Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday 1 July 2003
Work And Pensions
Employment Action Teams
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what eligibility criteria were used to define boundaries in each Employment Action Team area; and how each ward in the local authority of each EAT area scored against those criteria. 
During Phase I of the Action Teams for Jobs initiative, Action teams were allowed to focus on pockets of deprivation, often at housing estate level, rather than ward level. This meant that some Local Authority wards with high overall employment rates were still able to receive Action Team help for areas within the ward with lower employment rates.In Phase II, a new selection method was developed to decide where Action Teams were located which focused on identifying and tackling low employment rates at ward level. The method used to identify ward employment rates used information from a number of sources such as Office of National Statistics 1998 database information on working age population; benefit administrative data; and data from the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly. Ward jobless estimates were thus indicative rather than authoritative, but the primary aim was to provide Action Team help to wards with employment rates of 58.5 per cent or below.However, a number of wards with higher employment rates were included in Action Teams. In some cases this was to prevent the need to withdraw Action Team services from areas with pockets of extreme deprivation but with a high level of employment at ward level. Some wards with employment rates above the threshold were also included to ensure greater viability for those Action Teams with the attendant benefit for the clients they were serving.The available information on the indicative employment rates of all wards in each Action Team area, and identification of wards covered by Action Team activity has been placed in the Library.
Health And Safety
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 13 February 2003, Official Report, columns 962–63W, on health and safety, whether he has received the report from the Health and Safety Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
I have not yet received the report from the Health and Safety Commission on the effectiveness of the current strategy to promote directors' responsibility for health and safety, the success of the voluntary approach and the need for further legislation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to help lone parents back to work. 
We have introduced a wide range of initiatives to help lone parents gain independence by moving into work.The New Deal for Lone Parents is delivering services tailored to meet the needs of individual lone parents and giving them the skills, support and confidence they need to move into work. By the end of March 2003, it had helped over 193,000 lone parents to find jobs.The combination of the child care component of our new Tax Credits and the extra places created through our National Childcare Strategy are making child care affordable and accessible for parents moving into work. Since April, Childcare Partnership Managers have been introduced into every Jobcentre Plus District to work with personal advisers and Local Authorities to ensure that jobseekers with children have access to information on child care provision in their area. Lone Parents can also benefit from payments of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit at pre-work levels for four weeks after starting work to help them through what can be a difficult transitional period.We announced a number of measures in Budget 2003 to help lone parents overcome barriers to work. Discovery Week pilots will increase the familiarity of lone parents with the help and support available to them. From 2004 we will also introduce a new mentoring service across the country that is tailored specifically for lone parents. This will be delivered alongside child care taster pilots which allow lone parents to test whether formal child care suits their needs.From April 2004, in 12 areas we will pilot a payment of £4 per week for 12 months on top of tax and benefits when the lone parent starts a job of more than 16 hours a week. This will be complemented, in eight pilot areas, by a weekly work search premium payment of £20 on top of benefits for lone parents who have been on income support for more than 12 months and are actively seeking work.We have introduced compulsory Work Focused Interviews for lone parents claiming Income Support to ensure that they are aware of the wide range of help they can access to move into work. Through our programmes we are giving lone parents more choices and more help than ever before to move off welfare and into work and this has helped reduce the number of lone parents dependent on Income Support by over 175,000 since May 1997.
Mr G E Morris
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2003, Official Report, column 92W, to the hon. Member for Croydon North, if he will request that the Inland Revenue collaborates with the Child Support Agency to investigate the income tax and child maintenance liabilities of Mr. Graham Edward Morris. 
The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Doug Smith to Mr. Haw Edwards, dated June 2003:
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in replying to your recent Parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You ask pursuant to his answer of 16 June, ref. 118072, if he will investigate the income tax and child maintenance liabilities of Mr. Graham Edward Morris.
As individual cases are confidential I have written to you privately concerning Mr. Morris.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the additional £100 paid to pensioner households that include someone aged over 80 years will be paid separately from the existing winter fuel payment. 
No. It will be paid in accordance with the rules, which apply to entitlement to the existing winter fuel payment arrangements, subject to satisfying the additional age condition.
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the work being carried out by his Department to assist regulatory compliance in the construction industry; and if he will make a statement. 
The Regulatory Impact Unit's Business Regulation Team engages directly with the business community to identify unnecessary or excessive regulatory burdens and works closely with other Government Departments and Agencies to broker reform. The team is built on a core of high quality secondees from industry.April's Budget Report set out plans for the Business Regulation Team to investigate regulatory burdens in three sectors, including the construction industry, as part of its 2004 work programme. Preliminary research will begin this autumn.
Environment, Food And Rural Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of CAP reform negotiations upon the (a) timetables for the productions of forms for 2003–04 by the Rural Payments Agency and (b) payments by the Agency. 
Timetables for the production of forms for 2003–04 by the Rural Payments Agency will not be affected by the CAP reform negotiations, as any new schemes do not take effect until 2005. Payments by the Agency will not be affected.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcome was of the Environment council on 13 June 2003; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting records; and if she will make a statement. 
I represented the UK at Environment council on 13 June 2003. The council reached a provisional political agreement on one important legislative measure and agreed a general approach on another. The council also considered a number of other issues.The council reached agreement on a framework for a common position on the Environmental Liability directive. This measure will require polluters to bear the cost of remedying environmental damage, in line with the 'polluter pays' principle. Following intensive negotiation, the agreement reflects key UK concerns. First, there will be no obligation for compulsory financial security (to be reviewed within five years of implementation). Second, Member States will retain discretion to decide whether or not to remedy damage in the absence of the polluter. Third, Member States may choose to allow exception from liability on the basis that operations comply with a permit or were not judged harmful by the best scientific knowledge at the time. Some of the technical detail of the proposal remains subject to further discussions before an agreement is finalised. The text did however include a review of the coverage of damage falling within the scope of international conventions and of GMO damage. It should be noted that the Directive is intended to cover damage caused by the deliberate release or contained use of GMOs.Austria and Ireland opposed the agreement because it did not cover nuclear damage, and Germany was also opposed because of disagreement with major features, notably the permit and state of the art exceptions.The council also agreed a general approach on gaseous and particulate emissions from non-road mobile machinery. This included an exemption for lifeboat launchers from the scope of the Directive, an issue pressed by the UK in negotiations. I indicated that my intention at this stage was to abstain, pending European Parliamentary consideration, and that I had concerns about the second phase of the proposals. Germany was unable to support the general approach.Council debated a decision for establishing a monitoring mechanism for greenhouse gas emissions. I, together with Ministers from a number of other Member States, emphasised the need to clarify Member State and Community responsibilities in implementing certain obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, particularly with respect to establishing the assigned amount, and in exercising certain rights, including participation in the flexible mechanisms. There was general agreement to aim for political agreement in October.We also discussed a presentation from the Commission about progress towards its new system for registering and approving Chemicals. Draft proposals are currently subject to an internet consultation by the Commission.
Several Ministers emphasised the need to have the right balance in the proposals between environmental protection and industrial competitiveness. The Commission hoped to bring forward its full proposal by October, to enable progress to be made before the European parliamentary elections.
Together with Denmark, the UK tabled a paper drawing attention to the Commission's Communication on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade and calling for rapid progress on measures to address illegal logging and its associated trade. The council also noted written contributions on the recent Environment for Europe Conference in Kiev, Environmental Technologies, Sustainable Development in an enlarged Union, Natura 2000, vehicle emissions, sensitive sea areas, flood prevention and the herbicide Paraquat.
The Presidency reported that it had written to key members of the Convention on the Future of Europe, setting out the concerns with the inadequate treatment of the environment in the draft Constitutional Treaty. I circulated a letter to colleagues at council, highlighting my continuing concerns on these points, and about the negative impact of the proposal for a Single Legislative council. The Presidency considered that the latest draft Treaty text on environment and sustainable development was a significant improvement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Lewes of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 461W, on the Darwin Mounds, when the consultation on the legislation to apply the Habitats Directive to offshore areas will begin. 
