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Written Answers

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 11 July 2003

Treasury

Northern Ireland

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the subvention to Northern Ireland was in the last financial year. [124364]

The final provision in the Northern Ireland Office's 2002–03 supply estimates for payments to the Northern Ireland consolidated fund was

Economic inactivity rates1 of working age2 people by Parliamentary constituency in Wales
Year to February, percentage
1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Wales25.326.226.926.225.626.6
Aberavon35.635.136.933.740.532.5
Alyn and Deeside18.323.323.218.121.720.0
Blaenau Gwent33.234.335.432.539.731.5
Brecon and Radnorshire17.119.515.915.116.720.9
Bridgend20.825.423.621.620.224.3
Caernarfon22.829.335.129.720.526.7
Caerphilly34.731.122.823.825.329.0
Cardiff Central20.929.633.222.326.828.0
Cardiff North12.920.223.418.516.320.6
Cardiff South and Penarth21.930.331.822.929.832.6
Cardiff West24.330.830.420.619.723.9
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr24.722.026.134.324.728.5
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire22.722.926.530.136.528.1
Ceredigion21.125.824.328.133.030.6
Clwyd South328.622.826.126.120.525.1
Clwyd West324.023.621.919.419.625.3
Conwy26.526.923.625.022.326.3
Cynon Valley31.025.321.625.329.835.2
Delyn24.222.522.319.720.724.7
Gower22.118.122.329.124.622.7
Islwyn28.427.829.327.627.528.3
Llanelli27.428.228.722.630.432.8
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy23.03331.220.423.3
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney29.536.334.831.441.034.1
Monmouth20.421.122.619.819.521.6
Montgomeryshire19.417.423.03318.4
Neath30.729.824.833.736.232.8
Newport East29.628.026.618.815.922.9
Newport West20.123.722.425.320.123.6
Ogmore22.226.131.337.327.826.8
Pontypridd26.923.526.628.424.825.5
Preseli Pembrokeshire23.521.932.330.122.626.2
Rhondda35.334.033.234.037.937.7
Swansea East30.521.827.834.021.127.8
Swansea West32.330.927.333.626.726.2
Torfaen19.124.225.630.226.525.3
Vale of Clwyd27.428.431.127.426.024.1
Vale of Glamorgan26.019.618.225.124.421.0
Wrexham21.827.629.025.021.723.3
Ynys-Mon30.628.525.827.330.927.4
1Economically inactive as a percentage of the working age population.
2 Men aged 16–64 and women aged 16–59.
3 Sample size too small for reliable estimates.

Note:

These Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates have not yet been adjusted to take account of recent Census 2001 results.

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey

£8,460,999,000. The provisional outturn figure will be shown in the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper, due to be published shortly.

Welsh Economy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of economic inactivity was in each constituency in Wales in each of the past 20 years. [124557]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Chris Ruane, dated 11 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about economic inactivity in Wales. (124557)
The attached table gives estimates of the working age economic inactivity rates for each constituency in Wales for the twelve month period ending February of each year from 1997 to 2002. This information is not available for earlier years.

Royal Palaces

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax treatment applies to private apartments within royal palaces. [125328]

Departmental Staff

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for redeployment of members of his Department out of London and the south-east. [125392]

The scope for relocating Government activity is being considered by Sir Michael Lyons. His independent review was announced in the Chancellor's Budget statement on the 9 April.Details of the review, including the consultation launched on 19 June, can be found on the HM Treasury website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk. Sir Michael will report his findings on the scope for relocating Departments and other public sector bodies before the end of the year.

Northern Ireland

Draft Budget Order

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the increased levels of

Event(a) Purpose(b) Cost(c) Number of staff attending
NCIS International Conference and Exhibition for Criminal Intelligence Analysts 2001 2001 attendance at Careers fairs of:To highlight awareness of and promote the role of the Organised Crime Task Force Educational 1,590.002
(i) Queens University(i) 176.25(i) 1 or 2
(ii) University of Ulster (Magee)(ii) 75,00(ii) 1 or 2
(iii) University of Ulster (Coleraine)(iii) 75.00(iii) 1 or 2
(iv) University of Ulster (Jordanstown)(iv) 75,00(iv) 1 or 2
2002 attendance at Careers fairs of:Educational
(i) Queens University(i)176.25(i) 1 or 2
(ii) University of Ulster (Magee)(ii) 75.00(ii) 1 or 2
(iii) University of Ulster (Coleraine)(iii) 75,00(iii) 1 or 2
(iv) University of Ulster (Jordanstown)(iv) 75.00(iv) 1 or 2
Queens University Law Fair 2002To promote the Department of the Director of Public Prosecution. To begin the process of promoting the new Public Prosecution Service3,000.003
Probation Board AGM Jane 2002EducationalNil cost4
Organised Crime Task Force Roadshow ArmaghAn awareness evening on the work of the5,684,286
Planetarium 2002OCTF
Organised Crime Task Force Roadshow GalgormAn awareness evening on the work of the6,487.749
Manor Ballymena 2002OCTF
Organised Crime Task Force Roadshow HiltonAn awareness evening on the work of the6,570.009
Hotel Belfast 2002OCTF
Northern Ireland Human Right Commission/Bill of Rights exhibiting at various Party Conferences To provide information about the work of the NIHRC to raise awareness among political party members and representatives of progress on consultation on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and to seek greater consenus among the parties as the rights to be protected
(i) PUP conference 2002(i) Free(i) 1
(ii) UUP conference 2002(ii) 250.00(ii) 1
(iii) Workers Party Conference 2002(iii) Free(iii) 2
(iv) SDLP conference 2002(iv) 250.00(iv) 2
(v) DUP conference 2002(v) 250.00(v) 1
(vi) NI Woman's Coalition conference 2002(vi) 50(vi) I
(vii) Alliance Party conference 2002(vii) 250(vii) 2
(viii) Sinn F in Ard Fh is conference 2002(viii) Free(viii) 2

spending in Health and Education which were agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive prior to suspension have been provided for in the Draft Budget (NI) Order. [123966]

The draft Budget (No.2) (NI) Order 2003 reflects the position for 2003–04 as contained in the Budget 2003–2006 document, published in December 2002. These plans included, and improved upon, the increases for Health and Education contained in the NI Executive's draft Budget, published on 24 September 2002.

Exhibitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list events at which his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible have exhibited in each of the last three years, stating for each (a) the purpose of exhibiting, (b) the cost of exhibiting and (c) the number of staff attending for the exhibition. [107620]

The Northern Ireland Office, its Agencies and NDPB's have exhibited at the following events in the last three years:

Event(a) Purpose(b) Cost(c) Number of staff attending
2003 attendance at Careers fairs of:Educational
(i) Queens University(i) 176.25(i) 2
(ii) University of Ulster (Magee)(ii) 75.00(ii) 2
(iii) University of Ulster (Coleraine)(iii) 75.00(iii) 1
(iv) University of Ulster (Jordanstown)(iv) 75.00(iv) 2
Within the Northern Ireland Administration this information can be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Northern Ireland Office (Running Costs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the running costs of the Northern Ireland Office were in each of the past five years. [123715]

As published in the 2003 Northern Ireland Office Departmental Report, the NIO incurred the following running costs:

Northern Ireland Office running costs
£ million
Amount
2002–031(esitmated outturn)232
2001–02127
200–01135
1999–2000159
1998–99151
1The reasons for the increase is the inclusion of non-cash costs in administration for the first time.

Partnership Agreements

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he plans to conclude a partnership agreement with the trade unions representing the staff in his Department. [117450]

The Northern Ireland Office and the 11 departments within the Northern Ireland administration have a history of constructive relationships with Trade Unions, operating through the Whitley system, which has been agreed and supported by both Management and Trade Union Sides. The arrangements are kept under review by both sides, including the most appropriate way to handle the issue of partnership agreements to ensure that they continue to operate effectively.

Policing Reviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of (a) the Criminal Justice Review and (b) the Patten Commission Review on Policing. [124332]

The cost of the Criminal Justice Review from its commencement on 27 June 1998 through to 31 March 2000 inclusive, was £1,151,355.00 and the cost of the Patten Commission Review on Policing from its commencement until 31 March 2000 £2,297,090.00.

Traffic Calming

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what applications were made this financial year for traffic calming schemes; and what schemes are to be implemented in this financial year. [123710]

I have asked the Chief Executive of Roads Service to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.

Transport

Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) the cost to airlines flying to UK airports of the requirement that they present their passengers to the control authorities at the port of arrival in the UK and (b) the charges imposed on such airlines in other countries for the same function. [R] [124752]

The requirement on airlines to present their passengers to the control authorities at the port of arrival in the United Kingdom is contained in immigration legislation and is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. No assessment has been made by my Department of the cost to airlines or of any comparable charges in other countries.

