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Written Answers

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 19 May 2003

International Development

Africa

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the United Kingdom will raise at the G8 Evian Summit the failure to reach agreement within the WTO to amend the TRIPS agreement to provide affordable access to medicines to Africa's poor; and whether the UK will seek to obtain at Evian a recommitment to this policy by all G8 countries. [113632]

The Government is concerned by the continued lack of progress on this issue. We are actively working with our WTO partners, including members of the G8, to reach a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible and hopefully in advance of the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico in September.At the G8 Evian Summit leaders will discuss both the current blockage in the WTO TRIPS and Public Health negotiations as well as the broader issue of access to medicines. We hope to secure further positive action on these important issues.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how many United Kingdom companies involved in extractive industries in Africa have disclosed their payments to host governments as envisaged in the UK implementation plans for the G8 Africa Action plan; and if she will make a statement. [113644]

The UK is working to persuade relevant stakeholders to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This would encourage producer and host countries to allow company disclosure of payments and to disclose revenues.Ministers, CEOs and high-level representatives will be attending a conference in London on 17 June to agree a statement of principles underpinning EITI and to agree actions on how to take it forward.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the Government has (a) hosted a pre-Evian international meeting to discuss the contribution of extractive industry to transparency and accountability in Africa, (b) developed a framework to promote transparency of payments based on World Bank technical work and (c) persuaded (i) other governments and (ii) oil and mining companies to join this initiative. [113645]

DFID's Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) team has hosted two pre-Evian international meetings:

A multi-stakeholder workshop was held in February 2003 to develop a framework to promote transparency that would be practical and effective in countries heavily dependent on oil, gas and mining;
Moving forward from this, a technical workshop was held in May 2003 to allow stakeholders to review the draft reporting guidelines that have been prepared for the piloting of new approaches to data disclosure. Country level meetings are also being planned which complement this.
Ministers, CEOs and high-level representatives of the stakeholder groups have been invited to a conference in London on 17 June to agree a statement of the principles underpinning EITI and to agree actions to take forward the initiative.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development when a Commonwealth Development Corporation African Fund was established; how much it intends to invest in African businesses; how much this will increase its investment in Africa; and whether the Commonwealth Development Corporation intends to mirror the G8 proposal to devote half its resources to Africa. [113610]

Under the 1999 Act, the Commonwealth Development Corporation became a public limited company, registered as CDC Group pic, and trading as CDC Capital Partners.In August 2002, it was announced that, from 2003, CDC would organise its investment activities through specialised funds. This reorganisation is progressing well and it is intended that fund raising will start later this year. One of these funds will be dedicated to Africa.In the meantime, CDC continues to make investments in Africa. In the past six months, CDC has taken ownership of power assets in Tanzania and South Africa; financed the management buy-out of a leading Egyptian consumer business; made a further investment in Uganda's leading private sector bank; and provided expansion capital to a leading agribusiness exporter in Kenya.CDC Group plc operates under an investment policy, agreed with DFID, which requires that at least 50 cent, of its new investments are in, or for the benefit of, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia and that 70 per cent, of new investments must be in, or for the benefit of, the poorer developing countries (which of course includes most of sub-Saharan Africa). It is not planned to revise these targets in the foreseeable future.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assistance the Commonwealth Business Council has given to the New Partnership for Africa's Development-NEPAD-Business Group. [113611]

The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) helped to establish, and is a member of the NEPAD Business Group (NBG). NBG comprises leading business organisations who have a broad constituency—both inside and outside Africa—and are committed to helping the continent realise its full economic potential. The Group acts as a medium between NEPAD and private companies who support its aims.The NEPAD Heads of Government Implementation Committee at the African Union Summit approved the NBG as its business partner, and set up a special committee of the NEPAD Steering Group to work with CBC. CBC has established a Project Support Unit, to which DFID has contributed £117,000 of funding. The Unit is conducting national consultations with African businesses, policy analyses, and the development of action plans which map out the constraints and opportunities for the private sector to influence the NEPAD process.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to expand digital opportunities in Africa. [113612]

Through partnerships with others, DFID is supporting four key initiatives that seek to build digital opportunities. First, Imfundo: Partnership for IT in Education 2001–06 (£7 million) works with civil society organisations, the private sector, global agencies and academic institutions to enhance initiatives that support universal equitable basic education. Second, Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) 2003–06 (£8.8 million). This project promotes reform and affordable access to ICTs across Africa and forms part of our response to the G8 Africa Action Plan. Third, Building Digital Opportunities 2001-2004 (£7 million); this global initiative has strong African components and covers a range of ICT issues from regulatory issues to inclusion for the poor through links with traditional media such as community radio. And fourth, the African Virtual University (AVU) 2002–04 (£2 million). The AVU's goal is to reach all students in Africa who would like to attend university but are unable to do so because of costs and distance.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what new initiatives have been taken by G8 countries to support the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals for education in African Countries which are not yet reforming, with particular reference to (a) Nigeria and (b) Democratic Republic of Congo; and what additional funding has been made available for education in African countries already covered by the World Bank's Fast Track initiative. [113613]

Between 2002 and 2007 we intend to spend £1.3 billion on basic education, subject to agreeing high quality programmes with our partners. Of this, about £500 million will go to Africa. This figure of £1.3 billion compares favourably with the £700 million committed to Universal Primary Education since 1997.There is broad consensus among international agencies that greater harmonisation of resources will increase aid effectiveness. We will work with G8 to ensure that they increase support and resources to meet the education MDGs. Our approach to Nigeria and DRC is to support long-term change while supporting rapid improvements in education delivery. In Nigeria we have committed £12.5 million of technical support to help 16 Nigerian states with their plans for Universal Basic Education alongside $100 million of financial support from the World Bank. In the DRC, DFID has agreed to support an education adviser within the World Bank office in Kinshasa and to provide additional support to the education planning process. We will consider supporting education following the conclusion of the peace agreement.Our approach to the Fast Track Initiative (FTI) is to ensure that it focuses on encouraging Governments with large numbers of children out of school to develop credible education plans that will enable them to achieve the aim of universal primary education. We have successfully pressed for the inclusion of those countries with the most children out of school—like India (with 30 million children out of school), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A working group of which DFID is a member has been established to take this forward. In countries where we are engaged, we will consider increasing our support in the context of their PRSP and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. We will continue to be involved in the Fast Track Initiative at all levels but do not envisage diverting existing commitments in order to support specific Fast Track Initiative proposals.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how much (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's total expenditure her Department has spent in Africa in each year since 1997–98; and how much it will spend in Africa this year and in each of the next three years. [113627]

Since 1997–98 DFID has spent in Africa (a) in cash terms (£m) and (b) as a percentage of the Department's total programme expenditure:

Year(a)(b)
1997–9829715.0
1998–9939817.4
1999–200040216.1
2000–0158621.6
2001–0249917.4
2002–03165719.9
1 2002–03 figures are provisional
DFID's budget is only set until 2005–06, the last year covered by the 2002 Spending Review. In line with the Government's commitment to spend £1 billion in Africa by 2006, DFID's planned expenditure in Africa for each year as far as 2005–06 is as follows:

2003–042004–052005–06
In cash terms (£m)6868541,043
As a percentage of the Department's total programme expenditure19.023.824.0

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what the timetable is for completing Poverty Reduction Framework Agreements with (a) Ethiopia, (b) Ghana, (c) Mozambique, (d) Sierra Leone, (e) Tanzania and (f) Uganda; and if she will make a statement on plans for such agreements with other countries. [113631]

Ten-year partnerships, now known as country Memoranda of Understanding, were agreed with the Government of Sierra Leone in November 2002 and the Government of Ethiopia in January 2003. The first such Memorandum was signed with the Government of Rwanda in April 1999. It is expected that a country Memorandum of Understanding will be agreed with the Government of Tanzania later this year. In Uganda, a memorandum is being considered with the Government but finalisation will await the revision in late 2003 of the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan with which it will be aligned. Country Memoranda are also being actively considered in Ghana and Mozambique but no timetable has been set. The Department will consider entering in to such long-term partnerships with other African governments that demonstrate strong commitment to the goal of poverty eradication, have appropriate policies in place and, are building the capacity to deliver effective programmes.

Coffee

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how the Department is helping producer countries capture more value from agricultural commodities, including coffee. [114328]

I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (John Barrett) to PQ113512, on 19 May 2003.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what steps the Department is taking to help small coffee producers in developing countries (a) to diversify into alternative livelihoods following the decline in world coffee prices and (b) to gain organic certification for their coffees. [113508]

UK development assistance is provided on a bilateral basis to a significant number of coffee producing countries including Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. UK bilateral assistance to these six countries in 2001–2 amounted to £200 million. Additional financial resources are also provided through multilateral channels including the European Commission's external aid programme and the Common Fund for Commodities. UK support to poverty reduction strategies, and other national strategic planning processes, provides an important contribution to livelihood diversification in many coffee dependent countries.Through our membership of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) the UK is also supporting the development of an ICO diversification programme. The aim is to undertake specific projects to generate other sources of earnings for growers, such as by the introduction of new crops, without eliminating coffee growing itself.It does not necessarily follow that organic certification will deliver improved livelihoods for poor coffee producers. It is important that careful consideration is given to ensuring that any additional premium generated from the production and sale of organic produce justifies any additional costs that may be incurred, including associated certification costs. In 2000, DFID financed a study to examine the opportunities and constraints for resource poor farmers in organic production and trade. DFID is also supporting a coffee certification feasibility analysis in Uganda.