Preparations are under way for a full public consultation to begin in July, with a view to regulations being laid before Parliament during the autumn.
Rural Payments Agency
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the capacity of the Rural Payments Agency to meet the deadline for payments of 30 June; and what steps she is taking to ensure that the deadline is met. 
Balance payments on all the bovine subsidy schemes have been delayed due to the need to implement changes in EU legislation introduced for the 2002 scheme year. These changes introduced new penalty procedures that apply when either the scheme rules or cattle identification requirements have been breached. Before making balance payments the Rural Payments Agency has had to build a new computer database and significantly enhance existing computer systems to cope with the changes. These are complex changes and have taken considerable time to implement. As a result, not all producers will be paid before the 30 June deadline.Staff at the RPA continue to work overtime at offices around the country to process as many payments as possible.
Although the regulations require payments to be made by 30 June, in order to complete the process, the UK and several other member states have made representations to the European Commission for an extension to the EC deadline, due to the introduction of Aggregated penalties.
Senior Departmental Posts
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many senior departmental posts were advertised in each year since June 1999; and how many of these were advertised in the Scottish press. 
The information is as follows:(a) Since the formation of Defra the following senior departmental posts were advertised in each year as follows:
|From April 2003||1|
|April 2002 to April 2003||8|
|April 2001 to April 2002||7|
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of veterinary surgeons who will be required over each of the next five years. 
[holding answer 16 June 2003]: No such estimate has been made, but in 2001 the Institute for Employment Studies carried out a modelling exercise for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). This indicated that the requirement for veterinary surgeons in the UK over the next ten years was very sensitive to a number of variables. On several possible scenarios fewer new graduates would be needed each year than now.The RCVS has recently asked IES to update the model and the results of this review are expected within the next few months.Discussions between Defra and stakeholders in developing the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain have stressed the important role private veterinarians will have in delivering the Strategy.
Leader Of The Council
To ask the Leader of the Council if he will make a statement on how he plans to balance his official engagements in the House of Commons with his requirements to be in Wales as Secretary of State for Wales. 
I intend to spend as much time as is necessary to fulfil both my responsibilities as Leader of the House of Commons and as Secretary of State for Wales.
Air Traffic Control
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on air traffic control delays at (a) London Heathrow airport, (b) Gatwick airport, (c) Manchester airport, (d) London Stansted airport, (e) Luton airport and (f) Leeds-Bradford airport;(2)if he will make a statement on air traffic control delays at Heathrow airport;(3)how many air traffic control delays to individual aircraft of over
(a) 10 minutes, (b) 20 minutes and (c) 30 minutes there have been at Heathrow airport in the last two years. 
Airport air traffic control services are provided either by the airport operator or by private sector companies under contract to the airport operator. I would expect questions on performance to be directed to the management of the airport or service provider concerned, or their regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what average fare per return journey at 2000 prices is used for each of the examples shown in Table 14.5 of "The Future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East", for (a) 2000 and (b) 2003. 
The average fare per return journey at 2000 prices implicit in each of the examples shown in Table 14.5 of "The Future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" is the sum of the fare premia for 2030 given in that table, plus an underlying fare in the absence of airport capacity constraints of£258 in 2030. The underlying fare in the year 2030 is calculated by taking a 1 per cent. per annum reduction in real terms over 20 years from a fare in the year 2000 of £312. The latter figure is derived from the International Passenger Survey, taking account of long haul and short haul flights.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will include for approval in the forthcoming White Paper on aviation any proposal which was not presented by his Department for public consultation under SERAS. 
As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport, has made clear or many occasions, we will consider carefully all serious worked-up proposals submitted as responses to the consultation.If Government were minded to favour in the proposed air transport White Paper any option or options which had not been presented in the "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom" consultation, there would need to be a further period of consultation on that option or options.
Chancery Lane Derailment
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusion he has reached as to the cause of the Chancery Lane derailment; and if he will make a statement. 
It is hoped that London Underground's final report into the incident will be completed in July and they are committed to making the findings of the report public.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 20 June 2003, Official Report, column 446W, on freight grants, what grants to which he refers are made by the Scottish Executive; and what proportion relates to movement within Scotland in each year since 1996 (a) at current prices and (b) at outturn prices. 
None of the grants referred to was made by the Scottish Executive.The following number of cross border Track Access Grants (TAG) was made by my Department or the Strategic Rail Authority in each year.
|Number of TAG awards with Scottish element|
Kirkstall Bridge Station
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what requests for funding he has received for the construction of Kirkstall Bridge railway station. 
No such requests have been received.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an environmental impact assessment of Royal Mail's decision to stop transporting its freight by rail. 
No. The decision is a matter for Royal Mail.
Mersey Tunnels Bill
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on (a) the duration of individual meetings and (b) the total duration of meetings he has held with the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority and Executive to discuss the Mersey Tunnels Bill in the last five years. 
The requested information is not available, as it is not normal departmental practice to record the duration of such meetings.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings his Department has had with hon. Members to discuss the Mersey Tunnels Bill. 
There have been two meetings with hon. Members to discuss the Mersey Tunnels Bill. These were on:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to follow the advice of the European Aviation Safety Agency on pilot flying hour limits; and if he will make a statement. 
The Regulation establishing the European Aviation Safety Agency came into force in September 2002 and the Agency is not yet fully operational. The Regulation requires the Agency to assist the Commission in the preparation of proposals for basic principals, applicability and essential requirements in the field of air operations. This will include the framework for flight time limitations. The Commission proposals will take the form of a draft Regulation which will be subject to the co-decision procedure. Once adopted, the Regulation will be binding on all member states.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers travelled to and from Shrewsbury by rail in each year since 1997; how many regular train services were available from Shrewsbury in each year since 1997; and how much was raised in ticket sales at Shrewsbury rail station in each year since 1997. 
The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) publishes annual passenger journey figures for each Train Operating Company in its Annual Report, a copy of which is placed in the Library of the House. National figures for timetabled train kilometres and passenger revenue are published in the SRA's quarterly publication, "National Rail Trends", a copy of which is also placed in the Library of the House. These data are not broken down to route level.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance his Department is providing to Redhill Aerodrome Ventures in relation to the development of their proposal to establish an international airport at Redhill Aerodrome; at what cost to public funds; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department has held discussions with several promoters of proposals for new airport capacity that are alternatives to, or variants of, options set out in the Government's consultation document. The aim has been to provide guidance on the methodology used to appraise options in the SERAS study and the information that will be needed by the Department in order to appraise alternative ideas submitted as part of the consultation.Where new work on such alternatives has required the involvement of the Department and its consultants—such as traffic forecasting and modelling of economic benefits—the direct costs will be met by the promoter. The cost of appraising alternative schemes will be met by the Department.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contracts have been signed between Halcrow and his Department in relation to the proposal to develop an international airport at Redhill. 
No contracts have been signed between the Department and Halcrow concerning the proposal by Redhill Aerodrome Ltd. to develop a stand-alone passenger airport.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the meetings which have taken place between his Department and representatives of Redhill Aerodrome Ventures since September 2002; on what dates the meetings took place; and what the purpose of each meeting was. 
Officials from the Department met representatives of Redhill Aerodrome Ltd. on 12 February and 26 March 2003. The purpose of these technical meetings was to (a) provide guidance on the methodology used to appraise options in the SERAS study and (b) to advise on the type and level of information needed by the Department in order to appraise the alternative option presented by Redhill in their original response to the airports consultation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received assurances from Redhill Aerodrome Ventures that their proposal to develop Redhill Aerodrome into an international airport could be carried forward with no call on public funds. 
The Redhill Aerodrome Ltd. response to "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom (South East)", submitted in December 2002, included a statement about the availability of funding. We will make publicly available in due course all responses to the consultation, except those marked confidential. In the mean time publication is a matter for the authors.The Government's approach to the funding of future airport development schemes is described in paragraph 15.3 of "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" consultation document. This states that the Government expect the current pattern of private sector financing to continue and that it does not expect to commit public funds to future airport development.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the effects of road charging. 