Driving Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will change the period for which foreign nationals may drive on British roads using an international or other foreign driving licence without taking a British driving test. [124889]

[holding answer 10 July 2003]: A review of the present arrangements is not considered necessary at this time. The 12-month concessionary period during which new residents with valid non-European Economic Area driving licences may drive in Great Britain is designed to allow sufficient time for them to become familiar with road traffic conditions here and to take British driving tests. To ensure continuous driving entitlement, a British provisional licence must be obtained and driving tests passed before the 12-month period elapses.The same 12-month concessionary period exists for visitors with non-EEA licences. This is provided for under the Paris Convention of 1926 and the Geneva Convention of 1949, and protects the interests of tourism and trade. Visitors to this country are prohibited from taking British driving tests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take powers to ensure that privately contracted and owned mini-vans carrying staff to work are driven by individuals holding current UK driving licences. [124891]

[holding answer 10 July 2003]: Residents in Great Britain cannot drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes nor vehicles with more than eight passenger seats if they hold a non-European Economic Area driving licence. Such licence holders are restricted to driving small vehicles such as motorcycles, cars and small vans up to 3.5 tonnes and vehicles with up to 8 passenger seats.At present, visitors with valid non-EEA licences may drive British registered vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes and those with up to 16 passenger seats, provided they are not driven for hire or reward. A public consultation exercise proposing that visitors also be restricted to driving small vehicles as for residents ended on 7 July. The outcome will be announced shortly.In the interests of trade and tourism, professional drivers visiting Great Britain are permitted to drive minibuses, buses and lorries, providing these vehicles are not British registered and have been brought temporarily into the country. No changes are proposed to these arrangements.

Eu Committees

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in the Department serve on EU committees or working parties. [116091]

The Department's membership of EU Committees and Working Parties is not fixed. Depending on the subject matter under consideration, the most appropriate policy officials within the Department attend meetings of EU Committees, Working Parties and Working Groups. Information on the number of policy officials who serve on such Committees is not held.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the flight path for the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport. [124410]

For the purposes of the noise appraisal in the South East and East of England Air Services (SERAS) study, nominal departure and arrival routes were assumed for new runways. However, these are indicative only and much more detailed work would be needed as part of the detailed design of any option supported in the air transport White Paper.

It Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Department spent on IT (a) software, (b) hardware, (c) maintenance and (d) licences in 2002–03. [124420]

The Information held by the Department and its Agencies differs in detail due to the different vote and trading account practices and different IT service supply arrangements. This means that it is not possible to provide accurate figures without disproportionate cost.

Media Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost was to his Department of media and voice training for ministers and officials in each year since 1997. [123126]

The Department for Transport was set up in May 2002. Since that time no Ministers have received media or voice training. Information on media and other training received by officials is not readily available and could be given only at disproportionate cost.

Stansted Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total estimated cost is of the (a) road and (b) rail links to Stansted airport to cater for future capacity; and what provisions towards these costs are made in the 10 year transport plan. [R] [124769]

Stansted airport received planning approval in September 2002 to expand to cater for 25 million passengers per annum (mppa) and a section 106 agreement between BAA and the local authority has recently been signed. BAA Stansted and SRA are currently negotiating a parallel legal agreement, which has been agreed in principle, for a package of improvements to meet anticipated increased rail use associated with the airport to 25 mppa, the costs of which are to be borne by BAA. Highway works at junctions 8 and 8A of the Ml 1 have also been agreed and are estimated to cost about £300,000.The SERAS study included an estimate of costs for new road and rail infrastructure to support options for expanding Stansted. These were of the order of £800 million—£1.8 billion, for options providing one, two or three new runways. Most of the costs were for rail investment. It is not possible at this stage to estimate what share of the costs might fall to the airport developer or the timing of any schemes since that will depend on decisions in the air transport White Paper, and other decisions associated with the London-Stansted-Cambridge Growth Area.

Traffic Lights

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what research he has commissioned into the use of traffic lights to reduce pedestrian casualties; [124796](2) what guidance he gives to local authorities on the use of traffic lights in preventing pedestrian casualties. [124802]

The current advice to local highway authorities on the design of pedestrian facilities at traffic light signals is contained in TA 15/81, "Pedestrian Facilities at Traffic Signal Installations". We are drafting a new version to give further information to practitioners following research which concentrated on the design of traffic signals.

Other research has been concentrated on the detailed operation and design of pedestrian crossings on higher speed roads. There is current research into this specific subject and into Puffin crossings. One element of this latter research will look at accident figures before and after installation of the crossings.

Additionally we have recently commissioned a 2 year project entitled "The effects of traffic signals strategies on the safety of vulnerable road users". This will explore the linkages between the ways in which the various signal control strategies are operated, the behaviour of pedestrians and cyclists using these facilities, and the effect on casualty rates for pedestrians and cyclists. It is our intention that the findings of this project will form good practice guidance for local highway authorities.

Other Departmental guidance on the use of traffic signals at pedestrian crossings is contained in Local Transport: Notes 1/95 (the Assessment of Pedestrian Crossings) and 2/95 (The Design of Pedestrian Crossings) and as part of the Traffic Advisory Leaflet series of publications.

Trade And Industry

Coal Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria are being applied to the availability of financial support to the coal industry. [125233]

The principal means of financial support to the coal industry is through coal investment aid, which has a budget of up to £60 million over three years. The full criteria that applications under coal investment aid must satisfy are set out in the scheme description document, which can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/enerRv/coal/invest aid/description.dpfThe funding of any project under coal investment aid will be discretionary and an application satisfying all the criteria will not necessarily receive investment aid. In determining which eligible projects are to be supported and to what level, the Government will assess the relative quality of the projects. The quality of an application will be judged by considering (in order of importance): medium term viability of the applicant and the project; number of jobs created or safeguarded by the project and how long the jobs will last; the commercial efficiency of the investment project; job quality; labour productivity gains and wider benefits offered to the local area.The Government have been inviting applications under coal investment aid since 16 June 2003. The deadline for applications relating to the first assessment period is 31 July 2003.

Environmental Appraisals

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the Department's policies have been screened for their environmental impact since June 2001; how many environmental appraisals have been conducted, and on what policy issues; and what information has been published about these screenings and appraisals. [124717]

In most instances, environmental screening and appraisal are undertaken as an integral part of the policy-making process, and separate records are not currently maintained.Since June 2001, DTI has published the following self-standing appraisals:

  • (i) An environmental appraisal of the draft Communications Bill was published in May 2002
  • (ii) A sustainability appraisal of the Energy White Paper was published in February 2003. This was undertaken using an integrated policy appraisal tool, which aims to draw together existing appraisal requirements (economic, social, environmental and distributional) and is being piloted across Government to assess its usefulness.
  • Eu Committees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many officials in the Department serve on EU committees or working parties. [116077]

    Membership of EU committees, working parties and working groups in which the Department of Trade and Industry has an interest, is not fixed. Depending upon the subject matter under consideration, the most appropriate policy official will attend. Further information is not held.

    Eu Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has had from small businesses regarding reform of the system for awarding EU public sector contracts. [125169]

    I meet regularly with organisations representing the interest of small businesses, and am aware of the difficulties small firms face when tendering for public sector contracts across the EU.We have highlighted these concerns in the UK's response to the Commission's Entrepreneurship Green Paper, written after a public consultation. Our response calls for the Commission to ensure that small firms do not face discrimination in relation to public sector procurement and that access to the EU public sector marketplace is encouraged for all firms, regardless of size.This view is, I believe, also taken up by many small firm representative organisations' responses to the Commission, and I look forward to drawing further on their views as the drafting of the Entrepreneurship Action Plan progresses.

    Eu Directives

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with which business leaders she has had discussions regarding the implementation of the EU directive on information and consultation; what conclusions she drew from these regarding business attitudes towards the directive; and if she will make a statement. [125295]

    The Government have consulted extensively on how best to implement the EC Information and Consultation Directive. As a first step we published a discussion document in July last year and held a series of roundtable discussions up and down the country during the autumn with a wide range of individual businesses and their representatives, unions and employment experts. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and other Government ministers attended the roundtables and heard views directly from those who will be affected by the directive. Building on this initial consultation, the Government then held discussions with the CBI and TUC, and a range of other organisations about implementation. An agreed framework for implementing the directive was published on 7 July 2003 in a consultation document "High Performance Workplaces: Informing and consulting employees", together with draft legislation and a regulatory impact assessment on which we are inviting comments. The Government were aware that business might be concerned about how the directive will be implemented in the UK. This is why we have agreed with the CBI and the TUC a framework for implementation that is flexible, and allows firms to agree with their staff arrangements that are best suited to the individual circumstances of the business.

    Generating Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much energy generation cost the UK in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002. [125653]

    The value of electricity generated in the UK in 2000, 2001 and 2002 was as follows:

    Year£million
    20007,840
    20017,805
    20027,540

    Source:

    Digest of UK Energy Statistics

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which UK companies have submitted bids for contracts in Iraq, broken down by sector. [124426]

    We expect UK companies to play a significant role in the redevelopment of Iraq. In the short-term, US funding is likely to be the main source of opportunities for UK companies.While we expect UK companies to bid for and win contracts, companies are not obliged to inform us if and when they have done so we are therefore unable to provide the information requested. If they did, normal procedures surrounding commercial confidentiality would apply.

