Written Answers To Questions
Thursday 5 June 2003
To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what plans the Church Commissioners have for York Minster Library; and if he will make a statement. 
This Library does not belong to the Church Commissioners but I am sure the Chapter are aware that the sale, loan or other disposal of any item of architectural, archaeological, artistic or historic interest vested in them requires approval under the Care of Cathedrals Measure.As this is a statutory procedure, I would not wish to prejudge whatever decision might be made either by the Fabric Advisory Committee or by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission on any such application.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster munitions have been used in Iraq by the (a) United States and (b) United Kingdom armed forces. 
As at 28 May 2003, British forces have used in the region of 66 air delivered cluster bombs and in the region of 2,000 extended range bomblet shells in Iraq. We do not comment on the number of munitions used by other nations.
Manning Control Points
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to (a) suspend and (b) terminate the use of manning control points; and if he will make a statement; (2) how many soldiers
(a) returning from Iraq and (b) currently serving in Iraq will face manning control points in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
A wide-ranging review of soldiers' career structures and terms of service is presently under way. This will include consideration of the continued utility of manning control point reviews as a structural control mechanism. In the meantime, against the background of current Army manning shortfalls, there are no plans to conduct any manning control point reviews in the next 12 months.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel have been employed in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
The number of Armed Forces personnel (Army, Navy and RAF), under the command of the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland (GOC NI), deployed in Northern Ireland for the last five years is set out in the table below:
|As at April||Number of Armed Forces Personnel|
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2003, Official Report, column 785W, on reserve forces, what is being done to remedy the shortfall of reservists; what assessment he has made of the reasons for the difference in the level of shortfall in the three services; and if he will break down the shortfall by (a) rank and (b) branch. 
The Volunteer Reserve Forces run vigorous recruiting campaigns to meet their requirements for manpower each year. The approaches they adopt reflect their differing requirements. The Territorial Army recruits continuously throughout the year, with a surge effort in the spring. Local radio, press and regional events are used, as well as campaigns combined with the Regulars. The Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force recruit on a unit basis, with budgets specifically allocated for this purpose. The Royal Auxiliary Air Force recruits on an ad-hoc basis as and when vacancies arise.The level of shortfall in each of the Volunteer Reserve Forces varies. Each has different requirements and looks for different skills, which affects their recruitment. The Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force are smaller, and recruit for a specialised reserve. They therefore have limited opportunities that arise in specific parts of the country where units are based. As a larger organisation, the Territorial Army has a nationwide footprint and uses general, as well as specialist, skills. We will be examining whether we can use the experience of Operation TELIC to see if there are lessons to be identified that may aid recruiting across the reserves.
|Arm/Service||Officer||Soldier||Officer||Soldier||FTRS and Mobilised||Percentage manned|
|Royal Armoured Corps||155||1,161||126||1,007||186||100|
|Army Air Corps||32||125||44||72||1||74|
|Royal Army Chaplains Department||87||0||67||0||10||88|
|Royal Logistic Corps||625||6,638||409||3,899||1,294||77|
|Royal Army Medical Corps||3,533||2,968||1,452||2,415||905||73|
|Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers||122||1,530||98||1,148||246||98|
|Adjutant General Corps||73||359||51||264||79||91|
|Royal Army Veterinary Corps||14||0||8||0||0||57|
Royal Irish Regiment
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will halt the disbandment of the three home battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment over the next three years; and if he will keep each battalion fully operational after April 2005. 
There is no timetable for disbandment of the Home Service Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, as the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland made clear in a statement on 28 May to all the personnel under his command.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which campaigns Territorial Army units have served since 1990; and what proportion of reservists (a) is committed and (b) was committed in (i) 1990 and (ii) 1997. 
Territorial Army units have served in the following operational theatres since 1990:
|Royal Naval Reserve||10|
|Royal Marine Reserve||13|
|Reserve Air Forces||48|
I am unable to provide the figures requested for shortfall by rank and branch for any of the Reserve Forces. Information is available for the TA on shortages by specialism. This is given in the following table (as at 1 April 2003):
Figures for previous years are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what resources his Department has allocated for the clearance of unexploded ordnance in Iraq. 
Currently there are some 200 United Kingdom personnel involved in the clearance of unexploded ordnance in Iraq, and many more are engaged in the process of marking and securing sites for clearance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what practices have been in place in the last 10 years to inform war widows of their right to backdate their war widows pension. 
A war widows pension may be awarded where death is due to service in the armed forces. There are no time limits for claiming a pension but as a result the onus is normally on the war widow to claim. The commencement date of any resulting award depends on the individual circumstances of the claim. There is no right for a war widows pension to be backdated, for instance, where she has failed to claim from an earlier date.The normal rules provide that where death is in service or a claim is made within three months of death a war widows pension may be paid from the day after death; otherwise, a pension will be paid from the date of the claim or application for review as the case may be. Similar provision applies to the restoration of a war widows pension on the death of a second or subsequent husband.In certain specified circumstances a pension may be paid from a date earlier than that provided for by the normal rules where, for instance, a widow has been prevented from claiming a pension because of ill health.
Environment, Food And Rural Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 14 May 2003, Official Report, column 265W, on civil servants, what the criteria are for recognition within the Special Bonus Scheme; what the performance indicators are that are assessed when considering staff for one-off bonuses; and whether the reduction of financial payments to farmers is a performance indicator for the purposes of the scheme. 
The Special Bonus Scheme is designed to recognise special achievement and contribution additional to the normal demands of the job. The criteria for an award include:
Work on a specific project or contribution during an acute staff shortage
Achievement on a valued piece of work, such as a report or short-term project that helped the team, branch, or division to meet a difficult or challenging target
The reduction of financial payments to farmers is not a performance indicator for the purposes of the scheme.Leading or contributing to work of an exceptional standard to a tight timetable.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance she has issued to the State Veterinary Service on whether a deer missing a hind foot should be classified as exhibiting signs of ill treatment or suffering. 
No guidance has been issued to the State Veterinary Service. A veterinary inspector would be expected to use his experience and clinical judgment to assess such injuries and the degree to which an animal may be suffering or exhibiting signs of ill treatment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with (a) biotechnology companies and (b) health and environmental campaign and voluntary groups regarding the future licensing of GM crops. 
Ministers and officials have regular face-to-face, telephone and written communications with relevant stakeholders on GM crop issues. No central record is kept of these communications.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessments have been made of applications for marketing consents to the EU of GM crops by (a) her Department and (b) other member states; and what evidence was used in the assessments. 
