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Written Answers

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 20 June 2003

Education And Skills

Angel Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the properties acquired by the Angel Group and its subsidiaries from the Department and its agencies and the (a) dates and (b) costs of their acquisition. [118833]

No properties have been acquired by the Angel Group or any of its subsidiaries from my Department.

Asbestos

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117709]

My Department has recently commissioned independent specialist consultants to carry our asbestos surveys in all the buildings the Department occupies and manages. These surveys will provide us with up to date information on the location, type and, most importantly, the condition of asbestos. Appropriate risk assessments have also been carried out, asbestos control measures confirmed and a programme of regular reviews and updates has been scheduled.All these procedures are being incorporated into an updated Departmental Health and Safety Management Plan. This will incorporate specific job responsibilities for building safety managers to maintain asbestos registers, undertake appropriate reviews and risk assessments and address all other statutory requirements to effectively manage the risks from asbestos in departmental buildings. These measures are being progressed in cooperation with the Health and Safety Executive and will result in the Department complying fully with the new Regulations.Accurate costings for compliance with the new Regulations are not available.

Rural Issues

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in which subjects (a) rural and (b) countryside issues feature in the National Curriculum at (i) primary and (ii) secondary level. [119150]

Rural and countryside issues are covered within the National Curriculum through citizenship and geography.

Through geography, a foundation subject studied by all pupils aged 5 to 14; pupils investigate different places and environments, including the countryside within the United Kingdom and abroad. Through citizenship, a statutory requirement in secondary schools from September 2002, pupils should be taught about the wider issues and challenges of global interdependence and responsibility, including sustainable development and Local Agenda 21. This gives teachers in rural schools the opportunity to incorporate issues of a rural nature in lessons.

From October 2003, schools opting for Specialist School status in any one of the 10 specialisms will be able to build in a rural dimension into their chosen specialism. Target setting subjects, which schools may utilise as part of the rural dimension, include: GCSE Geography, GCSE Environmental Science, GCSE Rural and Agricultural Science, GNVQ or GCSE Leisure and Tourism and GNVQ Land and Environment.

Phonics

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2003, Official Report, column 785W, on synthetic appliances, if he will list the international research over the last 30 years on which the teaching of phonics in the National Literary Strategy is based; how many schools have adopted the Jolly Phonics programme; and when he will publish the report on the seminar of 17 March 2003. [119912]

The teaching of phonics in the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) is based on a wide range of research, and can be found in Roger Beard's "Review of Research and Other Related Evidence", which is available on the Department for Education and Skills Standards website at: www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/literacy/publicationsThe Department does not collect information on the number of schools who have adopted the Jolly Phonics or any other commercial programme. Schools are able to choose from a range of phonics programmes, including the NLS Progression in Phonics, as well as other commercial schemes. It is up to individual schools and teachers to decide which scheme is most effective in meeting the needs of their pupils.The report on the phonics seminar of 17 March 2003 will be published shortly.

Prime Minister

Iraq

To ask the Prime Minister what assessment has been made of the function of the two vehicles suspected of being biological weapons laboratories that were discovered in Iraq. [120497]

Transport

Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the people appointed to ad hoc posts within his Department bearing the titles of advocate, tsar, adviser, champion and comparable titles since May 1997; what their job title is or was; what their role is or was; whether they were or are being paid; what the total cost of each such person was in each financial year, including expenses and benefits; what the expected cost of each such person is in 2003–04; to whom they are accountable; and if he will make a statement. [112468]

The Special Advisers currently in post, appointed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Transport are Andrew Maugham and Tom Restrick.The above are paid appointments. Under exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, details of individual salaries are not disclosed in order to protect the privacy of the individual concerned.

Drink Driving

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 166W, on drink driving, what plans he has to amend police powers to allow evidential breath-testing at the roadside and to increase penalties; when he plans to introduce these changes; and if he will make a statement. [119993]

As stated in our Road Safety Strategy, the Government intend to create a power for police to carry out evidential breath-testing at the roadside. This measure requires primary legislation and will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time permits.With regard to penalty changes, the Criminal Justice Bill, currently before Parliament, provides for an increase in the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs from 10 to 14 years' imprisonment. We are planning to implement further penalty changes referred to in the report on the Review of Road Traffic Penalties (July 2002), including those applying to repeat drink-drive offenders, when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

Freight Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what body co-ordinates the national strategy for freight grants. [120074]

The Government support the movement of freight by rail and waterways as a key part of our sustainable distribution policy. The freight grants programme is a demand-led scheme, which encourages the movement of goods by these means.Following the Transport Act 2000, the programme is administered by the Strategic Rail Authority (for rail freight) and by the Department for Transport (for inland waterways and sea freight). There is regular consultation between the Department and the SRA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much track access grant aid was paid to freight operators in each year since 1992 (a) at current prices and (b) at outturn prices, broken down by location of company. [120075]

Track Access Grants became available in 1994, with the first payment being made in 1996. The table below excludes grants made by the Scottish Executive, which is a matter for the Scottish parliament. Track Access Grant is awarded only to freight train operators, who operate throughout the network.

£ million
Value of TAGsValue of TAGs at 2002–03 prices
1996–9712.214.3
1997–9821.324.3
1998–9919.321.4
1999–200017.218.6
2000–0113.914.7
2001–0219.920.5
2002–0320.720.7

Mersey Tunnels Bill

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings his Department has held in the last five years with the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority and Executive to discuss the Mersey Tunnels Bill. [120136]

There have been five meetings between the Department and the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority and Executive to discuss the current Mersey Tunnels Private Bill.

Culture, Media And Sport

Royal Residences

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial contribution (a) Her Majesty the Queen and (b) His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is making to the redecoration and refurbishment of Clarence House. [115778]

The information requested is as follows:

  • (a) Her Majesty the Queen is not paying anything towards the redecoration of Clarence House; and
  • (b) His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is paying £78,000 including VAT towards the decoration costs. In addition, he is paying about £1.6 million for the soft furnishings, including carpets, light fittings and curtains.
  • Council Of Ministers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department's vote in the Council of Ministers against a legislative proposal (a) was sufficient and (b) was not sufficient to achieve with other member states a blocking minority. [117214]

    Cultural matters are not subject to Qualified Majority Voting: matters are voted unanimously. Audiovisual matters are subject to Qualified Majority Voting, but DCMS Ministers have not voted against proposals.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department abstained in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal that was passed by Qualified Majority Voting. [117237]

    Ministers in the DCMS have not abstained in voting on audiovisual matters that are subject to Qualified Majority Voting.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department has been outvoted by Qualified Majority Voting in the Council of Ministers; and if she will list the legislation by year. [117241]

    This Department has not been outvoted by Qualified Majority Voting in the Council of Ministers.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department indicated dissent from a proposal in the Council of Ministers but did not register a vote or abstention. [117256]

    On no occasion has this Department registered dissent from a proposal that has been voted on in the Council of Ministers.

    London Olympic Bid

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from what budget the salary for the leader of the London Olympic Bid comes; and how many days a week the leader of the Bid will be contracted to work. [120171]

    The salary for the leader of the London Olympic Bid will come from the joint provision set aside by the Government and the London Development Agency to cover the costs of the bid. It is envisaged that the leader of the Bid will be contracted to work a two to three-day week, although this is likely to be flexible to reflect changing pressures of work and to meet priorities and needs.

    Sport England

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much money has been allocated for redundancies and early retirement at (a) Sport England and (b) UK Sport for (i) 2002–03 and (ii) 2003–04. [119950]

    The figures requested are shown in the following table:

    £
    2002–03 (Actual)2003–04 (Plans)
    Sport England7,236,000
    UK Sport76725,000

    Voluntary Organisations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding programmes are operated by her Department to support voluntary organisations working with young people; and what the level of support has been in each of the last three years. [120531]

    We will be paying £134,000 this year, as we have done for each of the previous two years, to Community Service Volunteers (CSV) for the Lending Time project—involving volunteers in public libraries. The Home Office will also be putting in £134,000 for each of these years.

    Scotland

    Reshuffle

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he offered on the designation of officials in his Department in (a) correspondence and (b) communications issued on Friday 13 June. [120676]

    Solicitor-General

    Infanticide (Mothers)

    To ask the Solicitor General what plans she has to change the way in which the criminal justice system deals with mothers accused of murdering their children; and if she will make a statement. [119933]

    The Crown Prosecution Service will continue to apply the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors—namely, whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. In the light of the Sally Clark judgment the Crown Prosecution Service is issuing guidance to all Chief Crown Prosecutors instructing that the defence should be made aware of the criticisms of the Court of Appeal should any future case involving Dr. Williams or Professor Meadow arise. The CPS is also involved in a number of working groups that are considering the work of expert witnesses.

    Staff Numbers

    To ask the Solicitor General how many staff were employed by her Department in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [106971]

    A holding reply was given on 7 April.I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Alexander) on 4 April 2003,

    Official Report, column 891W.

    Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

    Fallen Stock

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to visit south Cumbria to discuss the operation of the fallen livestock disposal scheme. [119337]

    [holding answer 17 June 2003]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to visit south Cumbria for this purpose. However we have regular meetings with stakeholders to discuss this issue.

