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Written Answers

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 10 June 2003

Prime Minister

Aid (Colombia)

To ask the Prime Minister who has been invited to the aid donors meeting on Colombia to be held on 10th July. [118601]

The US, European Commission, UN EU member states, Canada, Japan Norway, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the Inter-American Development Bank. IMF and the World Bank have been invited to the meeting. Representatives from civil society will be invited to contribute.

Intelligence

To ask the Prime Minister if he will undertake to inform the House that editing has taken place in the event that he exercises his power to edit a report of the Intelligence and Security Committee. [118444]

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 150, what steps have been taken by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) to establish the identity of the individuals within the SIS who have been speaking anonymously to the media; what form the investigations have taken; what the terms of reference are; who is leading the investigation; when it is expected to report; to whom it will report; and whether the conclusions of the investigation will be made public. [118585]

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) at Prime Minister's Questions on 4 June 2003, Official Report, columns 147–150.

To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to lay the Intelligence and Security Committee's Annual Report for 2002–03 before Parliament. [118558]

I am grateful to the Intelligence and Security Committee for their valuable work and their latest annual report. Following consultation with the Intelligence and Security Committee over matters which could not be published without prejudicing the discharge of the function and operation of the Intelligence and Security agencies. I have laid the report before the House today. Copies will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The Government will respond formally to the report shortly.

Tariq Aziz

To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 4 June 2003 Official Report, column 156, what process will be used in the trials of senior Iraqi figures, with particular reference to Mr. Tariq Aziz; and when he expects such trials to take place. [118592]

We have always believed that those who have been responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq should be brought to justice. No decisions have yet been taken on how this should be pursued. It should be for the Iraqi people to decide what action to take, with suitable international help.A team of coalition specialists has started assessing the situation on the ground, listening to the wishes of the Iraqi people and making recommendations for future action. UK forces have been tasked with securing and protecting evidence to hand over to the relevant prosecuting authorities at the appropriate time. The UK sent a team of none forsensic experts to Iraq on 21 May 2003, to investigate war crimes and mass graves.

Cabinet Office

Advertising

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the total expenditure on advertising by the Office was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114431]

Details of my Department's spend on advertising in each year from 2001–02 to 2002–03 and planned expenditure in 2003–04 can be found in the table.

£000
Advertising
2000–01464
2001–022,708
2002–03400
2003–04 Planned267
The 2002–03 figure is subject to final audit and the planned figure for 2003–04 has not yet been finalised. Therefore, both of these figures may be subject to change. The planned spend for 2004–05 is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.The increase in advertising expenditure from 2000–01 to 2001–02 is due to expenditure of £2,491,000 incurred by the Office of the E-Envoy for the UK online advertising campaign.

Departmental Employees

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many employees there were in each Department of State (a) in 1997 and (b) on the latest date for which figures are available. [118248]

The information is published annually, in Table C of 'Civil Service Statistics' which covers permanent staff numbers in each department and agency from 1995 to 2001, copies of which are laid in the Libraries of both Houses. The last edition, based on April 2001 data, was published in June 2002.The next edition, based on April 2002 data, is due to be published in July 2003.Alternatively, this information is available at the following address on the Cabinet Office Statistics website: http://www.civil-service.gov.uk/statistics/css.htm.

Ministers For Regulatory Reform

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the work of the Ministers for Regulatory Reform. [117774]

Regulatory Reform Ministers are responsible to the Prime Minister for championing better regulation. They are charged with removing any regulations, which are outdated or burdensome and ensuring that the new regulations are necessary and if so, are introduced in a light touch way.Regulatory Reform Ministers ensure policy officials deliver better regulation and make full use of regulatory reform tools, such as carrying out regulatory impact assessments on policy proposals and removing outdated and burdensome legislation by Regulatory Reform Order.These Ministers also support their Departments in completing the proposals outlined in the Government's regulatory reform action plan that was published in February 2002. To date they have achieved good progress in this area and we are on track to deliver this plan.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will list the meetings of the Ministers for Regulatory Reform since establishment; and, for each meeting, if he will list (a) Ministers attending and (b) the person in the chair. [117775]

Since the establishment of Regulatory Reform Ministers, they have met on 30 March 2000, 17 July 2001, 4 February 2002 and 2 December 2002. The Minister for the Cabinet Office chairs these meetings. Dr. Marjorie Mowlam chaired the first meeting on 30 March 2000 and Lord Macdonald chaired subsequent meetings. The majority of Regulatory Reform Ministers attended these meetings.

World Summit

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office 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. [113878]

The Cabinet Office does not have lead responsibility for any of the UK commitments arising from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).The Cabinet Office fully supports plans to incorporate UK commitments into Departments' delivery plans and related targets. We have dedicated resources to ensure that, where appropriate and relevant, UK commitments are fully taken into account in our policies and operations.

Health

Binge Drinking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many teenagers have died from binge drinking in each year since 1997. [117582]

I have been asked to reply.

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Paul Marsden, dated 10 June 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question concerning how many teenagers died from binge drinking in each year since 1997. (117582)

Figures for deaths from alcohol poisoning are given in the table. The most recent year for which figures are available is 2001. Information on the pattern of alcohol consumption is not generally available from death certificates.

Deaths from accidental poisoning by alcohol, teenagers

1

, England and Wales, 1997 to 2001

2

Calendar year

Number of deaths from accidental poisoning by alcohol

3

Number of deaths from drug-related poisoning, alcohol poisoning mentioned

4

1997317
199834
199929
200016
200146

1 Teenagers defined as aged 13–19.

2 Data are for deaths occurring in a calendar year

3 Figures are based on the underlying cause of death, defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision ICD-9) code E860 for the years 1997 to 2000 and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code X45 for2001.

4 Where both drug and alcohol poisoning are mentioned on the death certificate, international coding rules state that the death should be coded to the drug.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Passport Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her Answer of 15 May 2003, Official Report, column 436W, on the Passport Agency, for what reason the figure for the number of lost passports in 1998 is not available; what steps her Department is taking in conjunction with Royal Mail to ensure that passports are delivered safely to customers; and what assessment she has made of the reasons why passports are lost. [115527]

I have been asked to reply.Figures for passports reported as being lost in the post only started to be collated routinely and centrally in 1998 with the introduction of the current passport production system and new procedures for claiming compensation from the Royal Mail. Figures for passports reported lost in the post prior to 1999 are not therefore available.The UK Passport Service has had regular discussions with the Royal Mail about the loss of passports in the post and about options for delivery which might reduce the number of losses but at the same time minimise the inconvenience and additional cost to customers which such delivery arrangements might entail. The UK Passport Service and the Royal Mail also work together on investigations into the disappearance of passports in the postal system.As the hon. Member will see from my response to another of his questions on 3 June 2003,

Official Report, column 148W, the UK Passport Service is actively seeking to introduce a secure delivery for all passports returned to customers.

Passports are recorded as having been lost in the post when the passport applicant reports that he or she has not received the document. The three principal reasons why a passport may not be delivered are miss-routing because of incorrect addressing, loss within the postal system as the result of some processing error or theft. In addition it is possible that a report of a lost passport may be made if there is some delay between the passport leaving the UK Passport Service and arrival at its destination.

As recognised by the Cabinet Office "Identity Fraud: A Study" published in July 2002, identity fraud is a serious and growing problem for the UK and it is possible that this has contributed to the increase in passports being reported as having been lost in the post. However, there is no evidence currently available which could establish the degree to which the increase in identity fraud has resulted in the increase in reports of such losses

"Waste Not, Want Not"

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who has been appointed as project director of the multi-disciplinary operational task force to help advise local authorities on implementation of recommendation 28 of the Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not, Want Not". [111257]

The Government have accepted the Strategy Unit's recommendation 28 to establish a new local authority task force. Details were announced on 6 May as part of the Government's response to the Strategy Unit report. Given the centrality of this team to delivery of Defra's new waste implementation programme, a decision on a full-time appointment will be taken once the new waste implementation programmme Director takes up post on 2 June. In the meantime, a member of the waste implementation programme team has been assigned to take forward work on the new task force.

