Statistics on breaches of ASBOs in 2002 will be published in the autumn.

    Civil Emergencies

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in other EU countries in relation to improving joint contingency planning and cooperation in the event of civil emergencies. [109604]

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Hereford (Paul Keetch) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 24W.

    Correspondence

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 23 April from the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey regarding extradition arrangements with the United States. [112864]

    Demonstrators

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many demonstrators have been charged with (a) conspiracy to commit a criminal act and (b) a criminal act in each of the last 18 months. [112161]

    Extradition (Usa)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with his US counterparts on (a) terrorism and (b) extradition since 1 January. [112136]

    I and my officials are in constant contact with our US counterparts on terrorism and extradition issues, where there is excellent co-operation between us.I visited the US in late March and early April when I met the US Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge. We agreed to build further on US/UK co-operation by setting up a Joint Contact Group of senior officials to drive a joint programme of work in the fight against terrorism.I also discussed extradition with the US Attorney General John Ashcroft in Washington DC, and signed a new UK/US bilateral extradition Treaty on 31 March. I met John Ashcroft, together with other Ministers again in Paris for the G8 meeting on Justice and Home Affairs on 5 May at which common action to improve arrangements for identification was agreed.

    Firearms Amnesty

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans there are to increase spending on the advertising and promotion of the firearms amnesty; how much has been allocated for the year April 2003 to March 2004; which the preferred medium is in which to promote the campaign; and on what basis he has reached this decision. [111256]

    Police force area19971998–9911999–200022000–0122001–022
    Avon and Somerset240241429365411
    Bedfordshire56149177140182
    Cambridgeshire134141186146195
    Cheshire709772167177
    Cleveland144245199203267
    Cumbria5433342934
    Derbyshire280322451398461
    Devon and Cornwall94144140111138
    Dorset7842123153174
    Durham652553116163
    Essex269317344356546
    Gloucestershire87116158179188
    Greater Manchester8881,1431,3721,5132,175
    Hampshire157147215163175
    Hertfordshire5661164217224
    Humberside535563543502473
    Kent364277340335269
    Lancashire163179227233343
    Leicestershire106185137119146
    Lincolnshire9280141152153
    London, City of41565
    Merseyside5768569141,0411,211
    Metropolitan Police2,9263,0044,1184,2585,675
    Norfolk7559565768
    Northamptonshire1301911777898
    Northumbria277457531472541
    North Yorkshire13174594770
    Nottinghamshire532629713693870
    South Yorkshire328401369448737
    Staffordshire241123184321386
    Suffolk173469136118
    Surrey596692129107
    Sussex218315377326404
    Thames Valley325471555609703
    Warwickshire86566973102
    West Mercia84105114111177
    West Midlands8408081,0081,0581,636
    West Yorkshire9741,0411,2351,5441,759
    Wiltshire6185847998
    Dyfed-Powys6160456843
    Gwent129215248197176
    North Wales109941047499
    South Wales295222315275337
    England total11,81613,28316,23417,08321,659
    1 There was a change of counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, which would have the tendency to increase the number of

    offences counted. Numbers of offences before and after this date are therefore not directly comparable.
    2 Figures may have been inflated by some forces implementing the priciples of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) before 1 April 2002.

    The firearms amnesty ran from 31 March to 30 April 2003. It was agreed after the success of the first burst of advertising at the beginning of the amnesty to repeat the radio advertising in the last week and an additional £122,000 was spent in April 2003 to achieve this.There are currently no plans to run another amnesty in the coming year and therefore no additional money has been allocated for advertising and promotion. Over 40,000 guns where handed in during the period.

    Gun Crime

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) gun crimes and (b) arrests relating to gun crime there were (i) in England and (ii) in each UK police force area in each of the last five years. [112721]

    Information on the number of recorded crimes involving firearms, including air weapons, is given in the table.

    Numbers of arrests for recorded crimes involving firearms are not collected centrally.

    Information relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

    Immigration And Nationality Directorate

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Croydon South (Richard Ottaway), of 12 December 2003, Official Report, column 480W, on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, how many letters were sent to members of the public where a passport could not be traced in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) to date in 2003. [112148]

    The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the Integrated Casework Directorate's (ICD) Return of Passport Unit, which was set up in October 1999, issued 97 lost passport letters in the year 2000, 103 in 2001, 390 in 2002 and 251 so far this calendar year.I have already now instituted new measures to ensure that in future

    (a) much fewer passports are held by IND and (b) where a passport does need to be retained it is for as short a period as possible and in a dedicated secure place.

    Northumbria Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences involving (a) drugs, (b) alcohol abuse, (c) violence and (d) disorder were reported in each command or division of the Northumbria police area in each year from 1998 to 2002. [113073]

    Information on the total number of recorded crimes in some main offence groups, including violent crimes, has been collected and published at the Basic Command Unit level since 1 April 1999. The number of violent crimes recorded in Basic Command Units in the Northumbria police area is given in the table. Details for 2002/03 are not yet available.

    Number of violent offences recorded by the police in Northumbria police force area by police Basic Command Unit
    Violence against the person
    1999–20002000–012001–02
    Gateshead East1,1569891,787
    Gateshead West667668666
    Newcastle Central1,077908999
    Newcastle East778639709
    Newcastle North776720842
    Newcastle West9481,0521,224
    North Northumberland430339325
    South Tyneside1,2821,4831,687
    South-East Northumberland1,3241,4991,493
    South-West Northumberland398313429
    Sunderland City1,6431,5742,292
    Sunderland West642646827
    Tynemouth890810954
    Wallsend600450475
    Washington952872928
    Number of violent offences recorded by the police in Northumbrian police force area by police Basic Command Unit
    Sexual Offences
    1999–20002000–012001–02
    Gateshead East9779123
    Gateshead West553661
    Newcastle Central584340
    Newcastle East525258
    Newcastle North677488
    Newcastle West896090
    North Northumberland172319
    South Tyneside8398103
    South-East Northumberland131113113
    South-West Northumberland20137
    Sunder City786876
    Sunderland West544442
    Tynemouth595396
    Wallsend687960
    Washington555654
    Number of violent offences recorded by the police in Northumbrian police force area by police Basic Command Unit
    Robbery
    1999–20002000–012001–02
    Gateshead East153152177
    Gateshead West809481
    Newcastle Central14011496
    Newcastle East858774
    Newcastle North10193109
    Newcastle West152138146
    North Northumberland5110
    South Tyneside154168129
    South-East Northumberland558072
    South-West Northumberland4411
    Sunderland City163169196
    Sunderland West434853
    Tynemouth11810292
    Wallsend747467
    Washington625774
    Recorded crime figures do not include details of whether drugs and alcohol are an aggravating factor in offences. The requested details of drug offences, alcohol abuse and disorder are not available.

    Oakington Reception Centre

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to (a) change the composition of asylum applicants housed at the Immigration Reception centre, Oakington and (b)increase the maximum length of stay of residents. [112424]

    The Oakington fast track facility enables asylum claims which, upon initial screening, appear to be straightforward and suitable for speedy decision making, to be determined in about seven to 10 days. If the decision is to refuse, the claimant may be removed, moved to a Removal Centre or released temporarily.There are no plans at present to alter this. Our aim at Oakington is to fast track claims as rapidly as possible. In some instances it may be considered necessary to detain at Oakington beyond the decision stage, non-suspensive appeal (NSA) cases where Judicial Review of a 'clearly unfounded' certificate is sought for example. It is not our intention to detain at Oakington any longer than is necessary.