    Common Agricultural Policy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on developing country producers of EU enlargement, with particular reference to the payment of production-related subsidies to accession country farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy. [119007]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: Enlargement will bring important benefits for developing countries. The new member states will take on EU partnership and co-operation agreements, and will therefore provide expanded access for developing countries under preferential and free trade arrangements, the EU's Generalised System of Preferences and the "Everything But Arms" scheme. Overall, enlargement will give access to a larger single market of up to half a billion people, with one set of rules and regulations applying throughout.However, enlargement will not alter the conclusion that the CAP as it stands has a detrimental impact on developing countries. The government are committed to CAP reform as a key element towards their goal of a more sustainable agriculture. A fundamentally reformed and market-oriented CAP would benefit developing countries, as well as farmers, consumers, the environment, and taxpayers in both old and new EU member states.

    Computers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) computers, (b) computer printers and (c) other computing equipment were (i) purchased, (ii) disposed of by (A) landfill, (B) incineration and (C) other means, (iii) recycled and (iv) reused, broken down by households and businesses in the last year for which figures are available. [119066]

    These figures are not collected centrally. However, a report by the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling (ICER) suggests that in 1998, 225,000 tonnes of IT and LAN equipment were discarded. Of that, about 20 per cent. by weight was sent for reuse or recycling. This report is currently being updated and revised figures will be available shortly.

    Gm Crops

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers she has to accept or reject the advice of the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment with respect to proposed GM releases into the environment. [119076]

    The Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment is the statutory committee appointed under section 124(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the exercise of her powers in granting consents for the release of genetically modified organisms and other relevant matters. The Secretary of State may accept or reject the advice of the committee, but decisions must be based on an assessment of risks to human health or the environment and other criteria set out in the legislation and are open to challenge through the courts.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received regarding the licensing of GM crops for commercial use from (a) farming organisations, (b) supermarkets, (c) other Governments and (d) others. [119257]

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and Defra Ministers and officials regularly receive representations on GM crops from a wide range of stakeholders, including farming organisations, supermarkets, other Governments and others. No central record is kept of these communications.

    Landfill Licences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what licence modification in respect of the landfill site operated by Harry Sanders Ltd. at Ingram Works in Leeds is now under consideration; and how many applications for licence modifications have been received from that applicant in the last month. [119583]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: Harry Sanders Ltd. do not hold the licence for the landfill site at Ingram Works, Leeds. I understand the licence is held by Peter Saunders and the Environment Agency has not received any application to modify the licence over the last month.

    Light Bulbs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) GLS bulbs, (b) fluorescent tubes, (c) halogen bulbs, (d) low energy bulbs and (e) other lighting bulbs were (i) purchased, (ii) disposed of, by (A) landfill, (B) incineration and (C) other means, (iii) recycled and (iv) reused, broken down by households and businesses in the last year for which figures are available. [119067]

    The Lighting Industry Federation, which accounts for the majority of lighting manufacturers in the UK, estimates the figures for its members are as follows.

    Lamp sales 2002 (million)

    Percentage business use (approx)

    Disposal in 2002 (per cent.)

    Landfill

    Incineration

    Recycle

    Filament lamps (GLS)3234010000
    Fluorescent tubes549093.506.5
    Halogen264010000
    Low energy lamps (CFL)244597.502.5
    High intensity discharge5.510082.5017.5

    Official Spelling

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy that all official (a) correspondence, (b) reports and (c) documentation from her office uses the English spelling of words where this differs from the US version. [118872]

    I have asked officials to follow precisely this approach and I know they make considerable efforts to do so. It is a formal aim within Defra for all correspondence, reports and documentation to be written according to Plain English standards (allowing leeway in technical reports aimed at a specialist audience) and to avoid non-standard spelling. I have also asked officials to avoid use of initials except when they are in standard use, but this is even more difficult to achieve in practice. Publication of reports is carried out in line with Guidance on the Work of the Government Information Service.

    Resource Productivity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations contained in the Performance and Innovation Unit's report "Resource Productivity: Making More with Less", published in November 2001. [119701]

    The recommendations in this report were initially under consideration by an interdepartmental group of officials, formed in early 2002. However, this work has taken on a much broader context because of the agreement successfully reached last September at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) on the theme of sustainable consumption and production. The Government's intention now is to publish, later this summer, a strategic document on the broader WSSD theme. This will draw on the earlier work of the Performance and Innovation Unit on resource productivity, as well as on developments in the related areas of energy and waste, on which the PIU and then the Strategy Unit have also reported.

    Sellafield

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the quantified radioactive discharges, by terabecquerels, from Sellafield to (a) air and (b) water in each year from 1980 to date; and what the projected discharges are in each year to 2020. [117422]

    [holding answer 9 June 2003]: Liquid and aerial discharge data for the years 1980 to 2002 inclusive, is provided in the following tables. For liquid discharges, the total alpha plus total beta (excluding tritium) measurements in table 1 provide a simple indication of past and future discharges that is representative of the overall discharge. Tritium in liquid discharges, which has very low radiological toxicity, despite being high in quantitive terms, is shown separately in table 2.For aerial discharges in table 3, the total alpha plus total beta measurements relate to particulate activity discharged to the atmosphere from the Sellafield site. In addition to the particulate activity there are low active radioactive gases and vapours discharged from the site which require specific sampling equipment dependent upon the gas to be measured. These measurements are separate from and in addition to the total alpha and total beta measurements and are provided in table 4 to give a more complete picture of past aerial discharges. Included in the gaseous measurements are the noble gases such as Krypton 85 and Argon 41 which are inert and consequently do not react with the environment through the normal pathways of rainwater or ground deposition. Their impact on man is through external exposure and as such their impact in terms of dose is relatively low, although in quantitive terms the discharges appear to be large.The projected results of liquid discharges in tables 5 and 6 are reproduced from the UK's Strategy for Radioactive Discharges, 2001–20, published in July 2002 and are shown as averaged 5-year predictions. Aerial projections are not currently available. These will be developed in the context of the first revision of the UK's Radioactive Discharges Strategy which is due to be published in 2005.

    Table 1: Sellafield liquid alpha plus beta radioactive discharges, excluding Tritium 1980–2002 (TBq)
    19804,345
    19813,861
    19823,556
    19832,504
    19841,204
    1985593
    19861123
    198791
    198883
    1989104
    199073
    199164
    199259
    1993100
    1994127
    1995188
    1996143
    1997138
    1998286
    1999110
    2000277
    2001123
    2002113

    1 Discharge authorisation revised in 1986

    2 Reduced discharges in 1998 and 2000 were due to their being no treatment of Salt Evaporator Concentrate (SEC) arising from Magnox re-processing.

    Table 2: Sellafield liquid tritium radioactive discharges 1980–2002 (TBq)

    19801,300
    19812,000
    19821,800
    19831,800
    19841,600
    19851,100
    198612,200
    19871,400
    19881,700
    19892,100
    19901,700
    19911,800
    19921,200
    19932,300
    19941,700
    19952,660
    19963,000
    19972,600
    19982,300
    19992,500
    20002,260
    20012,560
    20023,320

    1 Discharge authorisation revised in 1986

    Table 3: Sellafield aerial alpha plus beta radioactive discharges excluding vapours and gases 1980–2002 (TBq)

    19800.50
    19810.25
    19820.102
    19830.08
    19840.06
    19850.05
    19860.03
    19870.02
    19880.01
    19890.01
    19900.01
    19910.01
    19920.01
    19930.01
    19940.005
    19950.004
    19960.003
    19970.002
    19980.002
    19990.002
    20000.001
    20010.001
    20020.0001

    Table 4: Sellafield vapours and gases 1 discharged 1980–2002 (TBq)

    198032,354
    198153,770
    198245,685
    198343,411
    198438,808
    198526,875
    198656,066
    198736,501
    198842,332
    198954,914
    199040,700
    199147,727
    199230,290

    Table 4: Sellafield vapours and gases 1 discharged 1980–2002 (TBq)

    199360,570
    199441,556
    1995100,289
    199697,130
    199797,764
    1998101,758
    1999102,857
    200076,720
    2001105,140
    2002101,579

    1 Tritium, Carbon-14, Sulphur 35, Iodine 129 and 131, Argon 41, Krypton 85.

    Table 5: Projected alpha/beta radioactive liquid discharges from Sellafield excluding tritium 2003–2020 (TBq)

    2003165
    2004165
    2005165
    2006104
    2007104
    2008104
    2009104
    2010104
    201175
    201275
    201375
    201475
    201575
    201654
    201754
    201854
    201954
    202054

    Table 6: Projected liquid tritium radioactive discharges 2003–2020 (TBq)

    20039,280
    20049,280
    20059,280
    20068,930
    20078,930
    20088,930
    20098,930
    20108,930
    20119,110
    20129,110
    20139,110
    20149,110
    20159,110
    20169,520
    20179,520
    20189,520
    20199,520
    20209,520

    Note:

    The projections in tables 5 and 6 are annualised average figures for the five-year periods 2001–05, 2006–10, 2011–15 and 2016–20. They do not represent targets or limits for sp.