Accountancy Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost was of her Department's accountancy services in 2002–03. [117340]

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures the Government are taking to encourage the use of nonfood crops to generate electricity; and if she will make a statement. [117136]

The Energy White Paper, published earlier this year, sets out the Government's aim to achieve the production of 20 per cent. of the UK's electricity through renewable sources by 2020. Biomass, including purpose-grown non-food crops, could become one of the largest contributors to the renewables mix by 2020.This Department allocated £29 million under the Energy Crops Scheme to support the planting of short rotation coppice (SRC) and miscanthus, and the setting up of producer groups to supply SRC to energy end-users. £3.5m has been allocated to develop supply chains for energy crops and woodfuel, from harvest to energy end-users.£66 million is available to develop markets for biomass, including energy crops, in heat, combined heat and power, and power generation. Following the award of grants, officials are working closely with project developers to promote the potential of energy crops and biomass. Recently, over 200 farmers attended one such event near Swindon.The co-firing of energy crops with fossil fuels is permitted under the Renewables Obligation. Officials are working closely with the Local Support Teams set up under the Countryside Agency's Community Renewables Initiative, to develop biomass energy projects. At present, energy crops can be planted on set-aside land and receive payments under the arable area payments scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to encourage building of power stations to burn non-food crops for the generation of electricity; and if she will make a statement. [117137]

I have been asked to reply.The Government have supported the building of such power plants for a number of years, for example, through R&D support and the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation. The Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme, launched in February 2002 and jointly run by DTI and the New Opportunities Fund, has awarded £66 million to projects throughout the United Kingdom. The projects supported include heat cluster installations, combined heat and power plant and larger state-of-the-art power generation. Many of the projects will use energy crops like short rotation coppice as a significant proportion of the fuel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports she has received from Sheffield Hallam University on the use of biofuels as the result of work commissioned by her. [117547]

We have received one report from Sheffield Hallam University on the use of biofuels as the result of work commissioned by this Department. The report, titled "Evaluation of the comparative energy, global warming and socio-economic costs and benefits of biodiesel", was commissioned to support the work of the Government-industry forum on non-food uses of crops. The report is available on the Department's website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Minister in her Department is responsible for developing agricultural policy on biofuels. [117591]

Two Ministers in the Department share responsibility for developing agricultural policy on biofuels. I have responsibility for promoting non-food crops in general and for the climate change benefits of biofuels. My Noble friend Lord Whitty, has responsibility for sustainable farming, the overview of relations between Defra and the Department for Transport, and sustainable energy. We work closely to ensure coordinated policy.

Bovine Tb

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what health and safety guidance she has given to (a) farmers and (b) veterinary surgeons on the slaughter of heifers found to be infected with bovine TB. [109852]

It is standard practice for bovine TB reactors to be removed from farm as quickly as possible and slaughtered at an abattoir by a trained slaughterman. In cases where reactor animals are unfit to travel to a slaughterhouse, arrangements are made for slaughter to be carried out on farm by a knackerman, and for a post-mortem to be carried out by the State Veterinary Service (SVS).

As farmers or veterinary surgeons do not routinely carry out the slaughter of TB reactor animals Defra has not issued specific guidance on this.

Cap

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the Commission's proposals for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy on farms which entered into agri-environmental schemes before or during the reference period. [114092]

Under the Commission's proposals, entitlements to the new single payment scheme would be based on claims for CAP direct payments during a reference period running from 2000 to 2002. Farmers who reduced their direct payment claims during that period as a consequence of participation in an agri-environment scheme would, therefore, see that reduction fed through to their single payment entitlement. We have made clear to the Commission and Greek Presidency that the final agreement should include provisions to ensure that agri-environment participants are not disadvantaged. The Commission has now suggested that this could be achieved by allowing the choice of a historical reference period for the single payment scheme which predates an individual's agri-environment agreement(s).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is the Government's policy during negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural policy to seek to secure a national reserve amounting to more than 1 per cent. of the reference amount. [114093]

The Government believe that it is important to address the inequities in the initial allocation of single payment entitlements that would be created by the European Commission's proposals. The Commission has recently suggested that those inequities could be addressed through an increase in the range of farmers who would access the national reserve. The size of the reserve would then be increased by reducing reference amounts by up to a maximum of 3 per cent. and drawing in the entitlements of farmers who sold land after the start of the reference period.

Cotswold Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the grant aid to the Cotswold AONB partnership is due to be paid; and how much it will be. [118169]

The Countryside Agency is responsible for grants to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I have stressed to the Agency our expectation that timely information is given to outside organisations about the level of funding they should anticipate, and that figures should be finalised before the start of a financial year. The Agency has ensured me that it recognises the importance of timely decision making and will finalise the grant for the Cotswolds AONB, and others, as a matter of urgency.

Departmental Budget

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of her Department's budget was unspent at the end of the financial year, broken down by heading; and what proportion of the total budget this represents. [117368]

Actual outturn figures for the Department for the last financial year are not yet available, but Defra's forecast final outturn is expected to be within its final provision.

Genetically Modified Organisms

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers to declare an area GM-free are held by (a) her Department, (b) local authorities and (c) the European Union. [114046]

Under the Directive 2001/18, it would be possible for the relevant competent authority to authorise the deliberate release of a GMO subject to the condition that it may not be used in specific geographical locations on grounds of sound scientific evidence of risk to human health or the environment. Any such condition would have to be decided case-by-case. The Directive does not provide for limiting the geographical use of a GMO on any other grounds. If any GMO was assessed as presenting significant risks to human health or the environment, it is highly unlikely that it would be approved at all.

Integrated Administration And Control System

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to pay the proposed single farm payments in respect of all IACS-registered land, regardless of whether the farming activity being carried out during the reference period qualified for subsidy. [116488]

Under the European Commission's CAP reform proposals, Member States would have the discretion to implement the single payment scheme on the basis of a single common payment rate per hectare rather than individual rates determined by historic subsidy receipts. However, this option would only apply at the regional level and the common payment per hectare would have to made to all farmers in a region, whether their land registered for arable area aid purposes or not. If any such discretion is provided for in the final agreement, the Government will wish to consult interested parties before deciding what, if any, use might be made of it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many registered agricultural holdings for the purposes of IACS payments there were in (a) 1995 and (b) 1997; and how many there are now. [117523]

The number of registered agricultural holdings for the purposes of IACS payments for England and Wales is as follows.

EnglandWales
199579,43220,000
199777,82919,300
200368,00916,500

Landfill Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12th December 2002, Official Report, column 445–46W, on landfill sites, if she will list the locations of the sites against which each fine has been levied; and what the (a) reason for the action and (b) level of fine was in each case. [112428]

A list of the level of fine imposed for each of the landfill sites, where the information is available, has been placed in the library of the House. Some cases have not yet come to Court.The specific reason for the action is not recorded by the Agency but the legislation under which the prosection action is taken is indicated alongside each report. The list of incidents may relate to breaches of Authorisation rather than Pollution Incidents.

National Waste Minimisation And Recycling Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the final totals for all financial claims under round one of the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund were; and what proportion of the amount originally allocated this represents. [114208]

Information on the final totals for all financial claims made under round one of the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund including the separate arrangement for London is as follows:

2002–2003
Capital Spend Allocated (£ million)38.58
Actual Capital Spend (£ million)30.74
Proportion Spent (percentage)80
Revenue Spend Allocated (£ million)11.42
Actual Revenue Spend (£ million)10.47
Proportion Spent (percentage)92
The underspend on the capital budget is due mainly to delays in the procurement of capital items such as vehicles and boxes. The Department is seeking end-year flexibility to carry forward the remaining capital budget (£7.84 million) so it can be spent by Local Authorities in 2003–04.

Odours (Essex)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she has (a) evaluated and (b) applied under Environment Agency control to resolve the problems of odours in South Essex. [114662]

The Environment Agency is the Government regulator on waste management licensing controls. The Agency is visiting the site daily and has required the operating company, through the serving of a notice under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to take steps to control and resolve the problem of odours at the Pitsea landfill site. On-going compliance is being monitored extremely tightly.A final layer of waste is being put over one of the two sources of odour which will be followed by a clay 'cap' to seal it. The second and most predominant source of odour, from the central leachate lagoon, has been treated with oxidising agents which eliminate the odour rapidly, but there has been difficulty in maintaining this and a number of additional measures are now being implemented.I will continue to monitor progress in resolving the problems of odours associated with the Pitsea landfill site.