    Oakington is a designated place of detention and may also be used to house other persons under the published detention criteria.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many residents are housed at the Immigration Reception Centre, Oakington; and from which countries. [112427]

    On 12 May 2003 there was a total of 302 persons detained at Oakington. They were from the following countries: (listed in order of the highest number): Turkey, Jamaica, Serbia and Montenegro, India, Albania, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Moldova, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cameroon, China, Uganda, Latvia, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, Macedonia, Brazil, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

    Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training police officers receive in how to deal with victims of (a) child abuse and (b) rape; and whether there is an officer at every police station who has received this training. [112106]

    There is currently no national training for police officers on dealing with victims of child abuse and rape. Individual forces are responsible for determining the training required by their officers.Centrex (the Central Police Training and Development Authority) is reviewing the training needed by police officers in relation to the investigation of sexual offences in the light of recommendations made in the report of a joint inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. The review will result in a new learning requirement which will defile what officers need to learn and the standards to which they should be trained and will be aligned with the National Occupational Standards for the police service.The Home Office, together with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Police Skills and Standards Organisation, Centrex and others, is considering how to take forward the recommendations of Lord Laming in the report of his inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie. The Government are committed to implementing Lord Laming's recommendations, which included several concerning the training of police and other practitioners involved in child protection work.The deployment of officers following training is entirely a matter for the chief officer of the force concerned.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the costs were of policing the annual party political conferences in 2002; and how these costs were met. [111163]

    Information is only available about the additional costs for policing at the Labour Party and Conservative Party's annual conferences. The additional cost of policing the Labour Party conference in Blackpool in 2002 was £1.52 million. The additional cost for policing the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth last year was £0.89 million.

    Forces are assisted with their additional costs through a special grant for the Home Office. For 2002, these grants met the police authorities additional costs in full.

    Trade And Industry

    Business Support

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support her Department is providing to indigenous and inward investing supplier companies to (a) locate and (b) expand their business in the United Kingdom. [113023]

    Invest. UK in London and overseas promotes the UK as the top inward investment location in Europe and works in partnership with all of the UK's Development Agencies to attract the maximum level of inward investment. Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is available to indigenous and international inward investors located, or planning to locate, within the UKs assisted areas. RSA provides grants to help support business expansion and create and safeguard jobs.

    Concorde

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations she has received on the future of Concorde since January. [112911]

    Twenty one. The Department's Aerospace and Defence Directorate has received six further representations.

    Door-To-Door Selling

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will introduce legislation preventing door-to-door salespeople calling on households unannounced. [113402]

    The Office of Fair Trading is currently investigating the doorstep selling sector as a super complaint within the terms of the Enterprise Act 2002. Their report is expected later this year. Any recommendations will be carefully considered.

    Export Licences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what standard and open export licences were granted in respect of spare parts for Hawk aircraft in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002 and for which countries; what risk assessments were made to determine the risk of these exports being diverted or re-exported in contravention of arms export licensing criteria; and if she will make a statement. [112329]

    Details of these were given in response to the question from the hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) on 26 October 2000, Official Report, columns 199–203, and in my letter dated 14 November to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly), a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

    Franchises

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what powers she has to prevent two master franchises within the same trading scheme in the United Kingdom from using coercive attempts to press their franchisees with registering for VAT as a means of the master franchises obtaining an exemption under the provisions of the Trading Schemes Act 1996; and if she will make a statement. [113009]

    There are no such powers under the Trading Schemes Act. Registration for VAT is a matter for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

    Inward Investment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what help she will give to Regional Development Agencies in England to increase inward investment. [112954]

    As part of the RDAs 'Single Pot' funding in 2003–04, Invest.UK are providing £12.93 million.Invest.UK plan to spend at least £7.2 million in 2003–04 to promote the UK to potential inward investors world-wide. Enquiries generated through this national promotional campaign play a pivotal role in supporting RDAs cluster development activities, helping RDAs deliver their regional economic strategies, and increasing inward investment to their regions.Invest.UK has also led the development of a bespoke 'best practice' modular training package for the RDAs to assist them to increase the quality of their 'aftercare' service to inward investors.

    Pharmacy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the

    Regional Development Agency12001–0212002–0322003–04
    Advantage West Midlands170,850205,156216,026
    East of England Development Agency62,59689,41381,299
    East Midlands Development Agency97,439102,892127,211
    North West Development Agency276,872274,855318,478
    One North East162,671193,828219,256
    South East of England Development Agency110,542115,034123,952
    South West of England Regional Development Agency91,940101,958101,061
    Yorkshire Forward246,267210,274243,287
    London Development Agency289,141296,059291,239
    Total1,508,3181,589,4691,721,809
    1 Budgets are net of receipts forecast to be generated by the Agencies and include changes approved during the financial year in respect

    of End Year Flexibility entitlement, claims on the Contigency Reserve and budget swaps between Agencies.
    2 Indicative allovations.

    Trading Schemes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which schemes in the United Kingdom which have two master franchises benefit from the single-tier exemption from the Trading Schemes Act 1996. [113046]

    Information on individual schemes exempt from the Act is not held centrally.

    progress of the Government's response to the Office of Fair Trading report on the control of entry regulations and pharmacy services in the UK. [111586]

    The Government made an interim response to the OFT's report on control of entry regulations for pharmacies on 26 March. The Government is considering the report and its recommendation further and will come forward with a balanced package of measures for consultation before the summer recess.The regulations on pharmacy entry controls are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the devolved administrations announced their responses to the OFT's recommendations on 26 March.

    Photocopiers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received about sharp practices involving leasing agreements for office photocopiers; and if she will take steps to afford greater protection to consumers affected by such practices. [113174]

    The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for monitoring the behaviour of consumer hire companies licensed under the Consumer Credit Act and it has confirmed that few complaints have been received. No action is proposed at this time.

    Regional Development Agencies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list funding allocated (a) to each regional development agency, (b) to the London Development Agency and (c) in total in (i) 2001–02, (ii) 2002–03 and (iii) 2003–04 (estimated). [113207]

    Budget allocations, in £000s, to the Regional Development Agencies, including the London Development Agency, for 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04 are given in the following table.

    Education And Skills

    After-School Activities (Redbridge)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what after-school activities are available in the London borough of Redbridge. [111740]

    Redbridge receives funding from my Department to provide after school study support opportunities for young people in the area: £284,859 this year through the Standards fund. We allow individual schools and local authorities the freedom to decide which activities best meet local needs. Study support can range from homework and study clubs to special-interest activities including the creative arts and ICT, and many of these take place after school.Redbridge has also received two grants totalling £527,050 through the New Opportunities fund to provide out of school hours activities. The first grant targets approximately 10 schools in the Hainault and Loxford areas and the second has introduced activities into more than 15 other schools in the borough. Many of these activities take place after school, and include a Bollywood Dance Club, girls' football, and a zoology club.Redbridge has, in addition, been awarded £795,343 by the New Opportunities fund for after-school childcare to date, and is on course to meet its DfES target of 1,387 places to be created before June 2003. It has also received an extra capital allocation of £22,000.

    Child Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) nurseries, (b) playgroups, (c) child minders, (d) out-of-school clubs and (e) holiday schemes have been provided in Lancashire in each year since 1997. [112057]

    The available information for Lancashire Local Authority is shown in the tables.Figures for 2001 and earlier years for England and Government Office regions were published in DfES Statistical Bulletin 08/01 "Children's Day Care Facilities at 31st March 2001", which is available in the Library and on the DfES website, www.dfes.qov.uk/statistics. Figures for 2001 for out of school clubs and holiday schemes have recently been revised and are shown in the tables.

    Numbers of day care providers1 by type of provider Lancashire

    Local Authority area 1999–2001

    Position at 31 March each year
    199920002001
    Day nurseries230240270
    Playgroups and pre-schools290290280
    Childminders1,5001,4001,400
    Out of school clubs708090
    Holiday schemes3022020
    1Figures have been rounded
    2Includes those schemes exempt from registration
    Numbers of day care places1 by type of provider Lancashire Local

    Authority area 1999–2001

    Position at 31 March each year
    199920002001
    Day nurseries8,8009,60010,900
    Playgroups and pre-schools6,6006,6006,500
    Childminders6,0005,8005,900
    Out of school clubs1,6001,9002,200
    Holiday schemes9002670640
    1Figures have been rounded
    2Includes those schemes exempt from registration

    Education Funding

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to bring funding per pupil in Worcestershire closer to the national average. [112661]

    In introducing the new funding system in 2003–04, our aim has been to produce the best possible match between the distribution of funds and the differing circumstances and needs of pupils, schools and Local Education Authorities. It is our policy to ensure that the funding each authority receives reflects the needs of its pupils, and the cost of providing an education service.The new funding system comprises of a basic entitlement per pupil—the same everywhere, and a top ups for each pupil with additional educational needs—again the same everywhere. There are also top ups to reflect the higher costs of recruiting and retaining staff in some areas, and the higher costs of providing an education service in sparse areas. The top up for additional educational needs was informed by research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the costs of providing for pupils with additional needs. The top ups for area costs are based on earning differentials from the labour force survey.These top ups mean that there are differences in what individual authorities receive. Those which have more deprived pupils and/or receive extra funding to take account of the high costs of recruiting and retaining staff in their area, receive a higher level of funding overall than those which have comparatively low levels of deprivation and/or do not receive additional funding for area costs.All LEAs have seen an increase in their Education Formula Spending Share of at least 3.2 per cent. per pupil in 2003–04, in addition to compensation for the bulk of the pension contribution increase and the transfer into EPS of nursery grant and class size grant. The increase for Worcestershire is somewhat more substantial at 4.1 per cent. This translates into an increase in Worcestershire's Education Formula Spending Share of 6.0 per cent. when pupil number changes are taken into account.