    Waste Management

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the locations broken down by (a) county and (b) region of (i) existing waste incinerators and (ii) pending planning applications for waste incinerators in England and Wales. [117482]

    There are at present 16 Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) incinerators operating in the whole of the UK, two of which are in Scotland. Details of planning applications for proposed facilities that have yet to be

    LocationMSW/year (kilotonnes)Net capacity (MW) (megawatts)Operator
    Cleveland (Billingham)24520SITA
    SELCHP (Lewisham, London)42032Onyx/SELCHP
    Tyseley (Birmingham)35025Onyx
    Edmonton (north London)60032SITA/London Waste
    Coventry CHP21517.7Coventry and Solihull
    Dudley907Martin Engineering Systems
    Wolverhampton1058Martin Engineering Systems
    Stoke20012.5Martin Engineering Systems
    Nottingham CHP15013Waste Recycling Group Ltd.
    Bolton (Manchester)13010Greater Manchester Waste
    Sheffield CHP1356.8Onyx
    Kirklees13512SITA
    Isle of Wight (RDF)351.8Biff a
    Pebsham (RDF)Z5Z5Slough Heat and Power
    There are many hundreds of other incinerators for sewage sludge, hazardous waste, clinical waste, production waste from factories etc. In England and Wales, the larger plant generally is regulated by the Environment Agency and details of their locations are available on the Environment Agency's public register. Other plant, that is part of another process regulated by the Agency, may not be shown separately on the register. Smaller plant is regulated by local authorities. In Scotland all such plant are regulated by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
    OperatorLocationSize, t/yrPlanning statusPermit status
    NEWLINCS DevelopmentsGrimsby56,000GrantedIPC authorised. PPC application to be submitted
    OnyxPortsmouth165,000Granted after appealIPC authorised. PPC application expected this year
    OnyxMarchwood, Southampton160,000GrantedIPC authorised. PPC application being determined
    Surrey Waste ManagementCapel, Surrey116,000Granted, but there has been a successful legal challengePPC permit issued
    GrundonsSlough400,000GrantedIPC authorised. PPC application expected
    OnyxChineham, Surrey110,000GrantedPPC permit issued
    HLC Waste Management ServicesNeath, Port Talbot85,000GrantedPPC permit issued
    Waste Recycling GroupHull150,000Planning appeal turned downPPC permit issued
    Kent EnviropowerMaidstone, Kent500,000GrantedPPC permit being determined
    Riverside Resource RecoveryBexley, London580,000 nominal capacityApplication submitted; public enquiry pendingIPC authorised; PPC application pending
    ShanksMilton Keynes353,000Application submittedPPC application to be submitted if planning permission granted
    OnyxSheffield225,000Application approvedPPC application determined
    SitaRidham Dock, Kent200,000Subject to a planning appealNo application
    County Environment ServicesRoche, Cornwall64,000Application submittedNo application

    Treasury

    Civil Service Relocation

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress of Sir Michael Lyons' review into civil service relocation. [119986]

    The Lyons Review was launched in the Budget 2003 statement on 9 April and Sir Michael intends to report his findings by the end of the year. The Review will identify the scope for relocating substantial determined by the respective local planning authorities, are not held centrally. The following table lists the 14 MSW incinerators in England and Wales.A new plant will need planning permission to start construction and a PPC permit to start operations. The table gives the number and status, as at 16 June 2003, of new Municipal Waste Incineration Plants in England and Wales. The table contains information shared with the Environment Agency by prospective applicants for pollution control permits. There may also be other planning applications or amendments which have been submitted to local authorities over which the Agency has not been consulted. The planning status may have been changed since the data were supplied.numbers of central Government and other public sector jobs from London and the South East to other parts of the United Kingdom Sir Michael has written to Permanent Secretaries and Heads of United Kingdom Government departments requesting asking them to submit proposals for relocating activity.Sir Michael will also consult a range of organisations at national, regional and local level. This consultation will begin before the end of June and will welcome responses until 12 September. It will also be accessible through the Treasury and ODPM websites.

    Co-Operative Societies

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to apply the same conditions to co-operative societies under industrial and provident society rules as to companies regarding (a) audit and accountants' reports and (b) publication of unaudited interim accounts. [119973]

    The Government are keen to see, where appropriate, a level playing field between industrial and provident societies and companies. We are currently examining our options for taking forward this agenda. However, in order to provide for a strategic, consistent and up-to-date approach between companies and societies, the Government believe that the general modernisation of industrial and provident society legislation in this area should be considered in the light of the planned major reform of company law, announced in the "Modernising Company Law" White Paper, published in July 2002.

    Euro

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations were received from Ministers in Departments other than the Treasury on the document, "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776), prior to its publication; and whether these were taken into account in the final draft of the document. [120329]

    The assessment of the five economic tests was produced by the Treasury for the Government. The work on the assessment was undertaken by the Treasury, and it was then circulated to the Cabinet on 29 May 2003.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the length of time required, following structural reform in housing markets and other areas, before sustainable and durable convergence in relation to membership of the single currency can be judged to have occurred; [120330](2) what estimate has been made of the time required for the dynamic changes to come through before business cycles can be judged to have converged in relation to reforms to the housing market as set out in the Executive Summary of the document "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776) [120343]

    In his statement to Parliament on 9 June 2003, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced major reforms, right for the British economy, reforms which will be implemented over the next year and will greatly assist the process of achieving sustainable and durable convergence and the flexibility necessary for Britain to succeed sustainably within the euro zone and realise its potential for trade and investment.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will set out the analysis behind his conclusion in "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776, paragraph 5.19), that over the long term, 2.5 per cent. for RPIX inflation corresponds to around 2 per cent. for HICP inflation; [120336](2) what assessment he has made of the advantages and disadvantages of including housing depreciation as a component of the inflation target; [120337](3) pursuant to his oral statement of 9 June 2003,

    Official Report, column 412W, if he will publish the supporting papers for his conclusion that the HICP measure of inflation is a better measure; [120340]

    (4) pursuant to his oral statement of 9 June 2003, Official Report, column 412, if he will make a statement on the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the various measures of inflation, in light of his conclusion that the HICP measure of inflation is a better measure. [120328]

    In his statement on 9 June 2003, the Chancellor said that the advantage of the internationally recognised index of consumer prices—HICP—is that it is a better measure, will improve the quality of our target, is in line with best international practice and is used by every other G7 nation but Japan, and by our neighbours in Europe. The Chancellor also said that, subject to confirmation at the time of the Pre-Budget Report, he intended to change the inflation target at that time.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when officials from his Department first had discussions regarding the planning of events to promote the UK's entry to a single currency after 9 June 2003. [120025]

    Ministers will be holding a series of meetings around the country, campaigning for a pro-European consensus.The arrangements for any events taking place following the announcement on EMU will adhere strictly to the published Ministerial Code. The Code governs the boundary between the legitimate presentation of Government policy, for which Government resources can be used, and party political activities, for which they cannot.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if the expenditure on the promotion of UK entry to the European single currency will come from the budget of his Department; [120027](2) if he will list the projected costs of

    (a) events and (b) publications planned by his Department to promote UK entry to the European single currency. [120029]

    The arrangements for any events taking place following the announcement on EMU will adhere strictly to the published Ministerial Code. The Code governs the boundary between the legitimate presentation of Government policy, for which Government resources can be used, and party political activities, for which they cannot.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions officials from his Department have had with representatives of Britain in Europe regarding a campaign to promote UK entry to the European single currency. [120028]

    As the Chancellor said at the press conference on 10 June 2003,

    "Tomorrow I'll be meeting Britain in Europe and discuss with them the changes we need in Britain and in Europe."

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the programme of events planned by his Department to promote UK entry to the European single currency. [120030]

    Ministers will be holding a series of meetings around the country, campaigning for a pro-European consensus.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further work is being undertaken on the role of discretionary fiscal policy inside EMU, further to paragraph 2.215 of "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776); and when this work will be completed. [120334]

    The Treasury will conduct further analysis into these issues to ensure that the policy proposals deliver effective counter-cyclical stabilisation of the economy if the UK were to join EMU.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further work is being undertaken on the role of automatic fiscal stabilisers inside EMU, further to paragraph 2.196 of UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests (HM Treasury, Cm 5776); and when this work will be completed. [120335]

    Paragraph 5.32 of the Treasury discussion paper "Fiscal stabilisation and EMU" describes what further work will be required over time to assess the case for strengthening the automatic stabilisers if the UK were to join EMU.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on his proposal to change the inflation target. [120338]

    The Chancellor has received a number of representations from Members of Parliament on behalf of their constituents seeking confirmation that pensions will continue to be increased in line with the RPI. In his statement on 9 June the Chancellor confirmed that pensions and benefits and index-linked gilts would be calculated on exactly the same basis as now.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what analysis he has made of the performance of the existing inflation target and its effect on the conduct and performance of UK monetary policy since 1997. [120339]

    The Treasury published a paper in October 1999, "The New Monetary Policy Framework", which assessed the performance of the new framework in its first two years. This analysis was updated in the book "Reforming Britain's Economic and Financial Policy—Towards Greater Economic Stability", HM Treasury, published in 2002. In addition, the Government publishes regular commentary on, and analysis of, the performance of inflation and inflation expectations under the new monetary policy framework in Budget and Pre-Budget Reports. The analysis demonstrates that the new monetary policy framework has made a difference, in particular in closing the credibility gap between inflation expectations and the inflation target.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his oral statement of 9 June 2003, Official Report, column 412W, if he will make a statement on the consultation process on the new fiscal rule. [120333]