As both the London and Durham schemes have shown, charging can play a role in the management of local congestion. The effects of congestion charging depend upon the design of a scheme, which is a matter for individual local authorities. I have made no assessment of the cumulative effects of such schemes on congestion across the country.
Senior Departmental Posts
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior departmental posts were advertised in each year since June 1999; and how many of those were advertised in the Scottish press. 
The Department for Transport (DfT) was not established until May 2002. In 2002–03, DfT recruited seven senior civil servants by open competition. These posts were advertised in newspapers or magazines with a readership throughout the UK.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what circumstances reduced speed limits can be imposed on dual carriageways. 
Local highways authorities can introduce lower speed limits on dual carriageways in accordance with guidance contained in Circular Roads 1/93, such as to improve road safety or for environmental reasons.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the Road Traffic Regulations 1984 relating to the exemptions of emergency ambulances from speed limits. 
Ambulances on emergency duty are exempt from speed limit regulations as set out in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. My Department recognises the requirement to keep all its regulations under review and this includes regulations to exempt vehicles from speed limits.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many public inquiries have taken place in each year since 1997 under regulations administered by traffic commissioners in (a) Scotland and (b) England and Wales. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The number of public inquiries held in Scotland and England and Wales in each year since 1998 for which figures are available are shown in the table. Figures are not available for 1997–98.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will extend the speeding limit exemption for ambulances to cover transplant vehicles. 
Vehicles used for ambulance purposes are exempt from speed limits when used in an emergency. However the legislation does not contain a definition of what constitutes an ambulance. Whilst other vehicles used to carry human tissue are allowed to use blue lights in an emergency, it would be for a court to decide whether they are permitted to exceed speed limits.The Government are therefore considering whether an amendment to legislation is necessary.
Vehicle Excise Duty
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost of vehicle excise duty evasion in London, broken down by local authority, in each year since 1997. 
A breakdown of evasion by local authority area could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Figures of evasion in London were given in my previous answer of 25 June. Estimates of the cost of this evasion in London would be £19.4 million in 1999–2000 and £20.6 million in 2002–03. Increase in lost revenue is not as sharp as the increase in evasion because of the reduction in the average value of licenses.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the agreement reached with the US and Russia in respect of military environmental co-operation in the Arctic. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The United Kingdom formally joined the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC) Programme at a ceremony last week (26 June) together with the other AMEC partner countries, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States.The UK, in cooperation with these partners, will implement practical nuclear clean-up projects focused on naval bases in the north-west region of Russia. Initial UK project plans include submarine dismantling and the design and procurement of submarine float pontoons. AMEC will provide the UK with valuable defence diplomacy and environmental clean-up opportunities within Russia and working with the Russian navy.I am able to confirm that the management of these projects will be undertaken by the Department for Trade and Industry as this forms part of the cross-Government approach to issues such as nuclear safety.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in 2002 the RAF has used Canadian airspace for fast jet training; and what the cost was. 
Four exercises involving fast-jet aircraft were undertaken in Canadian airspace during 2002. The United Kingdom has a reciprocal agreement in force with Canada under which we do not pay any fees for using Canadian airspace.
Civil Contingency Unit
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the Civil Contingency Unit for the North East of England have been deployed to Iraq. 
It is assumed that the hon. Member is referring to the Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRF), introduced as part of the New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review, of which there are currently two based in the North East of England. CCRF (North), based with the Tyne Tees Regiment at Durham, and CCRF (South), based with the East and West Riding Regiment at Pontefract. The normal establishment of each of these units is 500 personnel.The numbers of personnel from each that have been called up for service on Operation TELIC, are as follows: 160 personnel from CCRF (North), which represents less than one third of the total; and 144 personnel from CCRF (South), which represents about one quarter of the force. Although working under current call out notices, not all of these personnel may yet have actually deployed to theatre.The SDR New Chapter introduced the requirement to establish one CCRF per regional brigade area, across the Mainland UK. As a result, and despite the fact that some CCRF personnel have been deployed to the Gulf, the required cover is still available to the North East regional brigade.
Defence Medical Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new recruits to the Defence Medical Services have been signed up under the Golden Hello scheme; what the comparable inflow rates were for the previous six months; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 18 June 2003]: As at 11 June 2003, three vocationally trained General Medical Practitioners (GMPs) and two consultants had joined the Defence Medical Services (DMS) under the Golden Hello scheme. In addition, six vocationally trained GMPs and one consultant have been accepted into the DMS, but have not yet joined their Service, and 18 GMPs and five consultants are awaiting selection interviews.In the six months prior to the introduction of the Golden Hello scheme, two consultants in the eligible specialties were recruited into the DMS.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 20 June 2003, Official Report, column 510W, on defence procurement, what factors underlay (a) the gap between the in service date (ISD) at the time the contract was let and the current estimated ISD and (b) the cost difference for the same period in respect of the (i) Swiftsure and Trafalgar submarines, (ii) Astute submarines, (iii) Typhoon and (iv) ASRAAM and (v) MRA4; and if he will make a statement. 
I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Executive Agencies (Key Targets)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what key targets have been set for (a) the Meteorological Office, (b) the Chief Executive of the Warship Support Agency, (c) the Defence Analytical Services Agency and (d) the Defence Communication Services Agency for Financial Year 2003–04; (2) what performance targets have been set for
(a) the Defence Vetting Agency, (b) the Defence Dental Agency, (c) the Defence Estates Agency and (d) the Pay and Personnel Agency for the Financial Year 2003–04; 
(3) what key targets have been set for (a) the Chief Executive of the Training Group Defence Agency, (b) the Defence Housing Executive, (c) the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency, (d) the Chief Executive of Service Children's Education and (e) the Ministry of Defence Police Agency for the Financial Year 2003–04. 
Key targets for Financial Year 2003–04 for the following agencies have previously been announced via a Written Ministerial Statement. I refer the hon. Member to the relevant Official Report:
Defence Dental Agency, 31 March 2003, Official Report, column 487WS
Defence Analytical Services Agency, 4 April 2003, Official Report, column 74WS
Defence Vetting Agency, 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 1WS
Pay and Personnel Agency, 29 April 2003, Official Report, column I2WS
Meteorological Office, 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 50WS
Key targets for the Defence Communication and Services Agency, Defence Estates, Defence Housing Executive, Defence Procurement Agency, RAF Training Group Defence Agency, Warship Support Agency and Service Children's Education are currently being finalised, with the intention of announcing them to the House prior to the summer recess.Ministry of Defence Police, 26 June 2003, Official Report, column 49 WS.
Guardsmen Fisher And Wright
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he will take following the declaration of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal on the application of Mrs. Jean McBride relating to the reasons for retention in service of Guardsmen Fisher and Wright. 
The Ministry of Defence has sought Counsel's advice following the recent Court of Appeal Northern Ireland ruling on the Fisher and Wright case. This advice has been received and is currently being considered.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what inspections have been carried out since the end of the invasion of Iraq of dual-use chemical plants built and operated since UNSCOM reported in January 1999 on the destruction of the older chemical plants. 
A number of chemical plants in Iraq which could be dual use have been visited by Coalition forces since March 2003. Sites are being identified and investigated as information becomes available. Investigations may require more than one visit to certain sites and the process will not be quick. The Government have made clear its determination to assemble evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and we aim to make public our findings where appropriate.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the number of civilians killed in Iraq since 1 January. 
We have no means of ascertaining the numbers of military or civilian lives lost during decisive military operations in Iraq, although we made every effort to minimise civilian casualties.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British personnel have been seconded to the Iraq survey groups; and what their expertise is. 
[holding answer 19 May 2003]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave on 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 536W, to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice).
The Iraq Survey Group will have a changing membership based on the task at hand and will be able to draw upon expertise and personnel as required. Its members will include Service personnel and subject-matter technical experts.