Organic Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had in 2003 with the chairman of the Food Standards Agency on the promotion of organic food; and if she will make a statement on the implementation of the organic action plan. [116797]

Copies of correspondence so far between myself and the Chairman of the Food Standards Agency on organic issues have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.As chairman of the stakeholder group taking forward the "Action plan to develop organic food and farming in England" I attach great importance to progressing the commitments made in the plan. In respect of these commitments:

I am in discussion with Chief Executives of the main multiples on the commitment to increase the proportion of organic food they source from within the UK;
We are taking forward the commitment to encourage the purchase of sustainable and local food, including organic food, in public procurement;
We have put in place a revised Organic Farming Scheme for England including on-going aid for organic farmers and higher rates of conversion aid for top fruit orchards;
We are providing an additional £5 million over the next five years to support organic R&D under the LINK programme;
The first organic statistical information notice for England was published on 19 May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department uses bodies other than the United Kingdom Accreditation Service for the accreditation of certification bodies operating in the organic food sector. [116756]

Currently the approval of organic certification bodies for the purposes of Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 is carried out by the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) in liaison with the Department. Consequent on the abolition of UKROFS in July 2003 new arrangements for approving the organic certification bodies are being put in place. These arrangements will involve UKAS, as the UK's official provider of accreditation services, in assessing the bodies and advising Government on their compliance with requirements in the Council Regulation. UKAS is considering the scope for collaboration with other bodies who are involved in assessments against organic standards.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has collated in respect of average journey times to transport material collected for recycling to its destination point for processing. [114262]

No information has been collated in respect of average journey times to transport material collected for recycling to its destination point for processing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential impact on the export trade of unsorted kerbside collected recyclables from English recycling schemes to Pacific Rim countries on economic regeneration in the UK, with special reference to the Government's Waste Strategy Proximity Principle. [114793]

No assessment has been made of the potential impact on the export trade of unsorted kerbside collected recyclables from English recycling schemes to Pacific Rim countries on economic regeneration in the UK. Local authorities must dispose of waste in accordance with the Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) which necessitates paying attention to the proximity principle. Waste shipments for recovery must meet the strict criteria that apply to shipments of waste to non-OECD countries under EC legislation. The criteria applied to these shipments of waste for recovery include, among others, that the waste is non-hazardous, not contaminated, and that any Pacific Rim country, if not an OECD member, will have clarified to the European Commission that it is willing and able to recover the waste in an environmentally sound manner.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take action to reduce the disparity between the cost of exporting unsorted recyclables and the cost of sorting them in the UK. [114794]

The Government's priority is to increase the amount of waste that is reused or recycled. It may be necessary to export some recyclate for recovery in order to achieve these aims. The Government however, is acting to extend the market for recyclates in the UK and has set up the Waste and Resources Action Programme to create stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products and to remove barriers to re-use and re-cycling in the UK.

Rendering Works (Lancaster)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to publish her final decision in relation to the proposed odour boundary condition at fats and proteins animal rendering works in Lancaster. [116759]

[holding answer 9 June 2003]: I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 11 March 2003, Official Report, column 143W, in which I stated that the Department was considering the representations received in response to the 'minded to' decision letter. That process has further necessitated making available to all interested parties copies of the representations received and inviting comments on them.Officials will shortly be presenting Ministers with recommendations on this appeal case, based on an analysis of all the representations received. A final decision letter will issue as soon as possible thereafter.

Sellafield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans will be put in place to reduce and eliminate the discharges of technetium-99 from the Sellafield re-processing plant. [116122]

In 1999 we started a process to reduce discharges of technetium-99 (Tc-99) from Sellafield. In that year the discharge limit was reduced from 200 TBq/year to 90 TBq/year and, at our request, the Environment Agency commenced a review of the discharges of Tc-99, to be completed ahead of the review of all other radioactive discharges from Sellafield. As required by the Agency, BNFL are currently working to intoduce an abatement technique known as "MAC Diversion", which we hope will be operational shortly. The introduction of that technique should allow the discharge limit to be reduced to 10 TBq/year (5 per cent. of the 1999 limit) by 2006. Further scientific evaluation is currently being carried out to determine whether an alternative abatement technique, based on tetraphenylphosphonium bromide, commonly referred to as TPP, could be used to allow the discharge limit to be reduced before 2006.

Timber

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is proposing to take on the recommendation of the ERM study into means of ensuring that government procurement policy sources legal and sustainable timber. [117603]

I am proposing to set up a central point of expertise on timber procurement (CPET) as recommended by the Consultants ERM. Its main activities will be to assess whether third party certification schemes and other independently verified evidence comply with the Government's requirements for its timber supplies and provide guidance for officials and suppliers.

Vital Villages Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding is available in 2003–04 to the Countryside Agency's Vital Villages programme; and what funding is planned for 2004–05. [118171]

The Countryside Agency currently has £17 million available in 2003–04 to fund the Vital Villages programme to help rural communities. I am pleased to say that demand for this funding is high and some £12 million has already been committed to grants in 2003–04.Planning figures for 2004–05 are extremely provisional until a number of reviews have been included, including Haskins Review of rural delivery and Defra's review of priorities set out in the Rural White Paper but for the time being a figure of £21 million has been included in the Agency's current corporate plan for 2004–05 for the Vital Villages programme.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to make waste minimisation and recycling mandatory for the commercial sectors to achieve a reduction in overall commercial waste levels. [115940]

The Department has no plans to make waste minimisation or recycling mandatory for the commercial sectors. However, there are already a number of mechanisms in place that are designed to achieve an overall reduction in commercial waste levels.The Government have set a target to reduce, by 2005–06, the amount of commercial and industrial waste going to landfill to 85 per cent. of 1998 levels. Current estimates suggest that we are on course to meet this target.The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended) set targets for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste and provide incentives to minimise the amount of packaging handled. Between 1999 and 2002, the amount of packaging waste sent to landfill fell from 5.7 to 4.4 million tonnes, although the 2002 figure is still provisional at this stage. The Government will additionally be setting targets for the recovery and recycling of electrical equipment.The Government have entered into a voluntary agreement with the newspaper industry, which has seen recycled content of newspapers increase to well over the target of 60 per cent. last year. The Government are looking to enter into more agreements of this kind.Envirowise, is a Government funded business support programme dedicated to making businesses more resource efficient, saving money by minimising waste. Last year alone, Envirowise helped UK businesses to achieve annual cost savings of over £175 million, with a reduction of 1.6 million tonnes of solid waste. It also funds the Sustainable Technologies Initiative that provides funding for research and development projects aimed at minimising waste at source.Finally, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is helping to create stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products, and remove the barriers to waste minimisation, re-use and recycling. This should help to make all recycling more commercially viable, including that which is produced by the commercial sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what incentives her Department is providing to local authorities to (a) offer effective and sustained educational resources for waste minimisation and recycling and (b) reduce the amount of waste that is exported to rural Bedfordshire; [115946](2) what steps are being taken by her Department to ensure that authorities in London and the South East act responsibly in their waste strategies to

(a) minimise waste at source, (b) rapidly increase recycling and (c) reduce the need for waste to be exported; and if she will make a statement; [115948]

(3) what incentives she will provide to encourage the London and South East waste collection and waste disposal authorities to act in partnership to develop joint waste management strategies to minimise waste and increase recycling; and if she will make a statement. [115944]

The Strategy Unit Report 'Waste Not Want Not' recommended that the Waste Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) take forward a programme of public education and awareness. The Government has accepted this recommendation and WRAP is now in the process of drawing up the detail of the programme. The majority of the resources allocated to the programme will support local authority education schemes.The Government have provided funding to local authorities through the Waste Recycling and Minimisation fund to enable them to increase recycling and waste minimisation in their areas. This includes funding for education and awareness programmesWe have issued guidance to local authorities on the production of Municipal Waste Management Strategies which states that the strategies will need to demonstrate how the authority will meet the objectives and targets set out in Waste Strategy 2000. We have set statutory performance standards (targets) for each local authority to increase their recycling and composting levels. A Strategy should therefore contain:

high level objectives for the service including statutory performance standards; and a time scale for achieving these:
a review of outcomes against previous targets or plans, and factors which have caused divergence;
identification and analysis of available options.

The Strategy should aim for the Best Practicable Environmental Option taking account of the proximity and self-sufficiency principles.

The Mayor of London has an obligation to produce a Municipal Waste Management Strategy for London on which he has to consult interested parties including other authorities. The Strategy should be in line with the Waste Strategy 2000. The Mayor has been given powers of direction to enable implementation of his strategy.

The Waste and Emissions Trading (WET) Bill will set landfill trading allowances for each local authority to limit the amount of waste that they can send to landfill. The Government have also announced that the WET Bill will be amended to require authorities in two tier areas (with some exceptions) to prepare a joint municipal Waste Strategy thus affording more opportunity for disposal and collection district authorities to work together.

All of these factors together should help reduce the amount of waste that is exported to rural Bedfordshire.

Deputy Prime Minister

Abandoned Vehicles

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many abandoned motor vehicles were collected in the district of Easington in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2002–03; and what the cost was to the local authority. [114714]

I have been asked to reply.The question on abandoned vehicles was asked for the first time in the 2000–01 Municipal Waste Management Survey. The numbers of abandoned vehicles reported by Easington district council are listed as follows:

Easington
2000–0114
2001–0224
The Department does not collect information on costs. Data for 2002–03 are not yet available.