To date, 19 applications have been made under EU Directive 2001/18 for consent to place GMOs on the European single market. 10 of these are for GM crops intended for cultivation in the EU, and the other nine are for "import only"—i.e. of GM grain grown outside the EU intended for import into the EU for processing into products. In all 19 cases, the process of assessment is ongoing and no collective EU decisions have yet been made.EU Directive 2001/18 requires that applications to place GMOs on the market consist of a substantial dossier of information about the particular GMO and scientific evidence concerned with potential risks associated with the intended use. Summaries of these dossiers are published on a European Commission website at http://gmoinfo.jrc.it/default.asp.Each application must first be made to the authorities in one of the 15 EU member states, which must make an initial assessment of compliance with the safety standards required by the Directive. If the assessment is positive the application is referred to the European Commission, which then disseminates the assessment and its supporting evidence to other member states for EU-wide scrutiny and public consultation, leading to a collective decision by the European Commission and all 15 member states on whether or not a consent should be granted.Two of the 19 applications have been made in the UK. They both concern GMOs intended for "import only", and in both cases the UK authority is awaiting further information requested from the applicants before it makes its initial assessment.Of the remaining 17 applications made in other member states, three have received positive initial assessments and are being scrutinised at EU-level. The UK has forwarded opinions on two of these dossiers (published at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/euconsent.htm), and will deliver its opinion on the other in due course. In both opinions, the UK asked the lead member state for further information to be required from the applicant before a final assessment can be made. The other 14 applications made in other member states have not yet received initial assessments.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 465W, on GM crop trials, what plans she has for public consultation on the future licensing of GM crops after the results of all of the Government's current GM farm-scale evaluations are published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 
Currently we have no plans for a specific consultation exercise on the future licensing of GM crops after the publication of the results of the farm scale evaluations. Once published, the results of the crop trials will be in the public domain and people will be able to comment on them then.In addition, as each individual crop in the farm scale evaluations comes forward for licensing, the public has the opportunity to comment on every application during the two consultation periods specified in Directive 2001/18/EC, before decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis at EU level.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has received about planned restrictions on travelling hours for chickens; whether these will apply to free-range birds; and if she will make a statement. 
Unless suitable food and liquid is available, the maximum permitted journey time for all poultry and domestic birds is 12 hours, disregarding loading and unloading times. This Department has received representations proposing that loading and unloading times should be included within the maximum journey time and the views of industry representatives have been sought. These limits are set down in European Union Directive 91/628, as amended, on the welfare of animals during transport. The European Commission is expected to publish proposals to update and improve this directive later this year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many licences have been granted by the Environment Agency to extract water from rivers in 2003; what average length of time it has taken to grant a licence to extract water from a river; what the average length of time a licence for which is issued; and how many such licences have been granted covering the River Aire in the Elmet constituency in 2003. 
The information is as follows:
Number of Licences to abstract water from rivers granted so far in 2003
Between 1 January and 22 May 2003 the Environment Agency granted 86 licences for abstraction from surface waters, including canals, minor watercourses and rivers.
Length of time to grant a licence to abstract water
During the period April 2002-March 2003 the Environment Agency granted 984 abstraction licences for surface and groundwater, of which 97 per cent. were granted within the statutory three months, or such longer period as had been agreed with the applicant. The agency does not collect information on the average length of time it takes to determine applications.
Length of time licences issued for
With the introduction of Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies (CAMS), new licences are initially granted to a "Common End Date" according to the CAMS area in which they lie. There is a presumption of renewal. Following the initial term of the licence the Environment Agency will normally renew the licence for a period of 12 years, again with a presumption of renewal.
Abstraction Licences on the River Aire granted in 2003
No licences have been granted for abstraction from the River Aire in the Elmet constituency during 2003.
Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development when the World Bank will publish its periodical report for the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project. 
Regular reports are published by the External Compliance Monitoring Group (ECMG) and the International Advisory Group (IAG), which were established by the World Bank, monitor the project implementation. The IAG has just made a visit to the project and we expect the report to be issued on 17 June. The last report from the ECMG was published in February 2003. We do not yet have a date for publication of its next report. The reports are available on the World Bank website www.worldbank.org/afr/ccproi
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment the Department has made of the latest report by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group; and if he will make a statement. 
We welcome the report by the Global Working Group, Access to HIV prevention: Closing The Gap. It is the first attempt to assess the gap between HIV prevention needs and existing provision.While the report emphasises the increased need for prevention, it also recognises that prevention works best where care and treatments are also available. DFID has been working towards a combined approach of prevention and care for several years and will continue to support Governments in improving their overall provision of services in the future.The recommendations made in the report echo DFID"s existing HIV/AIDS priorities, in support of which we have invested over £250 million in 2002–03. DFID has also committed £14 million to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI),£16 million to the Medical Research Council's Microbicides Development Programme, and £3 million annually to UNAIDS. In addition, we have committed over £1.5 billion since 1997 to support the development of health systems in poorer countries. Strengthening such systems is vital if drugs are to be safely and sustainably supplied to the poor. DFID as the second largest contributor to the Global Fund has also just increased its contribution by $80 million to a total of $280million in recognition of the need to accelerate efforts to reduce infections globally.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with the Government of Malawi concerning alternative care for AIDS patients outside acute general hospitals. 
DFID officials are in close and regular contact with the Malawi National AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health and Population and other donors on care required for AIDS patients. The UK has contributed $280 million to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. The fund has agreed to allocate Malawi $198 million over five years. Intended uses for these resources include antiretroviral treatments, and prevention of mother to child transmission.
Eu Information Campaigns
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the monitoring by his Department of the application of European Community guidelines on impartiality in EU funding of information campaigns. 
I have been asked to reply.The European Commission's proposed Information and Communication Strategy for the EU, adopted on 2 July 2002, highlights the importance of neutral, factual information. The Copenhagen European Council has also stressed that information provided for the public on EU activities should be objective.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office keeps itself fully aware of the nature of the European Commission's communications activities via regular contact with the European Commission's Representation to the UK.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what formal mechanisms there are for maintaining contact between HM Customs and Excise and the DTI on the issue of export controls. 
HM Customs and Excise have regular contact with the DTI's Export Control Organisation on a range of export control matters, including the interdepartmental Restricted Enforcement Unit, which meets fortnightly. This includes a Memorandum of Understanding to provide advice on whether or not a licence is required in cases where goods have been detained by Customs.
|Contribution of hotels, catering etc and recreational services to the UK economy, 1995–2000|
|GVA of hotels, catering etc and recreational services (£ million)||32,158||35,632||40,039||44,195||47,810||51,659|
|Percentage of total GVA||5.0||5.2||5.6||5.8||6.0||6.2|
|GVA total (£ million)||639,908||679,620||720,692||762,363||796,273||838,065|
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average weekly earnings (a) including and (b) excluding overtime are for full-time workers in (i) Scotland, (ii) each of the unitary local authority areas in Scotland and (iii) Great Britain for (A) all manual, (B) all non-manual, (C) all workers, (D) male manual, (E) male non-manual, (F) all male workers, (G) female manual, (H) female non-manual and (I) all female workers. 
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many HM Customs and Excise personnel are (a) employed to provide advice and assistance to the Afghan Transitional Administration and (b) employed to gather intelligence and assist in the interdiction of heroin along transit routes from Afghanistan to the UK. 
HM Customs and Excise currently employs five staff who work exclusively on providing advice and assistance to the Afghan Transitional Administration, and a further 14 for whom this work forms part of their duties.It would not be appropriate to disclose how many personnel are deployed gathering intelligence and assisting in the interdiction of heroin along transit routes from Afghanistan and the UK. Exemptions 4 (Law enforcement and legal proceedings) and 7 (Effective management and operations of the public service) apply.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution the leisure and hospitality sector has made to the UK economy in each of the last five years. 
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Gardiner, dated 5 June 2003:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the contribution made by the leisure and hospitality sector to the UK economy in each of the last five years. (117001)
The Office for National Statistics does not define the "leisure and hospitality sector". However, the table below shows the requested figures for the nearest equivalent industrial sector. The contribution to the economy has been measured as a proportion of Gross Value Added. These estimates are consistent with the latest published United Kingdom National Accounts: The Blue Book (2002 edition).
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Moore, dated 5 June 2003:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the average weekly earnings for workers in Great Britain, Scotland and the unitary authorities in Scotland. (116060)
I have arranged for the data requested to be placed in the House of Commons Library. The information provided shows average weekly earnings including and excluding overtime based on the 2002 New Earnings Survey (NES), the latest survey for which data are available.