    Trade Rules

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the benefits to (a)the UK and(b)developing countries from eliminating all barriers to trade in goods. [124376]

    A number of studies indicate that the elimination of barriers to trade in goods could bring significant benefits both to European Union and to developing countries. Although these studies do not separately identify the effects on the UK economy, there are good reasons to suggest gains to the UK will be in line with those of the EU as a whole.

    Wood

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate has been made of the numbers of employees in the wood panel and related industries who would lose their jobs if the wood panel industry fails. [125115]

    We have made no estimate of the numbers of employees in the wood panel and related industries who might loose their jobs should the sector fail, but a recent study of the timber industry indicates that, of a total of 89,000 people employed in the timber sector, 7,000 are directly employed in wood panel and hoard production.

    Defence

    Deepcut Barracks (Drugs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases of drug overdoses have been recorded at Deepcut barracks since 1995; how many arrests have been made relating to the use or supply of illegal drugs since 1995; how many random drug tests have been made, and what results they have shown, in each year since 1995; what investigations the police has conducted into the use of illegal drugs at Deepcut barracks; what conclusions they have drawn; and if he will make a statement. [124175]

    Since 1995 there have been 24 incidents of self-harm overdose, involving either prescription or non-prescription drugs, recorded at Deepcut barracks. None of these involved illegal drugs. The Army does not make 'arrests' in relation to the use or supply of illegal drugs; instead, cases are investigated and reported to the chain of command for disciplinary action. Since 1995 eight possible cases were recorded at Deepcut as a result of which five military personnel were charged with drug offences under the Army Act.Although Compulsory Drug Testing (CDT) was introduced throughout the Army at the end of 1995, it is not possible to break out data for individual units prior to 1999 due to the format in which the data is held. Data from CDT tests conducted at Deepcut since 1999 are as follows:

    CDT testsPersonnel testing positivePercentage rate of personnel testing positive
    199947920.42
    20001,003131.30
    200147561.26
    200298550.51
    There have been no specific police investigations, either civil or military, regards the use of illegal drugs at Deepcut Barracks.

    Missile Defence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley), of 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 698W, on missile defence, if he will list the names and qualifications of the relevant scientific and medical authorities; and if he will place in the Library copies of the documents on which his comments on potential risk from phased-array radar emissions are based. [123819]

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

    Nuclear Weapons

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list Joint Working Groups conducted under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement since 1973. [124742]

    Joint Working Groups conducted since 1973 under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement have exchanged technical information on the following subjects:

    • Neutron Sources
    • Radiation Simulation and Kinetic Effects Technology
    • Energetic Materials
    • Compatibility of Materials
    • Test Diagnostics
    • Nuclear Materials
    • Warhead Electrical Components and Technologies
    • Non-nuclear Materials
    • Nuclear Counter Terrorism Technology
    • Facilities
    • Nuclear Weapons Engineering
    • Nuclear Warhead Physics
    • Computational Technology
    • Aircraft, Missile and Space System Hardening
    • Laboratory Plasma Physics
    • Manufacturing Practices
    • Nuclear Warhead Accident Response Technology
    • Nuclear Weapon Code Development
    • Nuclear Weapon Environment and Damage Effects
      • Methodologies for Nuclear Weapon Safety Assurance

    Resettlement Training Centre (Aldershot)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the criteria that must be met by training organisations seeking preferred supplier status to the Resettlement Training Centre at Aldershot; and which independent assessor awards that status. [123861]

    The Resettlement Training Centre (RTC) at Aldershot lies within Aldershot Garrison, and is wholly owned by the Ministry of Defence. The RTC is however being leased to Right Management Consultants Ltd. during the currency (October 1998 to September 2005) of a contract it holds from the Department to provide Career Transition services (CTS) to eligible members of the armed forces during the last two years of their service.In accordance with the contract the RTC provides some training direct to Service leavers through courses run at the centre. It also operates the preferred suppliers' list in order to advise Service leavers on different types of external training from providers which have been vetted, and in which the service leavers can be confident of the standard of training provided.

    The requirement for the contractor to run a preferred suppliers list has been part of the contract since inception.

    Training organisations seeking preferred supplier status must provide training which, among other things, fits the transferable skills Service leavers have, provides training which will lead to jobs in the civilian market, have the capability to provide training in the longer term (by having the right facilities, financial and staff resources), and have policies in place promoting quality, equal opportunities and health and safety.

    The Contractor is wholly responsible to the Department to run the preferred suppliers list and to vet applications from prospective training providers. Advice is sought as necessary from Lead Bodies, National Training Organisations, Sector Skills Councils and other Government Agencies. Comments are also sought as necessary from such agencies as Regional Resettlement Centres, the Regular Forces Employment Association, and Ministry of Defence's second line Resettlement Advisers to confirm local requirements. The contractor ensures that the process is managed in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 and its Quality Management Operating Procedures, which are externally assessed by Det Norske Veritas, an accredited UKAS accreditation body.

    Service Accommodation (Colchester)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the average price paid by Annington Homes for each dwelling at Colchester Garrison was; [124936](2) how many dwellings at Colchester Garrison were purchased by Annington Homes; [124935](3) how many former Ministry of Defence dwellings at Colchester Garrison have been sold by Annington Homes; how many more are proposed to be disposed of; and if he will make a statement. [124934]

    The sale, in 1996, of 57,428 properties in England and Wales raised £1.662 million for the Exchequer. The average price per dwelling, nationally, was approximately £29,000, and in the Colchester area, approximately £25,000.Some 1,400 properties in the Colchester area were included in the 1996 sale and leaseback agreement with Annington Homes Ltd. Of these, all but 46, which were surplus to requirements at the time, were leased back by the Ministry of Defence to house Service families. 180 properties have subsequently been handed back to Annington Homes Ltd. and it is intended that a further 40 will be handed back during the current financial year. MOD wishes to reduce vacancy levels in Service family accommodation and significant disposals are needed to progress towards the target of reducing the vacancy rate to 10 per cent. of working stock. The Defence Housing Executive (DHE), the MOD agency that manages the properties, decides which properties to return to the owners (Annington Homes Ltd.) in consultation with unit commanders. The subsequent use or disposal of those properties is a matter for Annington Homes.

    Trained Personnel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many trained personnel have gone absent without leave in each of the services in each of the last five years. [115098]

    The information available is shown in the following tables. Data are captured using different methods for each of the three services, therefore the figures are not directly comparable on a Tri-Service basis. Figures are based only on trained personnel.

    Naval Service1,2
    1 January to 31 DecemberNumber reported AWOL
    199825
    199935
    200050
    200185
    200290
    1 These figures relate to Royal Navy only.
    2 A warrant is issues on the 7th day of absence unless it is known that an individual will be absent before the 7th, day in which case a warrant is issued sooner. Once a warrant is issued the individual is classed as AWOL
    Army1,2
    Financial YearNumber reported AWOL
    1998–991,410
    1999–20001,665
    2000–011,845
    2001–021,630
    2002–031,535
    1 Only one officer was found to be AWOL during the period in question, consequently the table only shows other ranks.
    2 A person is classed as AWOL if he/she does not report for duty on a particular day. If the person has still not reported for duty after 21 days, a Board of Inquiry will meet to investigate the absence, it will then decide whether to class the person as AWOL. This will then be backdated to start from the first day of absence.
    Royal Air Force1,2,3
    Financial YearNumber reported AWOL
    1998–9920
    1999–200020
    2000–0120
    2001–0215
    2002–0325
    1 An individual who is reported AWOL on more than one occasion within the same calendar year is counted once in the year they were reported absent.
    2 An individual who reported AWOL in one calendar year and is still absent in the following year is counted in the year they were reported absent.
    3 The table does not address specific categories within AWOL. A person is classified as AWOL if they did not report for duty on a particular day. However after they have failed to report for duty for 23 days, a Board of Inquiry can declare the individual "illegally absent" (there has been only one illegal absentee in each of the financial years and they are included in the figures). Service personnel do not become deserters until either it is known they are not going to return voluntarily and/or are subsequently arrested and found guilty of desertion at court martial.

    Training Areas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the parts of Wales designated a military tactical training area were so designated. [125237]

    The Tactical Training Area, within which Operational Low Flying is conducted, that exists over mid-Wales was established with the creation of the current United Kingdom Low Flying System in 1979.

    Education And Skills

    Council Of Ministers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department abstained in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal which was passed by qualified majority voting. [117224]

    We are unable to provide statistics on the details of the Department's vote in the Council of Ministers for the period before 1999 as this information is available only at disproportionate cost.Since January 1999, as far as we have been able to verify, the Department has not abstained from voting in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal which was passed by qualified majority voting.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department has been outvoted by qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers; and if he will list the legislation by year. [117246]

    We are unable to provide statistics on the details of the Department's vote in the Council of Ministers for the period before 1999 as this information is available only at disproportionate cost.Since January 1999, as far as we have been able to verify, there have been no occasions where the Department has been outvoted by qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers.