Affordable Housing

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to revise the guidance given in Circular 6/98 with regard to the definition of affordable housing and the site size thresholds which trigger affordable housing planning gain. [118227]

"Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future" announced our intention to update the existing guidance on planning for affordable housing and, in particular, consult on allowing local authorities to seek affordable housing on smaller sites where this is justified. Any revision of the definition in Circular 6/98 would form part of this update.

Arson

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of fires (a) in retail premises and (b) on farms were caused by arson in 2002. [117893]

2001 is the most recent year for which data are available. In 2001, of 5,687 fires in retail premises, 46 per cent. (2,474 fires) were malicious. Of 1,267 fires in agricultural premises, 38 per cent. (486 fires) were malicious. Malicious fires are those where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many arson attacks there were on churches between 1998 and 2002; and if he will make a statement. [1 17894]

Data are only available for all places of worship, which includes churches. The following table contains the information on malicious fires up to 2001, the most recent year for which data are available. Malicious fires are those where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected.

Fires in places of worship, United Kingdom
19981999200020011
Malicious fires120175142167
All fires173278226262
1 Figures for 2001 are provisional

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many malicious car fires occurred in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and if he will make a statement. [117896]

In 2000 there were 62,964 malicious car fires in the UK (from a total of 82,002 car fires). In 2001 there were 70,107 such fires (from a total of 88,242 car fires). Data are not yet available for 2002. Malicious fires are those where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected.Arson is one of the major fire threats facing us today. That is why in 1998 the Government commissioned a study into the arrangements for dealing with the problem of deliberate fire-setting. The study reported in 1999 and made a number of far-reaching recommendations; the most significant of which was the creation of the Government-led Arson Control Forum to provide the strategic direction to the national fight against arson. The forum was launched in April 2001. The forum is now taking forward a programme of preventative measures that address arson in its many guises. The forum continues to fund a number of locally based arson control initiatives and has issued guidance on a variety of arson related subjects.Car fires comprise a considerable element of the deliberate fires problem and Government have taken a number of steps to address this. New powers will enable local authorities to remove unlicensed vehicles more quickly and tighten vehicle registration procedures. Also, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is looking at ways to improve the links between the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and local councils to make it easier to trace the owners of derelict or abandoned vehicles.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many homes were deliberately set on fire each day on average in 2002. [117897]

In 2001, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 14,769 malicious fires on dwellings in the UK, an average of 40 per day. Malicious fires are those where malicious or deliberate ignition was proved or suspected.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the amount of money arson fires cost the UK in 2002. [117903]

The most recent estimates are for 1999 and for England and Wales only. In that year it is estimated that arson cost the economy just under £2.1 billion.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the costs of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister were since it was established; what the planned expenditure is for 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [99924]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established as a result of the Machinery of Government changes on 29 May 2002. The forecast gross administration resource expenditure for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, (including Government Offices but excluding its executive agencies) for 2002–03 is £269 million; and the planned gross administration resource expenditure for 2004–05 is £264 million. These figures exclude capital additions and related non-cash charges.

Flooding

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps his Department is taking to ensure house buyers are aware of the risks involved with purchasing houses built on a flood plain. [117487]

Under the Government's proposals for home information packs, prospective buyers will be provided with key information about homes marketed for sale. Flood risk information is one of the items being considered for inclusion in the pack as part of the standard search arrangements. This proposal is set out in a consultation paper, "Contents of the Home Information Pack", published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 31 March 2003.Prospective buyer; and their professional advisers can already investigate flood risk. The Environment Agency publishes Indicative Floodplain Maps. These are available on the Agency's website: www.environmentagency.gov.uk in the section entitled "What's in your backyard". Prospective home buyers and their professional advisers can interrogate this site by post code to see the area in which a property is situated is at flood risk. More detailed information can be obtained from the local Environment Agency area office and from specialist commercial search companies. New homes should increasingly be located in accordance with the stronger planning guidance we issued in July 2001 in PPG25, "Development and Flood Risk", which sets out a sequential approach to the type of developments compatible with different levels of flood risk. To complement this new guidance, DTLR published, in February 2002, "Preparing for Floods". This sets out interim guidance for improving the flood resistance of all domestic and small business properties. It provides practical advice for existing owners whose properties are at risk of flooding and for those involved in constructing new properties or renovating old ones in flood risk areas. The information it contains is also of value to professionals advising purchasers on the flood resistant capabilities of properties within the mapped areas of flood risk.

Housing Transfers

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many large scale voluntary transfers of housing stock were made in each or the last five years. [118458]

There have been 116 large scale voluntary transfers (LSVTs) since 1997. The annual breakdown is tabled as follows.

Financial yearNumber of transfers
1997–9816
1998–9924
1999–200027
2000–0118
2001–028
2002–0323

Key Workers

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to include further education lecturers within the category eligible for key worker housing. [117554]

From 2004–05, funding for the provision of key worker housing will be integrated into the Housing Corporation's affordable housing programme and will target key public sector workers. The Housing Corporation expects to invite bids for key worker housing schemes at the same time as bids for other affordable housing schemes, in the autumn 2003. It will be made clear at that stage which key worker groups will qualify for assistance, taking into account the advice of regional housing boards.

Sustainable Development

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what remit relating to sustainable development is (a) required and (b) undertaken by his Department's (i) executive agencies, (ii) advisory non-departmental bodies, (iii) executive non-departmental bodies, (iv) tribunals, (v) public corporations and (vi) other bodies. [116846]

Departments have a remit to fulfil the "Framework for Sustainable Development" on the Government Estate. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister works to ensure it meets all agreed targets, and where possible, assists all of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies to do so.

Telephone Masts

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will abolish the 42-day rule for local authorities to refuse a notice for the erection of a telephone mast and replace it with a legal requirement that the erection of all masts should be the subject of a planning application. [117400]

On 22 August 2001, the Government significantly strengthened the planning arrangements for telecommunications development. One change was to increase the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications from 28 and 42 days to a uniform 56 days. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister strengthened public consultation requirements on mast proposals of 15 metres and below and for masts on buildings and structures so that they are exactly the same as applications for planning permission. We have no plans to change these arrangements.The arrangements of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister give authorities more time to consider proposals, but with consent deemed to be granted if no decision has been made after 56 days so that development is not delayed. This discipline is needed because many authorities are failing to meet their Best Value targets for determining planning applications. Authorities are able to turn down mast applications where they do not consider amenity aspects have been adequately addressed. The arrangements strike the right balance between improving consultation with local people and ensuring that the decision-making process is not open-ended, thus giving the 50 million people who use mobile phones the service they want.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received during the past 12 months requesting that the 42-day rule for local authorities to refuse a notice for the erection of a telephone mast should be extended; and if he will make a statement [117401]

In August 2001, we increased the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications from 28 and 42 days to a uniform 56 days. There are no plans to extend this period of time at present. The Government receive many representations on matters relating to the telecommunications industry, but we are not aware of any particular representations to extend the period for prior approval.

Waste Management

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the capacity of (a) incineration, (b) composting and (c) recycling plants for the years 1999 to 2002; what the estimated capacity will be for the years 2003 to 2005; and if he will make a statement. [115774]

I have been asked to reply.The following table gives the information available from the Environment Agency on the capacity of facilities for incineration, biological and physical treatment methods for licensed sites. The biological category covers composting, anaerobic digestion and other biological processes that change the properties of waste, while physical treatment covers processes such as filtration and sorting. Figures are not available separately for the capacity of composting and recycling facilities. The figures are the latest and only ones available for the years in question.

FacilityCapacity (Thousand tones)
1998–99Incineration4,501
2000–01Biological treatment16,096
2000–01Physical treatment18,226
Estimates of future capacity are not available.

Transport

Disabled Parking Permits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what figures he has collated on the number of disabled parking permits that have gone missing in the post after being issued in each of the last five years, broken down by local authority. [117112]

There is no legal requirement for local authorities to hold such records and the Department does not currently ask for that information as part of its annual blue badge statistical survey of local authorities in England. The devolved administrations are responsible for the scheme in other parts of the UK.The issues of misuse and abuse of badges were considered as part of the recent review of the Blue Badge scheme. In concluding the review some 47 recommendations were made to Ministers through the Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee, the Department's statutory advisers on the transport needs of disabled people, including a number of enforcement measures. The Government accepted most of these and will be taken them forward at the earliest opportunity. A summary of the recommendations and the Government's response to them was placed in the Libraries of the House on 18 December 2002.

A75

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on the A75 euro route between Gretna and Stranraer. [118319]

Congestion Charging

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on the impact of congestion charging. [117826]

The London congestion charging scheme is the responsibility of the mayor, not the Government. However, Ministers have regular meetings with the mayor at which a wide range of transport matters are discussed.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what targets his Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how he intends to achieve these targets. [116652]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Fisheries, Water and Nature Protection (Mr. Morley) on 9 June 2003, Official Report column 581W. [116654].