The release of NES data is restricted to figures that are derived from a sufficiently large sample of employees to produce an acceptable level of accuracy. I have provided the available data for Great Britain, Scotland and the unitary authorities in Scotland only for those areas where the samples are large enough.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of full-time workers in (a) Scotland, (b) each of the unitary local authority areas in Scotland and (c) Great Britain earn (i) including and (ii) excluding overtime less than (A) £280.00 per week, (B) £210.00 per week and (C) £158.76 per week in the categories (1) male manual, (2) male non-manual, (3) all male workers, (4) female manual, (5) female non-manual, (6) all female workers, (7) all manual, (8) all non-manual and (9) all workers. 
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Moore, dated 5 June 2003:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the distribution of average weekly earnings for workers in Great Britain, Scotland and the unitary authorities in Scotland. (116061)
I am placing in the House of Commons Library tables showing the proportion of people earning below the different thresholds you listed, including and excluding overtime based on the 2002 New Earnings Survey (NES), the latest survey for which data are available.
The release of NES data is restricted to figures that are derived from a sufficiently large sample of employees, to produce an acceptable level of accuracy. I have provided the available data for Great Britain, Scotland and the unitary authorities in Scotland only for those areas where the samples are large enough.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the Bridgwater constituency have experienced delays in receiving tax credits. 
I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 161W.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will compensate applicants for child tax credit and working tax credit who have incurred additional costs as a result of delays by Inland Revenue in the payment of these credits. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 23W.
|Net yield data 1999–2000 to 2003–04 for London|
|City of London||338.9||390.1||481.6||531.3||578.3|
|Inner London Borough Camden||144.5||176.4||199.5||211.0||228.8|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||66.1||67.0||83.6||96.8||102.4|
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent since last autumn on advertising and publicity for (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit in (i) English, (ii) Welsh and (iii) other languages. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk) on 18 March 2003, Official Report, column 681W.We have fulfilled our legal obligation for provision of material in Welsh and this, along with community language material, has been treated as part of the overall cost of the campaign and could be isolated only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advertising and publicity in Welsh there has been since last autumn to alert people to their entitlement to (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit, and to encourage them to claim. 
The publicity campaign to encourage people to claim their entitlement to child tax credit and working tax credit has been running since mid September 2002. The campaign has included advertising on television, radio, press and online, direct mailings to existing claimants and the distribution of leaflets and posters through Inland Revenue offices and via third party organisations.Welsh language publicity has been part of the campaign since its launch and includes subtitled television advertising, translated press work, small posters and leaflets.
Uniform Business Rate
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in revenue collected from uniform business rates was distributed to the London borough of Havering within the Revenue Support Grant in 2002–03. 
I have been asked to reply.The London Borough of Havering received £68,393,858 through redistributed business rates in the 2002/03 Local Government Finance Settlement. It also received a further £74,582,975 in Revenue Support Grant.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised from uniform business rates in (a) the London Borough of Havering and (b) each London borough in each of the last five years. 
I have been asked to reply.The figures requested are in the table.
Net yield data 1999–2000 to 2003–04 for London
|Kensington and Chelsea||100.2||112.2||128.2||140.4||147.3|
Total Inner London borough
|Outer London Borough|
|Barking and Dagenham||38.2||34.9||40.9||41.7||40.9|
|Kingston upon Thames||46.5||50.5||56.8||56.8||56.6|
|Richmond upon Thames||41.9||46.2||51.1||50.5||50.9|
Total Outer London borough
Total London borough
1999–2000 to 2001–02 Audited National Non Domestic Rate Return Form (NNDR) 3, 2002/03 to 2003/04 NNDR1 provisional.
Local Government Finance Statistics (LGF3f)
Minister For Women
To ask the Minister for Women when she will publish her next annual report on gender mainstreaming. 
I do not publish an annual report on gender mainstreaming. However we have set a gender equality objective in the comprehensive spending review and our action plan on "Delivering Gender Equality" will be published this month.
To ask the Minister for Women what action she intends to take about the gender pay gap within the public sector. 
The Government have made a commitment for civil service departments and agencies to undertake pay reviews and prepare action plans. Action plans representing 91 per cent. of the civil service have now been received by the Cabinet Office.
To ask the Minister for Women what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act 1970. 
The Equal Pay Act 1970 has made real headway for many women and since 1975 when it came into effect the full-time pay gap has narrowed from 30 per cent. to 19 per cent. in 2002. However the "pay gap" is not just about unequal pay (covered by the Act) it is also about employment opportunities, work experience, culture and attitudes. Legislation has enabled us to make good progress, but the Government are determined to do more and are working to reduce the gender pay gap through a variety of measures which help strengthen and maintain women's attachment to the labour market, including the equal pay questionnaire, working with the EOC to promote equal pay reviews, providing trade unions with additional funding for training representatives in equal pay issues and by requiring the civil service to undertake pay reviews.
To ask the Minister for Women, what recent consultations she has had with the Treasury regarding women's pensions. 
My Department has been in close contact with both HM Treasury and the Department of Works and Pensions regarding women's pensions.
Women In Iraq
To ask the Minister for Women what action she is taking to promote the role of women in the governance of Iraq. 
I am working with other colleagues to support Iraqi women in playing a full role in rebuilding the governing of their country. I am hosting meetings with a representative group of Iraqi women exiles, and last week 40 Iraqi women had a meeting in Baghdad with Ambassador Bremer and John Sawer, the UK Special Representative for Iraq.The meeting was also attended b y my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) who is now of course my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's special representative on Human Rights in Iraq.
To ask the Solicitor-General what the cost was of the publication of the 2001 Departmental Report. 
The cost of publishing the 2001 Law Officers' Department's Departmental Report was £6,849.
To ask the Solicitor General if she will list the occasions on which her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies failed to pay valid invoices within 30 days or after the agreed credit period within financial year 2001–02. 
Crown Prosecution ServiceDuring financial year 2001–02 the Crown Prosecution Service failed to pay 13,490 out of a total of 233,126 valid invoices within 30 days or after the agreed credit period, which represents 5.8 per cent. of the invoices processed.
Serious Fraud Office
The information and detail is not available in the format requested without disproportionate cost.
However, the Serious Fraud Office paid 93.4 per cent. of all invoices within terms or 30 clays, if no terms were specified, for the financial year 2001–02.
Treasury Solicitor's Department
The prompt payment performance of the Treasury Solicitor's Department, Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate is published each year in line with other Government Departments. For the 2001–02 financial year 97 per cent. of invoices received were paid within the 30 day period.
The total number of invoices received was 10,518 of which 10,150 were paid within 30 days. The remaining 368 (3 per cent.) were paid outside of the 30 day period. Listing each invoice individually would require
extraction of details at disproportionate cost but the breakdown of these invoices by calendar month is as follows:
Number of invoices
Employment Relations Act
To ask the Solicitor-General how many staff in the Law Officers' Departments have taken time off from work in order to attend to domestic incidents as provided for by the Employment Relations Act 1999. 
[holding answer 14 April 2003]: In relation to my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, working patterns have at all times been sufficiently flexible to enable staff to deal with domestic incidents. No requests for flexibility have specifically related to the 1999 Act.
Crown Prosecution Service:
The information you request is not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Serious Fraud Office:
This information is not available without incurring disproportionate costs.