    Laptops (Teachers)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what reasons underlay the exclusion of further education college lecturers from the Laptops for Teachers initiative; and what plans he has to extend the scheme. [124325]

    The further education sector is covered by its own initiatives, which receive separate funding. A scheme similar to the Laptops for Teachers initiative, Computers for Further Education Teachers, began in 2001–02. A total of 3,952 Further Education teachers benefited from this £3 million scheme. The 2002–03 Laptops for Further Education Staff Scheme is more flexible, easier for colleges to administer and allows more staff to benefit. These benefits are being evaluated as part of the National Learning Network evaluation and decisions about future funding are being discussed with the Learning and Skills Council, who are responsible for administering the scheme.

    Online Centres

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many UK online centres were opened in (a) deprived and (b) rural wards in the northwest in 2002–03; and how many centres there are in the region. [124383]

    In the north-west there are 606 centres. This represents approximately 10 per cent. of all UK online centres. 384 (63 per cent.) of north-west centres are located in deprived wards (90 per cent. coverage of all north-west deprived wards). 48 (8 per cent.) are located in rural wards. UK online centres provide people with access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

    School Computers (The Wrekin)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many computers there were in schools in The Wrekin in each year since 1997. [124613]

    The information is not available in the form requested.The available information on the average number of computers per school is shown in the tables.

    Average number of computers per school used mainly for teaching and learning purpose, England, 1998–2002
    19981999200020012002
    Primary13.316.117.820.731.0
    Secondary100.9101.3112.6127.7155.6
    Special18.521.021.324.828.5
    All schools27.129.532.637.350.0
    Average number of computer per school used mainly for management and administrative purposes, England, 1999–2002
    1999200020012002
    Primary2.22.32.63.9
    Secondary13.115.518.425.3
    Special3.73.84.55.1
    All school4.04.45.17.2
    Information for England is derived from a sample survey of schools. The sample size is large enough to produce reliable national estimates. It is not large enough to produce reliable sub-national estimates.The latest information on ICT in schools was published in Statistical Bulletin 07/02, "Survey of Information and Communications Technology in Schools 2002", which is available on the Department's website: www.dfes.gov.uk/statistics and from the Library.

    Work And Pensions

    Benefits Payments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner), 7 July 2003, Official Report, column 601W, what discussions he has had with (a) banks and (b) other ATM providers on the impact of the increase in fee-charging ATMs on pensioners and benefit recipients who choose to have their pensions and benefits paid directly into bank accounts. [125395]

    Officials regularly meet with a range of interested groups, including financial organisations and the British Bankers' Association, to discuss the move to direct payment.Customers have a number of options as to how they access their money free of charge. In particular, many will take advantage of the new facilities to withdraw cash, free of charge, over post office counters, from a range of basic and other bank accounts.

    Child Support Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what strategies exist for the Child Support Agency to ensure that those who are self-employed can be compelled to pay maintenance for their children; and if he will make a statement. [124025]

    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 Dr. Francis, dated 11 July 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 what strategies exist for the Child Support Agency to ensure that those who are self-employed can be compelled to pay maintenance for their children; and if he will make a statement.
    In these circumstances the non resident parent will be approached by a caseworker who will seek to reach an agreement on payment which is acceptable to all parties. If that does not prove possible, the caseworker will make a decision on the most appropriate payment arrangement, having regard to all relevant facts and will seek the agreement of the non resident parent to that. If that is not agreed the Agency may apply to the Magistrates Court for a Liability Order, which is required before we can take any formal enforcement proceedings.
    If the Court has granted a Liability Order, we may then try to recover the debt by one or more of the following actions:
  • (a) Levying of distress involving the use of Bailiffs
  • (b) Establishing a third party debt order—allowing money owed to the debtor to be frozen and sent to us to cover the outstanding debt
  • (c) Establishing a charging order—registering the debt against certain assets owned by the debtor
  • (d) Registering a County Court judgement, which may affect the debtors credit rating
  • (e) Applying for a warrant to commit the debtor to prison or for an order preventing then from holding or obtaining a driving licence.
  • The position I describe applies to England and Wales with a different but broadly similar approach in Scotland.

    Disabled People's Employment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the employment rate of disabled people in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [124537]

    The information is in the table.

    Employment rate of disabled people as a percentage of disabled people of working age
    Percentage
    SpringNumber
    199843.5
    199946.3
    200046.8
    200147.4
    200248

    Note:

    People are defined as disabled if they report a current long-standing limiting illness or disability that significantly affects their day-to-day activities and/or the amount or type of work they can do.

    Source:

    Labour Force Survey.

    Gunwharf Quays

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for relocating part of his Department to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth; how many staff are involved; from where they are being relocated; what the time scale is; and if he will make a statement. [119683]

    The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

    Letter from David Anderson to Mr. Hancock, dated 11 July 2003:

    As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning any plans to relocate staff to the Gunwharf Quays development in Portsmouth. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
    Jobcentre Plus will be introduced in Portsmouth during mid 2004. Currently, services are being offered at Portsmouth Central Jobcentre, Portsmouth North Jobcentre, Guildhall Walk Social Security Office. These offices are not large enough to accommodate the integrated services of Jobcentre Plus, nor do they have the capacity for expansion. Suitable premises are being!identified, which will have the capability to deliver the full range of enhanced services to the people of Portsmouth. Partners and stakeholders were consulted about these plans in June and September 2002. Their comments are currently being taken into consideration in reaching final decisions, which have yet to be announced. I can confirm that the Gunwharf Quays development is one of a number of sites being considered, with discussions continuing on this and other sites.
    Until a site has been identified that will meet the needs of Portsmouth customers, it is not possible to indicate a precise point in time at which the new Jobcentre Plus site will open. I can confirm that staff at the three existing offices, Portsmouth North Jobcentre, Portsmouth Central Jobcentre and the Social Security Office in Guildhall Walk, will be relocated to the new site. There are no plans to reduce the numbers of Jobcentre Plus staff in Portsmouth.
    In the meantime, the three offices currently located in Portsmouth will continue to operate. A full service will be provided throughout the roll out planning and implementation process.
    I hope that this reply is useful.

    Incapacity Benefit

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the regulations for incapacity benefit allow for the payment of benefit when an individual has been injured in a criminal activity. [122812]

    Entitlement to Incapacity Benefit (IB) or IB credits is based on an individual's inability to perform a range of everyday work-related activities. Conditions of entitlement are not dependant upon how a claimant became incapacitated.

    Jobcentre Plus

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Hendon of 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 554W, on Jobcentre Plus, what the definition of unreasonable amount of time for customers to travel as a result of closing an existing Jobcentre Plus office is; what assistance will be provided for travel costs; how clients will be informed of this assistance; and if he will make a statement. [113258]

    The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

    Letter from David Anderson to Paul Holmes, dated 11 July 2003:

    As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, I have been asked to re ply to your question concerning the travelling time for customers following the closure of a local Jobcentre. This falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
    Ease of access to our services is one of the many factors taken into consideration during the initial planning stages of service delivery, when the closure or re-location of a site has been considered.
    The introduction of integrated Jobcentre plus offices is enabling customers to make enquiries about both their benefits and employment opportunities in the same place, reducing the amount of travelling needed. Our new telephone contact centres mean that customers can make enquiries about both benefits and jobs without even having to come into one of our offices. The introduction of new technology is also enabling people to find the information they need about jobs and training via the Internet and our new Jobpoints. These are not only being placed in Jobcentre Plus offices, they are also being placed in other public places such as libraries and supermarkets. All of these developments are making it easier for our customers to take advantage of the services we provide.
    No customer is required to travel more than one hour door to door to a Jobcentre or be absent from home for more than four hours without being offered the option of postal signing. This allows them to attend the office every three months to maintain their claim rather than every fortnight.
    All customers who are required to attend an advisory interview are entitled to have any extra travelling expenses reimbursed if their appointment is either not in their normal office or not on their normal day of attendance. In exceptional circumstances Business Managers can approve the use of a taxi or special vehicle, for example for people with a disability or health condition.
    Re-imbursement of these expenses is explained to the customer verbally or by letter when the interview is arranged and offered at the start of the interview.
    I hope this is helpful.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what programmes have been implemented to train Jobcentre Plus staff for their new responsibilities in respect of working-age benefits; and if he will make a statement. [121502]

    The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

    Letter from David Anderson to Norman Lamb, dated 11 July 2003:

    As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning the programmes that have been implemented to train Jobcentre Plus staff for their new responsibilities in respect of working-age benefits. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
    The development of Jobcentre Plus is building on the high quality service already provided through social security offices and Jobcentres. We are bringing these two services together to deliver a single, integrated, work focussed service to all people of working age. All staff involved in delivering this new service are receiving extensive training to provide them with the necessary skills for their new role.
    Each individual member of staff within Jobcentre Plus has their training needs identified in conjunction with their line manager. This information then forms a personal training plan for that individual. The training is planned in such a way that when they are required to start their job, they have completed and consolidated all their necessary training.
    Jobcentre Plus has over 200 training programmes available to its staff, 70 of which have been extensively re-designed to reflect the new roles and responsibilities of staff in these offices. These training programmes fit into three different areas: IT and telephony; procedural, including training on benefit entitlement; and the "New Beginnings" programme. The latter introduces the individual to the new Jobcentre Plus culture and expectations.
    The three types of training, delivered to the right people at the right time, have and will ensure that individuals have the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver the best service possible to the public within Jobcentre Plus.
    I hope this is helpful to you.

