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Written Answers

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 19 June 2003

Transport

Mobility Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from operators of mobility vehicles about the withdrawal of mobility breakdown cover by motoring organisations; and if he will make a statement. [120383]

We have received representations from a number of disabled people affected by the withdrawal of breakdown cover for these vehicles and we have discussed this issue both with the motoring organisations and with representatives of wheelchair manufacturers and suppliers. We will continue to support initiatives to offer a similar service in future.

Motorcycles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development and use of practical alternatives to permanent tints of less than 50 per cent. light transmittance in motorcycle visors for daytime use only; and if he will make a statement. [119929]

I have called for standards bodies to encourage the development of visor designs that lend themselves to both day and night time use. I understand that the relevant technical committee at the British Standards Institution has decided that the matter should be brought to the attention of the corresponding technical committee at the International Standards Organisation.In addition, the Department is planning new research on motorcyclists' helmets and visors that, among other things, would include work to:

  • (i) help develop requirements better suited to light reactive visor materials or other means of dealing with low sun and sun glare; and
  • (ii) evaluate new visor concepts.
  • The research is expected to start in September this year and finish by November 2005.

    Railways

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are for changes in the level of rail services in Scotland. [120076]

    The Scottish Executive are responsible for funding and specifying services in Scotland provided under the ScotRail franchise. The Executive, together with the Strategic Rail Authority, are working towards the re-letting of the current franchise, which ends in 2004.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 128W, on railways, whether Thameslink has asked for approval from (a) the SRA and (b) Network Rail to exceed the prescribed journey times; and if he will list Thameslink core routes and prescribed permitted journey times. [117274]

    The SRA have informed me that the information they gave me for the answer given on 12 May 2003 was incorrect. In consequence, the hon. Member was misinformed. I regret this has happened. The SRA have apologised for the error. The SRA have now told me that Thameslink have, in fact, requested and received approval from them to exceed the prescribed maximum journey times for the services listed in the table. The SRA have granted derogations as the prescribed journey times are being exceeded because of capacity constraints, and in several cases, because this allows services to be extended from Luton, where they would otherwise terminate, to Bedford. Network Rail does not prescribe maximum journey times.The approvals granted by the SRA are:

    Minutes
    ServicePrescribed maximum journey timeActual journey time
    Kings Cross Thameslink to Bedford (weekdays)
    17.427280
    20.067274
    Kings Cross Thameslink to Bedford (Saturdays)
    17.517274
    18.217274
    19.517276
    Blackfriars—Luton (weekdays)
    09.054950
    09.324950
    Blackfriars—Luton (Saturdays)
    17.274849
    17.574849
    18.274849
    18.574849
    The permitted journey times (for weekdays) specified for Thameslink's core routes are as follows:

    London Blackfriars—Bedford: 68 minutes provided that it shall be 60 minutes for 80 per cent. of services. If services call at Luton Airport Parkway, the maximum journey time shall be 72 minutes provided that it shall be 62 minutes for 80 per cent. of services;
    London Blackfriars to Luton: 47 minutes save that services calling additionally at Luton Airport Parkway may take 49 minutes;
    Kings Cross Thameslink to Brighton: 99 minutes provided that it shall be 85 minutes for 75 per cent. of services; and
    Kings Cross Thameslink to Sutton via Wimbledon: 68 minutes provided that it shall be 62 minutes for 80 per cent. of services.

    Sustainable Development

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what remit relating to sustainable development is (a) required of 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. [115730]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what remit relating to sustainable development is required by his Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) advisory non-departmental bodies, (c) executive non-departmental bodies, (d) tribunals, (e) public corporations and (f) other bodies. [116676]

    All of the bodies for which my Department is responsible are committed to the objectives set out in the Government's overall strategy for sustainable development, "A Better Quality of Life" (Cm 4345), published in May 1999. In addition, they are expected to operate within the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate.

    Uninsured Drivers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2003, Official Report, column 743W, on uninsured drivers, what the overall cost of uninsured driving was in Great Britain between 1997 and 2001; and what assessment has been made of the average increase in the insurance premium of a motorist in each of these years. [120042]

    Estimates from the insurance industry show that, for the years 1997 to 2001 inclusive, the estimated cost of uninsured driving was £1,280 million. This is a running figure that includes cases arising from accidents that happened (and were settled) during those years and accidents occurring in previous years but only settled in those years.For the year 2002 the resulting increase in each motorist's insurance premium is estimated at between £15 and £30, however no figures are available for previous years.

    Northern Ireland

    Age Discrimination

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109448]

    The Northern Ireland Office aims to ensure that its staff are treated fairly and equally by promoting equal opportunities policies whereby no employee or job applicant is unfairly discriminated against either directly or indirectly on a number of grounds, including age. All staff are provided with a copy of this policy.In addition, in compliance with its statutory duty under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Department has due regard to the promotion of equality of opportunity between persons in nine specified categories, which include persons of different ages. Both internal and outward focused policies and practices are screened to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on any of the nine categories, including those of different ages.None of the Department's policies has age restrictions except in relation to retirement. Since 4 October 2002, Northern Ireland Civil Servants employed in the Northern Ireland Office have had the option of remaining in post up to the age of 65, subject to satisfactory performance and attendance. For Home Civil Service staff working in the Northern Ireland Office, the subject of retirement age is under review. Staff were made aware of the change of policy by means of a general circular issued on that date.For Home Civil Service staff working in the Northern Ireland Office, the subject of retirement age is under consideration.The 11 Departments within the Northern Ireland Administration refer the hon. Member to their answer to the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Dodds) on 18 March 2003,

    Official Report, column 650W.

    Asylum Seekers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many asylum seekers are living in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Belfast, South. [119668]

    I have been asked to reply.The information is not available in the form requested.The availability of information on the location of asylum seekers in the UK is currently linked to the support the asylum seeker receives. Asylum seekers in the UK either receive support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS), local authorities or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), or are supporting themselves.At the end of March 2003, 190

    1 asylum seekers (including dependants) were being supported in NASS accommodation in Northern Ireland, of whom 1501 were resident in Belfast. Figures are not currently available for Belfast, South.

    At the end of March 2003, 251 asylum seekers (including dependants) were in receipt of subsistence-only support in Northern Ireland, of whom fewer than 20 were resident in Belfast. Figures are not currently available for Belfast, South.

    No information is held centrally on the location of residence of asylum seekers supported by DWP or who support themselves.

    1 Figures have been rounded to nearest five. These figures exclude cases where support has been ceased.

    Departmental Underspend

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much of the underspend by Departments in Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2002 will not be carried forward to the next financial year. [119045]

    The full amount of end-year flexibility (EYF) that Northern Ireland is entitled to carry forward from 2001–02 is being retained under the normal arrangements. Underspends to be carried forward into 2002–03 in respect of 2001–02 were originally based on an estimate of departmental spend made in the early summer of 2002. This has subsequently been revised to take account of actual departmental spend in 2001–02 and will be drawn down in 2003–04, subject to agreement by the Treasury.

    Of the actual underspend by Northern Ireland Departments for 2001–02, some amounts were outside the EYF arrangements: resources of £3.6 million in respect of the Interconnector scheme were not carried forward into future years. This was a specific ring-fenced and time-bounded scheme where the original allocation was not required in full. In addition, resources of –9.9 million in respect of the EU Peace and Reconciliation Programme I (EUPRP I) were not carried forward into future years. Due to changes in the Sterling/Euro exchange rates and other technicalities during the life of the Programme, these resources were not required to secure the full draw-down of eligible funding from Brussels.

    Under Treasury rules, some Reserve claims have to be deducted from the following year's end-year flexibility (EYF): in respect of 2001–02, amounts of £1.9 million had to be treated in that way. Also, as had been agreed following the 2000 Spending Review (SR 2000), the EYF claim was abated by an amount of £22.1 million to correct an over-allocation which arose in SR 2000. These had been allowed for in the planning of budgets and did not affect departmental budgets.

    Efficiency Savings

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114112]

    Within the Northern Ireland Office the efficiency target, built into last year's Spending Review outcome, requires the Department to continue to secure 2.5 per cent. efficiency savings annually in our core departmental administration costs. These core costs of £57.6 million represent 34 per cent. of the department's total administration cost limit.Within the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland Administration the 2003–04 spending plans do not contain specific efficiency savings targets expressed in money terms or as a percentage of departmental expenditure limits. However, the drive to achieve greater efficiency is evidenced by the ongoing development and refinement of Public Service Agreements and Service Delivery Agreements. In addition, the key aim of the reform agenda and Departmental Reform Plans is to improve performance in terms of delivering better quality services to the public.All spending programmes and projects also remain subject to the completion of satisfactory scrutiny and analysis in respect of their value for money.

    Northern Ireland Civic Forum

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what costs were incurred by the Northern Ireland Civic Forum in the last 12 months; and how many times the body met during the same period. [116978]

    I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave to question reference 100724. Since providing this answer, an additional £18,535 administration costs were met in 2002–03 for actions carried out by the Civic Forum prior to suspension.

    The Civic Forum met on three occasions in plenary format during the period April 2002 to 14 October 2002.

    Pay Audits

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. [117432]

    An Equal Pay Review has been carried out by the Northern Ireland Office in respect of the Department and its agencies in order to identify any gender pay gap. The findings are currently being considered by the unions and we aim to finalise it in July 2003.The Equal Pay Review only examined gender pay. In parallel with this Review, we separately examined performance ratings of women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities to measure any disadvantage in the operation of the performance management system.A copy of the action plan will be placed in the Library of the House once internal discussions are complete.The 11 Departments within the Northern Ireland Administration carried out a review of its pay and grading arrangements in 1998, which examined the gender gap between administrative grades, that are majority female, and professional and technical grades, that are predominantly male. We are in the process of implementing a programme of work arising from the review and this will be complete by April 2004. The need for a further equal pay audit that will also include other groups covered by section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 is currently under consideration.

    Peace Ii European Initiative

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on progress on funding for organisations under the Peace II European Initiative in North Belfast. [119038]

    No projects were funded during 2001. However, during 2002, 71 projects with a total value of £8 million were allocated funding under the Peace II Programme in the North Belfast area and 12 projects with funding of £1.5m have been approved in 2003 to date. The information relates to projects that have been allocated funding with a postal address in the North Belfast Parliamentary Constituency. Where the project address is incomplete, further analysis has been carried out on the applicant address. The figures, therefore, have been produced by first including those projects with a project address in Belfast North and then adding those where the project address is incomplete but the applicant address is in Belfast North. However, where it is apparent that the benefit of the project clearly falls outside North Belfast, these amounts have been excluded. Also, the impacts of any project may extend beyond the geographical location of the project itself.