Treasury Solicitor's Department:
160 staff in the Treasury Solicitor's Department have taken time off in order to attend to domestic incidents since this part of the Act came into force.
To ask the Solicitor-General what her estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for her Department in 2002. 
[holding answer 12 May 2003]: On the cost of ministerial cars I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Alexander) on 20 May 2003, Official Report, column 663W.
Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service does not separately record expenditure on taxis and it would incur disproportionate cost to identify this information. The costs of taxis are included with other miscellaneous travel expenditure and the aggregate cost of such expenditure in 2002 was £189,000.
Serious Fraud Office
The total incurred by the Serious Fraud Office for taxis during the financial year 2002 is £15,893.27.
Treasury Solicitor's Department
The information available in relation to taxis is not held in the form required. Where authorised small claims for travel expenses are met from petty cash, the method of travel is not distinguished. The total expenditure from petty cash for all travel purposes so far in 2002–03 has been £5,523. Where claims are paid otherwise taxi fares are separately identifiable. In 2002–03 these amount to £2,800 for the Treasury Solicitor's Department of which £1,173 is attributable to the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and £25 to Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution. Service Inspectorate. Information is not held by calendar year.
To ask the Solicitor-General what the estimated value is of the property portfolio held by the Law Officers' Department. 
[holding answer 14 Apri12003]: Crown Prosecution Service: The National Asset Register, published in July 2001 (Cm 5221), lists those assets owned by the Crown Prosecution Service. The Crown Prosecution Service has freehold ownership of buildings in four locations—Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, Portsmouth and Sheffield. The total estimated market value of the land and buildings for these four locations at 31 March 2000 was £3,845,000.
Serious Fraud Office:
The Serious Fraud Office has a single headquarters building which is subject to a full commercial repairing lease with a remaining life of some 10 years and is not owned by the Serious Fraud Office. The Serious Fraud Office does not own any other land or property.
Treasury Solicitor's Department:
The Treasury Solicitor's Department occupies a largely Crown freehold property, incorporating a small area on a 999 year lease to the Crown, whose total value was estimated at a little over £28,000,000 on 31 March 2002.
The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate both occupy premises rented on modern leases at commercial rates.
In addition, the Treasury Solicitor's Department manages a modern leasehold property formerly, occupied by Government Property Lawyers and now hosting a number of public bodies who pay occupation charges ("rent") under interdepartmental Memoranda of Terms of Occupations. The lease expires in 2016.
Staff Union Duties
To ask the Solicitor-General how many staff in the Law Officers' Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in 2002. 
[holding answer 7 April 2003]: In relation to my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, staff are on secondment from other Departments and are covered by their parent Department's arrangements.
Crown Prosecution Service
Facility time allocation in the Crown Prosecution Service is in the form of a block allowance—of 2,674 days—to the two recognised trade unions. For the financial year 2001–02 the number of staff receiving paid leave to undertake union duties was 136 and the cost to public funds was £280,042.75.
Serious Fraud Office
The Serious Fraud Office does not have any staff who receive paid leave to undertake union duties.
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
The size of Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate means that we have no formal arrangements for facility time. However, both the FDA and the PCS have branches within Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and a Whitley Council which meets quarterly. Preparation and attendance is absorbed within normal working arrangements and I would not regard this as "paid leave". In addition, permission is given for occasional meetings. The total time involved is presently so small as not to warrant separate recording and costing.
Treasury Solicitor's Department
Seven members of staff in the Treasury Solicitor's Department are eligible to receive paid leave to undertake union duties; the total allocation is 40 days per year. The actual cost to public funds in 2002 was £715.
To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the statutory instruments issued by the Law Officers' Department since 17 April 2002. 
[holding answer 7 April 2003]: None of the Departments for which the Attorney-General holds ministerial responsibility have issued statutory instruments in the period in question.
To ask the Advocate General (1) how many of her staff have taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last year; (2) how many sick days were lost in the last year by her Department through staff mental health problems; (3) how many of her staff retired on medical grounds due to mental health problems in the last year; (4) what arrangements are made in her Department to allow staff to access counselling services. 
I refer the hon. Member to the Answers given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Education And Skills
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. 
The information requested is in the following table.
|Full-time Permanent members of staff||Full-time casual members of staff||Other|
|April 2003||4||2||1 part-time permanent member of staff|
Free School Meals
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of state-educated pupils in (a) Leeds, West constituency and (b) Leeds Metropolitan district receive free school meals. 
The information requested is shown in the following table.
|Maintained schools: School meal arrangements|
|January 2003 (Provisional)||Number on roll||Day pupils1 Number known to be eligible for free school meals||Percentage known to be eligible for free school meals|
|Leeds, West parliamentary constituency|
|Pupil Referral Units||26||13||50.0|
|Leeds local education authority|
|Pupil Referral Units||223||80||35.9|
|1 Excludes boarding pupils.|
|2 Includes middle schools as deemed.|
|3 Excludes non-maintained special schools.|
The Annual Schools Census
School Funding (Croydon)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will meet the hon. Member for Croydon, South to discuss funding for (a) Woodcote High School, Croydon and (b) education funding in Croydon. 
I would be happy to meet the hon. Member. My Private Office will be in contact shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which United Kingdom commitments arising from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (a) have been incorporated into the Department's existing delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements and (b) will be incorporated in its delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements in advance of the 2004 Spending Review. 
The interdepartmentally cleared Annex to the Memorandum submitted to the Environmental Audit Committee, in response to their inquiry on WSSD follow up, showed no outcomes for which this Department has responsibility,Therefore, we see no need to change our existing delivery plan for Service Delivery Agreements now, or in the future, in advance of the 2004 Spending Review.
Lord Chancellor's Department
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in what circumstances defendants are entitled to legal aid before being charged; and what plans he has to amend the legal aid regulations in the light of Section 23 and Schedule 2 of the Criminal Justice Bill. 
Criminal Defence Service funding, in the form of advice and assistance, is available to anyone who is the subject of an investigation which may lead to criminal proceedings. Advice and assistance from a duty solicitor is free where an individual is arrested and held at a police station. In other circumstances, a defendant will be eligible for help where his weekly disposable income does not exceed £89 and his disposable capital does not exceed £1,000. There is no need to change the regulations in light of the Criminal Justice Bill, as advice and assistance is already available to cover any of the circumstances that may arise under Schedule 2.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on progress towards achieving equal rights for transsexuals. 
The Government's policy on transsexual people remains unchanged from that set out in the Written Ministerial Statement I made on 16 December 2002,Official Report, column 36WS. We are committed to legislating as soon as possible to give transsexual people their Convention rights. Our aim is to publish a draft Bill later this session with substantive legislation following when Parliamentary time allows.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are made in her Department to allow staff to access counselling services. 
Staff in my Department have access to an in-house counselling and welfare service as well as to an external employee assistance programme. These arrangements reflect my commitment to helping staff deal with concerns both inside and outside the workplace.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of her staff retired on medical grounds due to mental health problems in the last year. 
No staff from the Scotland Office retired on medical grounds in 2002.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of her staff have taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last year. 
In 2002, a small number of staff in my department had sickness absence relating to mental health problems. Further details of cases are covered by Exemption 12 (Privacy of an Individual) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many sick days were lost over the last year by her Department through staff mental health problems. 
In 2002, 180 working days were lost due to staff illness involving mental health problems.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to her answer of 9 April 2003, Official Report, column 278W, on ministerial meetings, if she will give the date of her last meeting with (a) the Minister of State for Trade and Investment and (b) the Scottish Minister responsible for Scottish Trade International. 