    School Inspections

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of lessons inspected by Ofsted in 2001–02 in (a) Year 7, (b) Year 8, (c) Year 9 and (d) Year 10 were set by ability in (i) specialist and (ii) non-specialist comprehensives. [113074]

    This is a matter for Ofsted and HM Chief Inspector, David Bell, will write to the hon. Member and will place a copy of his letter in the Library.

    School Governance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received about the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations. [111735]

    We have received no representations about these regulations, which were made on 18 February 2003. However, some enquirers have sought and received clarification on some of the issues.

    Statemented Children (Shropshire)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many children have been statemented in Shropshire in each of the last 10 years; [111662](2) how many children with statements of special educational needs in Shropshire were taught in

    (a) maintained special schools and (b) other maintained schools in the last 10 years. [111663]

    The available information is shown in the table.

    Number of pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN): Shropshire local education authority
    Pupils with statements of SEN
    JanuaryTotal number of pupilsNumber of pupils in maintained special schoolsNumber of pupils in other maintained schools1Number of pupils in all other schools2
    199432,2885041,609175
    199532,4495251,760164
    199632,6625781,927157
    199732,8445902,059195
    199832,9066102,139157
    199941,6791911,352136
    200041,6671901,327150
    200145555
    200241,5012061,132163
    20034
    (Provisional)1,4622161,091155
    1 Includes Maintained Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools and Pupil Referral Units.
    2 Includes independent schools, non-maintained special schools and City Technology Colleges.
    3 Before local government reorganisation. Prior to 1999 Shropshire included Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
    4 After local government reorganisation. Figures from 1999 onwards are not directly comparable to those for earlier years.
    5Not available. SEN data for 2001 are known to be incomplete.

    Source:

    Annual Schools' Census

    Treasury

    Departmental Underspending

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to reduce his Department's underspend in 2003–04 from that of 2002–03. [112779]

    The Chancellor's Departments are currently estimating an underspend of £34 million in 2002–03. This is less than 1 per cent. of total provision. The spending plans for the Chancellor's Departments are set out in: "2002 Spending Review—New Public Spending Plans 2003–2006" (Ref: Cm 5570. Published July 2002).

    Departmental Report

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of the publication of the 2001 Departmental Report. [112799]

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Berwick-Upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) on 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1192W. The final cost of the Departmental Report 2001–02 was £4,912.

    Euro

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to seek changes to the European Stability and Growth Pact prior to any future UK entry into the euro. [113115]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mike Gapes) on 23 January 2003, Official Report, column 424W.

    External Reports

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list (a) the title and subject, (b) the total cost to his Department and (c) the commissioned author or organisation of each external report commissioned by his Department in each year since 1997. [103726]

    Since 1997 HM Treasury has on its own or in collaboration with other Departments commissioned people external to the Department to prepare reports.The completed reports on which the Treasury took a lead include:

    Economic Instruments and the Business Use of Energy (Lord Marshall), November 1998.
    Work Incentives, The Modernisation of Britain's Tax and Benefit System Number Two (Martin Taylor), November 1998.
    Competition in UK Banking (Don Cruickshank) January 1999.
    Independent Enquiry into a Tonnage Tax (Lord Alexander of Weedon), July 1999.
    Banking Services Consumer Codes Review (DeAnne Julius) May 2001.
    Myners Review of Institutional Investment in the UK (Paul Myners) March 2001.
    Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View, The Wanless Review' (Derek Wanless) April 2002.
    SET for Success: The supply of people with science, technology,engineering and mathematical skills (Sir Gareth Roberts), Apri12002.
    Medium and Long-Term Retail Savings in the UK (Ron Sandier), July 2002.

    Costs for these reports are not held centrally but will have been met from within the Department's Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL).

    Illegal Food Imports

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has allocated to tackling illegal food imports in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02, (c) 2002–03, (d) 2003–04, (e) 2004–05 and (f) 2005–06, broken down by category of activity. [112559]

    [holding answer 13 May 2003]: The Government are investing £25 million for the years 2003–06 to tackle illegal imports of meat, other animal products, plants and plant products. Of the £6 million allocated for 2003–04 Customs will receive £4m. This will help to fund:

    Four new mobile anti-smuggling teams
    An expansion of the detector dog programme from 2 to 6 Extra intelligence activity
    A publicity campaign at ports and airports in the UK and overseas
    The distribution of funding for the years 2004–05 and 2005–06 is the subject of negotiation between Defra, the Food Standards Agency and Customs.In previous years the lead enforcement authorities for tackling these illegal imports were Defra, Port Health Authorities and Local Authorities. Customs was not therefore in receipt of any funding for this activity.

    Information Technology

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's (a) total managed expenditure, (b) total spending on Information Technology and (c) spending on Information Technology as a proportion of its total managed expenditure has been in each financial year since 1997. [107093]

    The contribution by HM Treasury to Total Managed Expenditure can be measured by the total of spending under resource and capital budgets, less non-cash items in AME. Data for 1989–99 to 2001–02 were published in the 2002 Departmental Report. New estimates will be published in the same table in the 2003 Departmental Report, in May 2003.Spending in each year on Information Technology is set out in the table below, showing separately administration costs (including licences, software maintenance, repairs, and hire of IT equipment) and capital costs (including purchases and the capitalisation if IT consultancy costs).

    YearIT administration costs (£m)IT capital costs (£m)
    1997–981.741.77
    1998–992.072.63
    1999–20001.242.95
    2000–011.582.79
    2001-021.303.66
    2002–032.313.09

    Mortgage Market

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce floating-rate debt in the UK mortgage market. [113114]

    The Chancellor announced in the Budget that he has commissioned Professor David Miles to undertake a review of the supply and demand factors limiting the development of the fixed-rate mortgage market in the UK.

    Liquefied Petroleum Gas

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on plans to change the level of duty on liquefied petroleum gas fuel. [112718]

    Duty rates for all fuels, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), are reviewed annually as part of the Budget process. In Budget 2001 the Government announced that duty on all road fuel gases would be frozen in real terms until at least 2004.Budget 2003 has announced that duty on all road fuel gases, including LPG, has been frozen at 9 pence per kilogramme, and that the Government will consult stakeholders on how best to ensure that future support for road fuel gases continues to reflect its environmental and other policy objectives. This consultation will be carried out in the next few months jointly by HM Treasury, HM Customs and Excise and the Department for Transport.

    Pfi Contracts

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to insert a fair wages clause into contracts, including PFI contracts between government and private companies entitling agency staff to the same pay and conditions as directly employed public sector employees. [112808]

    All staff transferring from the public to the private sector are protected by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Act. This requires that all staff contracts, with the new employer, contain identical terms and conditions to those in the original public sector contracts, with the sole exception of terms relating to membership of occupational pension schemes. The Local Authority Best Value code of practice and the Scottish Executive protocol, entitle new joiners to outsourced work forces to be offered "fair and reasonable" terms and conditions that are "overall, no less favourable" than those available to transferees.

    Treasury Solicitor's Department

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who the chief executive officer of the Treasury Solicitor's Department is. [112709]

    I have been asked to reply.The Chief Executive of the Treasury Solicitor's Department is Juliet Wheldon CB QC, HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor.

    Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

    Antibiotics (Animals)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has placed a copy of the most recently published annual report into the sale of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK in the Library; and what period that report covered. [112406]

    On 10 April 2003 the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) published the fourth in a series of reports designed to provide information about the sales of veterinary antimicrobial products in the UK. This covered sales of these products in the calendar year 2001. This report, entitled "Sales of Antimicrobial Products Authorised for Use as Veterinary Medicines, Growth Promoters, Coccidiostats and Antiprotozoals in the UK in 2001" is available on the VMD's website (www.vmd.qov.uk). Copies of this report were place in the Library of the House on 1 May 2003.

    Animal By-Products

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations and discussions she has had with (a) small abattoirs, (b) slaughterhouses and (c) independent butchers regarding the Animal By-Products Regulation. [111111]

    The Department has undertaken extensive consultation during the negotiations on the Animal By-Products Regulation. This has included discussions with representatives of the abattoir and butchery industries.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she is taking to (a) maintain and (b) encourage the development of new (i) small abattoirs, (ii) slaughterhouses and (iii) butchers under the Animal By-Products Regulation. [111119]

    The purpose of the Animal By-Products Regulation is to ensure that animal by-products are used or disposed of safely. The Department has, however, taken steps where possible to minimise the impact on these industries. We are encouraging our regional partners to deploy the schemes within the England Rural Development Programme to support the network of small and medium abattoirs where a regional need is identified.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 22W, on Animal By-Products Regulations, for what reason remainders of wild animal carcases which have been used to produce game trophies are not exempt from the scope of the regulation. [111395]

    These controls are in place to maintain existing controls on the trade and import of game trophies under the Balai Directive (92/118/EEC).

    Cetacean By-Catch

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the level of cetacean by-catch within the UK 200-mile limit in the last 12 months. [112496]

    Since 2000 the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), under contract to Defra, has carried out a number of surveys to estimate the level of by-catch in UK fisheries. These surveys recorded for the offshore bass fishery 53 common dolphins caught in 116 hauls in 2001 and eight common dolphins caught in 66 hauls in 2002. However, by-catch information from other member states whose vessels operate in this fishery and elsewhere in UK waters is not available so it is not possible to produce reliable estimates of dolphin by-catch deaths in within the UK 200-mile limit. It is for this reason that I have been pressing the Commission for urgent action to widen observer coverage of EU fisheries and to bring forward proposals for positive action to reduce by-catch.

    Civil Servants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what performance incentive schemes exist for civil servants in her Department. [112452]

    Currently three schemes operate within Defra.

    i) In February this year a Special Bonus Scheme, applicable to individuals and teams, was introduced to recognise special achievement and contributions beyond normal job requirements. Payments are one-off and not consolidated.
    ii) Staff who, in their appraisal for the period 2003–04, are recognised as consistently exceeding performance requirements will receive one off non-consolidated bonuses in 2004.
    iii) In accordance with senior Civil Service pay arrangements which are not delegated to Departments, all Senior Civil service pay in Defra is performance related including the rate of progression through the pay range. Under these centralised arrangements, Defra is also able to award non-consolidated performance bonuses for delivery of key priorities.

    Departmental Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the expenditure of her Department on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in 2002. [106297]

    The Department's expenditure on newspapers, periodicals and magazines in the financial year 2002–2003 was £91,095. This figure covers central purchasing through Defra's library services. This excludes the cost of newspapers, periodicals and magazines purchased in Defra local offices and in the Department's Executive Agencies. These figures could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

    Departmental Relocation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to relocate parts of her Department to the West Country. [110998]

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East and Washington, West (Joyce Quin) on 8 May 2003, Official Report, columns 786–87W.

    Fisheries

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many UK fishing vessels there were (a) under 10 metres and (b) over 10 metres, in each year since 1973; what proportion were blue water vessels; and what proportion were foreign-owned. [112498]

    The information requested, where readily available, is given in the following tables. The blue water fleet has been taken as those UK fishing vessels greater than 10 metres overall length.Vessel data for 1 January 1973 to 1 January 1990 are available only in terms of under and over 40 foot in length (12.2 metres) and relate to the active rather than the registered UK fishing fleet. The statistics for these years also understate the overall size of the fleet: the registered fleet exceeded the active fleet by about 3,000 vessels in 1991 when the earlier statistical series was replaced.The Department does not collect statistics on foreign ownership of fishing vessels. The table includes estimates from 1997 onwards of the number of vessels that are considered to be partly or wholly owned by foreign interests, based on advice from local port offices of the Fisheries Departments in the UK.

    Number of active UK fishing vesselsProportion of over 10 m vessels that were foreign owned
    Details as at 1 January40 ft and underOver 40ftTotalNumberPercentage over 10 m
    19733,9612,3666,327n/an/a
    19744,0732,5056,578n/an/a
    19754,3562,5606,916n/an/a
    19764,1582,5336,691n/an/a
    19774,3072,4336,740n/an/a
    19784,6012,3526,953n/an/a
    19794,7322,3357,067n/an/a
    19804,8782,3647,242n/an/a
    19814,5122,3836,895n/an/a
    19824,9702,3817,351n/an/a
    19834,4852,3126,797n/an/a
    19844,7672,2076,974n/an/a
    19855,4332,1517,584n/an/a
    19865,8682,0527,920n/an/a
    19876,3051,8618,166n/an/a
    19886,2511,9538,204n/an/a
    19896,1282,0048,132n/an/a
    19906,3261,9578,283n/an/a
    Number of registered UK fishing vesselsProportion of over 10 m vessels that were foreign owned1
    Details as at 1 January10 m and underOver 10 mTotalNumberPercentage over 10 m
    19917,3643,82511,189n/an/a
    19927,5383,87311,411n/an/a
    19937,8313,73011,561n/an/a
    19948,1283,56411,692n/an/a
    19957,6073,22010,827n/an/a
    19966,7572,9639,720n/an/a
    19976,0912,5768,6671626.3
    19986,0222,4368,4581526.2
    19996,0272,2448,2711416.3
    20005,9162,1238,0391245.8
    20015,7692,0497,8181165.7
    20025,7132,0087,7211195.9
    2003 (provisional)5,8471,8087,6551216.7

    1 The distribution of ownership at 1 January was as follows:

    1997

    1998

    1999

    2000

    2001

    2002

    2003

    Anglo Spanish1071079784737674
    Anglo Dutch40353633373738
    Other151087669

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on areas of linkage made during the CFP derogation negotiations between obtaining the support of other member states and the United Kingdom supporting measures in other areas. [112502]

    The outcome on the package of fishery measures at the Council of Ministers in December 2002 was negotiated by the UK with reference only to the fisheries matters that were under consideration.

    Forestry Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress is being made in dedicating Forestry Commission land for permanent public access. [112361]

    The Forestry Commission has not yet dedicated any of its land as the dedication regulations are not yet in place. These regulations are expected to be finalised by the autumn.

    Milk Quota

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the economic impact on the dairy industry of a delay in deciding the base year for milk quota; and if she will make a statement; [112206](2) when she expects to reach a decision with her European partners on the base year for milk quota; and if she will make a statement. [112207]

    Under the current CAP reform proposals, published on 22 January, eligibility for the dairy premium, which is planned as compensation for the price cuts, would be based on quota held on 31 March 2004. We, and some other member states, have expressed concern that the current proposal to base eligibility on quota held at a date in the future has already given rise to speculation on the quota market. We have suggested that it should instead be based on quota held on 31 March 2003, and confined to active producers as at 31 March 2004.No formal assessment has been made of the economic impact on the dairy industry, including the effects of quota speculation, of any delay in coming to a decision on the eligibility criteria for the premium. This would in any case be very difficult to determine, as its effect would vary enormously according to producers' individual circumstances.The earliest that a formal agreement will be reached on the dairy premium, along with the rest of the CAP reform package, will be the meeting of the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers on 11 and 12 June 2003.