    Reform And Reinvestment Initiative

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the interest rate for borrowings is under the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative; and what the interest rate for PPP projects is. [119041]

    The Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI) is about tackling Northern Ireland's infrastructure deficit and improving and reforming public services. As part of the RRI, there is the power to access borrowing from the National Loans Fund (NLF). The Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) is the statutory body that facilitates all lending from the NLF and they publish the interest rates through their website on a daily basis (www.pwlb.gov.uk). The interest rate on any loan will be dictated by the prevailing rate at the time it is drawn down.It is not appropriate to consider PPP projects as borrowing by the public sector. Rather, the PPP approach allows additional resources to be levered in from the private sector sooner than is possible under conventional procurement, with additional benefits in terms of value for money and efficiency. While the cost of capital for the private sector may be higher than borrowing from Treasury, this is mitigated by other cost, risk and service advantages inherent in the approach. Value for money over the lifetime of the contract is the key concept.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether water charges are included for the purposes of determining convergence with local taxation in Great Britain under the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative. [119043]

    Reform Of Public Administration

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on the review called Reform of Public Administration. [119044]

    The Review of Public Administration (RPA) was initiated by the Northern Ireland Executive in June 2002. The original work programme for the review envisaged final decisions being taken by the Executive in December 2003. The suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly has, however, affected this timetable. The RPA has continued with its scheduled programme of engagement, research and study visits, but I decided earlier this year not to go out to public consultation in advance of the elections to the Assembly, then scheduled for 29 May 2003. I am currently examining the options for the future conduct of the Review and intend to make an announcement in the near future.

    Strategic Investment Board

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who has been appointed to the Strategic Investment Board; and what the terms of their appointments are. [119040]

    Five Directors have been appointed to the Strategic Investment Board. They are Mr. Tony Watson, Mr. James Stewart, Mr. Greg Sparks, Mr. Nigel Hamilton and Mr. Andy Carty. Mr. Watson has, additionally, been appointed as Chairman.The Directors have been appointed for a three-year period while the Chairman has been appointed for one year.

    Website Access

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the actions he (a) has taken and (b) is taking to ensure that the websites of his Department, its Agencies and non-departmental public bodies are accessible to partially sighted and blind people; and if he will make a statement. [118842]

    The Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments, together with their Agencies and NDPBs, have:

  • (a) been following best practice as set down by the Office of the eEnvoy in the Cabinet Office, which requires adherence to international standards. These standards have ensured that pages on departmental websites can be read by 'screen reader' software, 'screen magnification' software or other assistive technologies which are commonly used by blind and partially sighted people; and
  • (b) during the current year, the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) will condense available guidance into a practical guide for designers that will ensure even greater consistency of approach. This work will include consultation with recognised disability interest groups such as RNIB. The planned introduction of web content management software by Departments will facilitate the conversion of site content for specialist devices.
  • Unsolved Murders

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons lost their lives in conflict-related incidents in each year since 1973 and were the subject of a murder investigation conducted by the police; how many murders in each year were eventually the subject of a successful prosecution; and how many unsolved murders remain from each year. [118960]

    The information cannot be provided in the format requested. Table A provides the number of murders for each year since 1973 and the number of these murders where persons have subsequently been charged. Table B provides the number of convictions for murders in each year since 1993. We are unable to provide data prior to 1993 as to do so would require a substantial manual exercise and would incur a disproportionate cost.

    Table A: Security situation statistics for Northern Ireland, 1973–9 June 2003
    Number of persons murderedMurders for which persons have been charged
    197320065
    197418776
    1975221101
    1976266107
    197710047
    19787030
    197910838
    19806525
    19818335
    19828539
    19836729
    19844910
    19854820
    1986557
    19878220
    19888430
    19895720
    19906819
    19918827
    19927923
    19938235
    19946118
    199592
    1996145
    1997209
    19985411
    199972
    2000183
    2001164
    2002121
    2003171
    Total2,362859
    1 To 9 June

    Note:

    Statistics for 2002 and 2003 are provisional and may be subject to minor adjustment.

    Table B: Victims of murders linked to the security situation:
    Number of instances where murder or other convictions have been
    secured by year of incident 1993–2002

    1

    Number of victims where person (s) have been convicted of murder

    Person(s) have been convicted of lesser offence

    2

    1993242
    199476
    199510
    1996302
    199740
    199861
    199901
    200013
    2001401
    200200
    Total4316

    1 Figures relate to cases where police have initially charged at least one suspect with murder. All cases have been heard in Belfast crown court in a Diplock trial.

    2 For example, manslaughter, conspiracy to murder, aiding and abetting murder etc.

    3 Suspect(s) have been committed for trial with respect to a further two victims—case pending.

    4 Suspect(s) have been committed for trial with respect to a further victim—case pending

    Defence

    Armed Forces Pension Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what differences there are between the death-in-service gratuities payable under the armed forces pension scheme and those payable in similar circumstances to members of the Brigade of Gurkhas; and if he will make a statement. [119685]

    The death-in-service gratuity paid under the armed forces pension scheme varies according to whether or not the death is considered attributable to, or aggravated by, service. If the death is considered non-attributable, a tax-free basic death-in-service lump sum is payable, this is approximately equivalent to the individual's representative annual rate of pay. If the death is considered attributable to service, in addition to the basic death-in-service lump sum, a tax-free attributable gratuity is also payable; this increases the overall rate of death-in-service benefit to between one and 1½ times the individual's representative annual rate of pay.The pension and gratuity arrangements for Gurkha soldiers, which are different to those of the armed forces pension scheme, stem from the 1947 Tri-partite Agreement and are linked to Indian Army rates. An examination of these arrangements in 1999 resulted in substantially increased pension payments for all British Gurkha pensioners and enhanced gratuity provision in the event of death in service.Similar to the wider Army, the death-in-service gratuity payable to a Gurkha varies according to whether or not the death is considered attributable to, or aggravated by, service. If death-in-service is attributable then the Death-in-Service Gratuity payable to a Gurkha is the same as that paid to the equivalent rank in the wider British Army. If a death in service is not attributable, the normal provisions of the Gurkha pension and gratuities scheme apply, and the death element of the Death Cum-Retirement Gratuity is payable.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce the outcome of the reviews of the war pensions and armed forces pensions scheme. [120003]

    I expect to announce the outcome of the reviews of the armed forces pension and compensation arrangements before the summer recess.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military assets, including personnel, in Iraq are being applied to provide medical treatment for Iraqi civilians; and for how long they will remain in place. [110760]

    United Kingdom forces are required to provide, within their means and capabilities, medical treatment to Iraqi civilians. This ranges from emergency treatment conducted by any UK soldier, all of whom are trained in first aid, to more advanced emergency treatment at one of the four Regimental Aid Posts, to life saving surgery at the UK Field Hospital at Shaibah, southern Iraq. In addition, 1 Close Support Medical Regiment, consisting of approximately 250 personnel, is deployed across southern Iraq to provide an emergency first aid and ambulance capability.UK forces will provide medical treatment for as long as they remain in Iraq, although it is envisaged that reliance upon UK forces' medical capabilities will be reduced as Iraq's civilian medical infrastructure continues to improve.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what tonnage of unexploded ordnance used in the recent invasion of Iraq has been cleared up by UK-funded operations. [118024]

    More than 87,000 items of unexploded ordnance and explosive ordnance and 79,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, mostly of Iraqi origin, were destroyed between the cessation of hostilities and 8 June 2003. We do not record the tonnage destroyed.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the capacity of British medical assets in Iraq to deal with the needs of the Iraqi people. [119323]

    The vast majority of injured Iraqis have been treated at Iraqi hospitals, and in the United Kingdom's area of operations we have made every effort to restore power, water and medical supplies to those facilities. All of the major hospitals in Baghdad and Basra are now functioning.However, where certain specialist skills have been required, Iraqis have been treated in UK medical facilities. In the very small number of cases where the necessary medical capabilities are not available in theatre, those Iraqis have been airlifted to UK hospitals for treatment. We will continue to provide medical treatment where possible for as long as UK forces remain in Iraq, although the requirement to do so will reduce over time as Iraq's civilian medical infrastructure continues to improve.

    Democratic Republic Of The Congo

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role DSACEUR will play in EU operations in the Congo region. [119103]

    As envisaged at the Nice European Council in 2000, operational planning for EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities will be carried out within one of the strategic level headquarters available to the EU. As framework nation for the deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, France is providing the Operation Headquarters in Paris which will be augmented by officers from participating nations including from the United Kingdom. NATO will be kept informed of the general progress of the operation.