I met the Minister of State for Trade and Investment on 6 February this year. My last engagement with the Scottish Minister responsible for Scottish Trade International was on 3 March. I also have frequent telephone conversations with each.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many times she has met the Chairman of Scottish Enterprise in each of the last five years; and when her last meeting was. 
Scottish Enterprise is formally responsible to Scottish Ministers for the conduct of its business. Therefore, while my predecessor and I have had continuing informal contacts with the Chairman and past Chairman of Scottish Enterprise over the past four years in a variety of different contexts, there has been no reason to keep detailed records of such contacts since devolution.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many employees in Scotland are (a) entitled to and (b) in receipt of working tax credit; (2) how many families in Scotland are
(a) entitled to and (b) in receipt of child tax credit. 
430,000 families in Scotland are expected to receive the Child Tax Credit and 90,000 families in Scotland a re expected to receive the Working Tax Credit, including some who are expected to receive the Child Tax Credit. Statistics on awards of these tax credits will be published in August.
Trade And Industry
National Institute For Medical Research
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the future of the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill. 
No decision has been taken regarding the future of the National Institute for Medical Research.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received concerning competitiveness from representatives of the manufacturing sector. 
I and my colleagues frequently receive representations from industry on a range of issues, including competitiveness. We value and encourage such exchanges.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Indus try if she will make a statement on the change in the number of manufacturing jobs since 1997 in Shrewsbury and Atcham. 
Since December 1998, the earliest base year available, it is estimated that manufacturing jobs in Shrewsbury have fallen by around 550, a decrease of 12 per cent. In the same period, overall employment in Shrewsbury increases by 8.7 per cent.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on current levels of bilateral trade with the United States of America. 
Initial figures for 2002 value UK exports of goods to the US at £28.38 billion and UK imports at £26.06 billion so there is a healthy balance in the UK's favour.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the Department of Health on the effect of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill on insurance costs for small businesses. 
I know that businesses and business organisations are concerned about the possible impact on insurance costs of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill's provisions on NHS cost recovery. I have represented these concerns to the Department of Health, and as a result the Government decided that the provisions in the Bill will not be commenced before the outcome of further work on the Employers' Liability Insurance system is known.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with Corus and the unions on redundancies in the steel industry announced last month; and if she will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has held a number of discussions with Corus senior management and the steel Trade Unions about restructuring at Corus. It is always terrible when job losses and closures are announced, particularly in a long-established industry which is important to the UK economy, but the decision to restructure or relocate is a commercial one for the company to make.We welcome the announcement of new investment at Port Talbot, Scunthorpe and Rotherham, which is essential if the company is to re-establish its competitive position.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the progress of the Post Office's urban reinvention programme. 
I understand from Post Office Ltd. that good progress is being made on urban reinvention. As at the end of April 2003, the company had entered into public consultation for compensated closures for a total of 417 offices and that 205 offices had closed under the terms of the programme as at that date. In addition, at the same date, Post Office Ltd. had received 149 applications for investment grants under the urban reinvention programme from offices remaining with the network, of which 36 had been approved.I am also informed by Post Office Ltd. that, to date, five post office closure proposals have been withdrawn for further evaluation in the light of representations made during the public consultation process. In addition 18 closure proposals had been withdrawn, and a further 24 modified, prior to public consultation after discussion with Postwatch.
National Minimum Wage
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has to extend the National Minimum Wage to 16 and 17-year-olds. 
The Government agreed in March that the Low Pay Commission should look at the possible advantages and disadvantages of a minimum wage rate for 16 to 17-year-olds. We will publish terms of reference for the Commission shortly. The Commission will report to the Government by the end of February 2004 and we will consider the position then.
British Business Assistance
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 16 May 2003, Official Report, column 460W, on British Business Assistance, in what format she holds the information; what she estimates the cost would be to provide the information in the formats as requested; and if she will make a statement. 
A list of DTI supported schemes is available from http://www.businesslink.org/support. Individual scheme managers hold more detailed information on each scheme in a format suitable for the running of that scheme.The information is therefore not held on a central database and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which areas within the Chorley constituency (a) have been and (b) have not been connected to broadband. 
This data is not available within Government.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with BT (a) in relation to the roll-out of broadband and (b) on ensuring that all areas receive broadband as soon as possible. 
My colleagues and I maintain regular contact with BT across a wide range of issues as we do with other broadband providers. The Government's target is for the UK to have the most competitive and extensive broadband market in the G7 by 2005. Around 70 per cent. of UK homes and businesses already have access to broadband. Oftel have reported that the UK has over 2 million broadband connections and this is rising by well over 30,000 per week.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when funding from her Department was first made available to the Cambridge-MIT Institute; how much funding her Department gave to the institute in each year since funding began; what restrictions apply to the funding; what assessment she has made of the management of grants made to the institute; what guidance she has given to the institute on its management; and what the status is of the Department's relationship with the institute. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: On 17 July 2000, DTI formally offered CMI a grant of up to £65.1 million for expenditure incurred up to 31 July 2005. Under the detailed terms and conditions of the offer, the grant is paid in arrears against invoices for expenditure properly incurred, and is conditional on CMI achieving its deliverables. The grant drawn down by CMI each year is published in the DTI Consolidated Resource Accounts.
CMI is a limited company. Its Board of Directors are responsible for the operation of CMI and are accountable to DTI for proper expenditure of the grant. DTI and HMT have seats as observers on the CMI board, and there is regular contact with staff at all levels at CMI and both universities. I instigated an independent review of CMI in May 2001, and the CMI board accepted and acted upon all the recommendations. The most recent independent audit, in February 2003, found CMI's internal systems and controls and corporate governance practices to be satisfactory and made no recommendations for further action.
Coastal Wind Farms
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on (a) the development and (b) the benefits of coastal wind farms on the north-west coastline. 
Under the first round of offshore wind farm site leasing in 2001, the Crown Estate granted leases for a number of sites off the north-west coast—Barrow, Shell Flat (three sites), Southport and Burbo Bank. The development at Barrow has been given consent and consent applications for the sites at Shell Flat and Burbo Bank have been submitted to the DTI.The Crown Estate will shortly invite applications for sites under a second round of leasing which will focus on the three strategic areas proposed in the Department's "Future Offshore" consultation paper (November 2002)—the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash and the North West.The second round will be informed by a strategic environmental assessment of development in the strategic areas. A report has been prepared which considers possible negative impacts as well as benefits and is available on the Department's website at: http://www.og.dti.gov.uk/ offshore-wind-sea/process/envreport.htm coastal wind farms will make an important contribution to meeting the Government's 10 per cent. renewables target. They will also contribute to the security of national energy supply and provide employment opportunities both locally and nationally.
Credit Card Industry
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what recent representations she has received from consumer bodies about credit card cheque books; (2) what discussions she has had with the credit card industry about differential charging and fee structures for the use of credit card cheque books issued to customers. 
Both Citizens Advice and the Office of Fair Trading—representing consumer bodies—raised concerns about the use of credit card cheques in the discussions of the Task Force on Tackling Overindebtedness. The Task Force also included the British Banking Association, the Finance and Leasing Association and the Consumer Credit Association representing the credit industry.
Among the topics addressed, differential charging and fee structures were dealt with as a part of the work carried out on the transparency of information that should be provided to consumers.
The results of all of these discussions can be found in their second report to me, published 30 January 2003, which is available in the Libraries of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to increase the amount of energy crops being grown for use by electricity generators. 