    Solvent Waste

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure 100 per cent. of the solvent waste stream from the dry-cleaning industry is recycled. [112390]

    None. The nature of dry cleaning operations makes it difficult to capture 100 per cent. of the various solvent waste streams for recycling. The Solvent Emissions Directive (1999/13/EC) which aims at reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents from certain activities and installations, including dry cleaning operations, does not include specific requirements to ensure that a certain amount of the solvent waste stream should be recycled. Instead it controls releases from the operation of the dry cleaning process as a whole by controlling the maximum amount of solvent that can be emitted per unit mass of cleaned garments, that is emissions of waste gases and fugitive emissions to air, soil and water and solvents contained in any products.We intend to consult separately on proposals to include requirements on the operators to ensure that waste contaminated with solvents are recycled or disposed of by waste licensed contracts. This will be in line with existing waste management regimes. There are incentives within these proposals to encourage recovery of any residual solvent contained within the waste from dry cleaning operations.

    Defence

    Armed Forces (Domestic Violence)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to apply the proposals in the "Justice for All" White Paper to domestic violence in the armed forces. [113036]

    The Ministry of Defence is given to understand that the Domestic Violence Unit at the Home Office is to issue a consultation paper arising from the "Justice for All" White Paper as part of a cross cutting review and I can confirm that the Ministry of Defence will participate in the consultation process. Any subsequent changes to laws applying to incidents of domestic violence would apply to the service community in the same way as to other sections of the population.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance he has given to the armed forces on the reporting of domestic violence; and what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the content of such guidance. [113037]

    The Ministry of Defence's latest guidance on the reporting of incidents of domestic violence within the Armed Forces was published in a "Defence Council Instruction" on 1 February 2002 and is being incorporated into appropriate single-service regulations. The policy takes account of Home Office directives on the subject and with the underlying principle that domestic violence by Service personnel is not to be tolerated under any circumstances. MOD Ministers have not had cause to discuss this policy with other ministerial colleagues.

    Armed Forces Accommodation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 445W, on armed forces accommodation, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines relating to the 4-tier grading system. [112669]

    Causes Of Death

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in identifying the causes of death of (a) Sapper Luke Allsopp and (b) Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth; and if he will make a statement. [112486]

    The investigation into the deaths of Sapper Allsopp and Staff Sergeant Cullingworth is still ongoing and it is not yet possible to predict when it is likely to finish. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

    Children's Rights

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) changes have been made and (b) guidance has been issued by the Director General of Service Personnel Policy on bringing law and policy relating to under-18s into line with UK obligations under (i) the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and (ii) other international guidelines. [112629]

    Our existing policy and procedures for recruitment were already in line with our obligations. We have a policy to ensure that no under 18s are deployed on UN peacekeeping operations and no under 18s carry out operational patrols in Northern Ireland, and last year we introduced a policy whereby no under 18 soldiers may be deployed on operations outside the United Kingdom unless they are of a purely humanitarian nature and no hostile forces are involved.

    Cluster Bombs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures exist to control the onward sale to third countries of (a) RBL 755 and (b) BL 755 cluster bombs originally exported from the United Kingdom. [112482]

    I have been asked to reply.The risk of strategically controlled goods being diverted to a third country is considered at the time of application for a licence, when this possibility is considered against Criterion 7 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Criterion 7 addresses the existence of a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions and includes consideration of the capability of the recipient country to exert effective export controls. The Government may draw upon information from a wide variety of sources when considering the risk.

    Deepcut Barracks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what categories of items have been reported (a) stolen and (b) lost at Deepcut Army barracks in each of the past 10 years; and how many rounds of (i) ammunition and (ii) weapon parts were missing in each year. [112633]

    In accordance with Service accounting procedures, records of items stolen or lost have been retained for the past five years only. The categories of military stores involved in incidents of theft or loss at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut during this period are as follows.

    YearCategory
    Stolen1998Miscellaneous Stores
    2002Equipment, Miscellaneous Stores
    2003Miscellaneous Stores
    Lost1998Accommodation Stores, Equipment, Miscellaneous Stores
    1999Accommodation Stores, Equipment, Rations, Miscellaneous Stores, Clothing
    2000Accommodation Stores, Equipment, Miscellaneous Stores, Clothing
    2001Accommodation Stores, Equipment, Miscellaneous Stores
    2002Accommodation Stores, Equipment, Rations, Miscellaneous Stores, Clothing
    Over the past five years, two small weapons parts have been found to be missing. There have been no recorded incidents of lost or missing ammunition rounds since 29 September 2002. Records prior to this period are currently in the possession of Surrey police and are unavailable for examination.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims have been made against insurance for personally issued kit at Deepcut Army barracks in each of the past 10 years. [112634]

    The Ministry of Defence does not insure itself against the loss or theft or personally issued military kit. Any private claim would be a matter between an individual and his or her insurer.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fires have been recorded at Deepcut Army barracks in the past 10 years; and in how many cases civilian firefighters have been called to assist. [112635]

    Records are only available from June 1997. Since that time there have been eight separate fire incidents within the perimeter of the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut. On each occasion the local civilian fire service was called to assist.

    Electoral Procedures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that service personnel on operations can vote in elections. [112655]

    The Representation of the People Act 2000 and the Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations 2001 presented Service personnel with a range of electoral registration options. They may register to vote at their private or other qualifying address, Service Families Accommodation or Single Living Accommodation, or register to vote by means of a Service declaration, or by rolling registration. A fresh Service declaration must be made every 12 months and, together with all households in the United Kingdom, all Service Voters will receive an annual renewal notification from the local Electoral Registration Officer with whom they are registered. The Ministry of Defence issues annual Defence Council Instructions explaining these measures in detail. The last was issued on 31 January 2003. Those overseas who are registered as Service Voters can only vote by proxy. Those in the United Kingdom who are unable to vote in person may vote by either post or proxy. Those individuals who choose to register on an electoral register—and who are not registered as Service Voters through a Service declaration—will be able to vote either by post or proxy if they are overseas or away from home during an election. If personnel are overseas, every effort is made by ships, units, and stations to give reasonable assistance to personnel to register or vote in line with their electoral registration choice.

    Executive Agencies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who the chief executive officer is of the (a) Defence Diversification Agency, (b) Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and (c) Veterans Agency. [112701]

    The Director General of the Defence Diversification Agency is Professor Damien G. McDonnell BSc PhD DSc CPhys FinstP QBE. He does not have the title chief executive since the Defence Diversification Agency is part of the Ministry of Defence head office and not a Defence agency.The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) no longer exists. On 1 July 2001, two new organisations, QinetiQ pic and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, a trading fund, were formed from DERA. The chief executive officer of QinetiQ is Sir John Chisholm MA FR Eng, and the chief executive of DSTL is Mr. Martin Earwicker.The chief executive of the Veterans Agency is Mr. Alan Burnham.

    Graduate Scientists

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many graduate scientists were recruited by the Nuclear Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in each of the last three years; and how many additional graduate scientists will be recruited during 2003–04. [112825]

    The following figures show the number of science graduates recruited at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

    Science graduates
    2000–0139
    2001–0238
    2002–0343
    The expected recruitment figure for 2003–04 is 50.

    Gurkhas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the two Gurkha reinforcement companies. [112651]

    Both of the remaining Gurkha Reinforcement Companies are due to be disbanded, the first by July this year and the second by March 2004.Improved infantry manning levels mean that the requirement for the Gurkha Reinforcement Companies has reduced. Notwithstanding this we intend to maintain Gurkha force levels at around 3,500 and plan to create two additional permanent Gurkha sub-units.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what latest estimate he has of the death toll from current hostilities in Iraq among (a) UK forces, (b) US forces, (c) Iraqi forces, (d) Iraqi civilians and (e) other civilian non-combatants. [110267]

    As of 6 May, 34 United Kingdom Service personnel had died during coalition military operations against Iraq.The number of fatalities suffered by US forces is a matter for the US authorities.We make every effort to minimise any impact on the Iraqi civilian population. We have no means of ascertaining the numbers of Iraqi military personnel or civilians, or other civilians who were killed or injured during the coalition's military action.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what efforts his Department is making to assure the employers of TA soldiers serving in Iraq that their employees will return at the earliest opportunity. [112649]