Service Personnel (Deaths)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1)how many members of Her Majesty's armed forces have died through (a) deaths ruled as self-inflicted, (b) firearms discharge, (c) medical conditions induced by training activities and (d) alcohol-related incidents since 1990; (2)how many firearms deaths among members of the armed forces since 1990 were perceived to be
(a) self-inflicted deaths, (b) accidental deaths and (c) other deaths caused by other (i) persons or (ii) persons unknown; 
(3)how many members of Her Majesty's armed forces have died through non-combat related causes in (a) Great Britain, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Germany and (d) other overseas postings since 1990; 
(4)how many members of Her Majesty's armed forces have died through non-natural causes (a) in and (b) in the vicinity of military property since 1990; and what the name of the site was in each case. 
The information required is still being collated. When this is complete I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on chartering transport aircraft in each month since October 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
The amounts in cash terms actually paid against submitted invoices for the period October 2001 to March 2003, are as follows:
These figures are provisional and subject to final audit.
The Ministry of Defence does not necessarily pay the charter fees in the same month as the activity takes place and a direct correlation cannot therefore be drawn month by month between aircraft chartered and costs paid. Neither is there necessarily a particular significance between the fluctuating amounts committed or paid each month.
Commercial aircraft are chartered by the MOD when required to supplement the strategic aircraft resources of the RAF, particularly when the timescale and size of arising operations overseas necessitate the rapid deployment of equipment in support of United Kingdom expeditionary Forces.
Education And Skills
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people are illiterate in the United Kingdom. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The International Adult Literacy Survey in 1996 suggested that in Great Britain there are 7.9 million adults aged 16-65 who are functionally illiterate. This is equivalent to 22 per cent. of the population aged 16-65.The Department has commissioned a new representative sample survey of working age adults in England to provide an up-to-date assessment of the scale of literacy and numeracy need. These estimates will be mapped to the new national basic skills standards and will be published in September 2003.
Leading Edge Schools
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received about the criteria for funding Leading Edge Schools; and if he will make a statement. 
My Department has received a small number of letters and phone calls related to the funding criteria for the Leading Edge Programme, most of them general funding inquiries. Each school will receive £60,000 per year to support the development and sharing of innovative teaching practice in partnership with a group of named secondary schools.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills 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. 
The information requested for Regulatory Bodies is listed as follows.
|Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)|
|Financial year||Staff employed at start of the financial year||Grant in aid (£ million)|
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)
Staff employed at start of the financial year
Grant in aid (£ million)
The QCA was established on 1 October 1997 from the merger of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ). The staff figure shown for 1997/98 is that of SCAA and NCVQ combined. The grant in aid figure for 1997/98 is that for SCAA, NCVQ and QCA combined. The grant in aid figure for 2003/04 does not include funding for specific items of work that the QCA may be asked to undertake in the coming year.
General Teaching Council (GTC)
Staff employed at start of the financial year
Grant in aid (£ million)
Grant in aid payments to the GTC began in September 2000. Funding in 2000/01, therefore, covers the period September 2000 to March 2001.
Sector Skills Councils
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress the Government are making in establishing sector skills councils. 
Good progress is being made in establishing Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). To date there are two fully licensed SSCs and a further 18 in development including the five trailblazer SSCs. I anticipate that the full network of around 25 SSCs will be in place by May 2004.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what action may be taken against parents who knowingly allow and encourage their children to truant from school; and how many parents have had action taken against them since 1997; 
(2) what measures are in place to ensure that parents who are unable to control whether their children attend school do not have action taken against them. 
If a child of compulsory school age who is registered at a school fails to attend regularly at the school then the parent is guilty of an offence under section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. Sanctions that might be imposed following a conviction under section 444(1) include a parenting order or a fine.Since March 2001 there has been a more serious offence where a parent who, knowing that his child is failing to attend regularly at school, fails without reasonable justification to cause him to attend (Education Act 1996 section 444(1A) as amended by the Criminal Justice and Court Service Act 2000). Prosecution under section 444(1A) can lead to a custodial sentence.Information about the number of prosecutions under sections 444(1) and 444(1A) is not collected centrally.Local education authorities have discretion whether or not to prosecute in individual cases. On conviction, magistrates must consider the aggravating and mitigating factors of the offence before deciding on a sentence.Further measures to reinforce parental responsibility for school attendance are being introduced in the Antisocial Behaviour Bill. New parenting contracts will enable formal agreements between parent and school or parent and LEA in which each side sets out the steps they will take to secure an improvement in the child's attendance. Penalty notices will provide an alternative to prosecution and a much quicker and cheaper way of sanctioning parents who are capable of improving their child's school attendance and simply need a reminder of their responsibilities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent research he has conducted into the percentage of primary school children who play truant without their parents' knowledge. 
The Department recently commissioned research into the causes and effects of truancy. The report, "Absence from School", Scottish Council for Research in Education, 2003, was published on 29 May.The research found that 27 per cent. of the primary pupils interviewed said that they had truanted from school without their parents' knowledge. It is important to note that these findings come from a relatively small sample of local education authorities and are therefore not necessarily representative of the whole country. The national primary school unauthorised absence rate for last year was 0.5 per cent. of half days missed.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on truancy levels for children of (a) primary and (b)secondary school age in March (i) 2002 and (ii) 2003. 
Truancy data is collected annually and not broken down into monthly figures. Data for the 2002/03 academic year will be available in the Autumn. The percentage of half days missed due to unauthorised absence in 2001/02 was 0.5 per cent. in primary schools and 1.1 per cent. in secondary schools. These figures have remained consistent since national data was first collected in 1994/95.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to have UK nationals held in custody in Afghanistan returned to the UK for treatment in cases where their medical condition is causing concern; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer of 26 June 2003]: As far as we are aware the Afghan authorities are holding one British national in custody. He is currently receiving medical treatment in hospital. However, the necessary facilities to diagnose his condition do not appear to be available in Afghanistan and, in these exceptional circumstances, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Afghan Foreign Minister on 16 June to request the individual's release so that he could be returned to the UK for the specialist medical attention he appears to require.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British born ethnic minority members there are in senior posts of the British Council abroad, indicating the grade and the percentage this represents of all posts. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: There are three ethnic minority members of staff in senior British Council posts overseas who are British passport holders. All three are at Band 9, and this represents 3.4 per cent. of all British Council senior posts abroad.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Cyprus. 
I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 22WS.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the areas of decision-making by unanimity under the present European Community and Union Treaties which transfer to qualified majority voting in the Convention on the draft EU constitution, broken down by article of the draft constitution; what his policy is on the acceptability of each; and if he will make a statement. 
Annex VIII of document number CONV 727/03 of the Convention on the Future of Europe provides a complete list of the legal bases for which the draft EU constitutional treaty proposes changing the adoption procedure. That document is available on the Convention's website (www.europeanconvention.eu.int) in the "Documents" section. This Government believe that more QMV is essential to push through our solutions to Europe-wide problems in key areas, such as immigration and asylum. But there are areas in which we would not be prepared to move away from unanimity. Our amendments to the draft Treaty, which indicate our policy, are displayed under the "Future of Europe" section of the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk).
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list EU policy items which can now be vetoed by member states and which under the draft EU constitution are made subject to qualified majority voting. 
Annex VIII of document number CONV 727/03 of the Convention on the Future of Europe provides a complete list of the legal bases for which the draft EU constitutional treaty proposes changing the adoption procedure. That document is available on the Convention's website (www.europeanconvention.eu.int) in the "Documents" section.
G8 Declaration (Nuclear Non-Proliferation)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on North Korea's breach of its nuclear safeguards agreement, as mentioned in paragraph 7 of the Evian G8 Declaration on Non Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, of 3 June. 