Equal Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on completing a pay audit in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and if he will publish the results of such an audit. [117429]

My Department and its agencies have completed the review of their pay systems encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Action plans for each have been produced. These will be placed in the Libraries of the House in due course after full consideration has been given to the issues identified.

NDPBs carried out reviews as a matter of good practice. As there was no formal commitment for them to do so, publication will not apply.

Football (Policing Costs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officers from the transport police were involved in policing the England football match at Leicester on 3 June; and what the cost was to the police. [118176]

The British Transport Police (BTP) have advised me that 70 officers were involved in policing the England v. Serbia football match at Leicester on 3 June 2003. The final cost to the BTP was just under £10,000.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made on the effect in terms of air traffic movements if the Crawford arrangement of Heathrow airport were ended. [118346]

Ending the restriction on easterly departures from Heathrow's northern runway, known as the Cranford Agreement, would not on its own have any effect on the runway capacity of the airport. To raise the capacity of Heathrow's existing runways by the introduction of a "mixed mode" pattern operations would require termination or amendment of the runway alternation scheme and the Cranford Agreement. The Government have no plans to introduce mixed mode.

Highway Winter Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) life expectancy and (b) total maintenance repair costs are of (i) vehicles and equipment involved in road gritting operations using rock salt as the primary de-icing material and (ii) vehicles and equipment not involved in such operations. [118095]

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Peter Robinson, dated 10 June 2003:

I have been asked by the Transport Minister, David Jamieson to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the life expectancy and maintenance repair costs of vehicles and equipment involved in road gritting operations and those not involved in road gritting.
The prime de-icing material used on roads in the UK is rock salt to BS 3247, or equivalent. The exception is on sensitive structures, such as the elevated sections of the Midlands Link and some bridge decks. Salt used on HA contracts has a maximum particle size of 6mm, this size being chosen as it gives a more uniform spread and readily goes into solution.
The purpose built salt. spreading vehicles designed and owned by the Highways Agency and operated by our Agents were designed with an economic life of 20 years. They were designed from the outset to be resistant to the corrosive effect of salt with special materials and protection incorporated in their design. The HA paid a premium over the cost of a standard salt spreader of 15% for these aspects.
The vehicles are maintained to standards laid down by the HA and average maintenance costs are in region of £6000.00 per annum per vehicle. The average age of the HA fleet is currently 10 years old and routine examinations demonstrate that they will fully meet their design life.
Equipment owned and operated by Agents and Local Authorities is specified to varying standards, from the lower specification type, which has a design life of 7 to 8 years to the higher specification equipment operated by some of the Design, Build, Finance and Operate companies with longer running contracts and a commercial view on reliability. Maintenance costs for the lower specification equipment cart be high due to the poor design and lack of non-corroding materials used in their construction.
The HA has no maintenance figures for vehicles not employed on other duties as these vehicles are provided by Agents.
If you would like further information Graham Rainbow at our Birmingham office would be pleased to help you. His telephone number is 0121 678 8008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the annual cost of corrosion on the highways maintenance budgets; and what proportion of that cost can be attributed to (a) structural maintenance and (b) repair of roads and infrastructure necessitated by corrosion from salt used for safety purposes each winter. [118098]

Information is not held to estimate annual highway maintenance costs due to corrosion alone.There are many other causes of deterioration on structures, such as physical damage, chemical attack, water damage, weathering and general wear and tear, and sometimes they occur con currently with the corrosion mechanisms. Structures maintenance work addresses all these deterioration processes.Approximately 95 per cent. of the trunk road is made of bituminous materials where corrosion is not an issue.

Highways Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resources were allocated to the Highways Agency in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [117731]

The resources allocated to, and consumed by, the Highways Agency in each year since 1997 are identified in Agency's published annual Business Plans for the years 1996–97 to 2003–04 and Annual Report and Accounts for the years 1996–97 to 2001–02.

Hotel Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the amount spent by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies on hotel accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) others, and if he will list the average cost per hotel room, in each year since 1997. [117565]

The detailed information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.All accommodation booked by Civil Servants is in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code.

The Government publish an annual report of ministerial travel overseas. The total cost of ministerial travel provided in the annual report includes the costs of accommodation. The information sought in respect of accommodation within the UK is not held centrally. All travel is conducted in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

Pensioners (Free Travel)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with local authorities regarding free travel for pensioners. [117859]

There have been no recent discussions with local authorities regarding free travel for pensioners.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with pensioners groups regarding national free travel for the elderly. [117862]

The Minister of State for Transport (John Spellar) met representatives from the National Pensioners' Convention on 7 April 2003, when the matter was discussed.

Rail Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many freight train miles were travelled in (a) 1997 and (b) the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [117745]

The figure for freight train kilometres for 1997–98 is 34,331 thousand kilometres. The figure for 2001–02 (the last complete year for which figures are available) is 49,105 thousand kilometres.

Rail Services (Disabled Access)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on people with disabilities, who have the use of a motorised scooter, having access to the rail network; whether he has discussed this issue with the rail industry; what guidance he has issued to them; and if he will make a statement. [118076]

Scooters are intended to provide local outdoor mobility for disabled people. The majority of train operating companies, and indeed other transport operators, will not carry scooters. Many are physically too big to fit in a train or a bus and are not sufficiently stable to travel safely in vehicles.It is a matter for individual operators to decide what is safe and appropriate for their particular type of operation.The regulations that have been introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act to require access for disabled people to trains and buses specify the maximum wheelchair dimensions that need to be accommodated. These dimensions are based on the international wheelchair standard and are bigger than the great majority of wheelchairs in this country. They are not, however, intended to accommodate scooters. They were set after extensive consultation and with the agreement of our statutory advisers on disability the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).We have been working with the wheelchair manufacturing industry to produce guidance for disabled people on the compatibility of the full range of currently available products with public transport. That guidance will be published very shortly.

Road Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken by his Department to reduce the number of accidents involving (a) cyclists, (b) pedestrians and (c) motorcyclists; and if he will list his Department's advisers on accident reduction. [117729]

Our Road Safety Strategy, "Tomorrow's Roads—Safer for Everyone", published in March 2000, set out the Department's proposals for achieving casualty reductions for all road-users, including cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. The Road Safety Advisory Panel, whose membership represents road safety expertise both within and outside government, reviews progress being made and discusses a wide range of relevant issues.

Thelwall Viaduct

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects work on the Thelwall viaduct on the M6 will be completed; and who will bear the costs incurred. [115245]

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

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Neil Turner, dated 10 June 2003:

I have been asked by David Jamieson to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about on-going works to the northbound bridge of the M6 Motorway Thelwall Viaduct, in Warrington, Cheshire. As you may be aware, this matter was the subject of an Adjournment Debate in the House on 12 May, secured by Helen Southworth MP.
The Highways Agency is responsible for the operation, management, maintenance, and improvement, of the trunk road and motorway network in England, including the Thelwall Viaduct, which typically carries some 150,000—160,000 vehicles per day. All but one lane of the viaduct carrying northbound traffic was closed in July 2002 following the discovery of a failed roller bearing. Detailed investigations were urgently earned out and these revealed other failures in the bridge roller bearings. Continuing intensive investigations found that all 136 roller bearings on the northbound viaduct should be replaced, before further traffic lanes can be opened on that structure. As you may be aware, the Minister stated during the Adjournment Debate, that it might take until March 2005 to complete all the remedial work. The Minister also acknowledged that the cost of the remedial work is likely to be substantial, but did not wish to say anything further on that aspect, given that the question of liability for the failed roller bearings is likely to be decided through litigation and the courts. Notwithstanding that, he also said that funds would be made available to the Agency to enable the remedial work to be carried out.
The current restrictions comprise three narrow lanes in each direction on the new southbound viaduct and a single lane on the northbound viaduct, to facilitate traffic leaving the M6 at Junction 21, for Warrington. There are advance warning signs on all the motorway approaches to the works advising of likely delays, but there is no convenient diversion route using the motorway network. We will continue to monitor traffic patterns closely and keep under review all possible diversion routes to mitigate the effect of the restrictions.
Laboratory testing and investigations into how the roller bearings have failed is substantially complete. These findings are being used to inform the design process for the replacement of the bearings and associated works required to bring the structure back fully into long-term service.
The Agency is conscious of the need to re-open the northbound viaduct as soon as is practicable, and is investigating the possibility of phasing the work to secure the early release of additional traffic lanes on that structure.
I hope this is helpful. If you would like any further information about this matter, you may wish to contact the Agency's Project Manager for the viaduct repairs, David Brindle, Room 406. Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, MI 4BE (Tel 0161 930 5653).