    The Treasury discussion paper "Fiscal stabilisation and EMU" discusses how the new fiscal rule could be set up if the UK were to join EMU. In his statement to Parliament on 9 June 2003, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, "to ensure stability inside the euro area we will consult on the case for an open letter system on fiscal policy and a new and additional fiscal rule." We intend to discuss the new fiscal rule with external experts. Given that decisions on how such consultation will be carried out have not yet been made, the draft answer quotes from the statement that "we will report on progress in the Budget next year"

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conclusions he draws from the UK's correlation of business cycle to the euro area compared to Germany's as shown in Table 1.1 of "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776). [120341]

    I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 1.166 of "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" which states:"On past performance, UK business cycles have been much less compatible with the euro area average than has been the case in other countries such as Germany and France. There is some evidence that compatibility may have increased in recent years, reflecting greater macroeconomic stability in the UK and increased convergence between the business cycles of all the advanced economies. Over the last five years, the UK output gap cycle has been more correlated with the German cycle than that in the US…"

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" HM Treasury, Cm 5776, paragraph 1.121, what conclusions he has drawn from his finding that the United Kingdom left the ERM at least in part because of a lack of convergence. [120342]

    As the Chancellor said in his statement to the House on 9 June 2003,

    "The discipline of the five tests is to ensure there will be no repeat of the experience of the ERM when Britain joined at the wrong rate and at the wrong time without either convergence or flexibility and the potential benefits could not be realised."
    The Government believe there is a realistic prospect of making significant progress on this reform agenda over the next year. We will report on progress in the Budget next year.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on his assessment of the effect of EMU membership on pensioners, and in particular his conclusion in "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests", HM Treasury, Cm 5776, paragraph 5.139 that overall the environment would be one of greater uncertainty. [120344]

    As the Chancellor said in his statement,"we will do nothing to put stability and the national economic interest at risk."

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether officials from Departments other than the Treasury contributed to the final contents of the document "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776). [120346]

    This is a Treasury assessment produced for the Government. The work was undertaken by the Treasury.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the final changes were made to the document "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests" (HM Treasury, Cm 5776). [120347]

    The assessment of the five economic tests was produced by the Treasury for the Government. The work on the assessment was undertaken by the Treasury, and it was then circulated to the Cabinet on 29 May 2003.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether officials from departments other than the Treasury contributed to the final contents of the 18 EMU studies accompanying the Treasury's assessment of the five economic tests, published on 9 June. [120349]

    As stated in the EMU study "EMU and business sectors""This study has benefited from comments and analytical inputs from Department of Trade and Industry officials.… All content, conclusions, errors and omissions in this study are, however, the responsibility of HM Treasury alone."

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether ministers in (a) the Treasury and (b) other Departments made a contribution to the final contents of the 18 EMU studies which accompanied the Treasury's assessment of the five economic tests, published on 9 June. [120350]

    The EMU studies are Treasury studies, and the work was completed by Treasury officials and, in some cases by external authors with specialist expertise.One EMU study, "EMU and business sectors""… benefited from comments and analytical inputs from Department of Trade and Industry officials.…. All content, conclusions, errors and omissions in this study are, however, the responsibility of HM Treasury alone".The EMU studies were then circulated to Cabinet on 17 May 2003.

    Orphan Funds

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what analysis he has conducted of the amount of unclaimed orphan funds in (a) banks, (b) building societies and (c) elsewhere; [120684](2) how much unclaimed money lay in orphan funds on 1 January in each year since 1973; and what records his Department has of unclaimed funds in years before 1973. [120685]

    Probation Service

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the 2003–04 pay negotiations for the Probation Service in England and Wales will commence. [120597]

    Under pay delegation, it is for the individual organisation, in this case the National Probation Service, to determine when negotiations with their unions will commence.

    Travel And Subsistence Allowances

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost of travel and subsistence allowances paid to Customs and Excise officers in the Law Enforcement South Region was in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002; and what estimate he has made of the total cost of travel and subsistence allowances payable to Customs and Excise officers in the Law Enforcement South Region in (i) 2003 and (ii) 2004. [120041]

    Customs and Excise Law Enforcement South Region was created in April 2001, as an entity did not exist prior to April 2001. Law Enforcement changes its structure from time to time in order to meet new business challenges. Over the period in question there have been some changes to regional management structures in the South, which together with accounting constraints, mean that no exact correlation of data is possible.For the fiscal year 2001–02 the total spend on travel and subsistence for the Law Enforcement South Region was £2.32 million, and covers the operations of all detection, intelligence and investigation officers.For the fiscal year 2002–03 the total spend was £2.42 million. The initial allocation of funds to cover travel and subsistence costs for this region for 2003–04 is £2.55 million.For 2004–05 we would expect similar expenditure to 2003–04 but would adjust accordingly at the time of allocation in the light of any new business developments or changes.The figure for 2003–04 does not yet take account of new activities related to anti-terrorism and Products of Animal Origin (POAO), which may result in higher spending on travel and subsistence allowances in the South Region.

    Whitehall Refurbishment

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what searches were carried out for surveillance devices during the refurbishment of the Treasury buildings in Whitehall; and if he will make a statement on the results of searches. [120139]

    The Treasury does not comment on security matters of this nature. Exemption 7 of the Open Government Code applies.

    International Development

    Aid

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what funds were made available through the Department and its predecessors for aid, expressed as a percentage of GDP, in each of the last 30 years. [120635]

    Details of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI) from 1977 are available in "Statistics on International Development 1997/98–2001/02", Table 16.1 page 153; the document is available in the House of Commons Library. The table sets out the figures from 1973. The provisional figure for 2002 is 0.30 per cent.

    ODA as percentage of GNI
    19730.34
    19740.40
    19750.39
    19760.39
    19770.44
    19780.46
    19790.51
    19800.35
    19810.43
    19820.37
    19830.35
    19840.33
    19850.33
    19860.31
    19870.28
    19880.32
    19890.31
    19900.27
    19910.32
    19920.30
    19930.31
    19940.31
    19950.29
    19960.27
    19970.26
    19980.27
    19990.24
    20000.32
    20010.32

    Child Labour

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if she will make a statement on treatment of child labour on banana plantations in Ecuador. [119987]

    There are some 6,000 children working on plantations in Ecuador and thousands more working on small farms. They do so because of the lack of earning opportunities available to their parents. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that children are being forced against their will to work in plantations. The only sustainable solution is to improve earning opportunities for poor people. We continue to encourage multilateral donors to focus their support on the needs of the poorest to help achieve this.DFID's Civil Society Challenge Fund is supporting a cross regional programme of assistance for banana workers in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. This project is managed by the UK based NGO 'Banana Link' and aims to secure and maintain the freedom of plantation workers to organise themselves into independent trade unions and to participate in free collective bargaining.The British embassy monitors the compliance of Ecuador to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights legislation to which Ecuador is a signatory. The UK Government are committed to helping eliminate child labour globally, particularly the worst forms such as child slavery, and all forms of abusive or exploitative child labour. The Government strongly supports the International Labour Organisation's work to fight child labour and the UK has ratified both of the ILO Child Labour Conventions.

    Iraq

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with the Coalition Authority regarding the role of women in the Interim Iraqi Administration; and when these discussions took place. [118477]

    I have been asked to reply.Through the UK's Special Representative for Iraq, we are working closely with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and Iraqis to ensure that women play a full and equal role in the Iraqi Interim Administration.The UK's Special Representative, John Sawers, has consistently emphasised the importance of women being an integral part of Iraq's political process.A gender expert from the Women and Equality Unit has been seconded to the CPA and she is working with other secondees and Iraqi women to help facilitate women's involvement in the political process in Baghdad.John Sawers and Ambassador Bremer, the US civilian administrator of Iraq, met women on 25 May in Baghdad to listen to their views and concerns, as well as to discuss ways to ensure their full involvement in the reconstruction process.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what guidelines have been issued to the Coalition Authority concerning the appointment of women to the Interim Iraqi Administration; and what role the Department will have in the appointment of delegates to the Interim Iraqi Administration. [118478]

    No decisions have yet been taken as to the composition of any Iraqi Interim Administration. Consistent with UNSCR 1483, Iraqis, with the help of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the UN Special Representative, will establish interim bodies, and work towards the formation of a fully representative new Iraqi government.

    We believe it is important for women to be represented in those interim bodies. Through the Office of the UK Special Representative to Iraq, we are working towards this aim, in conjunction with the CPA and Iraqi groups. A gender expert from the Women and Equality Unit has been seconded to the CPA and is working with other secondees and Iraqi women to help facilitate women's involvement in the political process M Baghdad.