    Consultants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) maximum and (b) average length of deployment is of TA consultants serving in the Defence Medical Service; and if he will make a statement; [118796]

    (2) what the (a) maximum and (b) average length of deployment is of consultants serving in the Defence Medical Service; and if he will make a statement. [118795]

    [holding answer 12 June 2003]: Currently, we aim to deploy consultants in the Defence Medical Services (DMS) for no more than three months in any 12 month period. However, in some operational circumstances, this may not always be possible. In addition, under the terms of the Reserve Forces Act 1996, Reservists cannot be deployed for more than 12 months in any three years, unless they volunteer otherwise, and in the case of consultants their deployment patterns would be in line with that of their Regular counterparts.Information on the average length of deployment for consultants serving in the DMS is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Defence Attachés

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 15 May 2003, Official Report, column 329W, on defence attachés, how many defence attachés are in place in each of the locations listed. [118656]

    A total of 128 UK defence attachés/ advisers are currently deployed in 82 locations as follows:

    CountryCityNumber of attachés at post
    AlbaniaTirana1 Army
    AngolaLuanda1 Army
    ArgentinaBuenos Aires2 (1 Army, 1 RAF)
    AustraliaCanberra2(1 RN, 1 RAF)
    AustriaVienna1 Army
    BahrainManama1 RN
    BarbadosBridgetown1 RN
    BelgiumBrussels1 RAF
    BrazilBrasilia2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    BruneiBandar Seri Begawan1 RN
    BulgariaSofia2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    CanadaOttawa2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    ChileSantiago1 Army
    ChinaBeijing2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    ColombiaBogota1 Army
    Congo DRCKinshasa1 Army
    CroatiaZagreb1 Army
    CyprusNicosia1 Army
    Czech RepublicPrague2 (1 Army, 1 RAF)
    DenmarkCopenhagen1 RN
    EgyptCairo2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    EthiopiaAddis Ababa1 Army
    FinlandHelsinki1 Army
    FranceParis3 (1 RN, 1 Army, 1 RAF)
    GeorgiaTbilisi1 RAF
    GermanyBerlin4 (1 RN, 2 Army, 1 RAF)
    GhanaAccra1 Army
    GreeceAthens2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    GuatemalaGuatemala City1 Army
    HungaryBudapest2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    IndiaNew Delhi2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    IndonesiaJakarta1 Army
    IrelandDublin1 Army
    IsraelTel Aviv2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    ItalyRome3(1 RN, 1 Army, 1 RAF)
    JamaicaKingston1 Army
    JapanToky1 RN
    JordanAmman2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    KazakhstanAlmaty1 Army
    KenyaNairobi1 Army
    KoreaSeoul2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    KuwaitKuwait City1 Army
    LatviaRiga1 Army
    LebanonBeirut1 Army
    LithuaniaVilnius1 Army
    MacedoniaSkopje1 Army
    MalaysiaKuala Lumpur2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    CountryCityNumber of attachés at post
    MoroccoRabat1 Army
    NepalKathmandu1 Army
    NetherlandsThe Hague1 RN
    New ZealandWellington1 Army
    NigeriaAbuja1 Army
    NorwayOslo1 Army
    OmanMuscat2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    PakistanIslamabad2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    PhilippinesManila1 Army
    PolandWarsaw2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    PortugalLisbon1 RN
    QatarDoha1 RAF
    RomaniaBucharest2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    RussiaMoscow6(2 RN, 2 Army, 2 RAF)
    Saudi ArabiaRiyadh3(1 RN, 1 Army, 1 RAF)
    Serbia and MontenegroBelgrade1 Army
    Sierra LeoneFreetown1 Army
    SingaporeSingapore2(1RN, 1 RAF)
    Slovak RepublicBratislava2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    SloveniaLjubljana1 Army
    South AfricaPretoria2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    SpainMadrid2(1RN, 1 RAF)
    Sri LankaColombo1 Army
    SwedenStockholm1 RAF
    SwitzerlandBerne1 Army
    SyriaDamascus1 Army
    ThailandBangkok1 Army
    TurkeyAnkara2(1 Army, 1 RAF)
    UgandaKampala1 Army
    UkraineKyiv2(1 RN, 1 Army)
    United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi1 Army
    USAWashington8(3 RN, 3 Army, 2 RAF)
    UzbekistanTashkent1 Army
    VenezuelaCaracas1 RN
    ZimbabweHarare1 Army
    There are a total of four officers (two RN, two RAF) employed in Canada, Russia, India and USA as office managers; these are not accredited diplomatic posts.

    Executive Agencies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people work for the Hydrographic

    1 April 19971 April 19981 April 1999
    Defence agencyServiceCivilianServiceCivilianServiceCivilian
    Defence Analytical Services Agency*115*117*103
    Defence Bills Agency*654*677*640
    Defence Dental Agency629111688135715151
    Defence Vetting Agency*54*341*338
    Pay and Personnel Agency*898*850*675
    Queen Victoria School*69*68*68
    Grand total6291,9016882,1887151,975
    1 April 20001 April 20011 April 2002
    Defence agencyServiceCivilianServiceCivilianServiceCivilian
    Defence Analytical Services Agency*120*129*145
    Defence Bills Agency*601*585*581
    Defence Dental Agency746171*158
    Defence Vetting Agency*355*344*262
    Pay and Personnel Agency*628*647*665
    Queen Victoria School*69*71*70
    Grand total7461,944*1,776*1,881

    Notes:

    1. Civilian figures are in respect of permanent full and part-time staff, i.e. casual staff are excluded.

    2. Civilian figures include values for part-time staff proportionate to those of full-time staff.

    Office; how many are employed in Scotland; what the personnel costs of the agency are; and how these figures compare to 2002. [119274]

    The average number of staff employed by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office during the Financial Year ended 31 March 2003 was 940 compared with 907 in the previous year. The numbers include permanent and temporary staff and Service personnel. There are four staff employed at the Chart Maintenance Unit, Faslane, this is unchanged from 2002. The increase in numbers during the year ended 31 March 2003 primarily reflects the recruitment of additional trainee chart compilation personnel in anticipation of the future retirement of significant numbers of experienced staff.The personnel costs of the agency were £28.2 million during the Financial Year ended 31 March 2003 and £26.7 million in the previous year.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who the top level budget holder owner has been of each of his Department's agencies since financial year 1997£98. [119625]

    I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent (a) military and (b) civilian staff were employed in the (i) Defence Analytical Services Agency in financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02, (ii) Defence Bills Agency in financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02, (iii) Defence Dental Agency in financial year 1997–98, (iv) Defence Vetting Agency in financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02, (v) Pay and Personnel Agency in financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02 and (vi) Queen Victoria School in financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02. [119626]

    3. Service personnel figures are for UK Regular Forces and include both trained and untrained personnel. They exclude Gurkhas, full-time Reserve Service personnel, The Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists are Naval Activated Reservists.

    4. Figures are individually rounded and may not sum precisely to the totals shown.

    5. * not applicable.

    6. — not available.

    Fylingdales

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether anti-ballistic missiles will be located in the UK once the Fylingdales radar base has been upgraded. [120178]

    The upgrade of the radar at RAF Fylingdales does not of itself commit the United Kingdom Government to the acquisition or deployment of a missile defence system, and no such decision has been taken. The United States has not made any request to site interceptor missiles in the UK as part of its missile defence system.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of upgrading the Fylingdales radar base will be; and what contribution to the upgrade the UK will be required to make. [120179]

    The cost of the upgrade, including the installation of new equipment, will be met by the United States. The United Kingdom will continue to operate and support the radar. The upgrade is expected to have a minimal effect on these running costs, which are of the order of £20 million per annum.

    Gurkhas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library (a) background papers, interim reports and the final report from the 1997 and 1999 Ministry of Defence reviews of the terms and conditions of service for Gurkhas, on pay and pensions, and (b) the Gurkha Pay and Pensions Manual. [119684]

    I will write to my hon. Friend in due course and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

    Army (as at 1 May 2003)
    Soldier Arm/ServiceTrained StrengthLiabilityShortfallShortfall (percentage)
    Royal Corps of Signals7,6017,805-204-2.6
    Royal Logistic Corps13,18414,711-1,527-10.4
    Royal Army Medical Corps1,8101,999-189-9.5
    Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers8,7519,850-1,099-11.2
    Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps445651-206-31.6

    Note:

    Army figures are for Soldiers.

    Nuclear Weapons

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to resume nuclear testing (a) to measure nuclear warhead stockpile stability and (b) to produce new design of nuclear weapons. [119549]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the armed forces on 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 917W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Alan Simpson).

    Official Spelling

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that all official (a) correspondence, (b) reports and (c) documentation from his office uses the English spelling of words where this differs from the US version. [118867]

    The Ministry of Defence adheres to the guidance produced by the Cabinet Office on the handling of ministerial and other correspondence which emphasises that appropriate arrangements should be in place to ensure that the quality of all replies is high. Similarly, we subscribe to the Cabinet Office guidance on plain written English. Departmental publications are prepared in line with the Guidance on the Work of the Government Information and Communication Service.The MOD supports and promotes the principles of plain English. We have in recent years won six awards for examples of good, clear written work in the Plain English Campaign's annual Government-wide "Inside Write" competition, claiming prizes in each of the last four competitions.

    Service Manning

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the critical manning groups which have been identified in (a) the Army and (b) the RAF; and what the shortfall against requirement was in each case. [119450]

    The critical manning groups identified in the Army and the RAF are shown in the following tables:

    RAF (as at I May 2003)

    Branch/Trade

    Trained Strength

    Requirement

    Shortfall

    Shortfall (percentage)

    Aircrew Officers

    JO (Weapons Systems Officer)660733-73-10

    Non-commissioned Aircrew

    Weapons Systems Operator (Air Electronics)430476-46-10
    Weapon System Operator (Linguist)3958-19-33

    Ground Branch officers

    Medical Officers187266-79-30
    Princess Mary's RAF Nursing Sendee117142-25-18

    Electrical Trades

    Gen Tech E578661-83-13

    Medical Trades

    Nurses270308-38-12
    Technicians113129-16-12
    Motor Transport (MT) Driver1,1711,300-129-10
    MT Technician/Mechanic394478-84-18
    Medical Assistant288350-62-18
    Chef645731-86-12

    Note:

    For the RAF critical has been defined as a deficit of 10 per cent. or more.