To ask the Minister of State for Internationa] Development what representations he will make to EU Commissioner Nielson on the use of unspent EU aid money to compensate poor countries for the fall in coffee prices through (a) assisting the International Coffee Organisation in monitoring coffee quality, (b) increasing aid to boost coffee farmers' market power and (c) helping them diversify to the production of other crops. [113510]

The funds in question refer to resources available from the now expired Lome Convention. However, it is important to recognise that these funds, while not disbursed, are currently allocated to other activities. Until such commitments are actually spent, financial resources remain with Member State Treasuries. In the case of the UK, they are spent on poverty reduction activities elsewhere. The European Commission does not maintain a fund of unused finances beyond normal balances needed for cash management purposes.However, from an efficiency point of view, the Commission needs to provide more information about old and undisbursed commitments that could and should be recommitted elsewhere to fund other development activities through bilateral or multilateral channels. The mid-term reviews of EC Country Strategies starting in 2004, will give each country an opportunity to reassess their own priorities and requirements, and could allow reallocation of existing commitments. The Secretary of State will make this point at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 19 to 20 May 2003, at which Commissioner Nielson will be present.We would be willing to support, within the framework of poverty reduction programmes or other appropriate national planning processes, efforts by the Commission to direct any released funds to activities that facilitate livelihood diversification in poor countries including those dependent on coffee.The market power of coffee producers is partly a function of their capacity to negotiate improved terms with other market participants. There are a number of ways in which EU aid could be applied to achieve this. This includes support provided within the framework of poverty reduction programmes.The EU is supportive of the ICO Quality Initiative. Progress with implementation of the Quality Initiative is currently being discussed by the Working Group on Commodities (PROBA) at which the UK is represented by DEFRA. At this point in time, the priority must be to encourage the full participation and commitment of all major coffee consuming and producing countries to the Initiative.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if the UK Government will financially support moves taken by producer countries to reduce stocks on the coffee markets in order to raise the market price. [113511]

The UK Government remain sceptical about proposals to finance the reduction of stocks of surplus coffee. A voluntary cut in total global production that results in a better balance between coffee supply and demand is the only feasible means to achieve an improvement in coffee prices. It is also important to recognise that any arrangement that promotes an increase in market prices in the absence of strict disciplines on production is likely to be short-lived as producers will respond to increased prices through an expansion in output. For these reasons we do not intend to finance or compensate producer countries in respect of any stock reduction programme they undertake.The Coffee Retention Scheme agreed by the Association of Coffee Producing Countries was intended to raise coffee prices, by retaining a set proportion of coffee supplies destined for export. The Scheme was formally abandoned in 2002 as producer members were unable to work out a mechanism of control over coffee prices. The International Coffee Organisation also used to operate a quota system whereby coffee supplies in excess of consumer requirements were withheld from the market. However, changes in the pattern of supply and demand, resulting in an increase in prices, also led to the collapse of this quota system. This highlights the problems with stock retention schemes.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what steps he is taking to help producer countries capture more value from agricultural commodities, including coffee. [113512]

We are working to ensure that a greater proportion of "value-added", including through processing, is retained in the developing country of origin. This is reflected in the pressure we are applying to secure a reduction in tariff escalation in developed countries, especially within the European Union. We also provide support to initiatives that contribute to improvements in essential infrastructure (e.g. energy and transport) and we are working to ensure that appropriate legal regulatory frameworks exist to promote investment.The UK is also a member of the Common Fund For Commodities (CFC). The CFC finances development projects covering a range of agricultural commodities produced in developing countries, including initiatives to promote vertical diversification in developing producer countries.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the Government plan to support financially moves taken by producer countries to reduce their stocks of low-quality coffee in order to raise the world market price. [114329]

I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (John Barrett) to PQ 113511, on 19 May 2003.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assistance the Department is giving to coffee farmers and workers in developing countries; and whether it plans to increase existing levels of support in view of the international coffee crisis. [114330]

The UK has development programmes in several coffee producing countries with bilateral assistance to Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda amounting in 2001–02 to £200 million.The UK supports countries in the development and implementation of their poverty reduction strategies, including nationally owned agricultural diversification plans to help deal with commodity dependence. The UK also supports research in several coffee producing countries aimed at improving the competitiveness of smallholder production.We remain concerned about the plight of those whose livelihoods have been, and continue to be, affected by the depressed producer prices that have prevailed in the coffee market over the last few years. Commodity dependence is a complex problem and there is no simple solution.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how the Department is helping coffee producers in developing countries to gain organic certification for their coffee. [114331]

In 2000, DFID financed a study to examine the opportunities and constraints for resource poor farmers in organic production and trade. DFID is also supporting a coffee certification feasibility analysis in Uganda. It does not necessarily follow that organic certification will deliver improved livelihoods for poor coffee producers. It is important that careful consideration is given to ensuring that any additional premium generated from the production and sale of organic produce justifies any additional costs that may be incurred, including associated certification costs.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the EU Development Commissioner regarding the use of unspent EU aid money to compensate African, Caribbean and Pacific countries suffering as a result of the world coffee crisis. [114333]

I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (John Barrett) to PQ 113510, on 19 May 2003.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the role of (a) financial support for agricultural extension services and (b) the formation of cooperatives, to assist in increasing coffee farmers' market power in developing countries. [113509]

UK development assistance is provided to a significant number of coffee producing countries. More generally, the UK has supported the strengthening of agricultural research and extension systems over many years both nationally and internationally, including in coffee producing countries. At the developing country level, support to agricultural extension is being integrated into sector-wide reform programmes that receive support from multiple donors, for example in Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique. The UK is also a supporter of the Neuchatel Initiative, a multi-donor group established to achieve convergence on the objectives, methods and means of support for agricultural extension policies. The Neuchatel Group has produced studies on alternative financing mechanisms for agricultural extension involving public and private actors.Improved market knowledge and access to information can help to strengthen the negotiating power of farmers. There are a number of routes through which this can be achieved other than through support to formal government agricultural extension service structures.The decision to establish a co-operative, or indeed any other organised grouping of people, must be entirely voluntary and based on a shared commitment to particular ideals or objectives. Activities must be bound by agreed rules including those relating to the behaviour and conduct of members and accountability. The lessons from past experience, particularly of the state-led drive to establish co-operatives in Africa in the '70s, highlight the difficulties that can arise when decisions to form a co-operative are imposed by external agents. Having said that, UK development assistance lends support to a range of institutional arrangements as deemed appropriate.

Dalit People

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what aid to Dalit people and their organisations (a) has been provided in India in each of the past five years and (b) is expected to be provided in 2003–04. [113521]

The Department for International Development has increasingly focused its aid to support the Government of India in sustainably addressing poverty reduction and targeting the poorest. The Dalit people, who number about 170 million, are particularly disadvantaged. Much of the sectoral work in service provision, such as the DFID-supported Child Environment Programme in water and sanitation of UNICEF or the Urban Services for the Poor programmes in Kolkata and Andhra Pradesh, deliver aid to Dalit people. The District Primary Education Programme, which DFID has supported since 1998, and the Lok Jumbish primary education programme, which DFID has been funding for about four years, both have explicit budget lines on educational needs of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, particularly girls. Through such government programmes, DFID seeks to increase the potential for the far greater resources of the Government of India to address the needs of the poorest, including the Dalits.In addition, DFID has a relatively small allocation to civil society organisations, which are required under Indian law to be registered under the Foreign Contributions Registration Act in order to receive foreign contributions. DFID, through its Civil Society Department, has supported a number of UK-based NGOs that work with empowering Dalits. More directly the Poorest Areas Civil Society programme works in most of the 100 poorest districts identified by a Government of India survey that included social criteria. These districts include high levels of Dalits and include many of the districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The PACS programme has made grants to a number of organisations that address issues of discrimination against Dalits and more information on these grants can be obtained from the PACS website www.empowerpoor.org (e.g. grants 7 to "Chetna Vikas" and 8 to "Gramin Evam Nagar Vikas Parishad" among others). This is a new programme and the first grants were made in the UK financial year 2001–02, but are mostly effective in 2002–03 and subsequent years. DFID has also committed 65,000 to the Village Service Trust for four years from 2001–05 for increasing political participation of socially marginalized groups in Theni District, particularly women and Dalits. The Department's support for ActionAid's "Fighting Poverty Together" corporate plan covers work with particularly discriminated groups, including Dalits. Through the Small Grants Scheme, operated by the British High Commission, a grant of £11,000 was made in 1999–2000 to "The Society of Depressed People for Social Justice" in Delhi, creating awareness on legal rights for Dalit women in various slum colonies in Delhi.DFID has recently approved the District Health Management and Sector Reform Programme (for the State of Madhya Pradesh) which will invest £18.4 million over the two years 2003–04 and 2004–05 and will seek to target health service provision "more effectively and equitably to address the needs of disadvantaged groups, particularly Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, other vulnerable communities and women".

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what consideration is given to the position of Dalit people in India when bilateral and multilateral aid programmes are considered by the Department for International Development. [113522]

DFID's programme in India is primarily a bilateral partnership with the Government of India, which itself has a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes that focus on disadvantaged groups. Recent estimates suggest that the administrative category of "Scheduled Caste", essentially Dalits, has about 9 per cent, higher levels of income poverty than the all-India average of 26.5 per cent, in 1999–2000 and that other indicators also show poorer outcomes than average for Dalits. DFID's overall aim of reducing poverty through supporting appropriate government actions therefore addresses these inequalities of outcomes. DFID is seeking to analyse the non-income barriers to poverty reduction and ways of addressing these. Issues of discrimination against Dalits, Adivasis and Minorities are at the heart of social exclusion and poverty.One way DFID seeks to address the position of Dalit peoples when considering bilateral aid is to build in an explicit focus on indicators such as educational or health outcomes for Dalit girls in annual and mid-term reviews of programmes, (even where these involve DFID funding for Government of India programmes, such as the Sarva Shikshya Abhyan primary education programme). To do this, DFID seeks to encourage the collection of disaggregated data that will permit such analysis. This has already been done through the earlier District Primary Education Programme, for example.Developing the demand side for reform of services to be more accountable to, and responsive to the needs of, particular groups of the poor and, in particular, Dalits, requires support for their organisations and representatives to be directly involved in policy formulation and programme implementation and monitoring. DFID is looking at ways of supporting such constructive engagement with government.