    Pensions (Administrative Costs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the administrative costs for pensioners for the Benefits Agency in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99 and (c) 1999–2000 on a basis consistent with his estimates in Table 2 on page 126 of his 2003 departmental report. [123034]

    Information is not currently available in the format requested. For the years requested, there was no requirement for the Department to breakdown Benefits Agency expenditure by Strategic Objective.However, an indication of total departmental expenditure on Pensioner Administration for 1998–99 and 1999–2000 can be found in Table 5 in the departmental report.

    Private Office Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the running costs have been of Ministers' private offices in his Department in each year since 1997. [123116]

    The available information is as follows.

    Private office running costs
    Cost (£000)
    Department for Work and pensions (formed June 2001)
    2002–032,900
    2001–022,600
    Department of Social Security
    2000–012,500
    1999–20002,600
    1998–992,300
    1997–981__
    1Information not available

    Social Security Offices/Job Centres

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a)social security offices and (b) job centres there are in the UK. [116921]

    The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

    Letter from David Anderson to Mr. Maples, dated 11 July 2003:

    As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the numbers of Jobcentres and Social Security offices. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
    The ongoing roll out of the new Jobcentre Plus service means that the number of offices is continuously changing. As of 2 June there were 425 Social Security offices, 756 Jobcentres and 261 new integrated Jobcentre Plus offices in Great Britain.
    The administration of Social Security offices and Jobcentres in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
    I hope this is helpful.

    Staff Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff the Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which the Department is responsible had in each year since 1997; and what the cost of those staff was in each of those years. [122254]

    Data on staffing levels in the civil service are collected from departments and agencies twice-yearly, in April and October. Headline figures are published under National Statistics guidelines via a press notice. Those for October 2002 were published on 27 February 2003.A copy of the press notice, accompanying media brief and supporting tables is available on the World Wide Web at www.civil-service.gov.uk/statistics. Copies of these documents are also placed in the Libraries of both Houses.More detailed information on the civil service is published annually in "Civil Service Statistics", copies of which are laid in the Libraries of both Houses. The last edition, based on April 2001 data, was published in June 2002. The next edition, based on April 2002 data, is due to be published at the end of July 2003.

    Data on staffing levels in non-departmental public bodies are published by the Cabinet Office in its annual publication "Public Bodies". The information contains details of the numbers of staff employed by each NDPB at 31 March each year. Copies of "Public Bodies" published each year since 1997 are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Information on staff costs for the Department and its agencies is published annually in the DWP

    Staffing costs for non-departmental public bodies for which the Department of Work and Pensions is responsible

    £ millions

    1997–98

    1998–99

    1999–2000

    2000–01

    2001–02

    Health and Safety Commission/Executive118.0119.9124.7130.6136.7
    Remploy Ltd.130.2132.4134.6138.8137.6
    Disability Rights Commission2.64.2
    Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (OPRA)n/a4.04.75.46.1
    Pensions Ombudsman/Occupational Pensions Boardn/a0.80.90.91.0

    Notes:

    Costs are in £ million rounded.

    Disability Rights Commission was formed in April 2000.

    Information on staff costs in respect of OPRA, the Pensions Ombudsman and the Occupational Pensions Board is not available prior to 1998–99.

    Health

    Food Supplements

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent meetings he has had with the natural supplements industry on legislation relating to natural supplements; what action he plans to take as a result of these representations; and if he will make a statement. [123337]

    The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health met with representatives of the Health Food Manufacturer's Association to discuss the Food Supplements Directive on 9 June 2003. Issues covered in discussion fell under four main headings: nutrients and nutrient sources missing from Annexes I and II in the Food Supplements Directive and requirements for safety dossiers; the recently-published report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and advice on safe upper levels therein; future setting of maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements at EU level; and plans for future action on chromium picolinate.Following representations from the Food Standards Agency, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and relevant parties will meet to discuss the potential for simplified dossier requirements and the potential for read-across between dossiers for substances which are likely to have similar toxicological profiles. The European Commission supports this move.Further, to ensure that the Government's policy objectives for regulation of food supplements in the EU are met, the Government continue to argue for maximum limits for nutrients in food supplements to be based on thorough risk assessment and set at levels which protect public health, but which neither unnecessarily limit consumer choice nor unduly restrict trade. The Government continue to press this view strongly in Brussels at every opportunity.

    departmental report and in individual agency annual report and accounts.

    Information on staff costs for each of the non-departmental public bodies for which the Department is responsible who employ staff for each of the years 1997–98 up to 2001–02, where available, is in the following table. Information on staff costs for 2002–03 are not included because costs for this year have not as yet been audited or published.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many substances he has succeeded in adding to the positive list of Annex II to the EU Food Supplements Directive. [123563]

    The lists of permitted nutrients and nutrient sources in the annexes to the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC remain open pending safety assessment of additional substances; additional nutrients or nutrient sources can be added to the relevant permitted list following a favourable assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Industry is currently working to compile safety dossiers for a number of the substances currently omitted from the annexes.Following representations from the Food Standards Agency, the EFSA and relevant parties will meet to discuss the potential for simplified dossier requirements. The European Commission supports this move.

    Cancer Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what direction his Department is giving to the Workforce Development Confederation to integrate a cancer module within the standard nursing training programme. [123257]

    It is not appropriate for the Department to provide direction on the content of nurse training. The regulatory Council for Nursing and Midwifery sets the standard and outline requirements for pre registration nurse education. It does this in collaboration with higher education, employers and the nursing profession. Students have opportunities to undertake supervised practice in caring for cancer patients. Qualified nurses can undertake more specialised programmes, such as cancer nursing, following registration.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to extend nurse prescribing powers to include the prescription of opiates for cancer and palliative care. [123258]

    The Department's proposals for extending independent nurse prescribing, including some opiates for use in palliative care, are set out in a consultation paper, issued jointly by the Department of Health and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 30 April 2003. Copies are available on the MHRA's website: www.mhra.gov.uk and are available in the Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS cancer nurses have (a) retired, (b) left the NHS and (c) been recruited to the NHS in each of the last five years; [123250](2) how many

    (a) cancer nurses in permanent posts and (b) agency cancer nurses are employed by the NHS. [123252]

    Data on the number of permanent or agency cancer specific nurses are not collected centrally nor is information on the number of leavers or retirees from the national health service.The Department of Health Workforce Census shows that, between 1997 and September 2002, there was a net increase in nurses working in the NHS of nearly 50,000. There are now 367,520 nurses employed in the NHS. This increase has enabled the recruitment of additional cancer-site specific nurse specialists, chemotherapy nurses, district nurses, palliative care nurse specialists and additional nurses on wards caring for cancer patients.

    Cataract Treatment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to ensure that the strategic health authorities and local clinicians are developing flexible and imaginative plans with NHS and private providers to make best use of the extra funds for cataract operations.— [124394]

    £73 million in total has been allocated to the national cataract initiative. The aim of the initiative is to reduce waiting times for cataract operations to three months by December 2004 with many areas achieving this by summer 2004 and, following the reduction in waiting times, to pilot the introduction of choice at the point of general practitioner referral in a major specialty.Strategic health authorities have been asked to work with local trusts and primary care trusts and secure the early engagement of local clinicians to develop implementation plans setting out the following:

    Firm dates for delivering six month and three month maximum waiting times for cataracts
    The additional activity planned for 2003–04 and 2004–05 to deliver three months and the estimated split of activity for both years between national health service and independent sector providers
    How this initiative links to local programmes for implementing patient choice particularly piloting choice at the point of referral, and
    Linked improvements in the delivery of other eye care services, for example for chronic eye disease management.

    In order to support this initiative further, a standard care pathway for cataracts is being developed by the national Eye Care Services Steering Group. The final pathway should be published later this year. In addition,£4 million has been allocated to fund pilots for improvements in chronic eye disease and low vision services.

    These initiatives have the support of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists who are also encouraging clinicians to use this investment to develop innovative ways of working and deliver benefits for the full range of ophthalmology services.

    Cosmetic Surgery

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines are issued to his Department on the criteria to be used by consultants in accepting a child patient for cosmetic surgery. [124898]

    [holding answer 10 July 2003]: The Department of Health does not issue criteria to surgeons on the selection of patients for any type of surgery. Such decisions are a clinical matter, and need to be made by the patient's consultant.

    Day Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many day hospitals there are in each London borough; and how many have (a) been merged and (b) closed since 1997. [123764]

    Drug Treatment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the National Treatment Agency has made towards its target of recruiting 3,000 practitioners to the drug treatment workforce. [124074]

    Work force expansion is proceeding more rapidly than anticipated. Drug action teams report an increase of 1,088 additional posts in 2002–03 and are projecting a further 680 between 2003–04.