    Us Bases (Protesters)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rules of engagement apply to (a) the American National Guard and (b) the US security police personnel concerning protesters found on bases in the UK. [119500]

    It is not our practice to comment on Rules of Engagement and that information is withheld under Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

    Culture, Media And Sport

    Royal Residences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who owns Clarence House. [115780]

    Clarence House, as part of St James' Palace, is held by the Queen as sovereign on behalf of the nation.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 16 December 2003, Official Report, column 531W, if she will list the redecoration and refurbishment work at Clarence House, including amounts paid for materials and labour. [115834]

    Clarence House has not been subject to substantial refurbishment for 55 years, with most of the expenditure on the residential and office areas being required irrespective of who occupies it.A works total of £3.2 million excluding VAT is being spent from the grant-in-aid on the redecoration and refurbishment works at Clarence House. These include:

    Work carried outTotal cost (£ thousand)
    General builders work445
    Mechanical services and plumbing428
    Electrical services410
    Internal decoration373
    Specialist finished250
    Fire protection150
    Asbestos removal110
    Catering equipment96
    Scaffolding—Internal and external85
    Carpentry80
    Service lift and shaft72
    Removal of redundant services64
    External decoration60
    Window refurbishment54
    Cleaning and repairs24
    Structural steelwork19
    Replacement of roof lights13
    Total of redecoration and refurbishment works2,733
    Construction manager's fees, services and site facilities relating to this work512
    Total3,245

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 16 December 2003, Official Report, column 531W, if she will list the items to be moved as part of the spending allocated to Clarence House for removing, storing and reinstating contents. [115835]

    The entire contents of Clarence House were removed by 19 removal lorries so that building works could take place. The items removed comprised domestic furniture, paintings, drawings and china.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who authorised the refurbishment and redecoration works at Clarence House, and on what date. [115836]

    The refurbishment of Clarence House has been included for some years in the royal household's five-year maintenance plan approved by the Department. The royal household continues to keep the Department informed regularly of the cost and progress of the refurbishment.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with whom the contents of Clarence House are insured; how much this costs per annum; and whether the cost is met by the civil list. [115837]

    The Royal Collection insures the items that it owns against damage but not loss. None of the insurance costs for Clarence House were met from the Civil List.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the inhabitants of Clarence House in each year from 1997 to date. [115838]

    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and a number of her personal staff lived in Clarence House between 1997 and Easter 2002. Much of it was used as offices for HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's household. Since that date the House has been unoccupied.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what has been the total rental income received from inhabitants of Clarence House from 1997 to date. [115839]

    There has been no rental income received from inhabitants of Clarence House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the sums allocated to professional fees in respect of refurbishment and redecoration of Clarence House have been placed following a process of competitive tendering. [115840]

    All professional fees over £5,000 in respect of refurbishment and redecoration of Clarence House, which were paid for out of Grant-in-aid, were tendered competitively.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who decides the annual allocation of funds provided through the grant-in-aid. [115779]

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State decides on the level of grant-in-aid for the Occupied Royal Palaces as part of the regular spending reviews. Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) are responsible for the maintenance of the Unoccupied Royal Palaces. The HRP receive no grant-in-aid.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the annual sum provided to the grant-in-aid has been in each year from 1979 to date. [115781]

    Grant-in-aid has been paid since 1991 when the Royal Household took over day-to-day responsibility for property services for the occupied royal palaces in England. The figures are as follows:

    Financial yearAnnual amount (£ thousand)
    1991–9223,936
    1992–9323,159
    1993–9419,805
    1994–9520,541
    1995–9620,440
    1996–9719,609
    1997–9816,409
    1998–9915,809
    1999–200015,125
    2000–0115,000
    2001–0215,500
    2002–0315,400
    2001–02 and 2002–03 include temporary funding of £500,000 and £400,000 respectively to enable the grant-in-aid to take over financial responsibility for the Court post office's postal and telegraph services.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps are in place to ensure moneys allocated to grant-in-aid are spent in an environmentally responsible manner. [115782]

    The Royal Households, including representatives from The Prince of Wales' and The Duke of Edinburgh's Offices, are members of a working group with representatives from environmental organisations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife Fund and Forest Stewardship Council. The group looks at the way the Palaces can be more environmentally friendly, and at the Household's environmental policy to promote sustainability, and ensures that appropriate guidance is obtained and followed.The Royal Household has a policy of using timber from renewable sources for construction work. Other environmentally friendly activities include the construction of combined heat and power units at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and a borehole for chilling the air-conditioning at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

    Community Sports Coaches

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many community sports coaches will be created under the Community Sports Coaches Scheme in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005 and (d) 2006. [120402]

    I expect the first phase of some 100 community sports coaches to be operational during the current financial year. Decisions on future phases will be made in the light of that experience. We remain committed to creating 3,000 community sports coaches to help develop sports skills across the country by 2006.

    National Lottery

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the statement by the Minister for Sport on 28 February 2003, Official Report, column 543, when the regulatory impact assessment was (a) prepared and (b) placed in the Library. [120722]

    DCMS prepared a Regulatory Impact Assessment on the National Lottery (Funding of Endowments) Private Member's Bill when it was first tabled. I said at the time of the Bill's Second Reading on 28 February 2003 that copies would be placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and this has now been done.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the statement on 28 February 2003 by the Minister for Sport, Official Report, column 542, if she will make available in the Library before 20 June 2003 a draft of the guidance to distributors on grants to endowment funds. [120720]

    I announced on 28 February 2003 that, should the National Lottery (Funding of Endowments) Bill succeed, this Department would issue guidance to distributors on this matter, and that a draft of the guidance would be made available to Peers during the Lords stages of the Bill. The guidance is currently in the process of drafting, and we will want to consult distributors before finalising the text and making it available for parliamentary scrutiny.

    Sport England

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her Department's annual funding allocation to Sport England for (a) 2002–03, (b) 2003–04, (c) 2004–05 and (d) 2005–06. [119951]

    [holding answer 17 June 2003]: The Department of Culture, Media and Sport funding allocation to Sport England is shown in the following table:

    Funding allocation to Sport England
    £000
    2002–03181,275
    2003–04262,595
    2004–05265,775
    2005–06265,775
    1 Final provision.
    2 Plans.
    The allocation in 2002–03 includes £28 million funding to support the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the (a) actual and (b) projected Sport England staff numbers are for (i) 2002–03, (ii) 2003–04 and (iii) 2004–05. [119958]

    [holding answer 17 June 2003]: Sport England's actual and projected staff numbers are:

    • 1 April 2002—498 (actual)
    • 1 April 2003—418 (actual)
    • 1 April 2004—240 (projected).

    Sustainable Tourism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what initiatives her Department is taking to promote sustainable tourism in rural areas. [120193]

    This Department and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have a shared interest in promoting sustainable tourism in rural areas. Accordingly, we work closely to shape policy and develop initiatives for action. In creating VisitBritain, my Department took over the former English Tourism Council's responsibilities for promoting rural and sustainable tourism policy.As part of the Government's programme of tourism reform, the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are, from April 2003, playing a stronger part in the strategic leadership of tourism, with the Regional Tourist Boards (RTBs) as their natural delivery partners. Guidance has been issued to the RDAs on how tourism should be covered in their Corporate Plans and Regional Economic Strategies, including the development of Regional Sustainable Tourism Strategies in partnership with RTBs, and sub-regional and local tourism organisations. Advantage West Midlands (RDA) will lead this process in the West Midlands, taking into account the tourism potential of rural areas, and in 2003–04, will receive £252,000 to pass on to the Visit Heart of England Tourist Board, subject to agreed targets and objectives.VisitBritain's current domestic marketing campaign, "Enjoy England", will benefit rural tourism businesses that depend largely on domestic tourism.The Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES), part of Defra's England Rural Development Programme, provides project-based support for diversifying the rural economy. The total RES budget is £152 million (50 per cent. co-financed by EU CAP Pillar 2 money) from 2000 to 2006. Tourism and leisure projects fall under

    'encouragement for tourist and craft activities'

    and 'farm diversification'. Currently these measures have £55 million allocated. of which £12 million has been spent so far.

    Defra is promoting countryside recreation through the new statutory right of access to open countryside. The Countryside Agency is taking forward several relevant projects, such as: integrated quality management of rural tourist destinations; retaining visitor expenditure in rural areas; promoting environmentally responsible tourism businesses; promoting local produce with the Youth Hostels Association.

    Government support is not limited to direct funding for tourism. This Department alone spends some £1 billion per year, for example, on the arts, the historic environment, museums and galleries, much of which directly benefits rural tourism across the country.

    Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

    Bushmeat

    15.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to control the trade in bushmeat. [120201]

    The trade in bushmeat in this country is controlled mainly through domestic legislation designed to protect animal and human health, although some species traded as bushmeat are also regulated under EU legislation implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Illegal imports of bushmeat are being tackled under the illegal imports Action Plan.

    Common Agricultural Policy

    17.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the European Commission's proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. [120203]

    The UK Government have strongly supported the aims of the European Commission's proposals on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is currently heavily engaged in trying to secure a deal which will benefit farmers, consumers, the environment, developing countries and world trade.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the likely impact of the current Common Agricultural Policy reform proposals on the number of agricultural jobs in the UK. [120202]

    The European Commission's CAP reform proposals to break the link between subsidies and production would enable producers to respond more directly to market signals. This may reduce employment in direct agricultural production, while creating new opportunities from diversified land uses. We estimate that the economic benefits from such restructuring could be worth €400 million per year in the UK.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the delegations which Ministers have met to discuss support for farmers of unsupported crops prior to the forthcoming CAP mid-term review. [118059]

    My noble Friend Lord Whitty has had regular discussions on all aspects of the CAP reform proposals with a Contact Group comprising:

    • British Retail Consortium;
    • Country Land and Business Association:
    • Countryside Agency;
    • Countryside Alliance;
    • English Nature;
    • Environment Agency;
    • Farm Animal Welfare Council;
    • Farmcare;
    • Food and Drink Federation;
    • Home Grown Cereals Authority;
    • Institute of Grocery Distribution;
    • Meat and Livestock Commission;
    • National Consumer Council;
    • National Farmers Union;
    • National Trust;
    • OXFAM;
    • Rural Development Agencies;
    • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds;
    • Soil Association;
    • Sustainable Development Commission;
    • Tenant Farmers Association;
    • Trade Union Congress; and
    • Wildlife and Countryside Link.
    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has also discussed the proposals with a number of bodies represented on the Contact Group. In addition, officials have had a number of meetings with those specifically representing unsupported sector interests, including the Processed Vegetable Growers Association and the Blackcurrant Growers Association.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on family outgoings of (a) farm subsidies, (b) the effect of the Common Agricultural Policy upon food costs and (c) other rural subsidies. [120192]

    Farm subsidies paid through the EU budget represent £4–£5 per week for a family of four and the Common Agricultural Policy is estimated to add £5–£6 per week to family food costs.Rural areas will benefit from many of the nationally available subsidies.

    Fly-Tipping

    18.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her policy to combat fly-tipping. [120205]

    The Government are committed to dealing with the serious and growing problem of fly-tipping.The Anti-social Behaviour Bill, currently before Parliament, includes measures that will help the Environment Agency and local authorities to trace and prosecute those responsible for fly-tipping.The Government are also considering other measures, details of which will be published later in 2003 and brought forward at the next legislative opportunity.

    Gm Crops

    19.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of the GM Public Debate. [120206]

    The debate has already been a success in terms of generating discussion about GM. The initial regional launch events were well attended and further public meetings are now being organised. People can also participate via the debate website.