Foreign Aid

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress has been made with(a) developing and (b) applying performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of (i) donor inputs to poverty reduction strategy papers and (ii) the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. [113618]

The information is as follows:(i) The Rome Declaration on Harmonisation in February this year committed donors to track, and as necessary refine, lead indicators of progress on harmonisation. At the country level, a growing number of donors are in the early stages of developing indicators and processes to monitor the impact of their engagement on poverty reduction in partner countries. Where possible these are built upon the partner countries' own systems to monitor progress against the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan targets. DFID is developing such indicators as part of their new Country Assistance Plans.The Strategic Partnership with Africa (SPA) recently adopted a programme of action to monitor progress made by donors in aligning their support with national poverty reduction strategies (PRSs), and to track the quality and volume of aid flows to Africa. Two working groups have been created to address alignment issues relating to sector programmes and budget support. The working groups are developing a framework for monitoring progress in donor behaviour. The monitoring framework will be implemented in cooperation with the OECD/DAC and the UNECA.(ii) The UN Secretary-General has overall responsibility for monitoring and reporting global progress against the Millennium Development Goals. DFID was influential this year in finalising a working set of 48 indicators against which progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals will be measured. These indicators (available in Annex 4 of DFID's 2003 Departmental Report) provide a baseline for the UN Secretary-General's report on progress towards the Goals.DFID has supported the establishment by the UNDP of a comprehensive Millennium Development Goals Support Programme. It will develop strategies to meet each Goal, help each developing country to monitor progress and feed results into the UN Secretary-General's annual report on progress against the Goals, and link up national and global level campaigning in support of them.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress each G7 country has made on (a) untying aid and (b) removing nationality restrictions on technical co-operation direct budgetary support since the Kananaskis summit. [113620]

All G7 countries have untied their aid to least-developed countries in line with the Recommendation of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. Only the UK has removed all nationality restrictions on its aid and we are working in the DAC and elsewhere to encourage other donors to do the same in the interests of greater aid effectiveness.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress the EU has made since the G8 Kananaskis summit in increasing the percentage of EU aid which is (a) spent in Africa, (b) spent in low income countries and (c) spent on poverty reduction. [113622]

For 2003 the EC planned to spend approximately 21 per cent, of its budget in Africa. This figure is expected to rise to over 33 per cent, of total European aid payments by 2006.Figures giving the percentage of EC aid going to Low Income Countries for 2002 will be available in June.Poverty reduction is a key Millennium development goal to which the EC is signed up. However it is not possible to say exactly what the impact of EC aid expenditure will be on poverty.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how each (a) EU member state and (b) the European Commission will report progress towards the Monterrey commitment that member states should spend an average of 0.39 per cent, of their gross national product on aid by 2006. [113629]

All Member States report their ODA/GNI ratios annually to the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. In addition, the European Commission has recently reviewed progress towards the commitment that by 2006, an EU average of gross national income provided as official development assistance will reach 0.39 per cent. A report including this review wil be discussed at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 20 May.

Iraq

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the Department for International Development has formed a medium-term economic plan for Iraq. [113395]

DFID does not produce medium-term economic plans for any country. These are drafted by national authorities, sometimes with advice from the International Financial Institutions.World Bank and International Monetary Fund economic and social needs assessments for Iraq will begin in the coming weeks. Our engagement will reflect the needs highlighted in these assessments.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development(1)if he will make a statement on the delivery of EU aid to Iraq; [113540](2) what the cash value of the EU aid delivered to Iraq since the start of the conflict in the Gulf is. [113478]

To date EU member states and the European Commission have pledged a total of €730 million (€276 million of which is already committed) for humanitarian aid operations in Iraq. The European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has a team in Baghdad and expects to open an office by the end of May.

DFID has committed £115 million to support work by humanitarian agencies in the current crisis and has set aside a further £95 million to support emerging humanitarian needs.

Polio

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what additional financial contributions have been made by G8 countries to the Polio Eradication Initiative since the G8 Kananaskis summit; and whether the initiative faces a funding gap. [113615]

The Polio Eradication Initiative has a financial resource gap of US$275 million (as of year end). The UK has committed $25 million to closing this funding gap. Canada has pledged US$32 million. Other G8 members including the European Commission have shown interest in providing additional funds, though exact figures have yet to be determined.We have on a number of occasions pressed G8 countries to fulfil the commitments made in Kananaskis, to raise sufficient resources to eradicate polio in Africa by 2005 and will continue to do so.We believe eradication is achievable, but will require resources and commitment from a broad partnership base. Discussions have been held with a variety of other stakeholders as well as the G8.

Sierra Leone

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made with (a) governance reform and (b) transparent economic management, including the transparent management of diamonds, in Sierra Leone. [113639]

The Government of Sierra Leone is taking forward a wide-ranging programme of governance reform. In particular it has established an Anti-Corruption Commission, addressed essential reforms in the security sector, and begun the important process of decentralisation. Progress is being made, but is affected by limitations on local capacity.Support for governance reform is central to our assistance to Sierra Leone. We provide extensive support for reform in the security sector, including the armed forces, police and intelligence services. We are also supporting the Governance Reform Secretariat (GRS), which reports to the Office of the President and leads co-ordination of both central and local government reform. Through the GRS we have supported diagnostic studies of four key ministries to provide guidance on measures to improve their effectiveness. A second phase of this programme is being designed. We have assisted the re-establishment of the chieftaincy system. We are also assisting with the preparations for local elections and plans for decentralisation of government. We provide substantial support for the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission, strengthening of the judiciary and law reform, and media development. We are designing major projects to promote access to justice and to strengthen the role of civil society.

The Government of Sierra Leone has made significant progress in economic management, which has been acknowledged by the international financial institutions. We are working to help improve public financial management. We are represented on a donor/government public financial management working group which has been established to oversee improvements in a number of key areas including internal and external audit, financial management information systems, and procurement procedures. We plan to provide assistance to the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to help ensure transparent economic management of government and donor funds. We have also supported Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys.

A UK adviser to the President has prepared a draft strategy for the diamond sector. We plan to work with the Government of Sierra Leone and other donors to gain broad commitment to implementation of the strategy.

Sudan

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the contribution made by her Department (a) bilaterally and (b) multilaterally with the UN, World Bank and EU on (i) post-war reconstruction in the Sudan,(ii)dealing with Sudan's debt and (iii) developing a poverty reduction strategy paper for Sudan. [113626]

(i) With others in the international community, we are now planning for the hard work of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sudan when there is peace. In preparing for peace, we are coordinating closely with other donor countries, the UN, World Bank, IMF and INGOs. When there is a peace agreement, we intend to double our assistance to Sudan to a level of about £20 million. Key priorities for our bilateral programme will be:

to respond to expanding humanitarian needs;
to support for "quick start" projects that will demonstrate early benefits of the peace to the Sudanese—largely be through improved services at the community level;
to broaden the consensus for peace through work with civil society; and
to support ceasefire monitoring operations and demobilisation of the armed forces.
(ii) The UK has agreed to chair a Support Group of donors to Sudan, to be launched when there is peace, in order to assist the new Government of Sudan through the difficult process of arrears clearance and debt relief. As a first step, the UK will host a workshop for donors this month, to raise awareness of the debt problem.(iii) The current Government of Sudan is working on a first draft of an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. However, such a strategy will not be credible in the absence of a peace agreement. In addition, the strategy should be produced jointly with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and prepared in consultation with the wider Sudanese political spectrum and Sudanese civil society. We are encouraging the Government of Sudan to broaden its work on the strategy in this way.

Water Supplies (Palestine)

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the destruction by Israeli military forces of Well No C67 in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on 26 April, and the impact of the destruction of the well on the availability and quality of water supplies to the local Palestinian population; and what representations he is making to the Israeli Government on the matter. [113595]

I do not have details of the particular water source in question. It is nevertheless clear that destruction of infrastructure as a result of Israeli Military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is adversely affecting public services, including water and wastewater. In addition, closures and curfews imposed by the Government of Israel mean that Palestinian maintenance crews are unable to conduct necessary routine maintenance, and water tankers are unable to service Palestinian communities without networks. This has left many Palestinians without access to reliable water supplies for extended periods of time and is leading to concerns about public health in affected areas.We are working closely with the Palestinian Water Authority to support their activities to supply water to all sections of the population. We continue, both bilaterally and through the EU, to make representations at the highest level to the Government of Israel about damage to Palestinian infrastructure caused by Israeli military activity. We are also working closely with colleagues in the region, and across Whitehall, to encourage the Israeli Government to ease closures and curfews.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Air Quality

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days of (a) moderate, (b) high and (c) very high air pollution were recorded at Lullington Heath, East Sussex, in each year since 1997. [114264]

Monitoring of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide is undertaken at the Lullington Heath monitoring station. The surrounding area is open rural landscape and the nearest road is approximately 1 km distant from the site. The number of days of (a) moderate, (b) high and (c) very high air pollution recorded in each year since 1997 are given in the table below. The only incidents of moderate or higher air pollution were recorded for ozone at Lullington Heath. There were no incidents of very high pollution.