The Government are committed to the development of all forms of bio-energy, including energy crops. While no targets have been set for either the planting of energy crops or for the contribution of individual renewable energy sources, such as energy crops, the Government hope to increase the amount of energy crops grown For electricity generation through a number of schemes designed to create sustainable markets for energy crops.My Department provides support ranging from research and development to the creation of a market for energy generation from energy crops through the Renewables Obligation and the Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme.DEFRA's Energy Crops Scheme helps farmers and foresters to establish energy crops and a further £3.5million is being made available by DEFRA to develop supply chains.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what Government assistance is available for the development of market-based production of energy using renewable sources. 
The Government has introduced a number of market-based initiatives to assist renewable energy sources:
The Renewables Obligation, which places an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers to source a percentage of supplies from renewable sources, to reach 10 per cent. by 2010;
Exemption, for businesses and organisations, from the Climate Change Levy for electricity generated by new renewable technologies;
£348 million of capital grants and support for research, development and demonstration programmes to enable emerging technologies gain a foothold in the marketplace.
Environmental Impact Assessments
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 16 May 2003, Official Report, column 462W, on environmental impact assessments, if she will list (a) the support schemes and (b) the criteria to which she referred for assessing the environmental impact of businesses to whom grants are awarded. 
The DTI is involved in 14 schemes which deal with energy efficiency and the environment. Three of these schemes include a grant element and are designed specifically to have a positive effect on the environment by assisting individual businesses. The schemes are:
Environmental Research And Development
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was given in grants by the Department for research and development relating to (a) the environment and (b) waste in the years 1998 to 2002; and what the projected allocation is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2005. 
My Department has provided the following funding for research and development relating to waste and the environment (it is not possible to distinguish between the two classifications):
Export Credits Guarantee Department
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 16W, on the renewable energy initiative of the ECGD, when she expects a decision to be reached on the three applications outstanding. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: For all three of the applications ECGD is waiting for the exporters to resolve contractual or financial issues with the respective buyers. These issues are outside ECGD's control and it is not currently possible to say when or indeed if any guarantees will eventually be issued.
General Agreement On Trade In Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the latest (a) discussions held and (b) agreements reached concerning the General Agreement on Trade in Services. 
The current negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services—part of the World Trade Organisation's Doha Development Agenda of multilateral trade negotiations—are due to be concluded by 1 January 2005. Negotiations have recently begun to focus on requests and offers. Around 25 offers have so far been tabled by WTO Members. The offer by the European Community and Member States was tabled on 29 April.
:To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on the import of products that would be illegal if they had been produced in the United Kingdom; what records are kept of such products; and what assessment she has made of the risk to consumers from such products. 
Consumer protection legislation, which is enforced by local authority trading standards officers, makes it an offence to supply unsafe consumer products to the UK market. The legislation applies equally to products manufactured in the UK and imported products. Enforcement statistics do not distinguish action taken against imported products. Under European Council Regulation 339/93—relating to goods imported from non-Community countries—customs officers have powers to detain goods for up to three working days to permit checks by trading standards officers when there is reason to believe that goods may be unsafe. More generally in formulating policy towards imports of goods the United Kingdom must have due regard to its European Community and international trade obligations.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department's (a) total managed expenditure, (b) total spending on Information Technology and (c) spending on Information Technology as a proportion of its total managed expenditure was in each financial year since 1997–98. 
The contribution by Department of Trade and Industry to Total Managed Expenditure can be measured by the total of spending under resource and capital budgets, less non-cash items in AME. Data for 1998–99 to 2001–02 were published in the 2003 Departmental Report (Cm 5916).Due to the devolved nature of the Department's budgets, complete information of total spending for all budgets on Information Technology (IT) is not held centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, spending by the Department of Trade and Industry from its centrally gross controlled Administration Costs Budgets on IT was £12.1 million in 1998–99, £10.4 million in 1999–2000, £14.9 million in 2000–01, £18 million in 2001–02 and £21.2 million in 2002—03.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on recent discussions she has held with (a) the UN, (b) the EU and (c) the United States Government on the reconstruction of Iraq. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: I have had no recent discussions with either the UN or the EU on the reconstruction of Iraq.As I informed the hon. Member on 1 April 2003,
Official Report, column 624W I have discussed post-conflict issues with Andrew Natsios of US AID.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many requests for assistance with tendering for business in Iraq her Department has received from UK companies. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: British Trade International has received hundreds of requests for advice from UK companies on how they might pursue contract opportunities in Iraq. We have almost 1,000 companies registered on our Iraq database.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of her Department's contribution to assisting UK businesses who have registered interest in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. 
A key objective of the Department has been to help position UK companies to ensure that their expertise and knowledge of the Middle East region is put to the fullest possible use in the redevelopment of Iraq.The hon. Member is aware of the main activities we have undertaken to assist companies, including our discussions with the US authorities. At my request, British Trade International set up an Industry Working Group, which will act as a channel of communication to industry in our work to help companies access opportunities. We have a database of nearly 1,000 UK companies interested in working in Iraq and to whom we send mailshot updates. We also held a joint seminar with the US authorities in London on 23 May 2003, which presented an excellent opportunity for UK companies to meet key US departments and contractors. Feedback received from members of the Industry Working Group and other has so far been positive. The redevelopment of Iraq will be a long process and it is too early to make an assessment of our efforts to help companies.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which companies her Department has assisted in winning contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. 
We expect UK companies to play a significant role in the redevelopment of post-conflict Iraq. In the short-term, US funded contracts are likely to be the main source of opportunities for UK companies on a sub-contract basis. While we expect UK companies to bid for and win contracts, companies are not obliged to inform us if and when they have done so.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Secretary of State for International Development, (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (c) the Prime Minister about the reconstruction of Iraq. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: The Cabinet and Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Iraq has regular discussions on all aspects of our policy towards Iraq, including reconstruction.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the setting up of the medical review panel on miners' compensation; and when the panel will begin its work. 
The Review Panel is a feature of a revised version of the medical disputes procedure proposed by the claimants" solicitors and currently under discussion between the parties. A good measure of progress has been made on this issue and it is hoped that agreement can be reached in the near future.In the meantime, the original version of the medical disputes procedure continues to operate in draft, as agreed by the parties. There is no bar to a claimant bringing a dispute under this version of the medical disputes procedure until the revised version is finalised.
Near Earth Object Task Force
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made on the recommendations contained in the Government's Near Earth Object Taskforce Report; how much money has been spent since January 2001 on implementing the recommendations contained in the Government's Near Earth Object Taskforce Report; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government issued its response to the Taskforce Report in February 2001 and an update to the response was issued in January 2002. A key objective for the Government in supporting the thrust of the Task Force's Report was to raise international awareness of this issue and thus to achieve international cooperation in getting to grips with the issues. I believe that this has been achieved. For example, in January 2003 the Global Science Forum of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development held a workshop dedicated to the subject, and a report of this workshop will be considered at a July 2003 meeting of the group.DTI has committed a sum of around £460,000 to the area of Near Earth Objects between January 2001 and March 2004. An update on progress will be provided in the autumn.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to tackle trade barriers (a) between African countries and the United Kingdom and (b) between African countries; and if she will make a statement. 