    Waste Strategy

    20.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are planned (a) to discourage incineration of waste and (b) to encourage maximum recycling and recover. [120207]

    The Government's Waste Strategy 2000 set national targets for the recycling or composting of at least 25 per cent. of household waste by 2005, 30 per cent. by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. To underpin these national targets we have set challenging statutory recycling and composting targets for all local authorities in England.We encourage recycling above incineration, but incineration with energy recovery is more sustainable than landfill. We have no plans at present to discourage the use of this option, albeit that it is one option of waste management.

    Bridleways

    21.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received regarding the use of bridleways by (a) motorcycles and (b) four-wheel drive vehicles. [120208]

    I have received considerable representation about damage and nuisance from motorcycles and from four-wheel drive vehicles in a number of locations, but these have not been specific to bridleways. Many of the representations have focused on the damage done for instance on the Ridgeway or within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Agricultural Shows

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the agricultural shows which will be attended by Ministers this season; and if she will make a statement on her policy with regard to ministerial visits to shows. [120197]

    A provisional list of the agricultural shows which Ministers hope to attend this season is given in the table. Attendance can be affected by a variety of factors including business in the House.The Secretary of State and Ministers appreciate the value of attending agricultural shows and visit as many shows as their diaries allow. As it is not possible to visit all shows seeking ministerial support a rolling programme is adopted to ensure all regions of the country are visited each year.

    NameEvent
    Secretary of State
    Lord WhittyRoyal Show
    Devon County Show
    Royal Cornwall Show
    East of England Show
    Royal Show
    Royal Lancashire Show
    Dairy Event
    Mr. MorleyRoyal Show
    Great Yorkshire Show
    CLA Game Fair
    Mr. MichaelRoyal Show
    New Forest & Hants County Show
    Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead
    British Equine Event, Stoneleigh
    Mr. BradshawRoyal Show

    Agricultural Subsidies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to abolish export subsidies for agricultural produce. [119188]

    The World Trade Organisation Doha Declaration commits all member countries to negotiations aimed at reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies. The Government fully support this commitment.

    Foodstuffs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by British consumers on foodstuffs in each of the last ten years, broken down by type of foodstuff. [119158]

    Estimates of the amounts spent by consumers in the UK are provided by the Office for National Statistics. A table showing consumer expenditure estimates broken by type of foodstuff is as follows.

    Consumer expenditure estimates of foodstuffs, 1992–2003
    Units: £ billion
    Total food and non-alcoholic beverages (household expenditure)Bread and cerealsMeatFishMilk, cheese and eggsOils and fats
    199245.76.610.01.76.21.1
    199347.26.710.71.76.41.1
    199447.96.710.51.76.51.1
    199549.87.010.71.86.71.1
    199653.07.511.62.06.91.2
    199753.87.711.81.96.91.2
    199855.27.911.72.07.01.2
    199956.68.011.92.17.21.2
    200057.78.112.32.27.51.2
    200160.39.012.22.37.71.2
    200261.79.412.62.47.61.1
    Consumer expenditure estimates of foodstuffs, 1992–2002
    Units: £ billion
    FruitVegetablesSugar and sweet productsFood products n.e.c.Coffee, tea arid cocoaMineral water and soft drinks
    19922.96.15.11.11.53.5
    19932.96,25.31.11.53.6
    19943.06.55.51.11.53.7
    19953.17.25.61.11.53.9
    19963.37.75.91.21.64.1
    19973.67.66.11.31.64.3
    19983.87.96.41.31.64.4
    19993.98.26.51.31.74.6
    20003.98.26.41.31.74.9
    20014.08.56.51.41.95,7
    20024.38.46.61.41.86.1

    Source:

    Office for National Statistics–Consumer Trends

    Iacs Payments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in (a) the Bury St. Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk, (c) Norfolk, (d) Essex and (e) Cambridgeshire are awaiting IACS payments; and what the average waiting time for payment was in the last year for which figures are available. [120410]

    Data are not held at constituency level so there is no specific information available for the Bury St. Edmunds constituency. However, there are currently no payments outstanding for Suffolk, there are also no payments outstanding for Cambridgeshire. There is one payment outstanding in Norfolk and one in Essex under the 2002 Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS), both for reasons beyond the RPA's control. For 2002 main AAPS payments, the regulatory payment window ran from 16 November 2002 to 31 January 2003. 85.88 per cent. of claims by number were paid by 8 December 2002, and 98.25 per cent. by 31 January 2003.

    Race Relations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in her Department and non-departmental public bodies on implementing the requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000; and if she will publish the results of the monitoring required by the Act. [117623]

    One of the key values of the Department is to treat everyone fairly and to encourage, value and recognise everyone's views and contributions. This applies to the public and our external customers as well as to our staff.Defra's draft Race Equality Scheme, published last year, covered core Defra and the two smallest Agencies, the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The remaining four Defra Agencies (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, the Central Science Laboratory, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the Rural Payments Agency) have each produced specific schemes and associated action plans.The draft Defra Scheme was the subject of a public consultation exercise in the autumn last year and has been revised in the light of comments received. A revised Race Equality Scheme will be published in the summer together with a report on progress of action, including the results of monitoring.The Departments non-departmental public bodies are expected to follow the lead of the core Department. I will write to my hon. Friend separately to provide information on the action that they are taking to respond to the general duty.

    Sustainable Development

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what remit relating to sustainable development is required by her Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) advisory non-departmental bodies, (c) executive non-departmental bodies, (d) tribunals, (e) public corporations and (f) other bodies. [116678]

    Central Departments and their Executive Agencies are covered by the 'Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate' and the targets it contains. Departments are responsible for encouraging and developing the integration of SD into the policy and operations of their associate bodies, ie executive agencies, advisory non-departmental bodies, executive non-departmental bodies, tribunals, public corporations and other bodies.In the Greening Government 1

    st Annual Report (1999) a commitment was made to have the Cabinet Office NDPB guidance revised to include the requirement for departments to encompass SD into the remit of any new NDPBs they set up. This was done and reported in the Greening Government 2nd Annual Report (2000). A number of associate bodies set up

    before this requirement was put in place already made explicit reference to the pursuit of sustainable development in their aims/objectives or remits, an example of which is the Environment Agency.

    The Defra publication 'Our Strategy 2003–06' contains a commitment to improve the consistency with which all organisations linked to Defra focus on sustainable development objectives. This will be taken forward as part of the review of Defra's Sustainable Development Strategy, 'Foundations for Our Future', due to be undertaken this summer.

    Education And Skills

    Broadband

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had on introducing broadband to schools on Exmoor in Somerset to comply with the Government's aim of all schools having broadband by 2005. [119611]

    The Prime Minister has set a target for all schools to be connected to broadband by 2006. The Department for Education and Skills is working with the Regional Broadband Consortia, LEAs and schools to ensure this target is achieved. The Department has also had a range of discussions with a number of partners including telecoms companies and other Government Departments to identify cost-effective ways of providing broadband access for schools, regardless of geographic location.The Department has not had discussions regarding broadband for schools on Exmoor specifically; rather, discussions have focused on ensuring all schools in the region will be effectively connected by 2006.

    Bullying

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what measures are in place (a) to prevent bullying in schools and (b) to punish those found to be harassing their peers; [119604](2) what proposals he has to protect pupils found to be victims of bullying in schools; and if he will make a statement on how bullying can affect children; [119605](3) what guidance he gives on when schools should consider police intervention in a case of bullying; and in what circumstances pupils may be expelled for bullying; [119606](4) if he will make a statement on the protection of children from bullying while in school; and whether it is his policy that

    (a) victims and (b) the offender should be removed from the school. [119607]

    Bullying is a serious problem that affects pupils' educational achievement and emotional well-being. All schools in England must treat the problem seriously, and are required to draw up written measures, which must be fully implemented, to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.We have made available to schools a free information pack and video entitled "Bullying: Don't Suffer in Silence", which provides examples of good practice in preventing bullying. There is also a dedicated website at www.dfes.qov.uk/bullying, which offers help to pupils, parents and teachers and contains links to other websites. Anti-bullying work is part of our Behaviour and Attendance strategy and from this September it will feature within the new behaviour and attendance audits and training, which are being introduced into secondary schools as part of the Key Stage 3 strategy.Schools need to have a range of measures in place to protect their pupils—including pupils who have been bullied previously—from bullying. These are likely to include proper supervision during the school day and encouraging a culture of openness so that bullying cannot flourish unseen. Schools should do all they can to ensure that pupils do not feel they need to change school because of bullying. As far as the bullies are concerned, we have made it clear that, where necessary, those responsible for serious or prolonged bullying— including cases of violence, sexual assault or inciting racial harassment—can be permanently excluded.We have published guidance on the circumstances in which the police should be involved in cases of bullying in school. We encourage all schools to have effective links with the local police. The Safer School Partnerships established within our wider Behaviour and Attendance strategy, whereby police officers are based in some schools, will also help to prevent and deal with bullying.

    Criminal Records Checks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many enhanced checks (a) have been carried out and (b) remain to be carried out in the academic year 2002–03 by the Criminal Records Bureau on (i) teaching staff, (ii) non-teaching

    Support staff in maintained nursery, primary, middle and secondary schools special schools1 and pupil referral units in England— Full-time equivalents January of each year
    Thousands
    19971998199920002001200220032
    Teaching assistants3
    Teaching assistants35.538.839.345.355.657.373.1
    Special needs support staff24.526.029.532.437.746.746.8
    Minority ethnic pupil support staff1.21.51.52.12.52.52.5
    Total61.366.370.379.895.8106.4122.3
    Administrative staff
    Secretaries27.628.529.130.230.625.624.7
    Bursars4.14.24.44.75.04.95.1
    Other admin/clerical staff7.57.37.78.310.719.320.8
    Total39.240.141.243.246.349.850.6
    Technicians
    Total12.713.113.514.215.016.618.0
    Other support staff
    Matrons/nurses/medical staff41.21.21.21.21.21.81.7
    Child care staff (boarding schools)53.43.43.13.33.23.20.4
    Other618.719.722.123.127.439.332.3
    Total23.324.426.527.531.844.234.4
    Total support staff136.5143.8151.5164.7189.0217.0225.3
    (Total excluding nursery schools)134.1141.5149.0162.1186.3214.2222.4
    1 Includes non-maintained special (and special and general hospital schools).
    2 Provisional.
    3 Includes nursery assistants in nursery schools.
    4 Included with 'other' in nursery schools.

    school staff, (iii) governors and (iv) parent volunteers; and how many checks will be carried out on each category; [119426]

    (2) how many school-related local authority staff (a) have been checked and (b) remain in need of checking by the Criminal Records Bureau in the academic year 2002–03. [119437]

    Eco-Schools

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what arrangements his Department has for the dissemination of educational information regarding environmental matters by way of the network of eco-schools in England; [118690](2) what assessment he has made of the contribution made by the eco-schools programme to the delivery of the citizenship curriculum. [118691]

    We have no plans for utilising the network of Eco-Schools (run by EnCams Limited) as a dissemination mechanism for environmental education. The citizenship curriculum is deliberately flexible, allowing teachers to choose the delivery methods best suited to their pupil's needs and interests. The Eco-Schools programme is one of a number of methods schools employ to deliver citizenship.