Number of days
ModerateHighVery high
20024100
20015320
20004300
19998350
19984710
19977730

Animal By-Products

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps she has taken to monitor the practical consequences of the implementation of the EU Animal By-Products Regulation for (a) the disposal of blood from abattoirs, (b) the disposal of fallen stock, (c) the disposal of catering waste to land and (d) the disposal of food waste from small retailers; and if she will make a statement; [110894](2) if she will establish a joint working party including representatives from Government and industry to monitor the implementation of the EU Animal By-Products Regulation. [110895]

DEFRA has worked closely with industry representatives and enforcement bodies during the negotiations on the EU Animal By-Products Regulation to identify practical difficulties, and where possible to secure transitional measures to give industry time to make the changes necessary to comply with the new requirements.The Department is in close touch with the enforcement authorities and has requested that they take a proportionate approach to enforcement. We want to encourage all affected sectors to make every effort to comply with the requirements of the Regulation, however, it is recognised that it may take a little time for new disposal facilities to come on stream.We will continue to meet with the affected sectors to discuss the progress being made and problems that arise.There are no plans to establish a formal working party, however regular meetings with stakeholders will continue during the first year of implementation, just as they did during the negotiating phase. A meeting is planned shortly to enable Ministers to discuss these issues with retailers.

Anti-Fraud Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the nature of the support intended by Commission Regulation (E2) 44/2003, 10th January, OJ L7 Vol 46, 11 th January, with particular reference to combating fraud. [112495]

This regulation relates to the export refund system—a CAP market support measure intended to allow EU traders to sell competitively outside the Community. Under the export refund system, eligibility to refund is, in many cases, established when the exporter provides proof that the goods have been imported into a particular destination. In the UK, the export refund system is administered by the Rural Payments Agency which is an Executive Agency of DEFRA.Investigations by the Commission's anti-fraud arm, OLAF, indicated widespread irregularities in the import of beef, veal and pigmeat products into the territory of the Russian Federation. These irregularities were thought to be attributable to the unreliability of documentation produced by the Russian customs authorities.

Consequently, OLAF brokered an agreement with the Russian authorities. This was partly intended as an anti-fraud measure and partly in recognition of the problems EU traders were experiencing in obtaining proof of import.

This agreement was enacted by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2584/2000. It established a mechanism for communicating information on the movement of goods between the EU and the Russian Federation. The mechanism made it possible for EU authorities to trace exports by road of the products concerned to the Russian Federation and, where appropriate, detect cases in which the requirements for the payment of export refund were not met.

The regulation was amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 44/2003. This extends the agreement, from 1 June 2003, to cover all types of transport. More importantly, it introduces a provision whereby a confirmation from the Russian authorities that the goods have arrived may be regarded as the primary proof of import for the payment.of export refund. Prior to the amendment, such a response could be considered only in conjunction with other supporting evidence. This new provision should ease the administrative burden on EU exporters and authorities while at the same time ensuring effective control of the export refund system.

The UK trade has been kept fully informed of developments in this regard via the Rural Payments Agency's Notices to Traders 1/01 and 36/03 (pertaining to Regulations 2584/2000 and 44/2003 respectively).

Birds

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on species of carrion-eating birds of the implementation of the EU Animal By-Products Regulation; and if she will make a statement. [109851]

The Regulation permits member states to authorise the feeding of Animal By-Products which do not contain SRM to captive birds of prey. The UK intends to exercise this derogation.A derogation to permit the feeding of fallen stock to necrophagous birds is available to Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and France as part of approved conservation measures for vultures. This derogation is not available in the UK.

Countryside Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money she has provided to the Countryside Agency in each of the years of its existence for which figures are available. [111644]

The following amounts of grant in aid have been allocated to the Countryside Agency since its creation in 1999.

£million
1999–200048.7
2000–0155.8
2001–0271.5
2002–0394
2003–0498

Electronic Mapping (Leicestershire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in introducing electronic mapping in Leicestershire; and if she will make a statement. [114274]

For the reporting period ending 9 May 2003, 89 per cent, of IACS applicants in Leicestershire have had their fields digitised. Of the total 1,446 holdings, 1,090 have received their initial maps. The project is due for completion early in 2004.

Environment Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list (a) the members of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency and their declared party political affiliations and (b) appointments made to the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency since 1 May 1997 and their declared party political affiliations. [111105]

The current Board members are:

  • Sir John Harman (Chairman)
  • Barbara Young (Chief Executive)
  • Councillor Colin Beandwood
  • Mr. Ted Cantle
  • Mr. Andrew Dare CBE
  • Mr. John Edmonds
  • Professor Richard Macrory CBE
  • Mr. Gerald Manning OBE
  • Professor Peter Matthews
  • Professor Jacqueline McGlade
  • Ms Sara Parkin OBE
  • Professor Donald Ritchie
  • Dr. Lyndon Stanton
  • Mr. Gareth Wardell
  • Professor Lynda Warren
Members of the Environment Agency's Board are required to complete questions in their application form about political activity, and not their political affiliation unless they are politically active. These application forms are held by my Department, and four reflect political activity at the time of appointment. Sir John Harman has declared his affiliation to the Labour Party, but resigned his party political positions after being appointed as Chairman of the Agency's Board. In her application for the post of Chief Executive, which carries with it automatic membership of the Board, Baroness Young listed her position as working Labour peer, but she resigned the Whip upon her appointment. John Edmonds has declared membership of the Labour Party National Policy Forum and Commission, and Councillor Colin Beardwood has declared that he is a member of the Labour Party and serves on Worcestershire County Council and West Midlands Regional Chamber.Gareth Wardell, who was the Labour MP for Gower until May 1997, was appointed by the then Secretary of State for Wales.No other Board member who has been appointed since 1 May 1997 has declared any party political activity. The only appointments made to the Board since 1 May 1997, excluding the above, were Mr. Alan Dalton and Mr Chris Hampson, the latter on his appointment as Deputy Chair of the Board. They have completed their appointments and are no longer on the Board.

Consent reference numberConsent holder and cropNearest village, town or parishGrid reference of release site
99/R21/6Novartis Seeds LtdStone, WorcestershireSO 853 748
(now Syngenta)Ramsey, CambridgeshireTL 293 877
Fodder beetBradenham, NarfolkTF 933 084
Raynham,NorfolkTF 887 258
Banham, NorfolkTM 072 889
00/R33/6Aventis CropScience UK LtdBramham, North YorksSE 446 418
(now Bayer CropScience UK Ltd)Shellingford, OxonSU 306 945
Oilseed rapeThorganby, LincolnshireTF 192 965
Sand Hutton, North YorksSE 675 583
Meden Vale, NottsSK 604 706
Felton, HerefordshireSO 561 486
Melbourn, CambrifgeshireTL 389 428
Piccots End, HertfordshireTL 049 095
Banham, NorfolkTM 088 883
01/R8/4IACR RothamstedHarpenden, HertfordshireTL 124 136
(now Rothamsted Research) Wheat
01/R29/3John Innes Centre BarleyColney, NorfolkTG 179 077
02/R4/12Advanced Technologies (Cambridge) Ltd. PotatoThornhaugh, PeterboroughTF 074 009
02/R36/01IACR-Long AshtonHarpenden, HertfordshireTL 124 136
(now Rothamsted Research) Wheat
01/R33/11Aventis CropScience Ltd.Little Bolligton, CheshireSJ 714 872
(now Bayer CropScience Ltd.)Great Moulton, NorfolkTM 165 902
Oilseed rapeAlveston/Loxley, WarksSP 231 535
Farm Scale evaluationsPiccotts End, HertfordshireTL 048 098
Bincombe, DorsetSY 692 841
Narfferton, East Riding of YorksTA 015 620
Burdon, Tyne and WearNZ 205 367
Oakenshaw, DurhamNZ 205 367
Hinton Waldrist,OxonSU 379 993
Smarden, KentTQ 882 397
Throganby, LincolnshireTF 213 972
Burgh on Bain, LincolnshireTF 227 876
Bagley, ShropshireSJ 398 268
Kilnwick Percy, East Riding of YorksSE 841 497
Laxton, East Riding of YorksSE 792 276
Lowthorpe, East Riding of YorksTA 087 602

Nuclear Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 29 April 2003, Official Report, column 308W, on nuclear waste, what contingency plans are in place to deal with future arisings of low level wastes that cannot be accommodated at Drigg. [112456]

Gm Crop Trials

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the current sites of the GM crop trials; and if she will make a statement. [112930]

The table below lists the organisations currently holding consent under part B of Directive 2001/18 to release GM crops for trial purposes in England at the locations shown. Consent 01/R33/11 issued to Aventis CropScience UK Ltd covers the programme of Farm Scale Evaluations of autumn sown oil seed rape. This information is also available on the Defra website. GM crop trials in Scotland are subject to consents issued by the Scottish Executive.

The 2001 UK Radioactive Waste Inventory gives the time profile for generation of the 1,490,000m3 of low level waste referred to in my answer of 29 April 2003, Official Report, column 308W. This shows arisings of that waste during the period to 2120 with the majority being produced after 2070. For this reason the currently estimated life of the existing Drigg disposal facility is of the order of 50 years. The capacity of the site and its forecast life will be reviewed by the Environment Agency in light of safety cases provided by the site's operators, British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL). At some future point either extension of Drigg or the identification of another disposal site will be necessary. Further consideration can begin to be given to this once the outcome of the Environment Agency's review of the safety cases is known, around mid-2004. The outcome will provide vital information for consideration of disposal capacity, as well as providing a basis for the Agency's review of the Drigg disposal authorisation.