Under the terms of its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), North Korea is obliged to allow access by IAEA inspectors to its nuclear facilities.In October 2002 North Korea announced that it would restart nuclear activities at its Yongbyon reactor, which had been stopped under the terms of the 1994 Agreed Framework. Subsequent to this announcement North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors who had been in the country to monitor North Korea's compliance with its international obligations and to verify its declarations on past nuclear activity. By restarting activity at Yongbyon without IAEA monitors being present, North Korea is in clear breach of its obligations under the IAEA safeguards agreement and the Agreed Framework.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the budget was for the Government Hospitality Section of the Conference and Visits Group in each of the last 10 years. 
The Government Hospitality Section (GHS) of Conference and Visits Group (CVG) managed a budget of approximately £0.6 million for the year 2002–03. This figure has been consistent (i.e. between £0.8 million and £0.6 million) since the formation of CVG in 1999. Prior to 1999 the work of the GHS was carried out by the former Government Hospitality Fund; the budget was similar to the current figure.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the US about British nationals held in Guantanamo Bay; when he expects them to be charged; what he expects them to be charged with; and what maximum penalty he expects will apply. 
Ministers and officials have regular discussions with the United States authorities about the British detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.We have been informed that the United States authorities have not yet made a decision to charge or release any of the British nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures are being taken in Iraq to establish (a) security, (b) effective policing and (c) the rule of law. 
I have been asked to reply.Improving the security environment across Iraq remains a key priority for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Coalition forces continue to conduct up to 2,500 daily patrols, about 10 per cent. of which are joint patrols with the Iraqi police, arresting or detaining those suspected of criminal activities, including looting.There are now 30,000 operational Iraqi police officers across the country, and the number continues to increase. The Coalition continues its efforts to prepare them for their role in a self-governed Iraq.Courts and prisons are beginning to function. On 17 June, the Coalition Provisional Authority opened a new Iraqi Judicial College and announced the creation of a Judicial Review Committee and the establishment of a Central Criminal Court.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the (a) locations and (b) dates of visits by the survey group in Iraq searching for weapons of mass destruction. 
I have been asked to reply.I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 April 2003,
Official Report, columns 315–16W, to the Member for Southport (Mr. Pugh).
The Coalition has several hundred sites we wish to examine and further sites are being identified as investigations develop. Investigations may require more than one visit to certain sites. The process of visiting and examining the sites and other evidence will not be quick, and the number of sites visited or left to visit is not an indication of the success of the task at hand.
As the government has already made clear, we will aim to make public our findings where appropriate.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the International Atomic Energy Agency invited the Government to provide evidence to counter the International Atomic Energy Agency conclusion in its 7 March Report to the UN Security Council that the allegations that Iraq sought to procure uranium from Africa were unfounded. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the women's organisations which have been invited by the Coalition Provisional Authority to take part in the women's conference in Baghdad in early July. 
[holding answer of 30 June 2003]: The women's conference in early July is being organised by a steering group of Iraqi women. They are leading the event, which the Coalition Provisional Authority is helping to facilitate. Saddam Hussein proscribed, after 1991, all women's NGOs (although those in the Kurdish areas continued to function). Therefore it is predominantly individual women who will participate in this conference, as it will take time for women's groups to emerge in Iraq following the collapse of the former regime.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the terms of reference are of the women's conference organised by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad in early July. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The one-day women's conference in Baghdad in early July is being organised by a steering group of seven Iraqi women, who were elected by a group of 40 women at a meeting in May to take forward the process. The steering group comprises women from different backgrounds and with varied skills. The Coalition Provisional Authority is helping to facilitate the event. Workshops will focus on gender-related issues for the writing of a new Constitution and legal reform, plus education, health policy and the economy and employment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel concerning arbitrary detention of young Palestinians. 
We have recently raised our concerns about the arbitrary detention of Palestinian minors at the highest levels of the Israeli Government. Israel, like all states, has the right to defend itself against terrorism, but it must act in accordance with international law. Our embassy in Tel Aviv monitor this issue closely, and will continue to do so.We remain committed to Quartet-led efforts to ensure implementation of the roadmap leading to the objectives of a two-state solution which will allow Israel and Palestine to live side by side in security and peace.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department is giving to the Kenyan Government to counter the terrorist threat in Kenya. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: We are giving the Kenyan Government substantial assistance to help them to counter the terrorist threat. This includes advice and training to improve security at airports, hotels and tourist destinations. We are also working with them to develop a long-term, sustainable strategy. My noble Friend, Baroness Symons discussed this with the Kenyan Minister of Internal Security, Chris Murungaru, when he visited London on 27 June and I discussed it with the Kenyan Vice President on 30 June. Contacts will continue.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will review his Department's travel advice to Kenya. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: We keep travel advice under careful review. As the hon. Member may be aware, the travel advice for Kenya was changed on 26 June and the warning against non-essential travel was removed. The new advice makes clear that there is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya and British nationals should remain vigilant at all times.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British High Commission in Nairobi has taken action regarding reported killings of Sudanese refugees in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. 
[holding answer of 30 June 2003]: The British High Commission in Nairobi is aware of ethnic clashes in the area of the Kakuma refugee camp. We understand that violence broke out between Toposa (Sudanese) refugees and local Turkana (Kenyan) people after the alleged theft of cattle stock by the Toposa. The situation is now stable, although tensions remain. The High Commission is monitoring the situation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the security risk to UK subjects (a) resident in Kenya and (b) travelling to Kenya. 
As the current Travel Advice for Kenya makes clear, there is a high threat from global terrorism in Kenya. However, the warning against non-essential travel has now been removed although UK nationals, whether residents or visitors, should remain vigilant in public places and tourist sites.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Krishna Maharaj, a UK national, was arrested in Florida; and when the Consular service was officially informed of his arrest by (a) the Federal Authorities, (b) the State and (c) the local authorities. 
Mr Krishna Maharaj was arrested on 16 October 1986 in Miami, Florida. Our consular officials in the USA were never officially informed of Krishna Maharaj's arrest by any Federal, State or local authorities.Our consular staff in Atlanta first became aware of Mr. Maharaj's detention on 27 October 1988 when they were told of his presence on death row in the Florida State Prison by Professor Radelet, a death penalty researcher from the University of Florida. At the same time, Mr. Maharaj wrote to our embassy in Washington to alert them to his situation.Our embassy in Washington wrote to the State Department on 19 January 1989 to formally complain that the Florida authorities did not notify the Consulate General of Mr. Maharaj's arrest as they should have done under the bilateral UK/US consular convention. The State Department sent an apology on 20 May 1989.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what access by (a) the Red Cross and (b) British diplomats has been granted to Moazzam Begg who is detained in Guantanamo Bay; and with what result. 
Since his transfer to Guantanamo Bay in February 2003, Moazzam Begg has been seen once by British officials during their visit in April. The purpose of the visit was to check on his identity and welfare and to ask questions related to national security. Mr. Begg appeared to be in good health.The International Committee of the Red Cross has access to all the detainees at Guantanamo Bay on request.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts regarding the EU demand for reparations from Israel for damage done to projects and infrastructure paid for by the European Union. 
Action taken by Israel in self defence must be proportionate. Israel must avoid civilian casualties and avoid damaging civilian property and infrastructure.Together with our EU partners we have raised our concerns about the damage to EU and other donor-funded projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip caused by Israeli military actions and demanded that this practice stop. The EU reserves the right to demand compensation. The European Commission continues to monitor and cost this damage.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2003, Official Report, column 803W, on Pakistan, how many people from Pakistan have applied for a visit visa in a third country since the visa section in Islamabad was unable to accept applications; how many were successful; how many people from Pakistan have sought prior agreement for a visit visa from a mission in a third country; by what means they may seek such prior agreement; and if he will make a statement. 
We do not hold statistics on the number of Pakistani nationals who have applied for visit visas in third countries since the restricted visa service in Islamabad began. Gathering this information would incur disproportionate costs.Visitor visas can be applied for at any of our 164 visa issuing posts. However, applicants are advised to contact the embassy or High Commission at which they wish to apply before travelling to ensure that their application can be accepted.