    Education Support Staff

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many education support staff have been employed in each year since 1997; and what duties they carried out. [118256]

    Information on the number of support staff is shown in the table. The deployment of support staff is a matter for individual schools. No information on this deployment is available centrally.

    5 Due to a reporting problem at source, the number of child care staff has not been recorded accurately by schools, resulting in child care staff being distributed across other support staff categories.

    6 Includes: librarians, welfare assistants, learning mentors and any other support staff regularly employed in schools; matrons, nurses, other medical staff in nursery schools.

    Source:

    Annual School Census

    Efficiency Savings

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114107]

    My Department does not have a target in the terms expressed. The Department has value for money targets arising from the Government's spending reviews in 2000 and 2002 (SR2000 & SR2002). Following SR2000, schools can now meaningfully compare costs with one another and thus improve value for money year on year. We established a framework of Consistent Financial Reporting requiring all maintained schools to report their accounts in a standardised way, which has been operational since 1 April 2003. Following SR 2002, the Department is developing a challenging target covering minimum performance and value for money in FE colleges and other post-16 providers.

    Excluded Children

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much it cost to educate excluded children through (a) pupil referral units, (b) home tuition, (c) emotional and behavioural disorder day units, (d) emotional and behavioural disorder residential units and (e) other provision for excluded children in each year since 1995. [116635]

    [holding answer 3 June 2003]: The information requested is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Free School Meals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what change there has been an increase in applications for free school meals since the introduction of new rules in April. [119313]

    The information requested is not currently available. The number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is collected in January each year via the Annual Schools' Census. As a result, trend data on the number of pupils known to be eligible for free meals since the introduction of new rules in April 2003 will not be available until 2004.

    Hayfever

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to examining boards on the account which should be taken of the effects of hayfever on the performance of children taking public examinations. [119865]

    Arrangements for candidates affected by personal illness are set out in The Joint Council for General Qualifications (JCGQ) document, "Regulations and Guidance for Candidates with Particular Requirements".Examination centres may request special consideration from awarding bodies for candidates affected by chronic hayfever during an exam where exam centres are able to provide evidence that the candidate was affected at the time of the examination.

    Modern Apprenticeships

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who the 10 largest providers of Modern Apprenticeships were in 2002–03; how many contracted places there were with each of those providers; and what the individual success rates were of each of those providers, expressed as (a) the proportion of NVQs successfully passed out of those taken and (b) the proportion of Modern Apprenticeships successfully gained out of those started. [118935]

    This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. John Harwood, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested and will place a copy of his reply in the Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the full achievement rates for Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks for 2002–03 will be issued; and how those rates will be made available. [118939]

    Data on Modern Apprenticeships are published by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in Statistical First Releases (SFR). The next SFR is due to be published on 24 July 2003. Current plans are that this SFR will contain Modern Apprenticeship framework completion and NVQ achievement rates for the period August 2001 to July 2002. An early indication of figures for the period August 2002 to January 2003 is also planned. Framework completion and NVQ achievement rates for the whole period from August 2002 to July 2003 will not be available until December 2003.

    Pay Audits

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills 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. [117440]

    My Department has submitted a report on Gender Pay Equality (including an action plan) to the Cabinet Office. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House, when discussions with Cabinet Office are concluded. Non-departmental public bodies were not required to submit an equal pay report to Cabinet Office, although many have conducted a similar audit, as best practice. It has not been possible to provide the requested information for my Department's non-departmental public bodies without incurring disproportionate cost.A further pay equality review, covering not only gender but also ethnicity and people with disabilities, will begin in my Department when this year's pay award has been delivered, towards the end of this year. The results will be made available on completion of the exercise.

    Prison Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff have been employed in Prison Education in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) teaching staff and (b) non-teaching staff. [119432]

    There are currently around 1,600 full-and part-time teaching staff employed in delivering education in Her Majesty's Prison Service through the education contract. This includes around 220 Learning Support Assistants, who are employed in juvenile facilities on a ratio of one to every 10 learners. We do not have figures for previous years. Each juvenile establishment has a Special Needs Co-ordinator who is responsible for the assessment of learners, drawing up specialist learning programmes, supervising Learning Support Assistants and supporting all staff on special educational needs issues. We have also appointed Heads of Learning and Skills in all juvenile facilities to coordinate learning and skills provision, and will be appointing a further 110 in adult prisons this year. Other non-teaching staff involved in prison education include Instructional Officers, Prison Officer Instructors, other prison staff and voluntary workers.

    Pupil Numbers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list, by LEA, total pupil numbers in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools since 1990. [118769]

    The information requested has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

    Qualifications And Curriculum Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 567W, what the average time taken for a qualification to be approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority following a recommendation from an awarding body is; and if he will make a statement. [120015]

    In 2002 it took an average of eight weeks from the submission of an NVQ by an awarding body to its accreditation by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Vocationally related qualifications are typically more diverse and have taken an average of 20 weeks. There have been very few general qualifications accredited over the last 18 months.

    QCA will be implementing a streamlined accreditation process in autumn 2003. This will build on proposals currently being piloted that have resulted in NVQs being accredited in six weeks and vocationally related qualifications in seven weeks.

    Research Funding

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how universities qualify for research funding; what measures are in place to ensure that funding is fairly distributed to smaller universities; and what plans he has to concentrate research funding into a smaller group of universities. [119666]

    The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes a portion of its block grant to higher education institutions according to the quality of their research as measured by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and the volume of research they carry out. This provides equitable funding to institutions of all sizes. The White Paper, "The future of higher education", set out plans to strengthen higher education research by increasing substantially the funding available, providing further support to the best research departments and institutions, promoting collaboration and encouraging and supporting promising departments and emerging subject areas. HEFCE is considering how best to implement the White Paper plans. Some institutions have seen reductions in their research funding for the coming year, typically where most of their research falls below international standards of excellence. However, the Government do not intend to restrict research funding to a particular group of universities. In the longer term funding may be affected by Sir Gareth Roberts' review of research assessment, commissioned by the higher education funding bodies. The report of that review was published for consultation last month (http://www.ra-review.ac.uk/). It recommends a more flexible system of research assessment, including different types of assessment for institutions and departments with different levels of research. As now, HEFCE would decide how to use the assessment results in funding institutions.

    School Students

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students living in catchment areas in north-east Lincolnshire attend schools outside the north-east Lincolnshire LEA area. [120060]

    The information requested is given in the following table.

    Total number of pupils resident in north-east LincolnshireOf which attend schools situated within the LEAOf which attend schools situated outside the LEA
    LEANumberPercentageNumberPercentage
    200327,47926,77697.47032.6
    200227,46626,79497.66722.4
    Breakdown of percentage of all pupils living in NE Lincolnshire LEA but attending schools in other LEAs
    January 2002 and 2003
    LEA name in which school attended1Percentage
    January 2003Calderdale2
    Kirklees2
    City of Kingston Upon Hull0.1
    East Riding of Yorkshire2
    North Lincolnshire0.1
    North Yorkshire2
    Nottinghamshire2
    Lincolnshire2.3
    January 2002City of Kingston Upon Hull0.1
    East Riding of Yorkshire2
    North Lincolnshire0.1
    North Yorkshire2
    Lancashire2
    Lincolnshire2.3
    1 Figures may not add to overall total because of rounding
    2 Percentage below 0.1 per cent.

    Student Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what help is given to school leavers who wish to attend non-university courses and apprenticeships; and what financial assistance is available to them. [119622]

    There is a range of financial support and assistance available to young people on leaving school. The Minimum Training Allowance is available for those who follow a work-based vocational route and who do not have waged status. For those continuing in learning, the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is available in 56 LEA areas in England. The EMA is a weekly allowance for 16–19 year olds and will be made available nationally from September 2004.For those who face specific barriers there is financial support available through the Learner Support Funds. This provides help towards transport costs, books and equipment, residential allowances and help with child care. The Connexions Service provides a wide range of advice and support to young people regarding entry into further education and training. In addition, the Connexions Card enables students to collect rewards and discounts for participating in learning.The support arrangements for school leavers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are a matter for the devolved administrations.

    Teachers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of (a) nursery/primary and (b) secondary school qualified teachers who are not employed in the maintained sector in each year since 1990. [118120]

    The following table provides the available data on qualified teachers who were not in service in the maintained schools sector in England and Wales at 31 March of each year shown. Data are not available by phase of training or for years prior to 1998.

    No service recorded1Previously in service2Teachers in service outside the maintained schools sector3
    199884,800307,20070,800
    199986,400304,70072,600
    200087,700304,00074,000
    200188,000300,20074,600
    1 Includes those who qualified in England or Wales who have no known service in England or Wales. Some may have entered service not recorded on the DTR, which is maintained primarily for the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS), e.g. in some independent schools or outside of England and Wales.
    2 Qualified teachers with some previous service in any sector in England and Wales. Includes teachers who qualified other than in England and Wales. Some teachers will return to service after career breaks.
    3 Qualified teachers in service in England and Wales outside the maintained schools sector, e.g. those in the independent sector, further or higher education sectors or miscellaneous establishments who are members of the TPS.

    Source:

    Database of Teacher Records (DTR).