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research was undertaken on the impact of corrosion from de-icing chemicals on the bridge bearings of the Thelwall Viaduct on the M6 at the design stage: and what research has been undertaken since into alternative technologies that could reduce the levels of corrosion. [118096]

The risk of corrosion from environmental pollutants including de-icing chemicals on Thelwell Viaduct was minimised by using stainless steel and provision of enclosures (skirts) around the steel roller bearings. The majority of the bearing locations do not have expansion joints at the road level, thus reducing the risk of surface water and de-icing salts reaching the surfaces of the roller bearings.The effectiveness of non-corrosive de-icing agents has been researched over many years in UK and other countries. There are limitations on their effectiveness at low temperatures and the use of rock salt is then necessary. Such agents are used in the UK on some major bridges where the higher cost can be justified in whole life terms.

Travel Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the relative changes in the cost of travel by rail, bus and car over the last 20 years; and what estimate he has made of the future changes under the 10 year plan. [118102]

Real changes in the cost of different transport modes between 1974 and 1999 was shown in Graph 3c on page 22 of "Transport 2010: The Ten Year Plan" available in the Libraries of the House.The Department's latest forecasts for 2010 use a set of assumptions about the costs of travel in 2010, including future oil prices, fuel efficiency, and rail and bus fares. These assumptions are set out in "Modelling and Forecasting using the National Transport Model" (paragraphs 14 and 15). This document is available at www.transtat.dft.gov.uk/roadtraf/modelling/index.htm. These assumptions will be reviewed and updated as necessary as part of the review of the 10 Year Plan.

Trust Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what trust ports are classified as public corporations. [118593]

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 5 March 2003, Official Report, columns 1034–35W.

Uninsured Drivers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the overall cost of uninsured driving was in Britain in the latest year for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the average consequent increase upon a motorist's insurance premium. [117852]

Estimates from the insurance industry show that, in 2002, the cost of uninsured driving was £316 million. This is a running figure, which includes cases arising from accidents that happened (and were settled) during 2002 and also accidents occurring in previous years but only settled in 2002.The resulting increase in each motorist's insurance premiums is estimated at between £15 and £30.

Treasury

Capita Contracts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what analysis has been carried out by Government to establish, in respect of government contracts awarded to Capita, whether they have been delivered (a) on time, (b) within budget and (c) in accordance with the terms specified; and if he will make a statement. [117616]

The Office of Government Commerce, with the support of Government Departments, has identified a number of key suppliers to Government and has been working over the last year to improve our knowledge and strategic management of those suppliers, including Capita. The performance of Capita in respect of individual contracts is the responsibility of Departments who have entered into those contracts. Information about those contracts is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Euro (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on the agricultural sector in Northern Ireland if the UK joins the euro at the present exchange rate. [118443]

I refer the hon. Member to the Treasury's assessment of the five economic tests that was published on 9 June 2003 following the Chancellor's statement to the House of Commons (Cm 5776).

River Swimming Accidents

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in each year since 1997 have died in swimming accidents in rivers. [117580]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Paul Marsden, dated 10 June 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning how many children in each year since 1997 have died in swimming accidents in rivers. (117580)
The most recent available mortality data are for the calendar year 2001. Figures for each year from 1997 to 2001 are given in the table below.

Number of deaths by accidental drowning and submersion

1

, children

2

, England and Wales, 1997 to 2001

3

Accidental drowning and submersion

Calendar year

All

Swimming accidents in rivers

1997340
1998270
1999431
2000291
2001210

1 The cause of death was defined using the International
Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (1CD-9)

codes for the years 1997 to 2000, and, for the year 2001, the
International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10)
codes. The codes used were as follows:
All accidental drowning and submersion—ICD-9 E910, ICD-10
W65-W74;
Swimming accidents occurring in rivers—ICD-9 E910.2-E910.3,
ICD-10 W69.8 and W74.8, where 'river' and 'swimming' were
mentioned on the text of the death certificate.

2 Children were classified as deaths occurring to persons aged 10 to 15.

3 Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

Alternative Fuels

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to lower the duty rate on alternative fuels. [118425]

The Chancellor considers all relevant economic, social and environmental factors when deciding taxation policy. Any changes are announced by the Chancellor in the context of his Budget statement.

Asbestos

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117706]

The Departments for which the Chancellor is responsible have set up arrangements to achieve compliance with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 through contracts with private contractors or landlords as appropriate. Separate estimates of the costs of compliance are only available in some cases. The position in the different Departments is as follows:Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue and the Valuation Office seek to achieve compliance with contractors or landlords through detailed contractual arrangements. These include a requirement for asbestos surveys and the maintenance of accurate records.The Treasury has engaged the services of an asbestos consultant to verify the absence of asbestos.The Government Actuary's Department assure compliance through their landlord and are about to relocate to a new building.The Office for National Statistics, through their contractor, is about to commence a detailed Asbestos Survey estimated to cost approximately £80,000. National Savings, through their landlord, have surveyed sites to ensure compliance with the new regulations. Remedial work has commenced and costs are estimated at less than £1 million. The Royal Mint, through consultancy, are in the process of reviewing compliance via audit at a cost of no more than £1,500.The Debt Management Office ensures compliance through agreement with its Managing Agents.The Office of Government Commerce has carried out surveys of some of its properties, and will carry out surveys of the remainder in the next three months. The cost of the surveys and inspections will be approximately £28,000. The cost of remedial work commissioned to date is £213,000.

Benefit Take-Up

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he has taken to ensure that individuals who are entitled to receive working families tax credit, child tax credit and minimum income guarantee or pensioners tax credit apply for these benefits. [116288]

For Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, 1 refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 604W. Since that date further publicity has included television, press, radio and online advertising as well as direct mail to existing recipients.In respect of the minimum income guarantee I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that his Department have continued to build on the success of the national MIG take up campaign by introducing a shortened claim form, a new information leaflet and identifying potential entitlement following key life events such as reaching certain age points and new awards of other benefits.

For Pension Credit I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Pensions to my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 108W. Since that date The Pension Service have completed writing to around 1.8 million pensioners who currently receive the minimum income guarantee to advise them that they need to do nothing and that they will be automatically transferred to Pension Credit.

Child/Working Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people in Scotland are (a) eligible for and (b) in receipt of the child tax credit, broken down by (i) local authority and (ii) parliamentary constituency; [117094](2) how many people in Scotland are

(a) eligible and (b) in receipt of the working tax credit, broken down by (i) local authority and (ii) parliamentary constituency. [118253]

It is estimated that 430,000 families in Scotland are expected to receive the child tax credit and 90,000 families are expected to receive the working tax credit (including some who are also expected to receive the child tax credit). Estimates are not available for each local authority or parliamentary constituency.Statistics on awards of these tax credits will be published in August.

Council Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answers of 27 March 2003, Official Report, columns 335–36W, on council tax, if he will update his answers using the effects of taxes and benefits on household income 2001–02. [118271]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Matthew Taylor, dated 10 June 2003:

As National Statistician. I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking for an update for 2001–02 of the figures for council tax given in the previous answer of 27 March 2003 for 2000–01. (118271)
Estimates for council taxes and income are based on the analysis "The effects of taxes and benefits on household income 2001–02" produced by the ONS and published on the National Statistics website on 11 April 2003 and in Economic Trends in the May 2003 edition. The analysis can be obtained from the House of Commons Library. This includes measures of income inequality for the United Kingdom as a whole based on data from the Expenditure and Food Survey.
The following table shows the estimated gross and net council tax for all households in Great Britain and (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for each income quintile where households are ranked by equivalised disposable income. The net council tax figures are gross council tax less benefits and discounts. The table also shows the equivalised disposable income quintile point boundaries, which have been calculated separately for Great Britain and each country. For example, the first quintile point for each country is the income below which one fifth of households in that country are estimated to lie.