Packaging

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has undertaken of the success of industry-based packaging minimisation programmes; and what action she will take to disseminate examples of good practice in the industry. 113180]

I have recently asked my officials to look into minimisation of packaging and as part of this, the Advisory Committee on Packaging is setting up a Task Force to look into this issue, including looking at current examples of minimisation as well as ways of further encouraging this.The DTI is commissioning a study to examine the impact of the Essential Requirements regulations on waste minimisation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of packaging regulations in encouraging the minimisation of waste arising from packaging. [113188]

As a result of the packaging Regulations, the amount of packaging waste going to landfill has fallen from 6.9 million tonnes in 1998 to 4.8 million tonnes in 2001. This figure is expected to continue falling as we set higher recycling targets in the future.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the highest recycling rate is that has been achieved in England and Wales in areas which do not receive regular separate collections of recyclable and non-recyclable waste. [111862]

[holding answer 8 May 2003]: Estimates based on 2000–01 Municipal Waste Management Survey data indicate that the highest household waste recycling rate achieved in a local authority area which does not receive kerbside recycling collections in England was 23 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average recycling rate is for households in England and Wales which (a) are provided with separate collections of recyclable and non-recyclable waste and (b) receive only a single collection of mixed waste. [111863]

[holding answer 8 May 2003]: Local authorities frequently operate separate household recycling collections in only part of their area. The Municipal Waste Management Survey for 2000–01 shows in England:

Percentage
Households served by some form of separable collection of recyclable and non-recyclable wasteAverage recycling rate
8015
20–8011
below 208

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of homes that will require separate collections of recyclable and non-recyclable waste in order that (a) 30 per cent., (b) 33 per cent. and (c) 50 per cent, of households waste in England and Wales is recycled. [111864]

[holding answer 8 May 2003]: No estimate has been made of the number of households that will need a regular separate collection of recyclable and non-recyclable waste in order to achieve recycling rates of 30 per cent, 33 per cent, and 50 per cent. However, doorstep recyclate collection is not the only mechanism for enabling us to reach our recycling targets. Increasing the number of, and intensity of use of, bring sites and civic amenity centres, for example, can be used to increase the recycling rate. Local authorities will need to consider a range of options if they are to reach their targets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of households in England and Wales are provided with separate collections of recyclable and non-recyclable waste. [111865]

[holding answer 8 May 2003]: The proportion of households served by kerbside recycling collection schemes in England in 2000–01 was estimated at 51 percent.

Rural Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on possible action to encourage rural tourism. [113417]

I last met the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting on 30 April to discuss the paper produced by the Rural Affairs Forum sub-group for Rural Tourism with members of the sub-group. He and I and officials from DEFRA and DCMS are in frequent contact on rural tourism issues.

Rural Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money the Countryside Agency has provided to the Rural Transport Partnership in the south west region in each of the years of the existence of the scheme for which figures are available. [111645]

The amounts are as follows:

£
2002–032,046,203
2001–02944,569
2000–01492,792

Timber

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the Environmental Audit Committee's Sixth Report of Session 2001–02, Buying Time for Timber: Timber Trade and Public Procurement; and if she will make a statement on the time taken to reply. [111593]

[holding answer 7 May 2003]: The Government's response to the Committee's report is not yet ready but I expect it to be made before Parliament's summer recess. I regret that a response has been delayed for so long, and apologise for that to the Committee and will write briefly to give an explanation.

Trade And Industry

Age Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what safeguards are in place under current legislation to prevent firms from unfairly discriminating against younger women, and in favour of older women less likely to take advantage of maternity and other benefits; and if she will make a statement. [113497]

Discrimination on the ground of pregnancy or maternity is a form of direct discrimination on the ground of sex. The courts have interpreted the Sex Discrimination Act as meaning that discrimination on the ground that a person is, or might become, pregnant is unlawful. The amended Equal Treatment Directive published on 5 October 2002 says that less favourable treatment on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity within the meaning of the Pregnant Workers Directive constitutes sex discrimination.

Business Transfer Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made over the past two years on her Department's review of the Business Transfer Regulations; what delays have been experienced; and if she will make a statement. [113500]

In September 2001, the Department issued a formal public consultation document, accompanied by a more detailed background document, setting out policy proposals for the reform of the TUPE Regulations. Responses to that consultation were considered during 2002, and follow-up discussions took place informally with key stakeholders and TUPE interest groups. In December 2002, a further round of consultation was launched, in the DWP/Treasury Green Paper "Pensions and the Workplace", on the specific issue of the protection of occupational pension rights on transfer. The outcome of that further consultation is currently under consideration. In the meantime, we announced in February 2003 that we intend to proceed with the other, non-occupational pensions aspects of our proposed reforms. We envisage carrying out a final round of consultation, on draft Regulations (excluding occupational pensions aspects) later this year with the intention of bringing these into force in April 2004.

Employment Tribunals

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to review the powers of chairmen of employment tribunals to decide which witnesses should be called. [113755]

There are no plans to review the powers of chairmen to decide which witnesses should be called to appear before an employment tribunal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recourse a party in an employment tribunal action has where the chairman refuses to issue a witness order. [113756]

Where an employment tribunal has refused to issue a witness order, an appeal may be brought to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a point of law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to increase the penalties for failure to attend an employment tribunal following being served with a witness order; and if she will make a statement. [113758]

There are no plans to increase the relevant penalty for failure to attend an employment tribunal after being served with a witness order. The legislation specifies a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently set at £1,000).

Export Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 17W, on export licences, what assessment she has made of the problems with the extraterritorial export controls in the United States of America, other than with enforcement; and if she will make a statement on the reasons underlying her assessment that the extraterritorial export controls in the United States are less effective than those proposed in the United Kingdom. [113896]

I am advised that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has not made an assessment of the effectiveness of extraterritorial export controls in the US other than with enforcement, nor has she said that the extraterritorial export controls in the US are less effective that those proposed in the UK.

Electronic Communications Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received about the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Regulations. [111730]

No representations have been received since the Regulations (S.I. 2003/33) were made on 9 January. The Department had however consulted on the subject matter of these Regulations (together with the subject matter of the Electronic Communications (Market Analysis) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/330)) in August 2002 and the Regulations that have been made take account of the responses to that consultation.

Manufacturing (Greater London)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has held with the London Chamber of Commerce regarding manufacturing employment within the Greater London area. [113354]

The Department has regular dialogue with the London Chamber, other London business organisations and with the London Development Agency concerning manufacturing issues and employment issues. In delivering the Government's Manufacturing Strategy with Industry and other stakeholders, we are helping employer and employees to actively engage in the skills development necessary for a successful manufacturing sector.

Nuclear Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definitions are used to categorise (a) high, (b) intermediate and (c) low level nuclear waste; and how much waste was produced in each of the last three years. [112898]

I have been asked to reply.Radioactive waste is categorised according to its radioactivity content and the heat it produces:

Low Level Wastes (LLW) contain radioactive materials other than those suitable for disposal with ordinary refuse, but not exceeding 4 GBq/te (gigabecquerels) of alpha or 12 GBq/te of beta/gamma activity—that is, wastes which can be normally be accepted for authorised disposal at Drigg or other landfill sites by controlled burial.
Intermediate Level Wastes (ILW) contain radioactivity levels exceeding the upper boundaries for LLW, but which do not need heat to be taken into account in the design of storage or disposal facilities.
High Level Wastes (HLW) are wastes in which the temperature may rise significantly as a result of their radioactivity, so this factor has to be taken into account in designing storage or disposal facilities.

National Inventories of radioactive wastes are only produced every three years on the grounds of cost, hence no precise figures are available for 1999 and 2000. However, from interpolation of figures in the 1998 and 2001 Inventories, estimates for 1999 and 2000 and precise figures for 2001 are given as follows.

HLW

ILW

LLW

1999approx 50m3approx 1,500m3approx 11,000m3
2000approx 50m3approx 1,500m3approx 11,000m3
200168m33,026m312,447m3

Note:

m3 is a cubic metre

Post Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub post offices in London have been closed in each of the last six months. [113894]

Post Office Ltd. collates figures for post office openings and closures on a quarterly basis. I am advised that in the London region there were net closures of 21 post offices in the October-December 2002 quarter and 15 net closures (of which 11 were Urban Reinvention programme closures) in the January-March 2003 quarter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 29 April 2003, Official Report, column 183W, on post offices, when support for over the counter advice provided under the Your Guide pilot by post office staff ceased; and whether those facilities listed as continuing beyond March 2002 in the Your Guide Pilot Evaluation Report continued as set out. [113914]

The Your Guide pilot ended on 1 March 2002. Over the counter advice and services which were available at post offices prior to the Your Guide pilot, but which were incorporated in the Your Guide service for the duration of the pilot, continue to be available as before.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will establish regional targets for renewable energy development within the 10 per cent, national target. [113975]

As stated in the Energy White Paper, we propose to ensure that a strategic approach to energy is developed and implemented in each region. We expect that this strategic approach will include regional targets (such as for renewables and energy efficiency) negotiated between the region and national Government.

Small Businesses (Regulation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with colleagues in the European Union concerning the impact of regulation on small business; and if she will make a statement. [112447]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: Discussions on the impact of regulation have been held at every level, including the Competitiveness Council in March attended by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the SME EU ministerial conference in February, and on Tuesday 13 May with Commissioner Liikanen.The UK has championed this cause in Europe through "Think Small First", and we have taken action to make the UK the least bureaucratic country in Europe to establish a business in. We also urge our European counterparts to follow the UK's lead in lifting regulatory and other burdens by having the most favourable VAT threshold in Europe, 100 per cent, tax write-offs for SMEs who buy computer equipment and connect to the web, 40 per cent, tax allowances for plant and machinery and a zero starting rate for corporation tax.We have also supported the setting up of an independent liaison office in Brussels (smallbusiness/ europe) to represent the concerns of UK SMEs to the EU.

Temporary Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employment agencies have submitted responses to her Department's consultation paper on the EU Commission proposals for a directive on the working conditions of temporary (agency) workers; and if she will make a statement. [113498]

15 employment agencies submitted responses to the Consultation On The Proposed Directive on Temporary (Agency) Work.The Government are not opposed in principle to the proposed directive on temporary agency work, but are keenly aware of the potential impact on UK agencies and agency workers of a Directive that takes no account of conditions in the UK labour market. The Government are pressing very hard for the UK's legitimate concerns to be recognised.