    Top-Up Fees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) letters, (b) faxes, (c) phone calls, (d) e-mails and (e) petitions have been received by his Department since 2000 (i) in favour of and (ii) opposed to top-up fees. [118148]

    The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on his strategy for the proposed increase in workplace-based learning. [117555]

    As part of the Skills Strategy we are considering how best to target the public funding of adult learning to ensure the significant investment we are making has the maximum impact in supporting adult skills, alongside investment from employers. We will set out our conclusions shortly.

    Veterinary Science

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many places for veterinary science were offered by UK universities in each of the last five years; and how many applications there were for university places in veterinary science in each of those years. [119227]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: Information on the numbers of places for veterinary science is not held centrally. The Higher Education Funding Council for England has responsibility for funding the number of HE places in English HE institutions, but these places are funded in terms of four broad price groups, rather than individual subjects. The price groups recognise that some subjects, such as those that involve laboratory or workshop activities, require higher levels of resource to those that are mainly classroom based. Veterinary Science is included in highest price group along with clinical medicine and dentistry.

    The available figures for applicants and acceptances for Veterinary Science courses in the United Kingdom via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) are shown in the following table.

    Applicants and acceptances to full-time undergraduate courses in Veterinary Science

    Year of entry

    Applicants

    1

    Acceptances

    1

    19981,790620
    19991,800630
    20001,760660
    20011,610700
    20021,600770

    1 Covers both home and overseas students.

    Note:

    Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

    Solicitor-General

    Correspondence

    To ask the Solicitor-General how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115869]

    A holding reply was given on 3 June 2003.My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, the Serious Fraud Office, the Treasury Solicitor's Department and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate do not have dedicated Ministerial Correspondence Units due to the small size of the offices. Ministerial Correspondence is delegated for preparation of a response to the most appropriate person depending on the subject matter.The Crown Prosecution Service's Correspondence Unit deals with all Ministerial Correspondence sent to the Director, Chief Executive and the Law Officers, general correspondence from members of the public, the Public Enquiry Point and, in accordance with the third tier of the Crown Prosecution Service's Complaints Procedure, looks into all matters in which complainants remain dissatisfied with the responses received from branch and area level.In 2001–02, four staff were assigned to the Correspondence Unit (one Higher Executive Officer, two Executive Officers and one Administrative Officer). In the following year the number rose to five when a further part-time Higher Executive Officer joined the Unit and was given specific responsibility for third tier

    EventPlacePurposeDateCost
    National Senior Management ConferenceThe Royal York Hotel, YorkTo update all senior managers on progress against current plans and involve them in the development of future strategy and plansApril 2002£46,150
    National Senior Management ConferenceRussell Hotel, LondonTo update all senior managers on progress against current plans and involve them in the development of future strategy and plansJuly 2002£18,760
    National Senior Management ConferenceDe Vere Garden Park, ChesterTo update all senior managers on progress against current plans and involve them in the development of future strategy and plansOctober 2002£47,242
    National Senior Management ConferenceRussell Hotel LondonTo update all senior managers on progress against current plans and involve them in the development of future strategy and plansJanuary 2003£32,857
    Conference of the UKBrowns Court Room, CoventTo provide a forum for representatives of UKSeptember 2002£3,000

    complaints. The Correspondence Unit forms part of the Director's Private Office and the staff report to the Director's Private Secretary.

    Sally Clark

    To ask the Solicitor-General pursuant to her answer of 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 154W, whether she is now in a position to make a statement on the implications for the Crown Prosecution Service of the case of Mrs. Sally Clark. [119872]

    The Court of Appeal has now given its judgment in full in the case of Mrs. Sally Clark. In giving its reasons for quashing the murder convictions, the Court found the convictions were unsafe. No fault was attributed to the Crown Prosecution Service.The Court of Appeal focused on the non-disclosure of potentially significant evidence by Dr. Williams. It also considered the use of statistical evidence by Professor Meadow.The Crown Prosecution Service has already responded to the Sally Clark judgment. It is in the process of issuing guidance to all Chief Crown Prosecutors instructing them to identify cases involving either Doctor Williams or Professor Meadow and ensuring that the defence are made aware of the judgment. Such disclosure would also be applied to any future cases. The implications for previous cases involving Doctor Williams has been discussed and is still being assessed. The Crown Prosecution Service is involved, alongside other relevant agencies, in consideration of that issue.

    Departmental Events

    To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) other conferences sponsored by her Department and which took place on nondepartmental premises in the last 12 months, broken down by title, purpose, date and cost. [104269]

    A holding reply was given on 25 March 2003.The Crown Prosecution Service holds a number of events of this kind throughout the year. The Crown Prosecution Service does not keep a central record of all such events across England and Wales and could not obtain such information without incurring disproportionate cost. However, I am able to list those events that were national or international rather than local and these are shown in the table. The total cost of the 17 events for which information is held was £268,122.

    Event

    Place

    Purpose

    Date

    Cost

    Prosecuting AgenciesGarden, Londonprosecuting agencies to share knowledge of information systems and to explore ways of closer networking
    National CPS Training conferenceBelton Woods Hotel, GranthamTo address training issues, share ideas look at the development of trainers within the CPSMay 2002£3,000
    Higher Court Advocates ConferenceNottingham Royal Moat HouseDevelopment of HCA's and HCA tutorsJune 2002£10,389
    Speaking up for Justice ConferenceLeeds HiltonDevelopment of Speaking up for Justice tutorsMarch 2003£8,345
    Victims Perspective ConferenceBathIncrease awareness of victims issues among CPS StaffApril 20023,000
    Victims Perspective ConferenceBelton Woods Hotel GranthamIncrease awareness of victims issues among CPS staffOctober 2002£3,000
    Victims Perspective ConferenceDurham—CCIncrease awareness of victims issues among CPS staffNovember 2002£3,000
    Community Engagement SeminarRoyal Bath Hotel, BournemouthTo explain, promote and encourage community engagement across the CPS Areas. This was the final event of four, which had been held across the country.May 2002£8,380
    Equality and Diversity Recognition Awards CeremonyNew Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, LondonAwards to celebrate the achievements of individuals, teams or groups who have incorporated equality and diversity aspects into their work within the CPS and helped to raise public confidence in the service.October 2002£17,865
    CPS Conference on Homophobic Crime and LGBT IssuesSavill Court Hotel EghamTo formally launch the Public Policy Statement on Homophobic Crime and associated leaflet, booklet and guidance document.November 2002£19,384
    "On the Edge of Objectivity" Reducing the Justice Gap within 'Hate' CrimesCity Hall, Cathays Park CardiffTo identify mechanisms to reduce the justice gap in hate crimes.February 2003£17,750
    Proceeds of Crime ConferenceThistle Hotel, VictoriaTo update CPS champions on progress with implementation of proceeds of crime legislationMarch 2003Not yet available
    National Domestic Violence Coordinators Network ConferenceCavendish Conference Centre LondonOpportunity for Domestic Violence Co-ordinators to exchange information and promote good practiceJune 2002£6,000
    Human Trafficking ConferenceEastwell Manor Ashford, KentFacilitate greater cooperation between EU States and Candidate Countries and make recommendations.May 2002£20,000

    The Serious Fraud Office has not sponsored any (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) other conferences in the last 12 months.

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate endeavours to hold two staff conferences/training events each year. Their purpose is the discussion of matters of importance across the Inspectorate and also evaluating and achieving consistency in the inspection process. HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate does not have a room sufficiently big to hold the combined London/York staff at its offices and therefore the first day of each conference has been held at the Institute of Minerals. The second and third days of each conference have been held in groups and therefore accommodated within HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate premises. The cost 2002–03 was £2,902.81.

    Date

    Event

    Purpose

    Cost

    12 and 13 March 2002AO development courseSelf development training for administrative officers£2,650
    19 March 2002Leadership seminarA seminar for the staff in Bona Vacantia Division£1,197
    1 May 2002Government Legal Service conferenceTo enable government lawyers to share experience and discuss common issues£16,0001
    15 and 16 May 2002AO development courseSelf development training for administrative officers£968
    2 and 3 July 2002AO development courseSee above£2,650
    3 September 2002Management Module 1Leading and managing people Part 1 of a 6t part management and leadership course for middle managers.£1,247
    20 September2002Management Module 2Part 2: managing money in Treasury Solicitor's Department£484
    15 October 2002Appreciating difference workshopDiversity training for HR staff and Diversity Group£835
    8 October 2002Management Module 3Part 3: Client and supplier management£489
    20 October 2002Management Module 4Part 4: Managing change and risk£484

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate is currently leading the pilot joint inspection of the Gloucestershire CJS Area. An initial meeting was held with the Shadow Local Criminal justice Board and all other interested local agencies. In the absence of other suitable accommodation, a meeting room and facilities at the St. George Hotel, Cheltenham was used. The cost was £1,610.

    The Treasury Solicitor's Department makes full use of its own facilities in its HQ building at Queen Anne's Chambers in SW1 for events that it sponsors, which are mainly staff training and internal management activities. Occasional use is made of non-departmental premises for such events where there is considered to be specific benefit and/or there is a need to do so. The events held by the Department on non-departmental premises in the last 12 months (from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002) are listed in the following table. These are mostly in the nature of workshops and seminars.

    Date

    Event

    Purpose

    Cost

    6 November 2002Management Module 5Part 5: Process and project management£580
    11/12 November 2002Supervisory Board Strategy meetingTo identify the business strategy for the Agency for the following 3 years£5,300
    27 November 2002Management module 6Part 6: managing you own effectiveness£481

    1 The cost of this event was covered from the Departments of those attending.

    The figures provided include direct accommodation costs only: staff time, overheads for organising, facilitating and participating in the event are not included.

    The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers has not sponsored any relevant meeting in the last 12 months

    Departmental Running Costs

    To ask the Solicitor-General what the running costs in 2002 were of (a) her private offices separately identifying expenditure on staff, and (b) the Attorney General's Department. [105986]

    [holding answer 27 March 2003]: Of all the departments for which the Attorney General holds ministerial responsibility, only the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers has a ministerial private office. The cost of the private office cannot be separately identified from the total cost of the department. The total cost of the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers for the financial year 2001–02 was £1,834,968 in staff costs and £974,974 on other expenditure.