Council tax as a percentage of gross income, 2001–02

Great Britain

Percentages

Quintile groups of all households ranked by equivalised disposable income

Bottom

Second

Third

Fourth

Top

All households

Quintile points (equivalised disposable income, £ per year)

Great Britain10,44814,82220,13828,746
England10,57815,00620,54829,269
Scotland9,84613,57418,40426,409
Wales9,93414,17418,25925,245

Gross council tax

Great Britain7.14.43.12.31.42.5
England7.14.33.02.21.32.5
Scotland8.45.33.83.02.13.4
Wales6.23.42.62.11.42.3

Net council tax

1

Great Britain4.73.32.82.21.42.2
England4.63.32.82.21.32.1
Scotland5.04.03.32.92.12.9
Wales4.22.52.42.01.32.0

1 Net council taxes after deducting benefits and discounts.

Source:

Office for National Statistics, based on the analysis "The effects of taxes and benefits on household income' published on the ONS website and in Economic Trends No. 594 May 2003

Hotel Accommodation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the amount spent by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies on hotel accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (Al Ministers, (B) staff and (C) others; and if he will list the average cost per hotel room, in each year since 1997. [1175591]

Travel and subsistence spend for Treasury and agencies' civil servants
1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Core Treasury1,0691,4551,61911,7181,6112,019
DMO92691725
OGC1,5182,0202,124

Note:

The Debt Management Office did not exist as a separate body prior to 1998–99. The Office of Government Commerce did not exist as a separate body prior to 2000–01. OGC figures include OGCbuying.solutions

The Government publish an annual report of ministerial travel overseas. The total cost of ministerial travel provided in the annual report includes the costs of accommodation. The information sought in respect of accommodation within the UK is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All travel is conducted in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

Equal Pay

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made on completing a pay audit in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and if he will publish the results of such an audit. [117428]

The Treasury has completed the Equal Pay Review, this was undertaken jointly with the Unions. The final report has been agreed by both parties and was submitted to the Cabinet Office by end of April 2003. In due course the report will be made available to all staff and lodged in the Library of the House.

Figures for amounts spent on hotel accommodation for staff could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Figures for total travel and subsistence for Treasury civil servants, which include hotel accommodation, are given in the tables. All travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code.Although the audit does not specifically cover ethnic minorities and people with disabilities, the Treasury will be undertaking a review of these areas by the end of December 2003.

Eu Savings Tax Directive

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the ruling of the President of the Court of the First Instance of the European Communities that the imposition of the EU Savings Tax Directive on Britain's Overseas Territories is not a legal requirement that flows from the Directive itself. [115317]

The EU Taxation of Savings Directive is directly applicable to the member states of the European Union. It is not directly applicable to the dependent and associated territories named in the Feira agreement. However, the Directive will not come into effect until arrangements are in place with such territories to apply the same measures as in the Directive.

Investment Services Directive

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with (a) the Financial Services Authority and (b) the London Stock Exchange with regard to the proposed Investment Services Directive. [117464]

The Investment Services Directive is one of the topics discussed when Treasury Ministers meet members of the Financial Services Authority and those involved in the financial services industry.At official level, the Treasury and FSA (together with the Bank of England and the UK's Permanent Representation to the European Community) have a joint project team working on the proposed Directive. The project team has frequent contact with representatives of the London Stock Exchange, as well as representatives of many other financial services businesses, trade associations and consumer groups.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make a statement on the proposed investment services directive being considered by the European Parliament; [117465](2) what assessment he has made of the effect the proposed investment services directive will have on the level of competition in the share dealing market in the UK. [117680]

The European Commission adopted a proposal for a revised investment services directive on 19 November 2002. Discussions on the proposal started in Council working groups in January and are on-going. The European Parliament is due to begin its first reading of the proposed directive in July.The Government believe that the proposed directive should be assessed against the following objectives:

(a) to reduce the cost of capital in the EU by removing barriers to the supply of investment and market infrastructure services and addressing informational asymmetries in the retail market: and
(b) to maintain the integrity of the financial system.

Accordingly, the Government welcome in broad terms many of the Commission's proposals—and the progress made in Council working group discussions to improve these proposals. However, the Government remain concerned about several important issues, which need to be addressed before agreement can be reached.

In particular, the Government believe that the proposal for introducing a mandatory quote disclosure rule for investment firms would undermine competition between trading venues and discourage liquidity provision, leading to less efficient markets and worse outcomes for retail investors.

The Government also believe that investors should continue to be allowed to make use of low cost, efficient, execution-only services. As such, investment firms should have to assess the suitability of particular products for their clients only when providing them with advice.

The Government believe that there are ways in which the proposed directive should be amended in order to remove measures that could unnecessarily inhibit competition in the share dealing market—and thereby increase the potential benefits for consumers, including retail investors. Efforts are currently being made to secure these beneficial amendments to the draft directive.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he and the agencies for which he is responsible have commissioned into the cost of the proposed investment services directive for stockbrokers; and if he will publish the results. [117681]

The Treasury has had extensive discussions with representatives of financial services businesses and trade associations to ascertain the impact of the proposed investment services directive on the financial markets. These contacts have included a consideration of the potential costs —and benefits—of the proposed directive for stockbrokers.

Online Share Dealing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect the proposed Investment Services Directive will have on the lever of online share dealing. [117463]

The Government have considered the effect of the proposed Investment Services Directive on the level of online share trading.The Government believe that the proposed requirement for firms to carry out a suitability test before executing client orders would add significant costs to online share dealing services. These additional costs are likely to deter both firms from offering such services and customers from demanding them. Other things being equal, the proposed Directive would therefore be expected to reduce the level of online share trading.The Government believe it is important to ensure that execution-only business, such as online share dealing, is not compromised by over-burdensome and unnecessary regulation. We see such business as a helpful market development that facilitates freedom of choice and provides low cost access to a wider range of investors, thus allowing greater participation in securities markets.The Government are making every effort to ensure that the draft Directive is amended in such a way that will allow execution-only business—including online share dealing—to continue.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value of online share dealing was in each financial year since 1997. [117682]

Below are figures for the value of online share dealing for the financial years since 1999 (the first full financial year in which data were collected). These figures are taken from a survey conducted for the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers by ComPeer.1999—£5.5 billion2000—£9.6 billion2001—£8.8 billion2002—£8.3 billion.

Partnership Agreements

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there are any plans to conclude a partnership agreement with the trade unions representing the staff in his Department. [117447]

The Treasury has a long established tradition of having a good working relationship with the trade union side. The trade unions make an important contribution to work in relation to diversity, disability and health and safety. In addition to annual pay negotiations, regular meetings are held and a wide range of topics are discussed.

Prostate Cancer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in each of the last 10 years. [117899]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Vernon Coaker, dated 10 June 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning how many men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in each of the last 10 years. (117899)
The latest available figures for newly diagnosed cases of cancer are for 1999. The number of registrations of newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer in England for the ten year period 1990–99 are given in the table below.

Registrations of newly diagnosed cases for prostate cancer in England, 1990–99

Malignant neoplasm of prostate

1

199012,810
199113,328
199214,885
199316,263
199418,416
199519,041
199619,201
199718,961
199819,590
199920,850

1For the year 1991 to 1994. International Classification of
Diseases. Ninth Revision Code (ICD-9). Code 185.

Note:

For the years 1995 to 1999. International Classification of
Diseases. Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Code c61.

Source:

Office for National Statistics.

Regulatory Bodies

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are employed by, and what the budget is of each regulatory body for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1997. [117788]

HM Treasury is the Department with lead responsibility for overseeing the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA is a private company which operates independently from the Government. It sets its own budget, funded by a levy on the firms it regulates, and determines its own staffing levels. Details are available in the FSA's Annual Report, which is presented to Parliament.

Royal Mint

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action has been taken by the Royal Mint in response to the verdict of an inquest jury on 2 May 2003, that one of its employees was the victim of unlawful killing; and if he will make a statement. [118597]

The Royal Mint has always taken its responsibilities towards safety seriously and deeply regrets the death of one of its employees in an accident at the Mint in June 2001. The Mint worked closely and constructively with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) throughout its investigation into the accident, and has incorporated significant improvements into its overall safety procedures. No further action was required of the Mint in response to the verdict of the inquest jury.

Tax Credit Helpline

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answers of 15 May 2003, Official Report, column 384W, to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West, and of 8 May 2003, Official Report, column 719W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable), on the Tax Credit helpline, what additional resources were allocated to the handling of callers to the helpline; and what assessment he has made of the impact which the additional resources have had on the helpline service. [115703]

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement I made to the House on 28 April when I explained that the Inland Revenue had moved an additional 700 staff on to handling callers to the Tax Credit helpline. The helpline continues to be very busy, although as I said on 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 121WH, the number of calls to the helpline has fallen and the pressure is easing as the numbers of awards and payments rise.

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many emergency interim payments have been issued in respect of tax credit assessment errors in each week since 6 April. [115807]

The information requested is not available. An interim payment of tax credits may be made where we believe a family is due to tax credits but has not yet received payment, if the family would otherwise experience hardship.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the impact on other Inland Revenue functions of the transfer of local Inland Revenue staff to assist with problems associated with the implementation of the new tax credits system; and if he will make a statement. [117734]

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hamilton, South (Mr. Tynan) on 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 201W.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the reception to and uptake of the new research and development tax credit amongst the business community. [118166]

Rand D tax credits for companies that are small or medium enterprises (SMEs) were introduced in Budget 2000 and extended to larger companies in Budget 2002 to promote commercial R and D in the UK. The credits have been welcomed by business, and take up continues to increase, with 3,000 claims anticipated by SMEs in 2001–02, the latest year for which we have data.