    Fertility Clinics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to ensure that fertility clinics protect their patients from the risk of HIV transmission. [124398]

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's (HFEA) Code of Practice states that licensed fertility clinics helping HIV positive people to have a baby should use the guidelines issued by the Association of Clinical Embryologists (ACE) and other professional bodies.The ACE "Accreditation Standards and Guidelines for IVF Laboratories" include the need for separate storage equipment for infected embryos and for laboratories to be fully equipped to deal with HIV. The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens gives guidelines on handling blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis.As a further protective measure, the chair of the HFEA wrote to all licensed centres in March 2001 asking them to introduce routine screening of patients for HIV as well as hepatitis B and C. This will become mandatory in December 2004. All gamete donors are already routinely screened for HIV and detailed guidance on this is included in the HFEA's Code of Practice. This includes a requirement for donor gametes to be stored for 180 days and re-tested to minimise as far as possible the risk of HIV transmission.In addition to patient and donor screening, the current edition of the HFEA's Code of Practice requires laboratories in licensed centres to have procedures in place to ensure that all blood products are pre-screened for HIV.

    Health And Social Care (Community Health And Standards) Bill

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy, under clause 60 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill to introduce an appeals process to enable an independent person or panel to review the amount charged under subsection (1) of clause 62 in cases where the person or body who has received the charge wishes to appeal. [120304]

    Section 57(7) (formerly section 60(7)) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill provides a power that enables the Secretary of State to make regulations that would allow an independent person or a panel to review charges levied in individual cases by Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection on English national health service bodies, cross border Strategic Health Authorities or other persons of a specified nature, and to substitute a lesser charge if they consider it appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the maximum fine payable is under Clause 63(5) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill; [121181]

    Hospital Public Health Medicine and Community Health Services ( HCHS): Medical and dental doctors and General Practitioners by country of primary qualification
    Number (headcount)1
    England as at 30 September 2002All countries of qualificationUnited KingdomOf which: Rest of European Economic AreaElsewhere
    All doctors104,46071,3825,15727,921
    Of which:
    HCHS Doctors172,16845,1153,80123,252
    All General Medical Practitioners232,29226,2671,3564,669
    1 Excludes Hospital Medical Hospital Practitioners and Hospital Medical Clinical Assistants, most of whom are GPs working part-time in hospitals.
    2 Assistants, GP Registrars, Salaried Doctors (Para 52 SPA), PMS Other and GP Retainers.
    Source:Department of Health medical and dental workforce census Department of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

    (2) what the maximum fine payable is under Clause 64 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill; [121183]

    (3) what the maximum fine payable is under Clause 65(3) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill. [121188]

    The penalty on summary conviction of an offence under clauses 61, 62 and 63 (formerly clauses 63, 64 and 65) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill is a fine not exceeding level four (£2,500) on the standard scale, as set out in the Explanatory Notes.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) in what circumstances he would expect the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection to consider an explanation necessary under Clause 65(1) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill; [121185](2) whether he will expect the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection to lay down the prescription required for such times and places as an explanation may be required under Clause 65(2) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill. [121187]

    It will be for the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection to decide where an explanation is necessary or expedient but this might include where it finds discrepancies within the data it has received or where information it has obtained provides evidence of potential failure by national health service bodies.However, it will be for the Secretary of State to lay down in regulations the times, places and persons that must provide an explanation under clause 63 (formerly clause 65) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill.

    Healthcare Staff

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many(a)doctors and(b)nurses from developing countries are working in the UK, broken down by country. [123163]

    The Department does not collect data on numbers of doctors or nurses working in the United Kingdom by country of origin. The Department does collect information by country of qualification, which is shown in the table.

    Published figures show doctors categorised by country of qualification grouped into UK, European Economic Area and elsewhere only.

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council publishes an annual statistical analysis of the register, which includes statistics on overseas nurses registering in the UK. This information can be found at www.nmc-uk.org.

    Intensive Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many intensive care beds for burns there are in each region; and what the occupancy rates were in the past two years. [123559]

    In January 2003, the Department of Health carried out a census of open and staffed adult critical care beds in national health service trusts. The results showed that there were 3,097 critical care beds, which represents 735 (31 per cent.) more beds than in January 2000 and exceeds the target set in the NHS for 30 per cent. more adult critical care beds. Of the 3,097 beds, 35 of these were intensive care beds for burns. The Department does not collect the occupancy rates for intensive care beds centrally.

    Inventures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 30 June 2003,Official Report, column 153W, on Inventures, how much has been charged by KPMG to date. [124045]

    [holding answer 7 July 2003]: KPMG's costs to date on Inventures are approximately £500,000.

    Maternity Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many security incidents in maternity units in the NHS there have been in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement on each incident. [124226]

    Historically, information on security incidents has only been collated centrally in terms of overall numbers, not by level or staff groups.The Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) was launched on 1 April this year with the new policy and operational responsibility for the management of security in the national health service. The CFSMS is currently reviewing NHS security

    Death rates1 per 100,000 population by Government Office Region2, 1997 to 20013
    North EastNorth WestYorks & HumberEast MidlandsWest MidlandsEast of EnglandLondonSouth EastSouth WestEngland
    Adults
    1997829815761731754674734676665731
    1998843808761729738664720654642720
    1999806799735724741661712652639712
    2000775759708688712638690631628686
    2001760753693670692623677613604669
    1Directly age-standardised using the European Standard Population.
    2Boundaries as at 1 April 2001.
    3Deaths registered in these years.

    Source:

    Office for National Statistics

    management, and will be prioritising the establishment of an effective incident reporting system.

    Medical Technologies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the statement in the Wanless report that new medical technologies can be used to facilitate a dramatic fall in length of stays in hospital. [118053]

    The Wanless report identifies several possible impacts of new medical technologies. Shorter length of stay in hospital is listed among numerous other potential effects. The Government recognise that it is important to determine the future impacts of technological advances.The National Horizon Scanning Centre at the University of Birmingham, has a contract with the Department of Health to examine the impact that new health technologies and drugs may have on health expenditure. This year, for the first time, we have asked the National Horizon Scanning Centre to consider the impact that health0 technologies and drugs may have on average length of stay.

    Nhs Pay Beds

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to phase out the practice of private patients using NHS hospitals pay beds and other provision; and if he will make a statement. [120054]

    This is a matter for local decision. The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill imposes a limit on the amount of private work that national health service foundation trusts may carry out. They will not be able to undertake a higher proportion of private work than they do at present.

    Mortality/Morbidity Rates

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the (a) mortality and (b) morbidity rates for each year since 1997 for (i) England and (ii) each region of England. [122789]

    The available figures are shown in the tables. Regional figures are by Government Office Region. Mortality rates come from death registration information. Morbidity rates are less easy to define and collect. However, the Health Survey for England gives the proportion of survey respondents who reported having any illness, disability or infirmity that they considered had troubled them or was likely to affect them over a period of time.

    Long standing illness by Government Office Region, 1997 to 2001
    Percentage
    North EastNorth WestYorks & HumberEast MidlandsWest MidlandsEast of EnglandLondonSouth EastSouth WestEngland
    Adults
    1997n/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
    199849484645423942424344
    199945504445464139434244
    200047464450463940444144
    200151484751464240444546
    n/a = not available by Government Office RegionSource:Health Survey for England, Department of Health

    National Care Standards Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers of enforcement the National Care Standards Commission has in respect of its reports on boarding schools; [125165](2) what powers

    (a) the Government, (b) school staff, (c) governors and (d) parents have to refuse to accept the recommendations of the National Care Standards Commission in respect of independent boarding schools. [125173]

    The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) has no such powers of enforcement.The objective of the national minimum standards is to ensure that young people who board at any school receive a good basic level of care and that their welfare needs are met. Inspections against the standards are carried out by the NCSC, working in conjunction with the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and local education authorities.The power to take action in an independent boarding school failing to ensure adequate care provision falls to DfES as the regulating authority. Where DfES considers that a report shows children's welfare as not sufficiently safeguarded and promoted, it will take action, and require the school to make the necessary improvements.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what qualifications are required for inspectors of boarding schools from the National Care Standards Commission. [125175]

    Those employed as inspectors of children's services by the National Care Standards Commission need—in addition to other requirements concerning relevant experience, skills and specialist knowledge—a qualification from the following list:

    • Certificate of Qualification in Social Work
    • Diploma in Social Work
    • Qualified Teacher Status
    • Diploma in Higher Education
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    • Certificate in Social Services
    • Registered General Nurse
    • State Registered Nurse
    • Certificate in Residential Care of Children and Young People
    • National Vocational Qualification—Level 4 in a field working with children or managing children's services.

    National Health Service Act

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to amend the National Health Service Act 1977; and if he will make a statement. [123455]

    [holding answer 3 July 2003]: The NHS Act of 1977 has been amended on a number of occasions. The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, currently before the House, proposes to make further amendments. Power was taken under the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 to consolidate national health service legislation since 1977, and it is my intention that we will proceed with consolidation as soon as is feasible.

    Nhs Doctors (Retention)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors left the NHS last year. [123602]

    Work force data are collected through the annual Department of Health medical and general practitioner work force census. The census is a snapshot of data as of 30 September in the appropriate year. The information presented in the table shows the net difference in the number of doctors between September 2001 and September 2002. Data on numbers of leavers and joiners in the national health service is not available.