Applicants can contact any visa issuing post by fax, telephone or e-mail. Contact details can be found on the UK visas website at www.ukvisas.gov.uk
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 9W, on Ingushetia, when he expects to receive the report from the Ingush government commission. 
We do not know when the Ingush government commission will publish its report. However, we hope that the commission will complete its work without delay.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions UK nationals (a) resident and (b) travelling abroad have been subject to a travel ban by an overseas government in each of the last five years. 
We do not record statistics on the point raised by the hon. Member. It would incur disproportionate cost to provide the information requested.
Crown Prosecution Service (Dropped Prosecutions)
To ask the Solicitor General how many prosecutions have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service on the grounds that it was not in the public interest to prosecute by reason of old age in the last five years. 
The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) centrally held case records do not include information on the reasons underlying discontinuance. It is therefore not possible to say how many prosecutions the CPS have dropped on the grounds it was not in the public interest to prosecute by reason of old age. This information is held on individual case files, and could be obtained only, at disproportionate cost, by examining each relevant file in every CPS office across the country.The only information currently available comes from a survey of the reasons for discontinuance undertaken in six CPS branches during the period October to December 1998. This showed that 2.7 per cent. of all discontinuances were attributable to the age or ill health of the defendant. Obviously however this information is considerably out of date and came from a limited sample.The Compass case management system, which is to be implemented throughout the CPS by the end of 2003 will enable a full analysis of the reasons for discontinuance including a record of cases discontinued because the defendant was elderly.
Departmental Costs (Advertising)
To ask the Solicitor General what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. 
A holding reply was given on 21 May 2003.Expenditure on advertising by the Crown Prosecution Service is restricted to advertising job vacancies in the local and national press. The total expenditure by the Crown Prosecution Service was £684,420 in 2001–02 and £1,123,294 in 2002–03. The planned expenditure for 2002–04 is £558,731. Budgets for 2004–05 have not yet been set but expenditure is expected to be similar to 2003–04The Serious Fraud Office has only incurred expenditure in 2001–02 of £64,000 and 2002–03 of £38,000 on recruitment advertising. It has not plans to incur expenditure in 2003–04 and 2004–05 on advertising other than for recruitment.The expenditure on advertising by the Treasury Solicitor's Department met from public funds in
(a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 was as follows:
The advertising budget for 2003–04 is £135,000. A detailed budget for 2004–05 has not been decided.
Expenditure on advertising by the Treasury Solicitor's Department is directly related to the recruitment of lawyers to the Government Legal Service (GLS) and administrative staff.
Within the Department, the specialist Bona Vacantia division regularly places advertisements in the press seeking kin in cases where individuals have died intestate with no apparent claimants to the estate under administration. The costs for this activity are treated as an expense on the Crown Nominee's Account that is presented separately to Parliament. The advertising costs falling on that account for 2001–02 and 2002–03 have been £192,800 and £130,300 respectively.
The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate have no budget for advertising.
To ask the Solicitor-General how many Ministers there were in the Attorney-General's Department in each year since 1996. 
Two, the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General.
To ask the Solicitor General how many of her staff have taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last year. 
The information is as follows:
Crown Prosecution Service
During the period 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002 the Crown Prosecution Service had 256 staff take sick leave through mental health problems.
Serious Fraud Office
During 2002, six employees took sick absence due to mental health problems.
Treasury Solicitor's Department
Five staff have taken sick leave due to mental health problems in the last financial year, 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003.
The Treasury Solicitor's Department figures also cover the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.
Trade And Industry
Accident Surveillance System
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans there are to introduce an alternative surveillance system in light of the decision to abolish the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System. 
Although no new data will now be collected for MASS, the Government recognise that the existing database will remain a valuable resource for many years which should continue to be available for users. It will, therefore, be looking for proposals from other organisations that would be interested in taking it over. The value of the database should be enhanced by the inclusion of the last three years data which has been delayed by IT problems. The Government hope to be able to publish this later this year.The report of the Accidental Injury Task Force identified a need to strengthen the surveillance of accidental injury at regional and local levels in the NHS. This will be the Government's first priority. However, it is too soon to say whether NHS surveillance will collect data on product involvement in accidental injuries in the sort of detail which HASS has provided. If detailed data is required on product safety issues, this can be collected through targeted surveys.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether planned future guidance documents from her Department on subjects affecting general aviation stakeholders will be the subject of consultation with their representative bodies; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department will use the wind energy, defence and civil aviation interest working group as a forum for preparing future updates of the guidance material on wind energy and aviation interests. General aviation stakeholders can register an interest in this work by completing the stakeholder feedback pro forma on page 55 of the interim guidelines, which can be found at: http:/www.dti.gov.uk/energy/renewables/publications/pdfs/windenergyaviation.pdf
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 322W, on closed consultations, if she
|Consultation title||Date closed||Expected response date|
|Amendments to the Timeshare Act 1992; and proposed new Timeshare (Cancellation Information) Order||31 January 2003||End July 2003|
|Advanced Television Services Regulations 2003||2 May 2003||End July 2003|
|Employment Agencies: Consultation on new regulations||1 November 2002||Autumn 2003|
|Employment status in relation to statutory employment rights||11 December 2002||End of year 2003|
|Equality and Diversity—Making it Happen||21 February 2003||Date to be announced in due course|
|Extension of the Application of the EU Regulation on International Accounting Standards||26 November 2002||End July 2003|
|Export Control Act Draft Secondary Legislation||30 April 2003||Final orders are expected to be laid before Parliament in October 2003|
|Future Offshore: A consultation on the future framework for developing offshore wind farms||18 February 2003||End July 2003|
|Implementation of Directive 2001/90/EC (creosote)||2 February 2003||End June 2003|
|WTO General Agreement on Trade in Service (GATS) Negotiations||3 January 2003||End July 2003|
Credit Card Industry
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) credit card industry representative bodies, (b) consumer bodies and (c) representatives of the Financial Services Authority her Department has met to discuss the Honesty Box. 
The Honesty Box has been discussed at meetings organised by my officials. Representatives of organisations such as the British Bankers Association, the Finance and Leasing Association, the Association for Payment Clearing Services, the Consumers' Association and the Financial Services Authority have attended these meetings.I believe that the issue of transparency in the credit market constitutes a key element of the current review of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. As a result, I will be consulting later this year on proposals for simplifying the advertising regime for consumer credit and on standardising the form and content of credit agreements so that consumers receive key information in a clear and concise manner.In particular I will be consulting on some form of the "Honesty Boxes" to set out, in advertisements or application forms, the key applicable interest rates and charges, which I believe could be a key element of our proposals to increase transparency.
Departmental Employees (Taunton)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the projects and programmes which are funded by her Department and are administered in Taunton; and how many people are employed in administering those projects and programmes, expressed as a full-time equivalent. 
The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) is currently funding 'Taunton Visioning—Town Centre Regeneration' which is administered by the Somerset Area Team based in Exeter.
will list the closed consultations that are awaiting a response; on what date each consultation closed; and on what date she expects to respond in each case. 
Further to my previous answer the Department now has 10 consultations awaiting a response.The expected response dates listed below are based on current plans but should be seen as a guide only.The RDA employs seven people in its Somerset Area Team whose fundamental role is to deliver the RDA Corporate Plan in Somerset. This Team is supported in its work by RDA staff in central functions and local and sub-regional partners.
TO ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what figures she has collated on the percentage of electricity generated lost in (a) transmission and (b) distribution in each EU country. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: Information on electricity transmission and distribution losses in 2000 is to be found in "Electricity Information 2002" published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The information requested is given in the following table. Transmission and distribution losses are not separately identified by the IEA.
|Country||Electricity supplied (TWh)||Transmission and distribution losses (TWh)||Losses as a percentage of electricity supplied|
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will visit Wales to assess the effectiveness of the introduction of electronic banking at post offices. 