    Marie Stopes International

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what measures the Department takes to ensure that advice given by departmentally funded Marie Stopes websites is legal. [119496]

    DFID supports a number of Marie Stopes International (MSI) projects in developing countries, but this has not included specific funding for MSI's website. The Charity Commissioners are responsible for ensuring that charities operate within the relevant rules and laws that govern their activities.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Afghanistan

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's total budget for Afghanistan has been in each of the last three financial years; what the projected budget is for the year ahead; and how funds have been allocated. [118589]

    [holding answer 10 June 2003]: Separately identifiable costs apportioned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office budget for Afghanistan over the last three years are: 2000–01: £0.67 million, 2001–02: £1.77 million, 2002–03: £9.5 million. The forecast cost for 2003–04 is £22 million.These costs include:

  • a. staff and administration costs in UK and Afghanistan (£256,000, £1.1 million, £2.5 million over the past three years and £4.3 million forecast for 2003–04);
  • b. capital costs in Kabul: (£0, £650,000, £500,000 over the past three years and £2.8 million forecast for 2003–04. The 2003–04 forecast includes the cost of the new Embassy)
  • c. Afghanistan assistance programmes: (£418,000, £310,000, £6.5 million over the past three years and £15 million forecast for 2003–04).
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the objectives of Government policy are towards Afghanistan. [120502]

    The objective of British Government policy in Afghanistan is a stable and secure Afghanistan restored to its rightful place in the community of nations and enjoying mature relations with its neighbours. It should have a self-sustaining economy; strong institutions; and a broad-based, multiethnic regime committed to:

    • eradicating terrorism
    • eliminating opium production;
    • reducing poverty;
    • respecting human rights, especially those of women and minority groups; and
    • honouring Afghanistan's other international obligations.

    Burma

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the EU plans to take regarding the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma; and if the matter will be referred to the UN Security Council. [119476]

    We are in regular contact with EU partners and are in discussion about what further steps we will take if the regime does not provide immediate satisfactory responses.The EU has already decided that the strengthened measures of the Common Position will now be implemented. The Common Position contains: an arms embargo; a ban on defence links; a ban on high-level bilateral government visits; a ban on non-humanitarian aid; a ban on the supply of equipment that might be used for internal repression or terrorism; an asset freeze and visa ban on regime members, the military and security forces and others who actively frustrate the process of national reconciliation.Whether the matter is to be referred to the UNSC is currently under discussion.

    China

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with China. [120504]

    We currently enjoy very good relations with China. These have been built on regular high level visits in both directions, as well as lower level exchanges on many different issues. We look forward to building relations with the new leadership.As part of our efforts to step up our dialogue with China on major international issues the Chinese Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, will visit the UK next week for talks with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and other Government Ministers.We have welcomed China's support in the fight against terrorism. The strength of our relationship allows us to raise directly with the Chinese Government our concerns about human rights in China which we do on a regular basis.

    Former Yugoslavia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the stability and security situation in the Presevo Valley in the former Yugoslavia; and if he will make a statement; [120117](2) what

    (a) peacekeeping forces and (b) recognised NGOs are present in Presevo in the former Yugoslavia; and if he will make a statement; [120118]

    (3) what proportion of people of the Moslem faith who fled the Presevo Valley he estimates have returned to their homes; [120119]

    (4) when a representative of the UK embassy in Belgrade last visited the Presevo Valley; [120120]

    (5) what reports he has received from (a) the UK Mission in Belgrade and (b) peacekeeping forces and NGOs, as to whether residential properties in Lagja Skemdevbeg district of Presevo in the former Yugoslavia are (i) destroyed and (ii) occupied by others than the original, legitimate tenants and owners; and if he will make a statement. [120121]

    [holding answer 19 June 2003]: In recent years, the Presevo Valley in the south of Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) has experienced clashes between the Serbian security forces and armed extremist elements from the local ethnic Albanian community. The security situation has now improved following a peace settlement in May 2001, and a political process which has incorporated the Albanian minority more fully into local government.Tensions re-emerged in February this year when there were renewed attacks on Serbian security forces from ethnic Albanian extremists, largely based in eastern Kosovo. With the support of the international community, the Serbian authorities brought the situation under control. There remains an increased security forces presence in the region but the situation is currently calm and stable, with only occasional isolated incidents.Progress on refugee returns to southern Serbia has been good. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) estimates that 90 per cent. of ethnic Albanian internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees from Presevo have returned, 66 per cent. from Bujanovic district, and 70 per cent. from Medvedja district. The principal obstacle to further returns is the poor economic situation in the region. We have received no reports of destruction or illegal occupation of properties in any area of the PresevoValley.The Serb authorities, through the Serbian Government's Co-ordinating Body for Southern Serbia (SGCB), and the International Community continue in their efforts to consolidate the rule of law and multiethnic democracy in the region. There are no international peacekeeping forces in southern Serbia itself. KFOR maintains a presence in Kosovo and in Macedonia, which borders with the Presevo Valley.United Nations agencies, the OSCE and the European Union Monitoring Mission operate in southern Serbia, as well as a large number of NGOs. These include:American Refugee Committee (ARC); Development Alternatives Inc (DAI); International Rescue Committee (IRC); Medecins du Monde (MDM); Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF); Belgian Red Cross; International Organisation for Migration (IOM); United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR); OXFAM; Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI); CARE; CHF International; Action contre le Faim (ACF).The UK continues to take a close interest in the democratic development and the security situation in southern Serbia. We have contributed financial assistance to projects aimed at stabilising the region, including the OSCE's Multi-Ethnic Policing programme. The last visit by officials from the British Embassy in Belgrade took place on 19–20 March 2003. We look forward to seeing progress in tackling the economic problems of the region, and in integrating ethnic Albanians more closely into the local state structures, both of which will help to stabilise the region further.

    Guantanamo Bay

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received from British officials who have visited Guantanamo Bay about the health and welfare of the UK citizens detained there by the US. [119904]

    British officials visited the British detainees in Guantanamo Bay for a fifth time in April. As part of their visit they checked on the welfare of the detainees, who appeared generally to be in sound physical health. The physical conditions of their detention appear to be broadly satisfactory. However, we have raised any welfare concerns we may have with the US authorities.

    Indonesia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make representations to the Indonesian Government about the (a) destruction of churches and (b) killing of civilians in the West Papua regency of Wamena; and if he will make a statement; [119475](2) what reports he has received of the activities of the Laskar Jihad in West Papua; and if he will make a statement on the safety of Christians in that region. [119478]

    The British Embassy in Jakarta is monitoring the situation in Wamena closely and has met NGOs and community leaders from the area. We are aware of reports of civilians being abused and buildings being burned, which the Embassy will raise with the Indonesian Government.Laskar Jihad announced that they were disbanding in October 2002. There is conflicting information about whether the group is now present in Papua, and if so in what numbers. The local authorities in Papua are investigating these reports. At the moment we are not aware of any particular threat to Christians in Papua.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on human rights in the Indonesian province of Aceh. [119991]

    We are concerned about recent reports of human rights abuses in Aceh. During my visit to Indonesia on 3–4 June I stressed to the Indonesian Government the importance of their Armed Forces using proportionate force, respecting human rights and acting in accordance with international law. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary issued a joint press statement with the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, on 20 May calling on the Indonesian Armed Forces to ensure full respect for human rights and to show maximum restraint while they carry out operations in Aceh. We regularly raise with the Indonesian authorities the importance of upholding and promoting human rights and religious freedom throughout thecountry.The Indonesian Government have agreed to allow members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas-HAM) to visit Aceh to investigate any alleged human rights abuses. There have also been two military tribunals at which military personnel have been sentenced to imprisonment for abusing civilians. We will continue to monitor the situation.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Indonesian Government's special autonomy law for West Papua of January 2002, with special reference to President Megawati's decree of March 2003 splitting the province. [120129]

    The UK, together with EU partners, supports Special Autonomy for Papua. We have encouraged the Indonesian Government fully to implement Special Autonomy as soon as possible.Following a successful visit.to Papua by a Scottish Devolution team in October 2001, HMG provided funding for a devolution expert to go to Jayapura and advise the Papuan authorities, academics and civil society on drafting the legislation required for Special Autonomy. He has been in Papua since September 2002 and will leave in September 2003.President Megawati issued Presidential Instruction 01/2003 in January 2003, which says that Papua should be split into three provinces. It is not clear how this Instruction relates to the Special Autonomy package of 1 January 2002, but the Indonesian Government said in February 2003 that the Instruction and Special Autonomy do not contradict each other and that both can be implemented. We are seeking further clarification on this from the Indonesian Government.

    United Nations Charter

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what his policy is on application of Article 16 of the Rome Statute; and if he will make a statement; [116910](2) what action the Security Council took, in passing Resolution 1422, to determine whether there was a threat to international peace and security that justified taking powers under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter;[116913]

    (3) what threat to international peace and security existed when he invoked Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and supported Resolution 1422 of the Security Council. [116911]

    Article 16 of the Rome Statute provides for the deferral of investigations or prosecutions by the International Criminal Court when the UN Security Council determines that such action would not be in the interests of international peace and security. On such occasions Security Council members, including the United Kingdom, would consult and act collectively.Security Council Resolution 1422 was adopted by unanimity under Chapter VII after intensive consultations within the Security Council. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in his press release of 13 July 2002, the Security Council acted to ensure that the International Criminal Court was not undermined; to ensure that UN operations, in Bosnia and elsewhere, were able to continue and to ensure that the US would remain engaged in providing personnel and support to peacekeeping operations around the world. In short, to protect the Court and preserve peacekeeping.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken in Iraq to ensure that (a) individuals are subject to justice before the law and (b) a programme for justice has been implemented that incorporates a method of partnership, such as mixed tribunals. [118972]