Working Time Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether employees who are (a) serving prison sentences, (b) absent on long-term sickness and (c) absent on sabbaticals and unpaid leave will continue to accrue paid holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations; and what plans her Department has to change this. [113495]

All workers, including employees, are entitled under the Working Time Regulations to take leave during a leave year determined in accordance with the Regulations.Whether a worker can receive holiday pay during the absences described in

(a) and (c) above, is generally a contractual matter for negotiation between workers and employers. There has been litigation on whether a worker can receive holiday pay during times of long-term sickness absence but this has not yet been resolved by the higher courts.

Once it has been resolved, the Government will consider whether it is appropriate to amend the Regulations in consequence.

Cabinet Office

Agencies (Chief Executive Officers)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office who the chief executive officer is of the (a) Government Centre for Information Systems, (b) Centre for Management and Policy Studies, (c) Property Advisers to the Civil Estate (PACE) and (d) Charity Commissioners for England and Wales. [112700]

The Government Centre for Information Systems no longer exists. It became the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) on 1 April 1996, thus reverting to its original name. The CCTA was incorporated into the Office of Government Commerce when that was set up in April 2000. The CEO of OGC is Peter Gershon.The Centre for Management and Policy Studies no longer exists as a separate organisation, having been absorbed into the central Cabinet Office as part of a re-organisation in September 2002. Training and Development programmes are still marketed under the CMPS brand, however, for customer recognition.Property Advisers to the Civil Estate (PACE) no longer exists as a separate organisation. PACE was created in April 1996 as an Executive Agency of the Office of Public Service, then part of the Cabinet Office. Responsibility for the Agency transferred to OGC in April 2000. It was abolished at the end of March 2001 and the majority of staff were allocated posts in the realigned OGC. The CEO of OGC is Peter Gershon.The Chief Charity Commissioner for England and Wales is Mr. John Stoker.

National Minimum Wage

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the estimated cost is in 2003–04 to his Department, agencies and the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible of the increase in the national minimum wage from £4.20 per hour to £4.50 per hour. [110435]

My Department will not be affected by the increase in the national minimum wage. Therefore, the estimated additional costs for 2003–04 will be nil.

Travel Costs

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the cost was of travel by train by staff in his Department in 2002. [106339]

The amount spent on rail travel by the Cabinet Office in the calendar year 2002, was £382,971.61.

Prime Minister

House Of Lords Appointments Commission

To ask the Prime Minister (1) what considerations led him to re-appoint Lord Stevenson as Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission; and if he will make a statement; [113592](2) if he consulted the Office of the Commissioner of Public Appointments concerning the re-appointment of Lord Stevenson as chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission; [113850]

(3) whether he has asked the House of Lords Appointments Commission to recommend names for new peers; and if he will make a statement. [113848]

I hope to make a statement on appointments to the House of Lords Appointments Commission and on related matters shortly. Although appointments to the commission do not come within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, as a matter of best practice appointments are made in accordance with her Code of Practice.

Meetings

To ask the Prime Minister when he last met the Prime Minister of Poland; and if he will make a statement. [113891]

I last met the Prime Minister of Poland on 16 April at the signing of the EU Accession Treaty in Athens.

Unsolicited Mail

To ask the Prime Minister how many items of unsolicited mail were dispatched in his name from 10 Downing street in April; and if he will make a statement. [114548]

Culture, Media And Sport

Bbc Charter

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement about the provisions in the BBC Charter relating to its commercial activities. [113836]

The BBC's commercial activities are the subject of a number of separate provisions in the Royal Charter and the BBC Governors are required under the Charter and Agreement to ensure that there is no cross-subsidy between the BBC's publicly-funded and its commercial activities. A copy of the Charter is available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Licensing Bill

12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she has had with representatives of the music business about the Licensing Bill. [113837]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have had a number of meetings with representatives of musicians and the music industry including the Musicians' Union, the Music Industry Forum and representatives of the folk arts. We will continue to involve them in discussions about the Bill and its statutory guidance.

18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations she has received from musicians' organisations about the Licensing Bill. [113843]

My Department has received a great deal of correspondence from organisations representing musicians and other performers about the Licensing Bill, most of whom have been concerned that it will restrict their activities. The vast majority of their concerns have been unfounded and based on a misinterpretation of the Bill's provisions. Where we believed that the Bill could be improved, however, we have listened to the concerns expressed to us and have made appropriate amendments, for instance, by exempting places of public religious worship from the licensing regime as it relates to the provision of entertainment and entertainment facilities and by accepting the spirit of an amendment which exempts incidental live music in certain circumstances.

Regional Television

13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations she has received from viewers who are unable to receive their appropriate regional TV programmes because of the transmission network; and if she will make a statement. [113838]

I understand that my Department has received one recent representation on this issue. In some areas of the UK, it is not possible to receive the appropriate regional television service, on analogue terrestrial television or on digital terrestrial television, owing to a shortage of available frequencies. But appropriate regional services are available to consumers on the digital satellite platform.

Olympic Games

14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the Government's policy towards a London bid for the Olympic Games. [l13839]

I set out in a statement to the House on 15 May the Government's decision to offer its wholehearted backing to a London bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.This follows a very thorough and detailed review of the likely costs involved and wider impacts of staging the games in 2012 as well as an examination of the potential benefits.The challenge now remains to do all we can to support London in winning the nomination as host city for the 2012 Olympics.

16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the supplementary charge on London council tax which will be necessary to fund a bid for the Olympic Games. [113841]

Within the £2.375 billion public funding package for a London 2012 Olympics, the Mayor of London has agreed to contribute up to £625 million towards staging the games through a council tax precept.

The Mayor has indicated that for a Band D household the precept would be set at £20 a year or 38p a week. The precept would not come into effect until 2006–07 by when it will be known whether London has won the nomination for 2012.

Sport England

15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the reorganisation of Sport England. [113840]

As a result of the recommendations in the joint DCMS/Strategy Unit Report—Game Plan—and a Quinquennial Review, Sport England is undergoing a radical modernisation and restructuring programme which will turn it into a more strategic and customer focused body. Good progress is being made with the adoption of a new strategy for sport and new business plan by Sport England's Council with proposals for restructuring the organisation are well advanced.

Film Industry

17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what new steps she is taking to encourage the development of the skills base for the film industry. [113842]

On 24 February 2003, the UK Film Council and Skillset launched "Developing UK Film Talent: A Comprehensive Skills Survey of the UK Film Industry", the most in-depth report ever on skills in the British film industry. Building on this work, a Film Skills Action Group has been convened, comprising representatives from across the industry, to deliver an industry training strategy by September 2003. I very much welcome this.

Access Radio

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how the Government will facilitate the funding of its proposals for access radio. [113844]

We have received the Radio Authority's independent evaluation report on access radio and will be consulting on it. No decisions have yet been taken on how access radio should be funded.

Youth Activities

20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to fund arts and sports activities for young people in the school summer holidays. [113845]

My Department is working with other Government Departments and agencies to deliver a programme of positive activities for children and young people during the summer and other school holidays. The programme builds on the success of last year's Summer Splash and Summer Plus schemes, and aims to reduce youth offending, encourage children and young people to return to education or training and build community cohesions. The type of activities will vary according to local need, but will include arts and sports.

Mr Arbeits

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what World Class Performance money has been given to the coach Mr. Arbeits. [113457]

No funds from the World Class Performance Programme have been given to coach Mr. Arbeits.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been raised in funding for good causes from the National Lottery in each year since 1994. [113766]

The information requested is shown, for each financial year, in the following table. This includes income from both the operator and from investments.

Total (£000)
2002–031,590,472
2001–021,842,233
2000–011,772,839
1999–20001,766,394
1998–991,918,906
1997–981,952,219
1996–971,587,759
1995–961,535,966
1994–95298,580
The figure shown for 2002–03 has not yet been subjected to final audit.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what system there is to ensure that lottery funding is used only by athletes and coaches who support drug-free sport. [113456]

This Government are firmly committed to combating doping in sport. The anti-doping programme in the UK is delivered through the national anti-doping organisation, UK Sport, in conjunction with sports governing bodies.The existing national anti-doping policy includes conditions of funding on athletes and governing bodies. Athletes sign their commitment to drug-free sport in agreeing to accept funding. The Sports Councils have agreed a consistent approach to suspending funding to an athlete found to have committed a doping offence.UK Sport strongly supports the promotion of ethically fair and drug-free sport through their education and drug-testing programmes and their leading role internationally which has seen UK Sport accept the World Anti-Doping Code.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been given to good causes under the (a) New Opportunities Fund and (b) Community Fund in each year since its creation, broken down by type of organisation and activity. [113767]

By working in partnership with other organisations, the New Opportunities Fund gives grants to health, education and environment projects across the UK. Many of its grant programmes focus particularly on those in society who are most disadvantaged. The amount of money committed each year since its creation is detailed in the following table:

£
Programme1999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Health92,715,00061,972,000211,469,000246,439,250
Education276,536,000196,185,000381,151,000115,279,576
Environment0102,440,0005,653185,779,638
CF Awards for corporate priorities
£
YearChildren and young peopleOlder peopleDisabled peopleBlack and minority ethnic groupRefugees and asylum seekersAreas disadvantaged by social or econimic change
2002–0356,353,31633,015,30264,376,92630,246,27213,273,15165,441,662
2001–0288,087,81248,367,85982,773,62344,438,27617,873,575153,869,915
2000–0186,961,55639,095,128123,693,02738,105,86415,043,737191,543,092
1999–200062,539,82818,350,532141,044,26919,364,87210,348,477182,534,569
1998–9959,348,86416,419,559117,493,28918,192,8517,405,88995,346,789
1997–98118,221,24250,203,02375,782,56524,645,38010,238,44382,182,434
1996–97120,758,21421,257,744163,099,66726,982,3645,618,06678,419,066
1995–9651,386,67711,108,98127,431 ,96412,046,80876,533,597
Total643,657,509237,818,128795,698,330201,975,87981,848,146925,871,124
1Unknown

Youth Sports

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress the Government have made in the promotion and funding of youth sports. [113835]

We are making excellent progress. We are investing over £1 billion in physical education and school sport over the next three years. As a result of this investment, 75 per cent, of schoolchildren will be spending a minimum of two hours each week on high quality physical education and school sport within and beyond the curriculum by 2006.