Tax Evasion

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cautions and prosecutions have been proceeded with for tax evasion in each year since 2000; how much money was involved; what the total was of the penalties; and if he will make a statement. [118110]

Details of prosecutions by the Revenue are published in their Annual Reports, copies of which are available in the House Library. The total amount of tax that was the subject of criminal offences successfully prosecuted by the Inland Revenue in 2000–01 and 2001–02 was:

£
2001–026,201,945
2000–016,599,539
Penalties are not relevant in criminal cases sentencing is a matter for the Courts: however IR pursue criminal confiscation where appropriate and in 2001–02 obtained 15 orders worth a total of £3.77 million.

Tobacco Smuggling

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the external research used in 'Tackling Tobacco Smuggling.' [118010]

Relevant extracts from some routinely collected external data were used in the production of certain figures for 'Tackling Tobacco Smuggling', and the same data for subsequent years has been used in the documents 'Tackling Indirect Tax Fraud' and `Protecting Indirect Tax Revenue', all of which are published.Other external research to inform Tackling Tobacco Strategy was undertaken by Martin Taylor and in respect of that I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply given to the hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat Amory), on 5 April 2000,

Official Report, column 491W. Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information applies to the disclosure of Mr. Taylor's advice.

Welsh Language Helpline

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information has been provided to the public since last autumn through the Inland Revenue's Welsh language helpline; what the cost was; what information has been provided through the helpline specifically on working tax and child tax credit; and what proportion of expenditure this represented. [116827]

The Inland Revenue's Welsh Language Contact Centre opened in November 2002. It handles calls from customers who would like to conduct business through the medium of Welsh across the full range of the Inland Revenue's activities, including tax, national insurance and Tax Credits.In a full year the cost of running the unit is estimated to be £300,000. The Contact Centre aims to provide the same level of information, guidance and support on working tax and child tax credit as the English language counterparts.The cost of providing information and support about working tax and child tax credit in Welsh has not been recorded separately from the overall cost of operating the centre.

World Poverty Reduction

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution the UK is making to ensure that the 2015 targets for reducing world poverty are met. [117971]

Making progress on the 2015 Millennium Development Goals is a joint HM Treasury Public Service Agreement with the Department for International Development.The Government has made substantial increases to the aid budget. The UK's level of ODA will increase by £1.5 billion to reach 0.40 per cent. of GNI in 2005–06. This is the largest ever increase in UK aid, making a 93 per cent. real terms increase since 1997.By 2005–06, DflD's budget will grow to nearly £4.6 billion a year by 2005–06, including a £1 billion bilateral programme for Africa.However, to meet these goals. a UN panel and the world bank have estimated that the current level of aid will have to double. The UK Government continues to press the urgent case for an International Finance Facility to raise the additional finance needed.Agreement was made in the Communiques of recent G7 and G8 meetings to continue to focus on the Millennium Development Goals, and their financing, including the International Finance Facility. Finance Ministers' will report back to Heads of State on the IFF in advance of the Annual Meeting of the world bank and International Monetary Fund in September 2003.

Wales

English Patients

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many patients who are English residents have been treated in Welsh hospitals for each of the last five years for which records are available; and if he will list (a) the top 10 procedures carried out on such patients and (b) the numbers of each procedure carried out. [117281]

I refer my hon. Friend to the following tables:Table 1 shows the number of patients who are English residents who have been treated in Welsh hospitals for each year from 1998 to 2002.

Table 2 shows the top 10 procedures carried out on such patients and the numbers of procedures carried out over the last five years.

Number of English residents treated in Wales from 1998 to date

Admission year

English patients

199811,251
199910,942
200010,970
2001

111,319

2002

112,476

1 Data for 2001 and 2002 is provisional and subject to amendment.

Top 10 procedures carried out on English residents treated in
Wales 1998–2002

Procedure name

English patients

1. Other closed reduction of fracture of bone1,019
2. Normal delivery971
3. Continuous infusion of therapeutic substance877
4. Prosthesis of lens863
5. Diagnostic endoscopic examination of bladder752
6. Other intravenous injection676
7. Primary open reduction of fracture of bone and intramed658
8. Primary open reduction of fracture of bone and extramed541
9. Other operations on penis450
10. Diagnostic fibreoptic endoscopic exam/upper gastrointe424

Source:

Health Solutions Wales. Information provided to the third
character rubric.

Future Of Europe Convention

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days in the last three months he has spent attending the Convention on the Future of Europe. [117526]

Ministerial Meetings

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what meetings he has held with (a) Education Secretaries in the National Assembly for Wales, (b) the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales and (c) the Secretary of State for Education to discuss the subject of higher education funding in Wales since the publication of the Government's White Paper. [115058]

There have a number of meetings of Ministers and officials between the National Assembly for Wales, the Department for Education and Skills and the Wales Office to discuss funding of support for students in higher education in Wales since the publication of the Government's White Paper on the future of higher education.

Ministerial Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list each official visit in Wales he and his predecessors made since 1997, broken down by (a) constituency and (b) purpose of visit. [116630]

The information requested is not held on that basis. However, since the creation of the Wales Office in 1999, my predecessor and I have undertaken a wide range of visits and official engagements in Wales. These have included visits to local employers, police authorities, universities and voluntary organisations, farms and tourism outlets and local authorities. I have also addressed a number of major conferences and given keynote speeches to a variety of organisations in Wales.

Culture, Media And Sport

European Television Programming

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who is responsible for enforcing the quota for original European television programming specified in Television Without Frontiers; what steps have been taken so far; who will be responsible after the enactment of the Communications Bill; and if she will make a statement. [117656]

To date, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been responsible for reporting to the European Commission, biennially, in accordance with Article 4.3 of the Television Without Frontiers Directive. Performance by UK licensed broadcasters has been considered by the Commission in accordance with Articles 4 and 5, and therefore, no enforcement action has been required.Future responsibility for quota provisions will be a matter for discussion between this Department and Ofcom.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will ensure that the proportion of Lottery money currently provided to the voluntary and community sector will be protected and ring-fenced if a new lottery game is established following a successful London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. [117601]

Current estimates suggest that hypothecated Olympic Lottery games would have only a modest impact on the flow of income to the established good causes. The arts, sport, heritage and charities will continue to receive at least their current percentage shares of all other Lottery income until the end of the current licence period in 2009.The shares passing to the existing good causes will be subject to review at this time, as would have been the case had a decision been taken not to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Partnership Agreements

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to conclude a partnership agreement with the trade unions representing the staff in her Department. [117461]

The partnership agreement between the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the DCMS Trade Unions (comprising members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, First Division Association and Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists) was agreed in March 2001.

Pay Audits

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made on completing a pay audit in her Department and its non-departmental public bodies to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and if she will publish the results of such an audit. [117442]

DCMS completed its pay audit in July 2002. This found that there was currently no significant difference between average salaries of males and females. But the review recommended action to shorten paybands and conduct a further study of data by ethnicity, disability and working pattern.The Royal Parks Agency has completed an initial review, and plans to discuss the outcome with its Trade Union Side, in meetings on pay in the near future. No particular pay issues have been identified for the groups mentioned.

£000
Year11998–9911999–200012000–0112001–0222002–03
Sport49,36051,59352,57163,898112,100
Space for Sports and Arts1357950,460
1 Outturn
1 Plans
In addition to this the Department for Education and Skills has been investing the following resources into specialist sports colleges:
£000
Year11998–9911999–200012000–0112001–0222002–03
Specialist Sports Colleges3,6844,8229,52714,64123,500
1 Outturn
2 Plans
Sport also receives significant funding from Central Government mainly through local government block grant, as noted in 'Game Plan: a strategy for delivering the Government's sport and physical activity objectives', a joint Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Strategy Unit Report published in December 2002, page 33. This spending is not centrally recorded on a consistent basis, but 'Game Plan' suggested that in 1999–2000 £1,015 million was spent on sport and physical activity by local government as part of their block grant.

Subtitling

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what evaluation she has made of the practicability of establishing a regulatory regime and targets for closed caption television subtitling; and if she will make a statement. [117348]

A regulatory regime and targets for subtitling on analogue television were established in the 1990 Broadcasting Act. Further requirements were introduced in the 1996 Broadcasting Act, including subtitling on digital terrestrial television (DTT) services. The Communications Bill, which is currently

Although NDPBs were not formally covered by the Government's commitment to carry out equal pay reviews, the Departments NDPBs have either completed their own reviews or are in the process of finalising them and drawing up action plans. Information on these reviews is not held centrally.

Sports Funding

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding the Government has given to sport in each of the last five years, excluding lottery money. [116999]