    The Coalition Forces continue to maintain basic law and order and, accordingly, continue to arrest and detain individuals suspected of criminal activity.Judges, police and prosecutors are being called back to work and it is expected that local courts will take on increasing numbers of cases in the coming weeks.The Coalition Provisional Authority is undertaking an assessment of the capacity and needs of the Iraqi justice sector, through analysis of the situation on the ground and listening to the wishes of the Iraqi people. The results and recommendations of this exercise will result in key capacity building measures.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that (a) no Iraqi civilians are expelled from Iraq without tribunal and (b) no Iraqi citizen in exile is forcibly returned to Iraq from the UK. [118974]

    International law prohibits the expulsion of Iraqi nationals from Iraq except in limited circumstances for security or imperative military reasons. There are no plans to expel Iraqi nationals from Iraq and, in any event, the UK will continue to act in accordance with its international legal obligations.The UK and other EU member states are working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to establish an international framework for safe and managed returns to Iraq. We support the UNHCR's aim to put in place a voluntary repatriation programme for Iraqis as soon as possible. We are not currently enforcing the return of failed Iraqi asylum seekers, although we will review this when we consider it appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that Iraqis charged with human rights violations under the Geneva Convention are (a) given legal representation, (b) protected from coercion, torture and ill treatment and (c) have the legal right to appeal against their detention. [118980]

    Individuals who are detained by Coalition Forces will be treated in accordance with our international legal obligations.The Coalition Provisional Authority is currently undertaking an assessment of the capacity and needs of the Iraqi justice sector. The recommendations of this exercise will result in key capacity building measures.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken to ensure the implementation of UN Resolution 57/232 to deploy human rights monitors in Iraq. [118981]

    The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime brought to an end a long period of violations of the Iraqi people's human rights. As requested in UN Security Council Resolution 1483, the UN Secretary-General has appointed a Special Representative whose responsibilities include promoting the protection of human rights.The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) is taking this forward and has requested an initial US$1.5 million for the provision of Human Rights Officers. The UK has agreed to allocate £400,000 (US$650,000) towards the UNHCR's request. Our allocation will fund sixty percent of the immediate start-up costs of deploying Human Rights Officers and supporting their work.

    North Korea

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the objectives are of Government policy towards North Korea. [120500]

    The UK maintains a policy of engagement with North Korea in order to encourage it to become a responsible member of the international community. We use our regular opportunities for direct dialogue with the North Korean Government to urge it to end missile exports, respect the integrity of the international non-proliferation regime, address the serious concerns about its human rights record, and commit to a multilateral dialogue to find a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue.

    Sustainable Development

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department's strategy for sustainable development will be published; and how he will take forward the actions outlined in it. [120050]

    The FCO has incorporated its work on sustainable development into its overall strategy. This is reflected in the FCO Business Plan 2003–6, which has been recently published. This sets out the Public Service Agreements and the plans to deliver them. Our policy work on sustainable development is spearheaded by PSA 7 to "make globalisation work for sustainable development in the UK and internationally, particularly Africa". The FCO also has a programme to improve the sustainable development of its estate, which is available on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk).The FCO is currently reviewing its overall strategy. In this process it is examining the development of a related sustainable development strategy.

    Timber

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department's procurement policy includes measures relating to timber used on and in the construction of Foreign and Commonwealth building projects; and if he will make a statement. [120053]

    Our procurement policy is that timber must be obtained from legal and sustainable sources. Detailed guidance has been issued to departments responsible for major construction projects. We are considering the practicalities of extending this guidance to cover minor building works which our Posts overseas fund from their devolved budgets.

    Consular General (United States)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the difference was between the amount the Estates Department in Croydon gave on the value of the Consul General's apartment in New York and the amount it was sold for. [120282]

    [holding answer 19 June 2003]: The decision in principle to replace the Consul General's previous residence with a more modern apartment was taken in July 2001. At that time the valuation of the property was US$15 million, although brokers advised that a price of US$17 million was a possibility.We concluded negotiations for the new residence in November 2001. Advice from brokers before the former residence went on the market in January 2002 provided sale price estimates ranging between US$15.5 and US$20 million.I am withholding details of the provisionally agreed sale price for the former residence, under exemption 7

    (a) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, as the information is commercially sensitive. Once the sale is completed, I will be in a position to answer as to the sale price.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department received for the sale of the Consul General's apartment in New York. [120283]

    [holding answer 19 June 2003]: A sale has been agreed subject to contract and subject also to the approval of the purchaser by the managing board of the cooperative of apartment owners in the block. I am withholding details of the provisionally agreed price under exemption 7 (a) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, as the matter is commercially sensitive. Once the sale is completed, I will be in a position to answer as to the sale price.

    Uzbekistan

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on human rights in Uzbekistan. [119989]

    We are deeply concerned by human rights abuses in Uzbekistan. We recognise that the Uzbek Government has taken some limited action to address the situation, including inviting the UN Special Rapporteur for Torture to visit Uzbekistan in December 2002. However, the Uzbek authorities need to do much more. We would like to see greater recognition of independent human rights groups, media organisations, religious groups, and political parties, as well as reform of the criminal justice system.The Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mike O'Brien), raised human rights with the Uzbek Foreign Minister on 9 June. In her opening speech at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Annual Meeting, the then International Development Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Clare Short), urged President Karimov to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur forthwith. We shall continue to press for tangible improvements in Uzbekistan's human rights record, both bilaterally and in conjunction with our EU partners.

    Health

    Care Homes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the effect of transitional housing benefit on registration of care homes with the Care Commission. [119349]

    Transitional Housing Benefit was replaced by Supporting People Grant (SPG) from April 2003. Registration of an establishment as a care home would mean that residents could not claim SPG. Whether an establishment falls within the definition of a care home is a matter for the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC). Statutory guidance was issued to the NCSC in August on how to distinguish care homes from supported housing of various kinds. Providers have a right of appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal against the NCSC's decisions.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the nursing and residential homes for the elderly that (a) charge residents local authority rates and (b) charge higher rates than the local authority rates in (i) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (ii) Shropshire. [120098]

    Information on charges for specific nursing and residential homes for older people are not collected centrally. The Department of Health has no information available that suggests that the proportion of nursing and residential homes that only charge residents local authority rates, and charge higher rates than the local authority rates, are any different in Shropshire than in the West Midlands region or any immediate neighbouring councils.

    Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made in establishing a national screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm; and if he will make a statement; [118932](2) what assessment he has made of the relative average cost per patient of

    (a) screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm and (b) surgery on a patient suffering from abdominal aortic aneurysm; [118933]

    (3) when he plans to refer the issue of a national screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); what plans his Department has to prepare for the introduction of a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm ahead of any decision by NICE; and if he will make a statement. [118934]

    The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) makes recommendations to Ministers on all aspects of screening programmes. It is currently considering the resource costs and workforce implications of implementing a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysm following publication of a multi-centre study funded by the Medical Research Council last year. Until these recommendations are received, screening should not be started.There are no plans at present to refer this topic to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

    Adverse Drug Events

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adverse drug events were reported in each year since 1998. [119963]

    [holding answer 17 June 2003]: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to medicines are collated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the Yellow Card Scheme.The table shows details of the number of reports of suspected adverse drug reactions received through the Yellow Card Scheme since 1998. Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions occurring in the United Kingdom are received from health professionals on a voluntary basis and from pharmaceutical companies on a statutory basis. Reports of suspected adverse drug reaction occurring outwith the UK are received from pharmaceutical companies on a statutory basis. The figures provided relate to the number of reports received. Some reports may contain more than one reaction.

    Number of UK reports receivedNumber of foreign reports receivedTotal number of reports received
    199818,05728,04646,103
    199918,48328,33946,822
    200033,13932,06765,206
    200121,46539,99061,455
    200216,27844,75861,036
    200316,725111,710118.435
    1 2003 figures are reports received until end May.
    It is important to note that a report of a suspected adverse reaction does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the medicine.

    Advocacy Groups

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure that there is a national network of advocacy groups to speak on behalf of vulnerable people; and if he will make a statement. [119245]

    The Government's long-term aim is to have a range of independent advocacy services available in each area so that people with learning disabilities can choose the one which best meets their needs. The funding schemes being operated by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities and Values Into Action are intended to work towards this. Under these schemes we have already allocated approximately £3 million to advocacy schemes across the country.The Department is funding, to the value of £90,000 over three years, United Kingdom Advocacy Network (UKAN) to promote free and independent advocacy for every mental health service user; to keep user groups and advocacy projects in touch with each other, to promote the involvement of users in planning and running mental health services and to develop standards in independent advocacy, whereby they are establishing programmes of regional training courses for advocates. UKAN also employs a worker to work specifically on advocacy issues affecting black and minority ethnic groups.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance he has (a) issued and (b) plans to issue to (i) social services departments and (ii) others on the most appropriate way of funding advocacy groups; and if he will make a statement; [119246](2) what guidance he has given to primary care trusts and NHS trusts about

    (a) the role of advocacy groups and (b) the most appropriate way of funding them. [119247]

    In the year 2000, the Government published the 'No Secrets' guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. This guidance, issued to local authorities and others, includes a paragraph (6.32) on the role of advocates, which says:

    "In some cases, it will be necessary to appoint an independent advocate to represent the interests of those subject to abuse. In such cases, all agencies should set out how the services of advocates can be accessed, and the role they should take."
    The guidance, issued to local authorities and others, in relation to 'Valuing People' in August 2001, says that development of and support for advocacy services are a priority in Valuing People. Learning disability partnership boards should collate information about the strengths and weaknesses of advocacy services in their area and use this material as the basis for making recommendations about projects to be paid for out of the Development Fund and mainstream funds.In addition, the Department funded the publication in 2001 of Deciding Together, which provides advice on how organisations can better involve people with learning disabilities in decision making that affects their lives, including a chapter on independent advocacy.The Adoption and Children Act 2002 places a new duty on councils with social service responsibilities, to arrange advocacy services for looked after children and care leavers who make a complaint under sections 26 and 24D of the Children Act. Draft regulations and guidance will be issued for consultation over the summer.Listening to children underpins the Quality Protects programme and a special grant is available to all councils, to develop independent advocacy services. There has been considerable growth in such services since the start of the programme in 1999.At the request of the Department of Health, Durham University undertook a study of current mental health advocacy services to assist the Department in developing this new specialist advocacy service. Its report contains a number of recommendations for good practice. We will now be working with existing advocacy service providers, people with mental illness and other stakeholders to ensure that we develop an effective advocacy service.No specific guidance has been provided to the National Health Service on advocacy groups. However, as part of the new patient advice and liaison service, available now in most trusts, patients can be sign-posted to local known specialist advocacy groups where they exist. In the area of supporting patients with complaints about NHS services, it is intended to provide an independent complaints advocacy service across the country from 1 September.