World Class Performance Funds

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much financial support has gone to Frank Dick and Denise Lewis from the World Class Performance funds. [113455]

Denise Lewis has received direct support of £8,500 from the World Class Performance programme. £4,500 of this is used to support her training costs and £4,000 is paid to her coach Frank Dick, for coaching support. In addition she is eligible for core programme support from the UK Athletics World Class Programme, giving her access to service provision in the areas of sports science and sports medicine.

Church Commissioners

Bullying

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners

The Community Fund awards grants to groups which help those at greatest disadvantage and which improve the life in the Community. All of the Community Fund's grants go to charities and other eligible voluntary and community organisations and the large majority of grants will go to registered charities in England and Wales or those recognised as charitable for tax purposes by the Inland Revenue in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The amounts committed under the Community Funds six current corporate priority areas, worked back to 1995–96, are detailed in the following table:

(1) how many complaints were made by clergy of bullying by more senior clergy in the last reporting year for which figures are available; [114124]

(2) what support the Church offers to clergy who find themselves to be victims of bullying; [114199]

(3) what recourse is available to victims of bullying in the church who (a) hold the freehold of benefice and (b) hold the bishop's licence. [114353]

No records are held centrally about complaints of bullying. The Clergy Discipline Measure, when it comes into effect, will provide a means of gathering some such information. In addition, a grievance procedure is being developed that will include provision for the grievance to be referred to an independent referee, and also an appeal procedure.Support is offered in dioceses by advisers in pastoral care and counselling, who are appointed by the Bishops to offer professional help to clergy with particular needs. Clergy who have freehold of office and clergy who hold a bishop's licence will, without distinction, shortly be able to use the grievance procedure or the Clergy Discipline Measure to seek redress against bullying.

Church Deconsecration

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how many churches have been deconsecrated since 1997. [113820]

Between 1997 and 2002, 138 Church of England churches were declared redundant.

Electoral Commission Committee

Postal Voting

28.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what plans the Electoral Commission has to expand the use of all-postal ballots. [113824]

The Commission is currently evaluating the pilot schemes run at the 1 May local government elections in England, including those schemes that involved all-postal voting. The Commission will submit its report to the Secretary of State on 31 July 2003.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the case for introducing all-postal vote elections in 2004. [113818]

The Commission is evaluating the pilot schemes run at the 1 May local government elections in England, including those schemes that involved all-postal voting. The Commission will submit its report and recommendations to the Secretary of State on 31July2003.

Turnout

29.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment has been made of the effect on turnout of (a) voting on days other than Thursday and (b) alternative locations for polling stations. [113825]

The Commission is evaluating a number of pilot schemes that took place at the local elections in England on 1 May 2003, including schemes that allowed voters to vote earlier or later than is standard, and schemes that sited polling stations at alternative locations. Its report and recommendations will be submitted to the Secretary of State on 31 July 2003.

Transport

Belfast City Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the safety of landing facilities at Belfast City Airport for the next generation of civil aircraft; and if he will make a statement. [113868]

In licensing civil aerodromes in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority does not specify the type of aircraft that can operate from a particular aerodrome. Instead, it ensures that national and international operating and safety standards are complied with. These standards will be amended as necessary to reflect any relevant new characteristics of the next generation of civil aircraft, such as weight or size. Provided any amended standards were met it would be a matter for operators of next generation aircraft and the aerodrome licensee to be satisfied that the facilities and manning levels matched their requirements.

Bus Lanes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it the policy of the Government to have consistent rules governing the use of bus lanes by motorcyclists. [114066]

My Department has published guidelines for the introduction and use of bus lanes, but it is for the local highway authority to decide whether other vehicles should use bus lanes.We are monitoring the effects of motorcycling in bus lanes in trials being carried out in conjunction with highway authorities. This will allow the Department to provide more clear cut advice about motorcycling in bus lanes to authorities.

Civil Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport(1) what action he is taking following the resolution by the European Parliament of 8 November 2002 on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in respect of civil aviation; [114212](2) what discussions he has held with the Civil Aviation Authority on the harmonisation of European civil aviation rules relating to pilots' flying hours; [114213](3) what the Government's policy is on the amendment of flight time limitations

(a) at national and (b) at European level. [114214]

UK flight and duty time limitations are the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority. Their prime objective in setting such limits is to ensure that crew members are adequately rested at the beginning of each flying period and while flying are sufficiently free from fatigue so that they can operate to a satisfactory level of efficiency and safety. Any amendments to UK limitations will take that objective into account.The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reviewed the European Parliament's proposed flight time limitations (FTL) requirements. They advise me that, while the requirements are not totally acceptable, with suitable amendment they could form a baseline European FTL requirement which could be supplemented by additional requirements in each member state. We recognise the need for FTL requirements to be harmonised at a European level and should the proposal come before the Council we will work constructively with other member states to ensure that it is appropriately amended. We will not endorse the proposal if any of the limits are significantly different to those set by the CAA in CAP 371, which are in line with scientific advice that the CAA has received over the years.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish the business case for Crossrail. [113536]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport to the honourable Members for Kingston and Surbiton, and Ilford South, on 13 May 2003 Official Report, column 149.1 shall keep the House informed.

Dartford Crossings

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much of the hypothecated toll money from the Dartford crossings has been (a) spent and (b) allocated in (i) Kent County Council, (ii) Essex County Council and (iii) East London boroughs since April 2002. [114530]

The new Dartford Crossing charging scheme and the obligation to hypothecate net revenue from the scheme did not begin until 1 April 2003. It is too early to be able to identify projects which will illustrate the benefits this additional source of funding has helped deliver.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes of policy have been made in relation to the hypothecated toll money from the Dartford crossings since August 2002; and if he will make a statement. [114531]

There have been no changes in policy. The Dartford net income forms part of the funding included in our 10 year transport plan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the hypothecated money from the Dartford crossings is to be allocated beyond the three original stakeholders. [114532]

The Dartford net income forms part of the funding included in our 10 year transport plan. It is too early to be able to identify projects which will illustrate the benefits this additional source of funding has helped deliver.

Rail Network (Telecommunications Masts)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many 20 metre high telecommunication masts (a) have been erected and (b) are planned in each Network Rail area; and what the purpose is of the masts. [104539]

I understand from Network Rail that to date no such masts have been erected. The following table from the company details the number of planned installations in each Network Rail zone:

Network rail zoneNumber of planned telecommunications masts
East Anglia137
Great Western399
London North Eastern307
London Underground7
Midlands177
North Western226
Southern380
Southern380
Total2,022
Network Rail advises that its national installation programme forms part of its new safety system known as the Global System for Mobile Communications—Railways, which will create the first national driver to signaller direct communication system. It will enable high priority emergency calls to connect drivers and signallers within two seconds of an emergency, and also enable signallers to communicate with all trains in an area.

Rail Services (Romford)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many faults were reported on railway lines into Romford in (a) April 2000, (b) April 2001, (c) April 2002 and (d) April 2003. [113480]

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints were received from passengers as a result of problems on railway track near Romford in (a) April 2000, (b) April 2001, (c) April 2002 and (d) April 2003. [113481]

The SRA publishes complaints data for each train operating company in its six-monthly "On Track" publication. This data is not broken down to route level. The most recent edition of "On Track" was published on 12 December. A copy is in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progess is being made to improve safety (a) on railway lines into Romford and (b) at Romford railway station; and if he will make a statement. [113482]

Network Rail's East Anglia Region has implemented a new system for monitoring track maintenance contractors working on railway lines into Romford. In addition, HMRI has been working closely with the Romford station operator, First Great Eastern, to understand the causes of minor passenger slip, trip and fall incidents at the station, so as to reduce the number of such incidents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent communication he has had with managers of First Great Eastern regarding safety on their service through Romford. [113483]

The Secretary of State has not had any recent communications with First Great Eastern regarding the safety of train services through Romford. However, discussions between the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) and First Great Eastern staff take place at all levels on a regular basis.

Research And Consultancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent by his Department and its predecessors on external research and consultants in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) aviation, (b) local transport, (c) mobility and inclusion, (d) roads, vehicles and road safety, (e) shipping, (f) integrated transport, (g) railways, (h) science and research, (i) transport statistics, (j) freight logistics and (k) other subjects. [113351]

The information requested on external research expenditure is set out below. Separate figures for expenditure on general consultancy are not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Total Expenditure by DfT (and predecessors) on External Research since 1997, broken down by specified areas
£million
AreaOutturn 1997–98Outurrn 1998–99Outturn 1999–2000Outturn 2000–01Outturn 2001–02
Aviation0.20.20.50.061.64
Transport Strategy/Local Transport17.86.17.97.68.53
Roads Vehicles and Road Safety311.512.011.79.413.62
Shipping41.70.80.80.550.43
Integrated Transport5
Railways60000.10
Science and Research71.91.50.70.50.56
Transport Statistics8
Freight Logistics0.10.40.73
Other Subjects916.516.316.618.1616.5
Total of the above39.636.938.336.7742.01

Notes:

1. Outturn figures for 1996–97 to 1999–2000 were obtained from The Forward Look Publications, which are complied using data supplied by the Office of National Statistics.