    Hospital, public health medicine and community health services ( HCHS) medical and dental staff and general medical practitioners, in England, as at 30 September 2001 and 2002
    headcount
    20012002
    All doctors1100,319104,460
    of which:
    HCHS medical and dental staff168,48472,168
    General medical practitioners31,83532,292
    1 Excludes hospital medical hospital practitioners and hospital medical clinical assistants, most of whom are GPs working part time in hospitals.
    Note:All practitioners include GMS unrestricted principals, PMS contracted GPs, PMS salaried GPs, restricted principals assistants, GP registrars, salaried doctors (Para 52 SFA), PMS other and GP retainers.Source:Department of Health medical and dental workforce censusDepartment of Health General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

    Nhs Property/Inventures Sale

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to receive the National Audit Office report into the NHS property and inventures sale; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [123635]

    [holding answer 4 July 2003]: The National Audit Office (NAO) work on the bidding process is nearing completion. A response will then be sent by the NAO to the Pears Group, the complainantIn addition, the NAO will send an internal management report to the Department of Health summarising their findings and conclusions. No decision has yet been taken as to whether the report will be published.

    Prisoners (Health Care)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nurses and (b) doctors are available to provide health care services to patients in each prison in England and Wales (i) for 24 hours in each day, (ii) for 12 hours in each day, (iii) every other day, (iv) twice a week and (v) once a week; and if he will make a statement. [123308]

    Information is not available in the form requested. Under the Prison Act 1952 every prison must have a medical officer. The provision of health services in an establishment is organised around its health care centre.Health care centres fall into one of four categories according to the level of service provided and are staffed appropriately to fulfil their particular function. There are 23 type one and 45 type two health care centres at which only daytime health care cover is provided, generally by part-time staff in the former and full-time staff in the latter. There are 68 type three health care centres, which have in-patient facilities and 24-hour nurse cover, and four type four facilities, which have the same level of provision but act as national or regional assessment centres.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of medication provided in prisons that would normally be administered in tablet form is given in liquid form to prevent storage of medication by prisoners; and if he will make a statement. [123307]

    Information is not available in the form requested. Prisons have a risk assessment process that will be undertaken before a prisoner is allowed to have medication in their possession. Not all medication can be made available in liquid form. Prison Health has published, "A Pharmacy Service for Prisoners", available at www.doh.gov.uk/prisonhealth, which will help prisons to develop their pharmacy services.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Cyprus

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what documentation will be needed for the export of goods originating in occupied Cyprus, from Famagusta port. [R] [123634]

    Issues relating to the status of Famagusta port are for the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.However, as mandated by the Copenhagen European Council, the European Commission is consulting the Republic of Cyprus on measures to promote the economic development of the north and bring it closer to the EU.

    Environmental Appraisals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of the Department's policies have been screened for their environmental impact since June 2001; how many environmental appraisals have been conducted, and on what policy issues; and what information has been published about these screenings and appraisals. [124710]

    As well as working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to deliver international environmental policy objectives, the FCO takes environmental issues into account when formulating policy; and, particularly, potential impact on the FCO's two Public Service Agreements that relate to environment as a pillar of sustainable development (Business Plan 2003-06):

    Public Service Agreement 7:

    Make globalisation work for sustainable development in the UK and internationally (especially in Africa) by promoting democracy and the rule of law, good economic and environmental governance, and security of long-term energy supply, measured by specific underlying targets.

    Public Service Agreement 11:

    Improvement in the governance, environment and security of the overseas territories, and more diversified economic development, as measured by implementation of the commitments in the 1999 White Paper "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity—Britain and the Overseas Territories".

    As detailed in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to the right hon. Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell), Official Report, column 472W, the FCO is also in the process of developing a Sustainable Development Strategy.

    The FCO has committed itself to implementing the terms of "The Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate". Further information on this is available on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk).

    The commitments of the Framework for Sustainable Development will be applied to the whole of the FCO UK estate, although time-scales may vary depending on the location and nature of the site.

    Euro Roadshow

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the itinerary, with (a) dates and (b) agenda, of the recently announced roadshow of UK cities and towns as part of the EU information campaign; what budget has been assigned; how many staff have been tasked; what measures he will take to ensure that (i) hon. Members whose constituency it visits are informed and (ii) a full and open exchange of views occurs; and if he will make a statement. [124323]

    Details of the EU enlargement visits to more than 100 UK cities and towns can be found on the FCO public website (www.fco.gov.uk). This is updated regularly with details of future visits.The FCO EU Public Diplomacy Section of seven staff is responsible for implementing efforts to inform the U K public about the EU—including this regional programme, in addition to other duties.A budget of £40,000 has been set aside for this programme, and we work closely with local Government Offices and other regional organisations to arrange visits.All hon. and right hon. Members and Members of the European Parliament are informed of forthcoming visits, and we aim to engage as wide an audience as possible by informing the media in advance.

    Highly Skilled Migrant Programme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were granted entry into the UK in each of the last six years under the highly skilled migrant programme. [123776]

    The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) is administered by Work Permits UK at the Home Office and has only been in operation since 28 January 2002.Work Permits UK are responsible for approving applications under the HSMP and for issuing permits to successful applicants. All HSMP permit holders require a visa under the provisions of paragraph 135 A-H of the Immigration Rules. Possession of a HMSP permit is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued. The applicant must still be able to demonstrate that

    (s)he qualifies for entry to the UK in accordance with the Immigration Rules.

    Work Permits UK have approved 2,700 applications under the HSMP since January 2002. However, they cannot provide statistics on the number of those who were granted entry into the UK. UKvisas do not hold statistics on the number of visas issued to applicants who have been granted HSMP permits. These figures are subsumed within the general category of visas issued to work permit holders.

    Indonesia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of British support projects for the reform process in Indonesia; and what action he plans to take to improve their effectiveness. [124167]

    Britain is active in a number of areas in assisting Indonesia making a success of its democratic reform, including police, legal and judicial reform, anti-corruption moves, security sector reform, democracy building and the support for an independent and free media. We review our co-operation in these areas regularly, including by external experts. We have a long-term commitment to Indonesia. As one of the main donors supporting the reform process in Indonesia, we continue to strive for greater coherency and cooperation among other donor partners in Indonesia.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to discuss with the Government of Indonesia support projects from the (a) judiciary and (b) the armed services aimed at aiding the process of reform under way in Indonesia. [124169]

    The UK has regular discussions with the Indonesian Government about assistance in aiding its process of reform, mostly through our embassy in Jakarta. We aim to continue devoting our resources to assisting in the creation of a stable, democratic, peaceful Indonesia. Assistance with reform of the judiciary and armed services are important parts of our overall strategy. We have active co-operation through a programme of Bar Council and Law Society visits. We provided human rights training for five Supreme Court Judges this March, with further training planned. The Governance Partnership, which is undertaking research to help develop a constituency for governance reform, and which is supporting the rule of law, police reform and anti-corruption initiatives, is working on judicial oversight in the justice system. We have a UK Security Sector reform strategy, aimed at strengthening democratic control over the armed forces and helping the Indonesians rethink their security needs. During the visits of my noble Friend Baroness Kennedy of the British Council in June 2002, and my noble Friend Baroness Scotland, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the FCO, in September 2002, seminars were held with the Indonesian Chief Justice and members of the Indonesian Supreme Court. Through support to the International Committee of the Red Cross we are providing the security services with training in human rights and international humanitarian law. These programmes are ongoing.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Ba'ath Party officials have been arrested by allied forces in Iraq; and what assessment has been made of the role of such officials still at large as leaders of Saddam loyalist resistance in Iraq. [124029]

    Detentions of senior Ba'ath Party officials by the Coalition continue. Where senior Ba'athists pose a security risk, or are suspected of having been involved in criminal activity, they will continue to be detained by Coalition Forces. Assessments of the role of those still at large, whether involved in resistance against Coalition forces or otherwise, are ongoing.On 16 May, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued an Order disestablishing the Ba'ath Party. This Order removes and bars all members of the Ba'ath Party at the rank of Senior Member and above from positions of authority in the future. All Ba'ath Party members suspected of criminal conduct will be investigated and, if necessary, detained.

    Islamabad

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to visit the entry clearance operation in Islamabad to review its work. [123856]

    My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no immediate plans to visit the Visa Section in Islamabad but he is monitoring developments there closely and is committed to restoring a full entry clearance operation as soon as the security situation in Pakistan allows.A number of measures are, however, being implemented that will increase the level of service Islamabad is able to offer. In particular, the number of entry clearance officers in post has risen significantly. This will enable the Visa Section to increase the level of service, both in terms of categories of applications they can accept and how quickly they can be processed.