    As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence stated on 30 April 2003, Official Report, columns 15–16WS, we will continue to withdraw assets and personnel from the region where possible, but we will maintain an appropriate military presence for as long as is necessary. The requirement for Reservists will match this pattern. Where possible, Regional Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (RFCAs), in concert with the Regional Brigade Chain of Command, have kept local employers of TA and Regular Army Reservists informed of the situation.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that reservists on duty in Iraq are kept informed by their commanding officers of how long they will be required to remain in Iraq. [112877]

    On mobilisation, reservists are informed of the likely length of their mobilised service. This is usually 6 months in theatre plus a further 1½ months made up of pre-deployment training and post-deployment admin and leave (a total of 7½ months). Should there be any changes to the period of mobilised service, reservists would be informed by their commanding officer as a matter of course.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK civilians have been deployed in Iraq by his Department since the end of the war; from what department of government they have been drawn; and what the expected (a) cost and (b) length of their deployment is. [113236]

    [holding answer 13 May 2003]: The number of Ministry of Defence civilian personnel deployed into theatre is in excess of 180. Of those personnel, the number deployed into Iraq varies daily, but is in the order of 12. In addition, some 50 civilians from other Government Departments have deployed, or are deploying into Iraq with the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. The Coalition, including civilian personnel, will stay in Iraq only as long as is necessary to help the Iraqi people to build their own political institutions and reconstruct their country. It is too early to predict how long this is likely to take and therefore, how much the deployment of United Kingdom civilians to Iraq will cost.

    Military Police Training School, Chichester

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Royal Military Police Training School and the Roussillon Barracks in Chichester. [112913]

    I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces' Written Ministerial Statement on 25 November 2002, Official Report, columns 1–2WS. RAF Halton was identified by the 'Defence Training Review as the benchmark location for Joint Police Training. This benchmark assumes that the RMP training would be moved to RAF Halton and that other units at Roussillon Barracks would also be relocated. We do not expect to make a final decision on the location for police training and the eventual use or disposal of Roussillon Barracks before 2005.

    Naval Campaigns (60Th Anniversaries)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for commemorating the 60th anniversaries of major naval campaigns and events in the Second World War. [112267]

    During the first few years of this century, to 2005, there was and will be a succession of 60th anniversaries of significant actions in the Second World War. It is not possible for the Ministry of Defence to mark all of them and so it was decided that the Department would fund a commemoration of one representative battle for each of the Services, with a triService commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of the War. The actions chosen by the Services were the Battle of the Atlantic for the Royal Navy, the Battle of El Alamein for the Army and the Battle of Britain for the Royal Air Force.The Battle of Britain was commemorated by the Royal Air Force in 2000. The Army organised a Service of Thanksgiving on 23 October 2002 in Westminster Abbey to mark the Battle of El Alamein and the Royal Navy have just organised an event in Liverpool to mark the Battle of the Atlantic.The Government will also be organising events in 2005 to mark the end of the war, but planning is at an early stage and no details are available.

    Forces Recruitment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes there have been in recruitment rates for (a) the Royal Navy and (b) the Royal Marines since the outbreak of the Gulf conflict. [112268]

    It is too early to gauge whether the Gulf conflict has had an impact on recruitment to the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines since the process can take a number of months from enquiry to entrance and any knock-on effect would not be evident until later in the year. No candidates have withdrawn enquiries or cancelled interviews as a stated consequence of the conflict and the flow of expressions of interest remains high.The number of enquiries and subsequent applications to join the Service as Naval ratings and Royal Marines other ranks shows an increase of between 8 per cent. and 10 per cent. respectively on the same period for last year.

    Service Personnel (Open University Study)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have (a) enrolled on and (b) completed an Open University course in the past 12 months. [112624]

    The best estimates available are that, for financial year 2002–03, 161 RN, 110 Army and 1,477 RAF personnel registered to undertake Open University courses. Accurate figures for enrolment are not available as personnel who elect for personal reasons to undertake an OU course are under no obligation to tell the OU that they are Servicemen or women, or to report to their Service managers that they have commenced a course of learning with the OU.In addition, 21 RN, 18 Army and 76 RAF personnel were registered for OU degree courses during the last 12 months under existing sponsorship schemes.Figures for course completion are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Suez Medal

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the sub-committee chaired by General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank to report regarding the issue of a Suez Canal Zone medal; and if he will make a statement. [112764]

    The HD Committee has seen the report submitted by General Lord Guthrie on behalf of the sub-committee. They have not indicated when an announcement will be made.

    Training Establishments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what determination has been made by the Director General of the Training and Education Rationalisation Delivery Group of the appropriate instructor to trainee ratios, including pastoral care and supervisory duties, in each service. [112617]

    There are two aspects of instructor to trainee ratios: formal training class size and pastoral care out of working hours. The requirement for supervision varies accordingly. The Ministry of Defence does not currently recommend precise supervisory ratios, but work is in hand to develop policy guidance for Commanding Officers of training establishments.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work has been done by the Director General of Training and Education to formulating a policy for development of the arts, music and other cultural expression in training establishments. [112626]

    None. Under Service regulations, maintenance of morale, personal development and recreation are command functions policy responsibility for which lies with the individual Service Principal Personnel Officers. At a local level, development of the arts, music and cultural expression rests with the individual commanders of training establishments, as part of their command function. Many units have voluntary bands and encourage trainees to join. Many also have theatre and music clubs, which often stage productions. Training establishments support music and the arts in a recreational and developmental context and encourage participation as an adjunct to training in operational skills.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been taken by the Adjutant General to rectify the staffing shortfalls at (a) the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at Bordon and (b) the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield. [112618]

    The Army Training and Recruiting Agency, of which the schools at Bordon and Leconfield are a part, has undertaken a comprehensive review of military establishments at all of its schools. In the case of Bordon and Leconfield, urgent action has been taken to amend the establishments. The Assistant Chief of the General Staff has directed the Army's manning authorities to arrange for suitably qualified personnel to be posted there as a matter of priority in the short term.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rank of empowered commissioned officer has been appointed at each Army training establishment to enable each recruit and trainee to obtain confidential welfare and other advice; and what steps have been taken to advertise the availability of this officer. [112619]

    :Within the Army Training and Recruiting Agency (ATRA), empowered officers are normally of the rank of either Major or Captain and, dependent on the establishment, will either be the Unit Welfare Officer, the Second in Command, the Unit Educational Officer or the Unit Resettlement Officer. At each school, the name and contact details of the officer will be publicised widely using a combination of briefings, Unit Orders, flyers and/or posters. A "credit card" showing useful contact numbers is issued to recruits/trainees at some ATRA establishments and consideration is being given to the issue of a card of standard, robust, design for use by all ATRA establishments.

    :To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what direction has been issued by the Director General of Training and Education concerning (a) time for sport in training establishments and (b) sport policy; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [112625]

    :A policy for Armed Forces sports is nearing completion. I anticipate that it will be approved during the summer. I will write to the hon Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made by principal personnel officers of the number and quality of Welfare and Emotional Support Projects in initial training establishments; what targets are set for the projects; and if he will place a copy of the project action plans in the Library. [112627]

    The Services have already introduced measures to ensure that welfare presentations and training are now included at Initial Training establishments. The Army have ensured that all new recruits receive instruction on welfare services available, access to WRVS, Service Padres and confidential support telephone lines. The RN and RAF have also adopted similar measures and included organisations like The Soldiers, Sailors and Air Forces Association (Forces Help) (SSAFA (FH)) and the Benevolent and Dependants Funds, who have traditionally provided welfare support to the Services and their families. In addition, all three Services have successfully developed Welfare websites that have proved popular with Servicemen and their families. An action plan for continued spreading of good practice is being prepared; a copy of this action plan will be placed in the Library of the House when complete.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken by principal personnel officers to disseminate best practice guidelines on sustaining links between recruits and trainees with their parents during initial training; and if he will place a copy of the guidelines in the Library. [112630]

    The Principal Personnel Officers strongly encourage recruits and trainees to sustain links with their parents during initial training. The Naval Service considers that these links are strong, but samples of parents/guardians are to be surveyed on a regular and routine basis to confirm this. Commanding Officers of Army initial training units have for some considerable time now written to, or kept in telephone contact with, parents of recruits aged under 18 years. All Army recruits are also encouraged to maintain contact with parents themselves.Following a recent review of the legal position, RAF guidelines to disseminate best practice are expected to be published shortly. A copy of these guidelines will be placed in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what library services are available at initial training establishments. [112632]