The UK is working through the EU for a fairer international trading system for all WTO members, with a particular emphasis on developing countries. To maximise the benefits of trade to all African countries the Government are working for the elimination of trade barriers both between themselves and with the EU. This needs to be done in a carefully sequenced manner, together with appropriate complementary policies so that the benefits of freer trade are maximised. The Government are working in partnership with developing countries, the EU and multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, to help developing countries capture new trading opportunities and thus trade their way out of poverty.In addition, in terms of tackling trade barriers between Africa and the EU, there are several complementary agreements between the EU and Africa. With South Africa there is the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement, which provisionally came into force in 2000 and which aims to create a free trade area between the EU and South Africa over 12 years. In the North there is the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership which aims to establish a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area with 12 Mediterranean Partner Countries, four of which are in North Africa, by 2010.For Sub-Saharan Africa under the "Everything But Arms" initiative all products from the 32 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) already have duty and quota-free access to the EU, with phase in periods for bananas, sugar and rice.Finally, the UK hopes that the recently launched negotiations under the Cotonou Agreement for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific. (ACP) countries, including all African countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), will play a significant role in reducing trade barriers between African countries themselves and with the EU. As a result of the negotiations the UK would like to see an outcome which gave all ACP countries duty and quota-free access to the EU.
Uk Liability Insurance Market
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Office of Fair Trading fact-finding study into the UK liability insurance market will be published. 
The Office of Fair Trading fact-finding study into the UK liability insurance market was published on 3 June 2003.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the Competition Commission inquiry into the supply of prescription-only veterinary medicines; and if she will make a statement. 
The Competition Commission's recommendations and proposed remedies are intended to lead to greater choice and price transparency for animal owners, to increase competition in the market for veterinary medicines while ensuring that we continue to protect both human and animal health.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has asked the Office of Fair Trading to consult with relevant parties on the appropriate terms of orders to implement the Commission's remedies under the Fair Trading Act 1973.The regulatory controls relating to the supply of veterinary medicines in the UK are the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently considering the Competition Commission's recommendations relating to the veterinary medicines regulatory system. The Government will publish its response by 10 July 2003.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with which bodies she has had discussions on the recommendations contained in the Competition Commission Report, Veterinary Medicines: A Report on the Supply Within the United Kingdom of Prescription-only Veterinary Medicines. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has asked the Office of Fair Trading to consult with relevant parties on the appropriate terms of orders to implement the Commission's remedies under the Fair Trading Act 1973. These include the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Veterinary Association, and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. After the OFT have reported back, my right hon. Friend will then consult publicly on the terms of the orders.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which industries her Department has identified as the major users of wood residue in the United Kingdom. 
The Department has not undertaken any specific analysis of the major users of wood residue in the UK. However, it is understood that a significant proportion of wood residue is used in the manufacture of wood composite board for the construction and furniture manufacturing industries.
Culture, Media And Sport
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards the funding of chamber orchestras. 
Through their recently announced spending allocations for 2004–05 to 2005–06 Arts Council England is to support a portfolio of seven chamber orchestras to serve those areas of the country which currently have little or no access to orchestral provision, and to ensure a rich mix of provision in other areas. As a result of these allocations, funding for the chamber orchestra sector will increase from £1.34 million this financial year to £1.97 million in 2005–06 or 47.2 per cent.Main beneficiaries of this increase include:
leading contemporary music ensembles—London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Britten Sinfonia
the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment—one of the country's busiest and most versatile period-instrument orchestras
mainstream chamber orchestras with an already established regional presence—City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Manchester Camerata.
In addition, the Arts Council invests around £350,000 a year through project funding to support chamber orchestras to tour nationally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. 
The information requested is in the following table. Please note these figures are for the correspondence section only. They do not include Ministerial Private Staff or staff in the Parliamentary Unit.
|Year||Staff Employed in the Correspondence Unit|
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. 
Following the 2000 Spending Review the Department conducted a benchmarking study of value for money in bodies funded by the Department. This resulted in the 2002 Spending Review PSA target to improve significantly the value for money of the Department's sponsored (Museums and Galleries and Lottery Distributing) bodies, measured by a matrix of NDPB indicators.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what provisions of the Licensing Bill will apply to individual musicians performing in pubs; and if she will make a statement. 
The Licensing Bill provides in clause 1 that the provision of regulated entertainment is a licensable activity. Schedule 1 to the Bill defines the provision of regulated entertainment and provides that the descriptions of entertainment include a performance of live music. Accordingly, subject to the conditions and exemptions in the Bill, live musical performances in pubs would require the authorisation of a premises licence, a club premises certificate or a temporary event notice. Under clause 134 of the Bill an offence is committed if a person carries on, attempts to carry on, or knowingly allows to take place, unauthorised licensable activities. However, entertainers such as musicians performing in pubs, who perform at unlicensed venues and do nothing else in relation to the provision of regulated entertainment would not be committing this offence.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many charities in the Birmingham, Erdington constituency have (a) applied for and (b) claimed awards from the Heritage Lottery Fund in each year since the National Lottery began. 
Applications have been received from, and grants made to, two organisations: St. Barnabas Church, Erdington in Financial Year 1998–99 and Erin Go Bragh GAA & Camogie Club in Financial Year 2002—03.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) measures she has taken and (b) resources she has committed to promote the (i) writing, (ii) reading and (iii) archiving of poetry in each of the last five years. 
This is essentially a matter for Arts Council England, which funds a range of organisations concerned with the development of poetry, with a particular emphasis on readers and writers. The following table supplied by the Arts Council contains the information requested by my hon. Friend. These figures refer only to funding from the national office and do not include any regional funding or lottery spend.
|Total literature spend (grant in aid)||1,426,906|
|Total poetry spend1||785,350|
|Total literature spend (grant in aid)||1,551,016|
|Total poetry spend||1,102,266|
|Total literature spend (grant in aid)||1,706,889|
|Total poetry spend||998,790|
|Total literature spend (grant in aid)||1,498,034|
|Total poetry spend||1,008,900|
|Total literature spend (grant in aid)||1,468,645|
|Total poetry spend||1,068,790|
|1 These figures are for organisations that focus entirely on poetry and also for organisations that have an element of poetry. They do not include monies spent by the old Regional Arts Boards.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much public money has been given in each of the last five years for which figures are available to support local temporary radio stations operating under a short-term licence; and how much of that funding was channelled through the Countryside Agency. 
This department does not hold a central fund offering financial assistance to local temporary radio stations. Information on how these stations are funded is not held centrally.The Countryside Agency does not offer any grant schemes which target radio stations.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of (a) current and (b) projected use of voice recognition in the production of closed caption television subtitles; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: None. However, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) monitors developments in subtitling technology which includes systems currently available for using voice recognition.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made by her Department of the (a) literacy and (b) other benefits of the provision of closed caption television subtitles for viewers for whom English is their second language; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: None. The primary purpose of subtitles is for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, rather than people whose first language is not English. All ITC research to date looks at comprehension by people with hearing impairments.The ITC Guidance on Standards for Subtitling does give guidance on enhancing the comprehension of subtitles. This guidance focuses on two areas—the first is aimed at reducing the number of words on the screen by re-phrasing to reduce the complexity of a sentence while maintaining the original meaning; the second area is aimed at the reading comprehension of children.
Olympic Games (London)
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment VisitBritain has made of the impact of holding the Olympic Games in London on (a) visitor numbers in London, (b) visitor displacement from London and (c) visitor numbers in Scotland; and if she will make a statement. 
The British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council each submitted their assessments to the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on 14 January 2003. Their assessments were published on 21 January 2003 in the Select Committee report, "A London Olympic Bid for 2012".The Select Committee's report can be found at: http:// www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmcumeds/268/26802.htmCopies of the report are available in the Vote Office.