2. Outturn figures 2000–01 and 2001–02 were obtained from local records of data that is collated by STP Division within DfT and supplied to ONS for inclusion in their Forward Look publications.

1 This inludes Roads and Traffic-Integrated Local Transport as well as incorporating mobility and inclusion, Integrated Transport and Transport Statistics.

2 Refer to note 1 above.

3 The figures shown for Roads Vehicles and Road Safety are the cumulative total for Road Safety and Vehicle Standards and Engineering.

4 The figures shown here are those of Maritime and Coastguard Agency (Marine Services Agency and Coastguard Agency prior to 1999)

5 Refer to note 1 above

6 Some research relevant to railways is included in the figures given for Transport Strategy/Local Transport.

7 These figures are those of Science and Technology Policy Division and relate to LINK and New Horizons Programmes.

8 Refer to note 1 above as some limited research expenditure on Transport Statistics is included in Local Transport.

9 These figures include Highways Agency, Transport Security and Transport Environment and Taxation for 2000–01 and 2001–02. They do not Include Road User Charging Trails.

Road Upgrades

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects the upgrading of the A66 between Penrith and the A1 to start; and when it will be completed; [113774](2) when he expects work to start on the upgrading of the A74 to motorway standards between Carlisle and the Scottish Borders. [113776]

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend on these two issues.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Eric Martlew, dated 19 May 2003:

David Jamieson has asked me to reply to your two recent Parliamentary Questions asking when work will start on the upgrading of the A74 to motorway standards between Carlisle and the Scottish border, and the expected start and completion dates for the upgrading of the A66 between Penrith, and A1.
A 74 Upgrading
In February this year, a contract was awarded for the design and construction of the A74 Carlisle to Guardsmill scheme using an innovative procurement method known as Early Contractor Involvement, by which it is expected that projects may be delivered more quickly. The current programme shows a start of works in September 2005 with road opening by September 2007. This is subject to completion of the necessary statutory procedures, which include the expected publication next January of draft formal proposals under the Highways Act that are required to give legal authority for the upgrading. The route being followed was announced in June 2002 and follows closely the existing A74.
A66 Upgrading
In November last year it was announced that the Agency had appointed consultants to undertake preliminary survey and design work in order to determine the feasibility of upgrading the whole of the A66 between Penrith to the west and the Al at Scotch Corner to the east to dual carriageway. A number of possible schemes have been identified on which preliminary work is continuing and on which it is expected that the public will be consulted towards the end of the year. If it is then decided that these schemes should be added to the Government's Targeted Programme of Improvements, it is expected that they would be completed within seven years of entry, or sooner.
In addition to the schemes that are still under investigation, preparation work is in progress on three schemes on this route which are already included in the Targeted Programme of Improvements. These schemes, with their estimated dates for completion, are as follows:
A66 Temple Sowerby and Improvements at Winderwath 2006–07
A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement 2006–07
A66 Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank Improvement 2007–08
I hope this is helpful. If you would like any further information on the A74 Upgrading you may wish to contact the Agency's Project Sponsor for this Ziad El Balbisi, at Sunley Tower. Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, Ml 4BE telephone number 0161 930 5822. For further information on any of the proposals forming part of the A66 Upgrading would you please contact the Group Leader, David Harvey, at the same address telephone number 0161 930 5601.

Virgin Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when all Virgin Pendolino trains will be operating on the west coast line. [109670]

All Virgin Pendolino trains are expected to be in service by the early part of 2005.

Education And Skills

School Playing Fields

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school playing fields have been sold in each of the last 10 years. [114170]

There are no central records of how many school playing fields were sold before October 1998. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced on 1 October 1998 to stop the indiscriminate sale of school playing fields that occurred in the 1980s and early to mid 1990s.Applications to sell school playing fields are only approved where it is clear that any proceedswill be used to improve school sports provision or education facilities. All applications made since 16 July 2001 are scrutinised by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel to make sure that they meet our published criteria. The panel comprises representatives from the National Playing Fields Association, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, Learning through Landscapes, the National Association of Headteachers and the Local Government Association.The table shows the number of applications to sell school playing fields larger than a small sports pitch for the under 10s, that is larger than 2,000 m

2 , that were approved in each year since October 1998. In 27 of these applications new or replacement sports pitches of the same size or greater were to be bought from the proceeds. A further 45 applications involved land at closed or closing school sites and in 37 of the remaining 56 cases, the proceeds are to be used to improve sports faculties, such as new all-weather pitches, sports halls or improved grass sports pitches. In the remaining 19 cases, the proceeds are to provide better education facilities at schools, such as new classrooms and performing arts facilities.

Calendar year

Sports pitch applications approved

October-December
19987
199942
200032
200122
200223

Notes:

1. The table includes applications to sell school playing fields from local authorities, foundation, voluntary and former grant-maintained schools.

2. All sale proceeds are used to provide new or improved sports or education facilities at maintained schools.

3. 'Sports pitch' means an area of open grassed land which is equal to, or larger than, the Football Association's recommended 2,000 m2 area for games played by under 10s and which has a configuration making it suitable for sports, whether laid out as a sports pitch or not.

A-Levels

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils have (a) been entered for and (b) taken a General Studies A-level in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the number who will sit the exam this year. [109422]

The following table shows the number of 16 to 18-year-old candidates who attempted GCE A-level General Studies in 1998 to 2002.

Number of 16 to 18-year-old candidates attempting GCE A-level General Studies
199878,971
199984,411
200087,765
200190,874
200258,311
Estimates of the number of candidates who will sit General Studies GCE A level in 2002/03 are not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he will publish the agreement between his Department, QCA and the awarding bodies in line with clause 95 of the Tomlinson Inquiry into A-level Standards to establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability. [110103]

We will publish a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and QCA shortly.

A2/4S Examinations

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what methodology his Department uses to calculate the numbers of students studying for A2 and AS examinations. [112853]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: The numbers of students studying for A2 and AS examinations are collected through the Department's Annual Schools Census (ASC) and the Learning and Skills Council's Individualised Learner Record (ILR). The ASC information is a snapshot as at the third Thursday in January of each year. The ILR is a snapshot as at 1 November of each yearIn both these data sources, information is collected on all the qualifications a student is studying for. However students often combine qualifications. In the departmental publication on the participation of 16–18 year olds, the figures are calculated on the basis of the highest qualification being studied. Part of this hierarchy of highest qualification is:

  • Higher education
  • NVQ3
  • VCE A/AS level
  • GCE A/AS level

So, for example, someone studying for a GCE AS level alongside a Double Award VCE would be considered as having the VCE as their highest aim.

The department also collects and publishes details of the number of A and AS level course enrolments by adults on course offered by Local Education Authorities.

Adult Esol Core Curriculum

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which schools in the Wycombe constituency work as partners with the Buckinghamshire Lifelong Learning Partnership in relation to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. [l12372]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: There are no schools working as key partners within the Buckinghamshire Lifelong Learning Partnership's Adult ESOL Core Curriculum project.The key partners in the project are Aylesbury college, Amersham and Wycombe college and Buckinghamshire county council.

Autism

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans he has to introduce a specific qualification for young people with (a) autism and (b) similar disabilities; [112675](2) what the form is of assessment for autistic children in

(a) mainstream and (b) special schools; [112676]

(3) what plans his Department has to enable autistic young people to follow further education and higher education courses. [112677]

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice gives statutory guidance to schools, local education authorities and others on assessing children's special educational needs and making provision to meet those needs, including the needs of children with autism.Autism is a spectrum disorder with children across the spectrum showing the full range of intellectual abilities. Many children within the spectrum can, with the right support, achieve in National Curriculum assessments and external qualifications alongside their non-autistic peers. Special arrangements are available under the National Curriculum and from awarding bodies to allow children with SEN to take examinations and tests on an equal footing.There are no assessment arrangements or qualifications that are specific to children and young people with autism or similar disabilities. However, there are a range of arrangements available for assessing the progress and recording the achievements of children with special educational needs, including those with autism, for whom the usual assessment arrangements and public examinations are not suitable. The Department, with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has published guidance to help schools, including special schools, set targets for children with SEN who are performing below National Curriculum Level 1 or within Levels 1 and 2 in English, mathematics and science. The guidance contains Performance Criteria, the 'P' scales, which can be used to assess pupils' progress. Award schemes areavailable through which the key life skills of young people with SEN can be recognised and 'Progress Files' can be used to record their academic and non academic achievements. The Working Group on our 14–19 reforms, under the chairmanship of Mike Tomlinson, will be looking at assessment arrangements and how they can be used to motivate all learners.A primary aim of SEN support is that young people with SEN make successful transitions from school to further education, training and adult life. The revised SEN Code of Practice, effective from January 2002, contains strengthened transition planning arrangements involving the Connexions Service In addition, under the Learning and Skills Act 2000, the Connexions Service, on behalf of the Secretary of State, must carry out assessments of all young people with statements of SEN who are in the last year of compulsory schooling and are intending to go on to further education or training or higher education and may carry out assessments in other circumstances. The assessments are of the young person's education and training needs and the provision required to meet those needs. The Learning and Skills Council must have regard to these assessments and the Connexions Service is expected to work with the Council and other providers to make suitable learning opportunities available to young people with SEN. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 further and higher education and training providers must make reasonable adjustments to prevent discrimination against disabled students and potential students.More generally, the Government is developing an SEN Action Programme of practical measures to support local education authorities and schools, working in partnership with others, in improving provision for children and young people with special educational needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to introduce ring-fenced funding in education for children with autism. [112683]

We currently have no plans to introduce ring-fenced funding in education for children with autism or for any other type of special educational need.

British Sign Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to address the implications for schools and colleges of the decision to reorganise British Sign Language, with particular reference to (a) teacher supply, (b) validation and (c) funding issues. [112849]

Mr. Miliband