    Discontinued Trials

    To ask the Solicitor-General if she will examine the causes behind the decision to discontinue the trials of Adrian Pasareanu, Lulezim Balliu, Alin Turcu and their two co-defendants; and if she will make a statement. [117815]

    The Code for Crown Prosecutors makes clear that no prosecution may be commenced unless it is believed that there is a realistic prospect of a conviction, that is that it is more likely than not that there will be a conviction. However, once a prosecution has begun, it is the duty of the prosecution to keep the prospect of conviction under constant review. If there comes a time when it is believed that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction, it is the duty of the prosecution to say so and to take steps accordingly.The Crown Prosecution Service, undertaking that process of constant review, recently received information which meant that it could no longer put forward the principal prosecution witness, Florim Gashi, as a witness of truth.In May 2003 the section of the CPS dealing with the kidnap received information showing that Mr. Gashi may have entrapped a Wandsworth parking attendant into criminal behaviour. The attendant also made allegations against Mr. Gashi that he had access to guns, an allegation that had also been made by one of the defendants in this case. Further, it was apparent that Mr. Gashi had lied to the police.This information prompted a re-review of the whole case.

    The Crown Prosecution Service was not told until three months after the arrests that Mr. Gashi had been paid for his information. Mr. Gashi had previously denied receiving more than expenses. It was only on 13 May 2003 that a News of the World employee disclosed that a cheque for £10,000 had been issued by the News of the World on 1 November 2002.

    In the light of these developments the CPS requested advice of experienced senior counsel, who advised that there was no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction. As a result the CPS took the decision not to proceed with the case.

    To ask the Solicitor-General if she will estimate the cost, to the public purse, of the abortive trials of Adrian Pasareanu, Lulezim Balliu, Alin Turcu and their co-defendants. [117816]

    It is estimated that the prosecution costs in this case will be in the region of £70,000.This figure does not include staff or running costs, which are attributable to the operation of the Crown Prosecution Service as a whole and cannot be assessed on an individual basis.

    Document Classification

    To ask the Solicitor-General how many documents are held by the Law Officer's Departments that are subject to security classification, broken down by category of classification. [107362]

    [holding answer 8 April 2003]: All the Departments for which the Attorney General holds ministerial responsibly, including the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, deal with a large number of documents subject to security classification. The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Efficiency Savings

    To ask the Solicitor-General what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114104]

    Crown Prosecution Service

    The Crown Prosecution Service does not have a specific departmental target for efficiency savings in 2003–04. One of the Spending Review 2002 PSA targets is to increase value for money from the criminal justice system by 3 per cent. a year. The Crown Prosecution Service will be contributing towards the target, which covers improvements in efficiency as well as improvements in effectiveness.

    Treasury Solicitor's Department

    The Treasury Solicitor's Department does not have specific target for efficiency savings in 2003–04.

    The majority of the Department operates as an Executive Agency recovering the costs of most of its services from Government Departments and publicly funded bodies. As a result of the Quinquenial Review of the Agency in 2001, significant management effort and resources are being focused on improving the business operations including greater efficiency. The changes under way will need to be completed in order that these improvements can be achieved.

    In 2003–04, the Department has two cost measures that serve to control expenditure:

    1. To recover from clients the full operating costs for chargeable services.
    2. To maintain corporate staff overhead at no more than 15 per cent. of total staff costs.

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Serious Fraud Office and Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, the Serious Fraud Office and the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers do not have targets for efficiency savings in 2003–04 although they expect, and will, continue to seek to maximise the value for money achieved in all of its expenditure.

    Eu Directives

    To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the EU Directives and Regulations which have been implemented by the Law Officers' Departments since 17 April 2002. [106823]

    A holding reply was given on 7 April 2003.None of the Departments for which the Attorney General holds ministerial responsibility have implemented any EU Directives or Regulations since 17 April 2002.

    Industrial Action

    To ask the Solicitor-General how many working days were lost owing to industrial action by staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in 2002. [102024]

    A holding reply was given on 12 March 2003.In respect of all the departments for which the Attorney General holds ministerial responsibility, the answer is none.

    Mental Health

    To ask the Solicitor-General how many of her staff retired on medical grounds due to mental health problems in the last year. [111971]

    There have been two retirements within the Crown Prosecution Service on medical grounds due to mental health problems in the last year.

    There have been no retirements on medical grounds due to mental health problems in the last year in any of the other departments for which the Attorney General holds ministerial responsibility.

    Trupti Patel

    To ask the Solicitor-General how much the case against Mrs. Trupti Patel cost public funds. [119656]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: The trial of Regina v. Trupti Patel only concluded on 11 June 2003, and it is therefore not possible at this early stage to give an accurate costs figure. However, the Crown Prosecution Service estimate that their costs will be in the region of £160,000 to £170,000.This figure does not include staff or running costs, which are attributable to the operation of the Crown Prosecution Service as a whole and cannot be assessed on an individual basis.

    Pay Audits

    To ask the Solicitor-General 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. [117434]

    [holding answer 10 June 2003]: The information is as follows:

    Crown Prosecution Service:

    The Crown Prosecution Service has undertaken an analysis of both its pay structure and the individual pay details of all its permanent staff. The detailed results are being discussed with the Departmental Trade Unions and a formal action plan will be available soon.

    While the focus of the Crown Prosecution Service's Equal Pay Review Model is on gender equality, the Department's intention is to apply it to other groups as part of a wider diversity agenda later this year. This we will be able to do more effectively given the outcomes we obtained from the current exercise.

    Serious Fraud Office:

    The Serious Fraud Office conducted its equal pay review in April 2003 and is in the process of drafting an action plan. It is proposed that a copy of the agreed action plan will be placed in the Library of the House in due course.

    Treasury Solicitor's Department and Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers:

    The Treasury Solicitor's Department has completed the review of its pay systems, encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. An action plan has been produced and this will be placed in the Library of the House after full consideration has been given to the issues identified. The Review covers staff in the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers.

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate:

    Although the pay systems for HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate differ from those of the Treasury Solicitor's Department, they fall within that budget and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate was therefore included as a part of the Treasury Solicitor's Department review of the pay systems encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate is currently giving consideration to how the recommendations made following the review may impact upon it.

    Pay Review

    To ask the Solicitor-General what progress has been made with the pay review in the Law Officers' Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible, with particular reference to the gender pay gap; and if she will make a statement. [106749]

    [holding answer 7 April 2003]: The information is as follows:

    Crown Prosecution Service

    The Crown Prosecution Service has undertaken an analysis of both its pay structure and the individual pay details of all its permanent staff. The detailed results are being discussed with the Departmental Trade Unions and a formal action plan will be available soon.

    While the focus of the Crown Prosecution Service's Equal Pay Review Model is on gender equality, the Department's intention is to apply it to other groups as part of a wider diversity agenda late this year. This we will be able to do more effectively given the outcomes we obtained from the current exercise.

    Serious Fraud Office

    The Serious Fraud Office conducted its equal pay review in April 2003 and is in the process of drafting an action plan. It is proposed that a copy of the agreed action plan will be placed in the Library of the House in due course.

    Treasury Solicitor's Department and Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

    The Treasury Solicitor's Department has completed the review of its pay systems, encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. An action plan has been produced and this will be placed in the Library of the House after full consideration has been given to the issues identified. The Review covers staff in the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers.

    HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

    Although the pay systems for HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate differ from those of the Treasury Solicitor's Department, they fall within that budget and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate was therefore included as apart of the Treasury Solicitor's Department review of the pay systems encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate is currently giving consideration to how the recommendations made following the review may impact upon it.

    Public Sector Pensions

    To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the (a) funded and (b) unfunded public sector pension schemes for which the Attorney General's Department is responsible; when the last actuarial valuation was of each scheme; what the value was of the assets at the last actuarial valuation of each scheme; what deficit is disclosed by the last actuarial valuation of each scheme; and if she will make a statement. [104915]

    [holding answer 27 March 2003]: The Attorney General has no responsibility for any funded or unfunded public sector pension schemes.

    Public Service Agreement

    To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the Department has taken to publicise its Public Service Agreement targets; and at what cost to public funds. [114441]

    Crown Prosecution Service

    The Crown Prosecution Service included its Public Service Agreement targets in its Target Delivery Report, published in February 2003, and in its Strategic and Business Plans for 2003 and 2006, published in March 2003. Public Service Agreement targets are also included in the annual Departmental Report which will be published very shortly. These documents are available on the Crown Prosecution website.

    The inclusion of Public Service Agreement targets in these documents is at no additional cost to public funds.

    Serious Fraud Office

    The Serious Fraud Office does not have Public Service Agreement targets but is finalising appropriate targets to cover the Survey 2002 period from 2003–04 to 2005–06. Once agreed they will be published on the official website. The cost to public funds is likely to be under £500.

    Treasury Solicitor's Department and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

    The Treasury Solicitor's Department is not a main Department and is not, therefore, covered by a Public Service Agreement. However, the Department was required to produce and agree with the Attorney General and HM Treasury a Corporate Plan covering the Spending Review 2002 period. This included new performance targets and for accounting purposes covers the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and the HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

    The Department's Corporate Plan was placed in the House of Commons and House of Lords Libraries and on the Department's website. Copies were also made available to all staff through the Department's Intranet. The presentational copies for these purposes were produced in-house at opportunity cost. The only direct cost incurred was £650 for colour photocopying for an additional 60 copies for senior management, other key staff and clients.

    Sellafield

    To ask the Solicitor-General what main points the Attorney General made at the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea tribunal on the dispute with the Republic of Ireland over the Sellafield MOX plant, international movements of radioactive materials, and the protection of the marine environments of the Irish Sea; and if she will place in the Library copies of United Kingdom submissions to the tribunal. [119879]

    The Attorney General is leading the United Kingdom's legal team at the MOX Plant case before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea arbitral tribunal. In those proceedings the United Kingdom requests the Tribunal to:

    • (i) adjudge and declare that it lacks jurisdiction over the claims brought against the United Kingdom by Ireland;
    • or, in the alternative
    • (ii) dismiss the claims brought against the United Kingdom by Ireland.
    The public transcript of the hearing, both in the main proceedings which have now been suspended, and in the provisional measures proceedings subsequently commenced by Ireland, are available on the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (http://www.cpapca.org/) as are the written pleadings of the United Kingdom and Ireland. A copy of these public documents will be placed in the Library as soon as possible.

    Work Placements