    The following library services are available at initial training establishments:

    Royal Navy
    Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC)—The library serves 600 students per year and works in conjunction with Exeter and Plymouth Universities. It is extensively used for research, in particular work towards Foundation Degrees, and includes a major collection of Maritime strategic history books.
    HMS Raleigh—library forms part of the wider Learning Centre.
    Commando Training Centre Lympstone—The library offers a full library service for the Corps of Royal Marines.
    Army
    The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS)—The library serves some 760 students per year. It focuses on military history, doctrine and international affairs, and is widely used for research.
    Army Training Regiment Bassingbourne—A new library is due to open soon.
    Army Technical Foundation College Arborfield—General reference, technical and recreational library for students.
    Army Foundation College—General reference and recreational library for students.
    Royal Air Force
    RAF Cranwell—Houses the Trenchard Library, the main RAF library covering recreational and reference materials. It also has a technical library.
    RAF Halton—This contains a recreational and reference library within the Learning Centre.
    RAF Honington—Houses a large recreational and reference library.
    The library facilities listed above generally include good internet and computer training facilities in addition to their stock of books, videos and periodicals.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made by principal personnel officers of the recreational facilities at Army training establishments; how many (a) non-alcohol cafes, (b) internet facilities and (c) quiet areas have been established in the past 12 months; what targets have been set in the form of an action plan; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [112623]

    The Army Training and Recruiting Agency (ATRA) is currently conducting a comprehensive survey of these facilities at all of its establishments. The number of facilities established during 2002 and in 2003 to the current date is as follows:

    • non-alcohol cafes: 8
    • internet facilities: 19 (plus 60 personal IT equipment in individual's rooms)
    • quiet areas: 26
    Once this survey is completed, a new scaling requirement and action plan will be developed.

    War Pensions Claims

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average time taken was to review applications for (a) war disability pension and (b) war widows pension in the last year for which figures are available. [112555]

    [holding answer 13 May 2003]: Over the year up until April 2003 the average time taken for an appeal to be processed from the initial request for appeal until implementing payment of the award or pension was 283 days. This is within the target figure which has been set at 290 days. Statistics are compiled for all appeal cases and are not split between war disability pensions and war widow(er)s pensions. Separate figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Deputy Prime Minister

    Local Authority Finance

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for further changes to the formula used to distribute Government grant to English local authorities. [112949]

    Following the review of the grant distribution formula which took effect this year, we have no plans to change any of the Formula Spending Share formulae until at least 2006–07, other than to reflect changes of function or financing.This will give local authorities greater certainty about future funding.

    13.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on budget allocations to local authorities. [112953]

    In terms of formula grant, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was able to allocate an extra £2.4 billion or 5.9 per cent. to authorities for 2003–04, with each authority receiving more than inflation for the first time ever.Including special grants, total funding to all English authorities increased by some £3.8 billion, or 8.0 per cent.

    Regional Government

    10.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the funding of the North West Regional Assembly. [112950]

    The North West Regional Assembly is a voluntary body. The bulk of its funding comes from local authority subscriptions and other sources.In 2003–04, the Assembly will receive up to £1,837,000 from central Government to support its work scrutinising the plans and activities of the Regional Development Agency, and advising the Government as the Regional Planning Body.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his Department's plans for encouraging public debate on his proposals regarding elected regional Government in England. [112948]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received over 6,000 responses to the soundings exercise on whether to hold referendums to create Elected Regional Assemblies in the English regions.As we near decisions on which regions will have referendums, we will continue to raise public awareness and encourage debate.

    Right To Buy

    11.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent response he has received from local councils on the restriction of the right to buy discount. [112951]

    Councils in six of the 42 areas identified as subject to the greatest housing market pressures asked to be excluded from the discount and 12 councils asked to be added to the list. The majority of local authorities recognised the change was needed to address the scheme's impact on affordable housing and profiteering.

    Civil Defence (London)

    12.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what funding arrangements are in place to enable the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority to prepare for terrorist attacks in London. [112952]

    The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority is one of the functional bodies of the Greater London Authority and its annual budget is part of that set by the Mayor for the GLA.Central Government funding for the LFEPA is generally provided through the Local Government Finance Settlement for the GLA. The 2003–04 Settlement gives the GLA just over £2 billion, an increase of £95 million or 4.9 per cent. on 2002-03 on a like for like basis.The LFEPA also benefits from the New Dimension programme to enhance the national mass decontamination capability. This will bring an extra 400 gas-tight suits for fire-fighters, 10 new purpose built vehicles and 20 mass decontamination units available to meet London's needs.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also working closely with London Fire Brigade to improve their current CBRN response capability through the purchase of new personal protective equipment and detection equipment—which Government will fund directly.

    Building Regulations

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what assessment he has made of the contribution that building regulations make to the achievement of Government targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; [113183](2) what assessment his Department has made of the scope for amending building regulations to require new buildings to contribute towards the energy used within them; [113185](3) what changes he plans to enhance the contribution that building regulations make to the energy efficiency of new buildings. [113184]

    The energy performance requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations have been reviewed twice in the last decade to see what contribution they can make towards achieving the Government's energy performance and carbon dioxide emissions targets, while remaining proportionate, cost-effective and practical. Other greenhouse gases are controlled in different ways. In the Regulatory Impact Assessment published in October 2001 to accompany the latest amendment to Part L of the Building Regulations, which came into effect in April 2002, it was estimated that the changes would lead to a reduction in carbon emissions of 1.4 million tonnes of carbon (equivalent to about 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide) per year in 2010.The consultation document published in June 2000 that proposed this amendment included an assessment of the scope for improving performance standards over the period to 2008. Both these documents can be inspected on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website at http://www.safety.odpm.gov.uk/bregs/brnews.htm.As to plans for future enhancements, it was announced that a new review of the Building Regulations would occur in the Energy White Paper with the aims of bringing a further major revision into effect in 2005 for new buildings and refurbishment work, and raising standards even more over the next decade.

    Council Tax

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much was raised in Council Tax in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02 and (c) 2002–03; and how much is expected to be raised in 2003–04. [113078]

    Tabled as follows is the most recent figure for gross council tax income in England for each financial year. Gross council tax income includes council tax collectable by local authorities and council tax funded through council tax benefit.

    YearGross council tax income (£ billion)
    2000–01114.5
    2001–02115.5
    2002–03216.6
    2003–04218.9
    1Outturn figures
    2Budget figures
    The figures in the table are the amounts expected to be collected in respect of each financial year. They are not the amounts actually collected within the financial year. Some of the council tax due for a particular year is not collected within that year. This means that the amount actually collected in any particular year is made up of income in respect of that year plus amounts collected from earlier and/or later years.

    Devon County Council

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of central government funding allocated to Devon County Council has been ring-fenced for environmental policy implementation in each of the last five years. [109645]

    The majority of what local authorities spend on the environment comes in unring-fenced form from general grant. In the last five years Devon received one ring-fenced revenue grant for the environment of £1.159 million for waste in 2002–03. This represented less than 0.5 per cent. of the total revenue grant from central Government in that year1. The waste fund also provided Devon with £0.375 million of capital funding in 2002–03. In addition Devon County Council was awarded the Supplementary Credit Approvals (SCAs) related to environment to the value set out in the following table.

    SCAs
    £000
    Land fill gas/contaminated landFlood defence
    1999–20007340
    2000–01261231
    2001–021,6480
    2002–031,76428
    2003–0400
    1The total of general grant and specific and special grants for Devon in that year was £418.909 million. The grant of £1.159 million for waste is attended to cover work by the country council and the districts.