Universal banking went live in post offices on 1 April 2003 as scheduled. The Post Office is now providing electronic access to a wide range of bank accounts and is looking to extend these further. The provision of electronic banking services at post offices is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. I understand from the company that its introduction has gone extremely well and that the systems are working effectively. The Government's investment of £480 million on computerising the post office network means that the Post Office can achieve a new role as a convenient place for people to do their banking.
Employers' Liability Insurance
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate her Department has made of the legal costs of dispute resolution associated with employers' liability insurance. 
I have been asked to reply.The Department published a first stage report on employers' liability insurance that looked at the issue on 3 June.This report and separate research in Scotland noted that definitive evidence on legal costs was not available. However an indication was given from the analysis of one leading insurer. They reported that legal costs represented on average 36 per cent. of the total claims cost for employers' liability insurance. This proportion varied by size of claim:
|Claim size||Legal cost (Per cent.)|
|Less than £10,000||51|
|Greater than £25,000||23|
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate her Department has made of compliance rates for British firms for employers' liability compulsory insurance. 
I have been asked to reply.The Department published a first stage report on employers' liability insurance that looked at the issue on 3 June.The information collated suggests that levels of compliance are high but not comprehensive. The report therefore suggests a range of measures to improve enforcement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the events she plans to attend as part of the Government's euro roadshow. 
Ministers will be holding a series of meetings around the country, campaigning for a pro-European consensus.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans there are to monitor and record the number of workers (a) requesting and (b) being granted flexible working in (i) central Government, (ii) local government, (iii) the public sector and (iv) the private sector; and if she will make a statement. 
We are actively promoting flexible working policies across the workplace through the Government's Work-Life Balance Campaign, which aims to encourage best practice by demonstrating the benefits to both employers and employees in all sectors and size of business. To support and help speed up the spread of best practice, on 6 April 2003 we introduced new flexible working legislation, to ensure that employees with children under six or disabled children under 18 will only have their requests for flexible working turned down where there are valid business reasons.We are committed to commence a review of this legislation in three years' time, and as a baseline for this, we have already carried out two major surveys covering employers and employees, giving a clear picture of the current levels of flexible working in both public and private sectors. We are currently developing a detailed monitoring strategy for the next three years and are working closely with key employer and employee stakeholders. As part of this strategy we will be repeating the two baseline surveys in 2005.For further evidence on the numbers of people working flexibly, disaggregated into the public and private sectors, we are repeating the large scale Workplace Employment Relations Survey in 2004, and asking specific questions on flexible working to both employers and employees. The spring and autumn modules of the quarterly Labour Force Survey also provide some information on flexible working practices.We will be working with other Government Departments to gain information on how the new legislation is being implemented and the levels of take up across central Government. We are also establishing links with the Employers' Organisation for Local Government (EO) and the Local Government Association (LGA) in order to gather information specifically relating to flexible working practices within local government.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money has been recovered by her Department from regional aid grants made to industrial projects which have subsequently failed in 'the last five years. 
£26.1 million of regional selective assistance was recovered between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 2003. Much of this relates to offers and payments made in earlier years.
Recoveries of grant under the Enterprise Grant scheme (introduced in January 2000) to date total £95,000.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much regional aid has been given by the UK Government since 1997 in terms of (a) cash grants, (b) tax relief and (c) other subsidies to industries investing in the UK; how many jobs were expected to have been created as a result; how many jobs were delivered; and if she will make a statement on the proportion of aid which has been given to projects that have subsequently failed. 
Since 1997, £119 million of grant offered under the Regional Selective Assistance scheme was accepted by companies in support of projects in England which have now been completed. These projects were expected to create or safeguard 38,997 jobs.The total amount of RSA that was eventually paid was £103 million and 39,841 jobs were created or safeguarded.In addition, £8 million has been paid for projects where there has been some recovery or write-off action. Of this, £1.5 million has been recovered. Many of these projects will have involved some investment and jobs but not on the scale anticipated at the time of offer.Under the Enterprise Grant scheme (introduced in January 2000) £56.4 million was offered to companies by 31 March 2003. £184,000 went to projects where there has been some recovery or write-off action. To date, £95,000 has been recovered. Job creation and safeguarding are not among the national criteria for Enterprise Grants.The Department is not responsible for tax issues nor for subsidies or grants given by other departments.
Home Accident Surveillance Systems
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has for the future of the Home Accident Surveillance Systems; what representations she has received regarding the future of HASS; and if she will make a statement. 
On 2 May, my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield the then Minister for Competition, Consumer and Markets, announced that the DTI will no longer collect statistics on the causes and nature of home and leisure accidents. Following increased pressure on resources and the need to focus on the Department's core priorities, hard decisions had to be made on what to stop. HASS did not fit with these priorities and I have no plans to replace it.I have received representations from several organisations regarding the impact of this decision.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the ending of the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: On 2 May 2003, my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield, the then Minister for Competition, Consumer and Market, announced that the DTI will no longer collect statistics on the causes and nature of home and leisure accidents. Following increased pressure on resources and the need to focus on the Department's core priorities, hard decisions had to be made on what to stop. The collection of accident statistics did not fit with these priorities.
National Minimum Wage
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 897W, on the national minimum wage, if she will break down by region the number of employers not complying with the minimum wage regulations; if she will list the provisions empowering enforcement officers to take action; under what circumstances offenders are prosecuted; and if she will make a statement. 
Further to my earlier answer on 11 June, 1,996 employers were found not to be complying with the minimum wage regulations in 2002–03 and these can be broken down by region as follows:
Office Of Fair Trading
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what basis her Department is leading the Government's response to the OFT report and leading in the development of a package of measures to change regulations made under the National Health Service Act 1977; and if she will make a statement. 
Ministers have agreed that the Department will coordinate the Government's responses to all market investigations by the OFT or the Competition Commission, which make regulatory recommendations and also monitor progress to follow up action. This reflects the Department's responsibility for consumer and competition matters. Any changes to regulations to be made under the National Health Service Act as a result of the Government's decisions on the merits of the recommendation on control of entry for pharmacies will be for the Department of Health to lead on.
Personal Loan Charges
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has to abolish the rights of financial institutions to charge customers who repay personal loans early. 
The early settlement of personal loans is one of the priority areas being covered under the current review of the Consumer Credit ActIt is our intention to revise the current provisions to make them fair and equitable to both lenders and borrowers, and that consumers are better informed about these terms. A consultation document on proposed changes was issued last year to industry, consumer bodies and other interested parties and the responses are currently being evaluated.
Robbin Rigg Wind Farm
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her Department's policy on the Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (Navigation and Fishing) (Scotland) Bill. 
[holding answer 26 June 2003]: I understand the Bill receives its final hearing in the Scottish Parliament on 26 June 2003. The Department of Trade and Industry will, of course, consider any relevant aspects of the Parliament's deliberations.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to include a sunset clause in all new legislation unless a specific case can be made to exclude a sunset clause. 
Revised guidance on Regulatory Impact Assessments, "Better Policy Making: A Guide to Regulatory Impact Assessment", was published by the Cabinet Office on 28 January 2003. It advises officials to consider time-limiting or a sunset clause at an early stage of policy development, and gives specific examples of where a sunset clause may be appropriate.The Department of Trade and Industry actively promotes the better regulation agenda and the use of sunset clauses where appropriate.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Government have to bring forward legislation to prohibit the distribution of unsolicited e-mails in the UK; and what steps may be taken against companies who relocate to countries where the legislative framework covering the distribution of unsolicited e-mails is less strict. 
There will be new controls on the distribution of unsolicited commercial e-mails (UCE) under the UK's implementing regulations for the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (Directive 2002/5 8/EC) which are due to come into force by 31 October.Under these regulations, commercial e-mails may only be sent to individuals with their prior consent, except where there is an existing customer relationship between the sender and the addressee.The new measures will apply to all EU member states and to instigators as well as senders of commercial e-mails within the EU. UK and other EU advertisers will therefore be unable to avoid the rules by using third part e-mail bureaux located outside the EU.Where a business decides to relocate its operations entirely to another country outside the EU, and no longer maintains a UK presence, it does become very difficult to enforce the UK rules. However, the fact that the European regime has now been agreed and is being implemented opens the door to agreements between the EU and other countries, which should result in a more unified approach towards the distribution of unsolicited e-mails.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultation was carried out with veterinary surgeons on the effects of the Competition Commission's inquiry into veterinary prescription only medicines. 