    Aircraft Emissions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths brought forward arising from nitrogen dioxide emissions from aircraft. [120381]

    [holding answer 19 June 2003]: The Department has not estimated the number of deaths brought forward as a direct result of nitrogen dioxide emissions from aircraft. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants concluded in 1998' that the evidence did not support quantification of deaths brought forward by nitrogen dioxide.

    1Department of Health Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants. Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution on Health in the United Kingdom. The Stationery Office London 1998.

    Alcohol Dependency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on after-care support, with particular reference to (a) housing, (b) education and (c) employment for those treated for alcohol dependency; [119905](2) what discussions he has had with the drinks industry on the labelling of alcoholic drinks

    (a) to indicate alcohol units and (b) with health warnings; [119908]

    (3) what steps he is taking to ensure that those with alcohol dependency who are receiving treatment (a) receive medical intervention and (b) have the causes of their dependency addressed.; [119944]

    (4) whether it is his policy that the maximum target waiting time for those with alcohol dependency should be no longer than three weeks from time of referral to receipt for treatment; [119945]

    (5) what steps he will take to ensure that accessible and suitable treatment services for alcohol dependency are provided to everyone who needs them; [119946]

    (6) whether it is his policy to designate the tackling of alcohol dependency as having the same priority as addressing drug abuse. [119947]

    My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, in close collaboration with other Government Departments, including the Department of Health, is currently developing the national alcohol harm reduction strategy, which will sit alongside the national drugs strategy. The Strategy Unit is due to publish an interim analysis of the harms associated with alcohol misuse in the summer. The final report, which will set out the cross-Governmental alcohol harm reduction strategy, is planned for publication in the autumn.As part of this project the Strategy Unit and the then Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Ms Blears), have had on-going discussions with all relevant stakeholders, including the alcoholic drinks industry. There is currently no specific maximum waiting time target for treatment for those with alcohol dependency. However the final report will consider a wide variety of issues around treatment and support for those dependent on alcohol, and will then move to consider specific policy issues, including unit and warning labelling.Provision of appropriate health service provision is the responsibility of local commissioners of services based on assessment of need. There is a wide range of services available for those with alcohol problems requiring treatment. Medical management is available in primary and secondary care. Specialist services provide a range of psychotherapeutic interventions focusing on alcohol use and the wider contributory factors to development of dependence.

    Angel Group

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the properties acquired by the Angel Group and its subsidiaries from the Department and its agencies, with the (a) dates and (b) costs of their acquisition. [118835]

    The Secretary of State for Health sold Wingrove Nurses Home, Newcastle, to Angel Heights Ltd. which is believed to be part of the Angel Group. The property was sold on the open market for £710,102 on 21 February 2000.Information on any properties acquired by the Angel Group and its subsidiaries from the National Health Service trusts and primary care trusts is not collected centrally.

    Children's Hospices

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children's hospices there are; what central Government funding is available for hospices; and what moneys are ring-fenced; [119563](2) what the responsibilities are of primary care trusts toward children's hospices; what the role of the Department is in the allocation of funding; and whether there are established minimum levels of funding that must be provided to primary care trusts for children's hospices. [119565]

    There are currently 28 children's hospices in England, with another 11 at various stages of planning. Government funding for children's hospices is available from primary care trusts (PCTs), which are responsible for deciding which health services the local population requires and ensuring the provision of these services. The money is not ring-fenced. In addition, £48 million has been made available by the New Opportunities Fund for their children's palliative care grant programme, including hospice provision for England, which is ring-fenced.PCTs receive a baseline funding allocation from the Department of Health. There are no minimum levels for funding hospices. It is for individual PCTs to decide the level of funding they allocate to children's palliative care services, including services provided by children's hospices. The Department has issued guidance on provision and the options available to meet demand—"Evaluation of the Pilot Project Programme for Children with Life Threatening Illness"—and is currently considering further guidance under the national service framework for children, young people and maternity services, which will be published next year.

    Commission For Healthcare Audit And Inspection

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to give the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection the power to publish performance indicators. [119206]

    Under the powers in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, currently before Parliament, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI) will publish the performance ratings for National Health Service bodies in 2004. It will also be required to devise and publish the criteria upon which the award of the rating is based.CHAI will also be given the function of publishing national performance data on the provision of healthcare by NHS bodies.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on why, under Clause 100 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection have a duty to keep only the Secretary of State informed about the provision, availability and quality of health services. [120280]

    [holding answer 19 June 2003]: Clause 100 (general functions of CHAI) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill amends the Care Standards Act 2000 by inserting a new section 5A, so that the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI) will keep the Secretary of State informed about the provision, availability and quality of independent health care in England.Subsection (3) of the new section provides for CHAI to make information about independent health services available to the public. CHAI will also, at clause 121, be placed under a duty to lay before Parliament an annual report of the way in which it has exercised its functions during the year.

    Community Equipment Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards the establishment of a single integrated community equipment service to assist disabled and elderly people to remain in their own homes. [120093]

    Of the 150 areas in England where there are expected to be integrated community equipment services, 111, or 74 per cent., are indicating currently that they will achieve local integration by the target date of April 2004. The integrating community equipment services team is supporting the remainder to achieve integration as soon as possible. Removal of the power of councils to charge for community equipment, which came into effect 9 June 2003, will further help integration by aligning councils' equipment charging regimes with the national health service.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is made available for community equipment and adaptation services to enable elderly and disabled people to remain in their own homes; and what plans he has to increase this funding. [120094]

    Substantial investment has been made available in baseline funding to social services and to the national health service for the modernisation and integration of community equipment services each year since 2001. The intention of this funding was to improve the lives of all disabled people needing such equipment as well as to enable elderly and disabled people to remain in their own homes. Of the community equipment funding made available in 2001 to 2004, only £105 million for the NHS has been announced. The element within the councils' personal social services allocation was not announced, following normal practice.In addition, to help services achieve extended targets for community equipment, councils with social services responsibilities are now receiving a ring-fenced grant funding for community equipment. For 2003–04, this is £7.6 million. This is ring-fenced for councils that are not three-star or high-performing two-star councils. Details of this grant in future years will not be finalised until the time of the local government settlement.Primary care trust and council funding, including the Systems and Access Grant, is set to continue to rise in real terms and will be used at local discretion to invest in community equipment and adaptation services.

    Continuing Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether guidance has been issued to local authority social services departments about restrictions that can be placed on the 12 week property disregard, in terms of not paying it in respect of more expensive care homes. [119240]

    There are no restrictions on the 12 week property disregard in respect of more expensive accommodation. The 12 week property disregard is available to all residents with property who entered permanent residential care after 9 April 2001. In respect of more expensive accommodation, residents who have accessed the 12 week disregard or third parties can make up the difference between the resident's contribution and the council's contribution.However the council's contribution should be sufficient to meet an individual's assessed needs and may exceed the council's usual cost. The Department has issued guidance to this effect under cover of Local Authority Circular (2001)29.

    Deafness

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investment he has put into (a) researching deafness and (b) treatments to restore hearing since 1997. [119560]

    The estimated expenditure on hearing research through the Medical Research Council for the last five years is shown in the table.

    £ million
    Expenditure
    1997–983.23
    1998–993.49
    1999–20003.34
    2000–014.96
    2001–023.94
    In addition, since 1997, projects relating to hearing impairment totalling £1.87 million have been commissioned through the health technology assessment programme and the national research and development programme for people with physical and complex disabilities. Under the Department of Health's Policy Research Programme, a number of universal neonatal hearing screening pilots are in progress, with funding of £94,000.

    Domiciliary Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people (a) are in domiciliary care and (b) have to pay for their domiciliary care. [119719]

    In 2001–02, an estimated 1.4 million adults in England were helped to live independently at home through the provision of a variety of community-based social services. Information on the number of people who have to pay for these services is not centrally available.