    Firefighters

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many firefighters there were per head of population in (a) Lancashire, (b) the North West of England and (c) Wales in each year since 1997. [112056]

    The number of firefighters per 10,000 of population are tabled as follows:

    Number of firefighters per head of population
    199719981999200020012002
    Lancashire
    Wholetime7.07.07.17.17.17.1
    Retained2.52.42.32.22.01.9
    North West
    Wholetime8.28.28.18.08.08.0
    Retained1.31.31.31.31.21.2
    Wales
    Wholetime5.95.95.95.95.95.9
    Retained5.15.15.15.15.15.1

    Notes:

    1. Based on annual returns to HM Fire Service Inspectorate and population figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

    2. Wholetime strength expressed in full-time equivalents and retained strength in 24-hour units of cover.

    3. North West figures comprise fire brigade areas of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

    Heating Systems

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2003, Official Report, column 355W, on heating systems, what the nature is of the research referred to; what stage the research is at; whether there is a mechanism for people to submit comments or evidence to that research; and when the results will be known [113225]

    The research underlying SEDBUK, the UK's database of domestic boiler seasonal efficiency indices, which was developed to facilitate SAP energy ratings, was carried out as a collaborative venture by industry and Government in 1997 to 1999. Collaboration has continued since then and this has focused on improvements and rectifying anomalies.Research into the evaluation of the energy performance of micro-combined heated and power (micro-CHP) units is at an early stage. A laboratory test procedure is being developed through consultations that have been commissioned by a group set up by the Energy Saving Trust. The procedure is close to completion and it is anticipated that the next stage will be to turn it into a "Publicly Available Specification' (PAS) through the offices of BSI. It is akin to the standards in the Boiler Efficiency Directive, used to evaluate full and part load performance for boilers, and aims to establish similar performance parameters for microCHP systems. The results obtained could be used to determine a seasonal performance index for microCHP systems. However, while this index would be similar to the SEDBUK for boilers it would be inappropriate to make direct comparisons between these products on an efficiency basis. Consideration is therefore being given to the development of a comparison system based on total carbon emissions, total energy or total energy costs.

    As the rating development will be reliant upon microCHP field trials, it is not possible to say precisely when the further research results will be known, but the aim is to have the SEDBUK equivalent in place in time for inclusion in the next major revision of the Building Regulations Part L in 2005. There will, of course, be consultation with the interested parties on these initiatives during the intervening period.

    Home Improvement Agencies

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the timetable is for the letting of the new contract for the national co-ordinating body for Home Improvement Agencies. [113053]

    In accordance with EU competition rules and Government procurement policy, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will shortly be going out to tender for a new contract to be funded centrally. The new contract will be in place from 1 April 2004.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what evaluation he has undertaken cf the effectiveness of Foundations, the national co-ordinating body for Home Improvement Agencies. [113054]

    As part of a continuing dialogue, officials of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister agree an annual plan with Foundations and have detailed quarterly round-up meetings with them to ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the contract.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what funding central government has allocated for Home Improvement Agencies in each of the last three years; and what its projected budgets are for each of the next three years. [113055]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister funding for the years requested are tabled as follows:

    £ million
    2000–016.7
    2001–028.5
    2002–038.5
    2003–048.5
    2004–0510.5
    2005–0610.5
    This funding is ring-fenced within the Supporting People programme for 2003–04. Thereafter, it will be for local authorities (county councils in the case of two-tier administrations) to manage funding for Home Improvement Agencies within their budgets for Supporting People services, in line with the strategy agreed by the local Commissioning Body.Over the period 2003–04 to 2005ndash;06 the Department of Health will be providing £9.5 million earmarked for Home Improvement Agencies so that they can become key players in the provision of services to older people on discharge from hospital.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the written statement of 6 May 2003, Official Report, columns 28–29WS, on the Home Improvement Agency, what consultation was undertaken in advance of the statement; with whom; and if he will publish the local commissioning models and statements consulted upon. [113052]

    The written statement issued on 6 May reflects the outcome of the public consultation exercise launched in September 2002, and a series of meetings of a Home Improvement Agency (HIA) policy group at which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department of Health, agencies and other key stakeholders were represented. That group also had the opportunity to consider draft recommendations from Foundations' separate research project, which looked to establish optimum structures and commissioning arrangements for HIA services. It is expected that the final recommendations from Foundations will be made available on their website in due course.

    Local Elections (Young People)

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to increase the number of young people participating in local elections. [112537]

    I have been asked to reply.The Government are keen to encourage young people to participate in elections. My Department contributed to the Children and Young People Unit's work on the engagement of young people in democracy, and we support fully the Electoral Commission's campaigns and competitions aimed specifically at young people. The addition of citizenship studies to the national curriculum and the piloting of new technologies such as text messaging and digital television for voting should also help to engage, and appeal, to young people, as well as increasing their interest, understanding and involvement in the democratic process.

    Objective 1

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the criteria for Objective 1 funding. [112598]

    I have been asked to reply.The eligibility criteria for Objective 1 are specified in Article 3, paragraph 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds as follows:

    The regions covered by Objective 1 shall be regions corresponding to Level II of the Nomenclature of Territorial Statistical Units (NUTS level II) whose per capita GDP, measured in purchasing power parities and calculated on the basis of Community figures for the last three years available on 26 March 1999, is less than 75 per cent. of the Community average.
    The outermost regions (the French overseas departments, the Azores, the Canary Islands and Madeira), which are all below the 75 per cent. threshold, and the areas eligible under Objective 6 for the period 1995 to 1999 pursuant to Protocol 6 to the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden shall also be covered by this Objective.

    On 1 July 1999 the European Commission drew up the list of areas which would be eligible for Objective 1 for the period from 2000 to 2006. In the UK, four regions were eligible on the basis of the average GDP per head using data for 1994 to 1996. These are Merseyside, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, South Yorkshire and West Wales and the Valleys.

    Special Advisers

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the costs have been in (a) salary, (b) administrative support and (c) travel of special advisers employed in his Department since May 2002. [91620]

    The costs to public funds for special advisers employed in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the period 1 June 2002 until 31 March 2003 is (a) £189,633 salary costs, (b) £43,725 administrative support costs and (c) £17,877 travel costs.

    Cabinet Office

    Internet

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many people in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK (i) do not regularly use the internet and (ii) have never used the internet; [111290](2) what steps he is taking to give the long-term unemployed

    (a) better knowledge of and (b) better access to the internet; [111288]

    (3) what steps he is taking to give those in low income households better access to the internet; [111291]

    (4) what steps he is taking to encourage people who do not regularly use the internet to log on more often; [111292]

    (5) how he plans to publicise the forthcoming launch of Online Nation; [111293]

    (6) what percentage of (a) households and (b) schools in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK had access to the internet in each year since 1998; [111289]

    (7) what estimate he has made of the percentage of voluntary organisations in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK who have had websites in each year since 1998. [111294]

    The UK has made considerable progress in recent years in terms of the proportion of the population regularly accessing the internet. The UK online programme drives forward work across Government, helping to meet the Prime Minister's commitment of internet access for all who want it by 2005. In 1998, 10 per cent. of UK households (8 per cent. in Scotland) had internet access, compared to 45 per cent. by April 2003. Virtually all schools across the UK are now connected to the internet. All schools in England will have broadband connections by the end of 2006.In total, 62 per cent. of the UK adult population—some 28.7 million people—have now used the internet (October 2002 National Statistics Omnibus Survey); 38 per cent. of the UK adult population, 17.6 million people have yet to get online; and 50 per cent. of the adult population, 23.1 million people, log on regularly. The survey currently provides six-monthly breakdowns of results for the devolved administrations, so 2003 results for Scotland are not yet available.

    In November 2002 the Prime Minister announced that we had successfully achieved our target of setting up 6,000 UK online centres in England, enabling thousands of individuals to enjoy the benefits of the internet by providing free or low cost internet access and offering support for first time users. Many of the centres are located in the 2,000 most deprived wards in England. They are located in libraries, community centres, village halls, football clubs, mobile facilities and other community venues. UK online centres have a proven track record of helping to support and engage harder to reach groups, including the long-term unemployed, in the provision of access to ICT learning and skills. So far 16.9 per cent. of users have been unemployed.

    The Scottish Executive's Public Internet Access Points initiative aims to create over 1,000 new internet access points in a wide range of venues throughout Scotland where people already go as part of their everyday lives—e.g. shops, post offices, community centres, pubs, sports facilities etc. Over 500 venues are now up and running. In addition over 550 libraries in Scotland now provide free public access to the internet.

    To enable people to find their nearest internet access point the UK online helpline, in