World Tourism Organisation
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she plans to review the Government's decision not to rejoin the World Tourism Organisation. 
The Government has reconsidered the question of UK membership of the World Tourism Organisation and, on balance, concluded that there would not be value for money in joining.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards funding youth orchestras in Sefton. 
This is a matter for Arts Council England.Arts Council England funds the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) and the Halle Orchestra, both of which run very successful and active youth orchestras. Both youth orchestras work in Sefton and more widely in the north-west.
In addition to this, Arts Council England also fund the National Foundation for Youth Music (Youth Music), which provides music making opportunities for young people throughout England. Youth Music has 20 Youth Music Action Zones around the country, including one which works in Sefton and the rest of Merseyside. The Action Zone works with local authorities, training institutions, community organisations, regeneration organisations, local radio, disability forums, youth services, EAZs, schools and music organisations throughout Merseyside.
Work And Pensions
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people entered Work-Based Learning for Adults in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The information requested is in the table. Figures provided are for England only, as responsibility for Government-funded training in Wales and Scotland is devolved to the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament respectively.
|Work-Based Learning for Adults (WBLA)—Delivered by Training and Enterprise Councils|
|Starts to WBLA|
DfEE WBLA Trainee Database
Work Based Learning for Adults (WBLA)—Delivered by Jobcentre Plus
Starts to WBLA
|April 2002 to December 02||53,200|
DWP WBLA Evaluation Database
Several factors have contributed to the reduction in the numbers of people starting Work-Based Learning for Adults (WBLA) since 1997. These include: the fall in unemployment since 1997; the restriction of WBLA provision to people aged 25 and over (excluding exempt groups) following the introduction of New Deal for Young People; and the introduction of New Deal 25 plus in April 2001. This resulted in JSA recipients unemployed for over 18 months becoming ineligible for Work Based Learning for Adults.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in meeting his Department's targets on eliminating child poverty. 
Poverty is a complex and multidimensional problem. We published 'Opportunity for all—Fourth Annual Report' (Cm 5598) in September 2002, which sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty arid social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy.In April 2002 we published 'Measuring child poverty: a consultation document' to gather views on an appropriate measure of child poverty for the long term. We published the preliminary conclusions of our consultation on 14 May 2003.Progress has been made on the Public Service Agreement (PSA) target, shared by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury, to reduce the number of children in low-income households by at least a quarter by 2004. Data for this are published in `Households Below Average Income 1994/95 to 2001/ 02'. On this measure the number of children in low income fell by around half a million between 1996–97 and 2001/02. The baseline for the PSA target is 1998–99. We are making steady progress towards the target.The Public Service Agreement target technical note, available on the internet and in the library, contains full details of how the target will be monitored.
Disability (Administration Costs)
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will break down by category of expenditure the total net administration costs for disability for 2003 set out in Table Five of the Annual Report of the Department, Command Paper 5921; and if he will make a statement. 
Information is not currently available at the level of detail requested. In accordance with the requirements of Resource Accounting and Budgeting the Department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by Strategic Objective, as set out in its Public Service Agreements (PSA), and by individual Requests for Resources (RfRs), as set out in the Departmental Estimates and Accounts and as reproduced in Table 5 of the Department's Annual Report, a copy of which is available in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans he has to reform the capital rules on means-tested savings. 
When the Pension Credit is introduced in October this year, the rules excluding pensioners with £12,000 or more in savings from any help will be abolished. Savings of £6,000 or less (£10,000 or less for those in care homes) will be disregarded in full.The rate at which we assume income from capital in excess of the £6,000 (£10,000 where appropriate) will be set at £1 in £500, which is half the rate currently assumed for the minimum income guarantee. In addition any assumed income will count towards the savings credit. Overall this means that savings will be treated five times more generously than under minimum income guarantee.We have no plans to make any further changes to the capital rules.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken on pensions to ensure that all those potentially eligible for the pension credit are individually advised of their right to claim. 
The Pension Service has begun to write to pensioner households to explain pension credit and to invite applications. Around £1.8 million people who currently receive the minimum income guarantee have been told that they will be transferred automatically to pension credit, ready for payments to be made from October 2003. In addition, by June 2004, around £6.8 million pensioner households will have been issued with a direct mail pack. This systematic approach will be supported by regional and national advertising.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pension credit direct mailing packs have been distributed; and of those, how many pension credit applications have been received via (a) the pension credit hotline and (b) other methods. 
As at 25 May 2003, around 64,000 pension credit direct mail packs have been issued to pensioners. Of these, around 15,000 applications have been taken by the pension credit application line and a small number of applications have been completed through the Pension Service local service teams.The advance application period has been running for only seven weeks. Since there is a time lag between the issue of the mail pack and the subsequent completion
|4th Contact Ltd.||Meridian||Countrywide Assd Caspil|
|Aberdeen city council||Merseyside Pension Fund||Countrywide Assd Vax|
|Aircraft Research Ass Ltd.||MISYS||Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society|
|Albany International Ltd.||Molins||Prudential|
|Alusuisse Holdings||Nationwide Pension Fund|
|Aspen Plc||NEC Staff Pension Scheme|
|Bacon & Woodrow||NORTEL Networks UK Pension Trust Ltd.|
|Barnet CC||Northern Lighthouse Board|
|Cable & Wireless||Oxford Instruments|
|Capita Hartshead||Partridge Muir & Warren|
|Caterpillar UK Ltd.||Nationwide Pension Fund|
|DWP PCSPS||Reliance Mutual|
|DWP Cheshire||Rexam PLC|
|Durham county council||Ready Mix Concrete|
|Field Group Plc||Stock Exchange Centralised Pension Fund|
|FMC Chemicals Pension Plan||Thames Water|
|The BOC Group|
|FMC Corp (UK) Pension Plan||Vencel Resil Ltd.|
|J Sainsbury Plc||Woodgate Fulfilment Ltd.|
|Kent county council|
|Menzies Distribution Ltd.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the threshold for payment of compensation for delays in processing retirement pensions was set at eight months. 
Under the terms of the department's discretionary financial redress scheme compensation may be considered where payments are unreasonably and exceptionally delayed due to official error. An
and return of the application, direct comparison of figures is difficult at this stage.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether pensioners who do not make a pension credit application using the pension credit hotline will be able to request an application form; and if he will make a statement. 
Pensioners who do not want to use the freephone service available to take their pension credit application and wish instead to complete a paper application form will have their contact details taken by the Pension Service and a paper application form will be sent to them around October 2003. From October 2003, paper application forms will be issued as and when they are requested.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) employers and (b) pension providers issuing combined pension statements to their employees and policy holders. 
The information in the table lists employers and pension providers who are issuing combined pension forecasts to their employees and policy holders. There are 42 employers listed and four providers. An additional 19 companies are registered and a further 454 companies have expressed an interest in taking advantage of the combined pension forecasting service and are at varying stages of the recruitment process.objective indicator, specific to each benefit or pension, is employed to assess whether excessive delay has occurred. Available records indicate that a period of eight months has been used since 1 April 1995 for the purpose of calculating delay in payment of retirement pension.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to increase pension provision in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
The Green Paper 'Simplicity, Security and Choice: working and saving for retirement' Cm 5677 set out proposals designed to give people more options to save more or work for longer in order to meet their expectations in retirement.I hope to be able to make an announcement next week on the action we intend to take following the Green Paper consultation process.