    Eye Health

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people with (a) age-related macular degeneration and (b) glaucoma were on the Register of Blind and Partially Sighted People in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 2000; [119703](2) how many people with

    (a) age-related macular degeneration and (b) glaucoma were newly registered as blind or partially sighted in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 2000. [119704]

    Detailed information on the number of people with age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma is not centrally available. Information on the number of people registered as blind or partially sighted is collected every three years from the triennial SSDA902 return. Information on the number of people registered as blind or partially sighted is shown in the tables for the years 1981–82, 1990–91 and 1999–2000.

    Number of people registered as blind or partially sighted, by age
    At 31 MarchAll ages0–45–1718–6465–7475+
    1999–2000306,5001,3306,80055,34031,940211,070
    1990–91229,9801,0403,67044,40031,940148,940
    1981–82169,7304503,77039,19028,80097,540
    Number of people newly registered during the year as blind or partially sighted, by age
    All ages0–45–1718–6465–7475+
    1999–200030,4403705204,0704,12021,380
    1990–9127,2702803503,7704,50018,370
    1981–8221,2301502503,3104,28013.240

    Note:

    1. Data source: Department of Health SSDA 902 return.

    2. The data on the SSDA902 return is collected every 3 years.

    3. It is possible for a person to be registered as partially sighted and as blind within the same year, in which case they will be counted twice in the table showing new registrations.

    Food Supplements

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will re-examine those areas in which the findings of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals are inconsistent with those of other internationally respected bodies. [119832]

    £000
    Net ingredient cost19981999200020012002
    BNF 3.2.1 (Antihistamines)40,062.246,987.351,421.256,675.660,720.1
    BNF 12.21 (Drugs used in nasal allergy)33,286.334,533.033,889.235,217.137,046.8
    Total73,348.681,520.385,310.491,892.797.766.9

    In arriving at its conclusions, the expert group on vitamins and minerals took into account evidence available on a United Kingdom and international basis. The evidence base on issues relating to vitamin and mineral supplements will be monitored closely as it develops further. Independent expert advice will be sought on specific issues where this is appropriate.

    Griffiths Report

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the unedited version of the Griffiths Report. [119061]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: The "Report of a Review of the Research Framework of the North Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust" was published in full in May 2000. A copy of the final report is available on the internet at: www.doh.gov.uk/wmro/northstaffs.htmUnder section 2 of the "Code of Practice on Access to Government Information", the information sought is exempt from being made available. It is not appropriate to make publicly available draft (or "unedited") versions or evidence collected for any report as they are for internal discussion. Furthermore, for legal reasons, drafts have to be shared with people who have contributed to reports for correctness and the final version has to be cleared/approved by solicitors.

    Hayfever

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on (a) the causes of hayfever and (b) the possible links between hayfever and asthma. [119864]

    The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC). In 2001–02, MRC expenditure on its respiratory disorders portfolio was an estimated £11.9 million, which included work on allergies and asthma, but not specifically on hayfever.There is no ongoing research in the Department of Health into hayfever, but the Department commissioned a study on air pollution and general practitioner consultations for allergic rhinitis (hayfever) from St. George's Hospital, London, as part of its last air pollution and health research programme. The study (by Hajal

    et at) was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (volume 153, page 704) in 2001.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on treating hayfever sufferers in each of the last five years. [119866]

    The information requested is not centrally available. The table shows information on the net ingredient costs of products for the treatment of hayfever dispensed in the community in England from 1998 to 2002.

    Hotel Accommodation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the amount spent by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies on hotel accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) others; and if he will list the average cost per hotel room, in each year since 1997. [117561]

    The detailed information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.The available information regarding Departmental and agency staff has been placed in the Library.The Government publish an annual report of Ministerial travel overseas. The total cost of ministerial travel provided in the annual report includes the cost of accommodation. The information sought in respect of accommodation within the United Kingdom is not held centrally. All travel is conducted in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.All subsistence expenses for civil servants comply with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code.

    Medical Technologies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that technologies recommended by NICE are available in all areas. [118049]

    National health service bodies are under a statutory obligation to fund treatments recommended in National Institute for Clinical Excellence technology appraisals. We expect primary care trusts (PCTs) to meet their statutory obligations, and strategic health authorities to follow up any allegations of non-compliance. We last reminded PCTs of these obligations in guidance published in January 2003.

    Mri Scans

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average MRI scan waiting times were in England in each of the last 10 years by (a) hospital and (b) region. [119532]

    Data are not collected centrally on waiting times for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The length of time that a patient may have to wait for a scan is dependent on their clinical condition. Emergency cases need to be seen immediately. Other cases will be carried out as quickly as possible, dependent on the clinical priority of all patients waiting to be scanned.Where a MRI scan forms part of the diagnostic process for a patient urgently referred with suspected cancer, this will be covered by the target of a maximum two months wait from urgent referral to first treatment, which will be in place for all cancers by the end of 2005.To increase the capacity of diagnostic services, funding has been made available for the provision of new and replacement scanners. The New Opportunities Fund has provided funding for 57 MRI scanners and the NHS Cancer Plan has provided funding for a further 50 MRI and 50 computed tomography scanners through central purchasing programmes by 2004.

    Neonatal Intensive Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many neonatal intensive care cots there were in each neonatal intensive care unit at 31 March 1999. [119657]

    [holding answer 16 June 2003]: Information is not collected for each neonatal intensive care unit. The number of neonatal intensive care cots reported by each national health service trust in March 1999 has been placed in the Library. These figures are not comparable with current data on neonate intensive care cots as some NHS trusts included special care baby unit cots in error.

    Travel Expenses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much NHS travel expense fraud has been identified in each of the last five years. [118641]

    The value of travel expense fraud identified in each of the last five years is shown in the table.

    YearNumber of casesValue (£)
    1998–9900
    1999–200028,180
    2000–01614,664
    2001–02714,135
    2002–039349,295
    The National Health Service counter fraud service, now the counter fraud and security management service, was formed in 1998, with the overall remit to tackle fraud and corruption within the NHS. It became operational in January 2000. No such figures were collated prior to its existence.These figures should be set in the context of increasingly effective counter fraud arrangements in the NHS and an increasing proportion of NHS fraud which is being identified and stopped.

    Official Spelling

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health 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. [118868]

    The Cabinet Office has issued guidance for Departments 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. It has also issued guidance on plain written English.Departmental publications are prepared in line with the Guidance on the Work of the Government Information and Communication Service.

    Pain Management

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on progress being made towards the establishment of a national service framework on the control of pain; [119942](2) what estimate he has made of the number of people each year who suffer from the symptoms of pain as part of their

    (a) illness and (b) injury. [119943]

    In selecting a topic for and developing and implementing a national service framework (NSF), account is taken of the importance of a health issue in terms of morbidity and mortality, the scope for service improvement and the capacity of the NHS and its partner agencies to implement the framework. Work is in hand on NSFs for renal services, children's services and long term conditions. These new NSFs amount to a significant programme of quality improvement across the NHS and partner agencies. There are no plans to amend the programme at present.Pain management is an important component of most patients' care and is provided as part of the patient's overall treatment. Data on the pain patients might experience as a reason for admission is not collected.

    Race Relations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in his Department and non-departmental public bodies on implementing the requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000; and if he will publish the results of the monitoring required by the Act. [117621]

    The Department is committed to transforming the health and social care system so that it produces faster, fairer services that deliver better health and social care and tackle inequalities. Achieving sustainable improvements in health and services for black and minority ethnic people is an integral and vital aspect of this programme of investment and reform.The Department's Race Equality Scheme covers the Department, Executive Agencies and the Directorates of Health and Social Care. Strategic health authorities, primary care trusts, national health service trusts and special health authorities are subject to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and are required to publish a Race Equality Scheme setting out how they intend to promote race equality within their organisation.The Department's strategy for meeting the needs of minority ethnic communities is to set action on race equality within the overall framework for planning and delivering the Department's priorities. The Department has a detailed programme of work under way to take forward our race equality commitments and has strengthened the arrangements for supporting and accounting for progress on race equality. A board level equality review programme has recently been carried out to develop a corporate framework for setting priorities and reviewing progress including those made in the Department's Race Equality Scheme.On 10 March 2003, the Department published "Inside Out", a report making recommendations for improving mental health services for black and minority ethnic groups. The report was developed with the close involvement of local communities and black and minority ethnic stakeholders and provides part of a race impact assessment on mental health. This has provided the evidence to show that there is impact, which is adverse, disproportionate and unjustifiable in terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act. The Department will be taking remedial action and will be publishing a remedial action plan for consultation in 2003.As required by its employment duties, the Department will be publishing a report later this summer on the ethnic monitoring data collected so far and also has a programme of work under way to put in place the additional monitoring arrangements required.

    Regulatoty Bodies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the (a) number of staff employed by and (b) budget of each regulatory body for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1997. [117783]

    Bodies responsible for the regulation of health care professionals are self-funding by means of fees received from registrants. The Department does not collect information on their staffing levels or levels of funding.Information on staffing levels and funding for the special health authorities and non-departmental bodies for which the Department is responsible (some of which have regulatory responsibilities) is contained in "Public Bodies", copies of which, dating back to 1982, are available in the Library.The only current regulatory body for which the Department is responsible and which is not covered by "Public Bodies" is the Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals. The Council was formally established in April 2003, has four staff and will receive funding of £625,000 from the Department in 2003–04.

    Residential Homes