During the course of its inquiry, the Commission received submissions from veterinary surgeons and veterinary organisations such as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. A full list of those who gave evidence, and details of their evidence, can be found in pages 273 to 537 of Volume I of the report.On 17 September 2002, the Commission published a statement of provisional conclusions and hypothetical remedies. Interested parties were invited to comment on these.At the request of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry the Office of Fair Trading has written to veterinary organisations to consult informally on the appropriate terms of the order to implement the Commission's proposed remedies under the Fair Trading Act 1973. This will be followed by a public consultation where veterinary organisations, veterinary surgeons and any other interested parties can make their views known on the terms of such an order.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action her Department has taken since 2000 in its role as the sponsoring Department of the waste management industry. 
As sponsoring Department, DTI has had regular liaison with representatives of the waste management industry including the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). In particular, DTI has played an active role in the development of good practice initiatives by the National Resource and Waste Forum (NRWF)—a cross-sectoral forum led by the waste management industry, which was instigated by DTI following a study of industry competitiveness.The Department takes careful account of the views of the waste management industry in consideration of waste policy. This enables us to bring a waste industry perspective to discussions with other Government bodies such as Defra, the Environment Agency and HM Treasury.The Joint Environmental Markets Unit (JEMU)—which is jointly staffed by DTI and Defra—continues to promote the UK's waste management industry in international markets. An extensive programme of activities, including seminars and outward and inward trade missions, has benefited around 20 to 30 waste management companies over the past couple of years, and is beginning to achieve a far greater appreciation in the industry of global trade and investment opportunities.During 2002, an industry-Government Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) for the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (IGT-EGS) was set up to identify actions to help the UK environmental sector take advantage of changes in UK and overseas markets over the next 15 years. As a result, JEMU will expand its role, taking forward those actions that are of common interest across waste, water, energy and other sub-sectors and are not already being dealt with effectively elsewhere. This will include a particular focus on the innovation-related aspects of the IGT work.To this end, DTI and Defra have established an Environmental Innovations Advisory Group which will meet for the first time on 14 July 2003. The Group will bring together companies from different levels in three supply chains—waste recycling, energy efficient technology and water management—as well as people involved in supporting the innovation and commercialisation process. This theme of innovation in resource efficiency is consistent with policy goals, while the findings would be transferable to other areas of innovation in environmental technologies.The Department is also represented on the Defra-led Hazardous Waste Forum, and is currently considering options for a possible industry forum on waste, in line with a recommendation in the Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not Want Not".
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultation her Department carried out with (a) general aviation stakeholders and (b) national representative bodies for general aviation aerodrome operations and users in the preparation of the Interim Guidelines on Wind Energy, published by her Department; if she will consult stakeholders within general aviation in the preparation of the final version of the Guidelines on Wind Energy; and if she will make a statement. 
In addition to the Department, a number of stakeholders were involved in the preparation of the interim guidelines. These included the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services, Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport and the Airport Operators' Association who reported on progress to various consultative groups. Apart from this, a stakeholder feedback pro forma has been included on page 55 of the guidelines for other interested parties to register an interest in the work on future updates which can be found at: http://www.dit.gov.uk/energy/ renewables/publications/pdfs/wmdenergyaviation.pdf
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what health care checks are carried out on pre-school children in Afghanistan. 
Immunisation of pre-school children has been the aim of the successful polio and measles vaccination campaigns carried out in Afghanistan over, the last year.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the infant mortality rates were in Afghanistan in the last three years. 
A UNICEF report from 1997 gave infant mortality rates as 165 per 1,000 live births. This was the figure also quoted by the first joint donor mission to Afghanistan to study health. The World Bank also provides the same figure of infant mortality for 1995 and 2000. There is no more recent data currently available.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development (1) what financial support is being given to hospitals in Afghanistan to increase the number of woman health care providers; (2) what financial support is being given to hospitals in Afghanistan to train and recruit
(a) nurses, (b) qualified birth attendants and (c) doctors. 
The Afghan Transitional Administration requested US$173 million for the health sector as part of the Budget for the current year, of which at least US$22 million is specifically for training and capacity building. We estimate that donors will fund all or most of this. The Afghan Ministry of Health has devised an interim health strategy, which includes specific programmes for addressing institutional development and management and staff training. They are committed to addressing gender issues within these areas. DFID is helping the Ministry of Health to devise a long-term approach to policy and management, including recently by providing a consultant to assist with the assessment of human resource needs.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what steps are being taken to increase the number of hospitals in operation in Afghanistan. 
The Afghanistan Transitional Authority is trying to improve the basic health services and primary health care for all and wants to avoid a rapid expansion of the hospital sector which will skew current and future resources away from primary care. The International Community supports this approach and is unlikely to fund the opening of large numbers of hospitals in the near future, while the Afghan Government lacks the capacity to manage and staff such institutions. However, DFID and others are assisting the Afghan Ministry of Health to develop its long-term strategy for health care provision in Afghanistan and this will include assessments of the needs of hospitals.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what reports the Department has received of the forced removal of groups from their tribal reserves in Botswana; and if he will make a statement. 
In early 2002, the Government of Botswana ceased supplying water to San people living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, estimated to number about 500 at that time. Most of these people have since left the Reserve, many of them in a government co-ordinated relocation in February 2002. Representatives of the San are bringing a court case about the decision to cease supplying water. Our High Commission in Botswana is continuing to monitor the situation.The Secretary of State, Baroness Amos discussed the relocation of the San with the Government of Botswana during her visit there on 1–2 April as Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa. Her discussion was part of an on-going dialogue between the two Governments about the San, and about wider poverty issues in Botswana.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2003, Official Report, column 770W, to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on deforestation, if he will indicate the principal locations of forest cover lost between 1990 and 2000. 
While "deforestation rate" is one official indicator for measuring success or failure of Millennium Development Goal 7 it is an imperfect one that hides differential impacts on poor people and does not capture the underlying causes of reducing forest cover—population growth, trade (including trade in illegal timber), macro-economic policies, weak governance, unclear access rights and conflict.Official estimates of forest cover are contested by independent organisations like Global Forest Watch. In addition, estimates disguise the fact that increased areas under plantation are replacing natural forest cover in, for example, parts of Asia and Costa Rica. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, State of the World's Forests, the principle locations of forest cover lost between 1990 and 2000 are:
|Region||Annual Rate of Change (%)|
|Papa New Guinea||-0.4|
|North and Central America||-0.1|
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what plans there are to increase aid to Montserrat. 
Our financial provision for Montserrat, covering the 3-year UK Financial Year period 2003–04—2005–06, was increased in February of this year to a total of £45.6 million. This represented an increase of some 50 per cent. over the level that was previously set for the same period. It is estimated that, by March 2006, our assistance since the onset of the volcanic emergency in the mid-1990s will have totalled more than £225 million.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what recent discussions the Department has had with the Government of Montserrat. 
We engage regularly in such discussions. For example, Montserrat's Chief Minister called on DFID Ministers during a UK visit in May; and several of our officials have visited the island already this year for talks on a range of issues, including construction of the new airport. Further missions are planned. We also enjoy frequent contact with the Montserrat Government Representative in London.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development when the Secretary of State next plans to visit Montserrat. 
My right hon. Friend has no such plans at present.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will list the targets the Department for International Development set for the (a) Performance Assessment Network, (b) Performance Reporting Information System for Management and (c) Multilateral Organisations' Performance Assessment Initiative in (i) 2000–01, (ii) 2001–02 and (iii) 2002–03; and if he will make a statement.