    Israel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli Government to restore equality of levels of access and treatment for the BBC to that accorded to other media organisations. [124263]

    We are concerned by the decision by the Israeli Government not to grant any interviews or access to the BBC. It is for the BBC to take this up with the Israeli Government.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Government next plan to host a visit by the Israeli Prime Minister. [124417]

    Kosovo

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to prevent acts of violence against members of the Serb community in Kosovo. [124421]

    A key priority for United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), embodied in their mandates from UN Security Council Resolution 1244, is to create a safe and secure environment for all Kosovo's citizens. Overall, statistics for the first five months of 2003 showed a continuous decrease of serious crime in Kosovo. This includes a reduction in ethnically motivated attacks, though any such crime continues to be a cause for concern.KFOR continues to use its troop presence to prevent attacks on minorities. For example, in Multinational Brigade East 190 security patrols are mounted every day, 65 checkpoints are manned and 64 facilities, such as Serb patrimonial sites, are guarded. KFOR also conducts air surveillance, response to emergency calls, search operations, border control, escorts for Serbs, and support to UNMIK Police in investigation of criminal activities and arrest or detention of suspected criminals. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) has also been established as a genuinely multi-ethnic force working alongside international police to help deter violence and build confidence.A key step in Kosovo's progress is to ensure that ethnically motivated violence is considered unacceptable. In building a tolerant society that can provide security for all its minorities, Kosovo Albanian leaders and political parties are publicly condemning acts of violence that appear to be ethnically motivated.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) Serbs and (b) other minorities have returned to Kosovo in the past year. [124422]

    United Nations Mission in Kosovo figures indicate that in 2002 there were 2,756 returns: 966 Serbs, 390 Roma, 884 Ashkali/Egyptians, 149 Bosniaks, 73 Gorani and 294 Kosovo Albanians returned to areas where they are a minority. During the first five months of 2003, 437 Serbs, 330 Roma/Ashkali/ Egyptians, 133 Bosniaks, 31 Gorani and 61 Kosovo Albanians returned to Kosovo. This is a total of 992 returns, up from 874 during the same period last year.

    Morocco

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Morocco concerning the case of the journalist, Ali Lmrabet, who has recently been imprisoned. [123461]

    Officials in Rabat raised our concerns about Ali Lmrabet's detention with the Moroccan Government at official and Ministerial level. The EU Presidency in Rabat also spoke formally to the Moroccans concerning Ali Lmrabet's state of health. We will continue to monitor the situation.

    Sierra Leone

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people from Sierra Leone have been admitted to the UK on entry visas for work in (a) 2001–02 and (b) in 2002–03. [124607]

    [holding answer 9 July 2003]: I have been asked to reply.The latest available information on Sierra Leonean nationals granted leave to enter the United Kingdom as work permit holders or their dependants is given in the table.

    Sierra Leonean nationals granted leave to enter the United Kingdom as work permit holders or their dependants, 20011,2
    2001
    Employment for 12 months or more10
    Employment for less than 12 months35
    Dependants of work permit holders10
    1 A change in procedures may have resulted in some under-recording in the first quarter of 2001.
    2 Data are rounded to the nearest five.
    3 Includes the majority of work permit trainees.
    Data on those people granted leave to enter the United Kingdom in 2002 are due to be published at the end of August 2003 on the Home Office website: http:// www. homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/whatsnewl.html

    Telecommunications Masts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many planning applications have been made to site mobile telecommunications masts on land owned by the Department. [124804]

    We have been in discussion with one cell phone operator who wishes to install a mast on the FCO's Old Admiralty Building, and we understand that a planning application is to be submitted shortly. No other applications have been made in respect of the FCO's properties.

    Turkey

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about his recent discussions in London with the Turkish Foreign Minister. [124590]

    My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I met his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, on 3 July 2003. He reaffirmed the UK's full support for Turkey's EU candidacy, welcomed recent developments and encouraged Turkey to make further progress towards meeting the Copenhagen Political Criteria. He also discussed regional issues. He reported on his recent visit to the Middle East, focusing on the situation in Iraq and Iran. The Foreign Secretary also reiterated the need for a Cyprus solution on the basis on the UN plan.

    Turkish Aircraft Incursions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent incursions by Turkish aircraft in the Aegean; and if he will make a statement. [124592]

    The conduct of international aviation is governed by international law. Any action which has as its objective the increase of tension or the deterioration of bilateral relations between two countries is a matter of regret to the British Government. The British Government welcome the contacts which continue between the Governments of Greece and Turkey at a political and official level with a view to the consolidation of improvements in bilateral relations.

    Visas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to introduce online visa applications in countries other than the US. [124614]

    Following the success of online visa applications in the United States, UKvisas is currently developing the necessary software and website required to introduce online visa applications in other countries. It is intended that a pilot scheme will begin by early November 2003 in Malaysia and Singapore, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Canada before the end of 2003.It is intended to make online visa applications available in up to 30 countries in 2004.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were granted visas in (a) 2002 and (b) the first six months of 2003 to enter the UK without restriction on seeking employment. [123774]

    All visas issued have some form of restriction attached. Categories of entry clearance of which there are no restrictions on seeking work are:

    Those applicants settling with spouses, partners or other dependant close relatives in the UK;
    Those applicants joining recognised refugees in the UK for family reunion.
    The total number of visas issued to applicants in the above categories and who are therefore free to seek employment in 2002 was 55,297. Entry Clearance statistics are collated annually and figures for the financial year 2002–03 will be available in the Library of the House from the end of August/early September.In addition to the above categories of entry clearance, the following applicants are also entitled to work without restriction on their employment:

    Those applicants entering the United Kingdom under UK Ancestry Rules;
    Dependants of students coming to the UK for more that 12 months;
    Dependants of work permit holders.

    While work permit holders, Au Pairs, Agricultural Workers, and domestic workers may work, they are restricted to working for a specific employer and can therefore not "seek" work.

    Working Holidays

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance has been given to entry clearance officers about the funds required for a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a working holidaymaker. [125337]

    All new Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) undergo an intensive course of training provided by UKvisas. As part of an ECO's training, specific instruction is given concerning those seeking entry clearance for employment in the United Kingdom, part of which covers working holidaymakers.Guidance about applications from working holidaymakers is contained in the Diplomatic Service Procedures, Entry Clearance, Volume 1, Chapter 18.4. The Diplomatic Service Procedures are available to ECOs both during their training and while at post, and are available to the public online through UKvisas website www.ukvisas.gov.uk.Applicants are not expected to have a specific amount of money in order to qualify for entry to the United Kingdom as a working holidaymaker. However, working holidaymakers must be able to demonstrate that that they have enough money to pay for their return journey and also to pay for accommodation and living expenses for at least the first two months after arrival without recourse to public funds, or at least one month if they have a job arranged in advance.

    Those wishing to visit the United Kingdom as working holidaymakers are advised to establish how much money they will need by researching their trip before they apply. ECOs are not required to make decisions based on a prescribed level of funding that a working holidaymaker must have, but instead are required to consider each application on its own merits against the relevant requirements of the Immigration Rules.

    Changes to the Working Holidaymaker Scheme (WHMS) were announced on 20 June 2003, Official Report, column 21WS, by my hon. Friend the Minister of State (Beverly Hughes). Ukvisas sent entry clearance staff worldwide guidance on the changes to the WHMS on 18 June. Although no changes were made to the Immigration Rules concerning the funding required by working holidaymakers, entry clearance staff were reminded of these requirements in the guidance of 18 June.

    Prime Minister

    Foreign Secretary (Committees)

    To ask the Prime Minister what factors underlay his decision to appoint (a) the Foreign Secretary to head the Biotechnology subcommittee SCI(BIO), (b) the Deputy Prime Minister to head the Environment Committee (ENN) and (c) himself to head the Thames Gateway Committee (MISC 22). [125329]

    I act in accordance with the way previous Prime Ministers have chosen their chairmen of Cabinet committees.

    Iraq

    To ask the Prime Minister when he was first informed by British Intelligence that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Africa. [125003]

    The issue of how intelligence information was used in the production of the UK Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction published in September 2002 is currently being addressed by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House. Their report on their findings will be published in due course.

    To ask the Prime Minister when and by whom he was first informed that the dossier which he presented to the House on 3 February (a) had been released to journalists and (b) was not predominantly intelligence material. [125083]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave to the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir John Stanley) on 24 June 2003, Official Report, columns 652–53.

    To ask the Prime Minister which Government (a) official and (b) Minister took the decision to insert the assertion that such weapons could be deployed in 45 minutes in (i) the foreword to, (ii) the executive summary of, and (iii) the draft of his speech to the House, 24 September 2002, Official Report, column 3, on the September 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. [125189]

    The dossier, including the executive summary, was drafted by the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and his staff, and they were responsible for including the 45 minutes intelligence. The foreword was prepared by my staff in Downing street in the normal way. It was signed off by me, but members of the JIC had the opportunity to comment on it. My speech to the House of Commons was written in the normal way and reflected what was in the September 2002 dossier which was being debated in the House on 24 September 2002.

    To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the situation of the uranium derivatives looted from the Tuwaitha nuclear complex in Iraq. [125236]

    A team of investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency's safeguards division carried out an examination of the al-Tuwaitha site last month. The report of their findings has not yet been published.

    To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had on the state of Iraqi schools. [125244]

    Rehabilitating Iraq's education system is a Coalition priority. The Coalition Provisional Authority has been working with the Iraqi Ministry of Education, UNICEF and UNESCO to get schools back up and running as quickly as possible. Funding is also being made available through US Agency for International Development contractors to rehabilitate 6,000 schools and provide school equipment. Plans are being made to provide teaching materials to all primary schools by the start of the school year in mid-September. UNICEF is assisting the organisation of national terminal exams for primary, intermediate and secondary students.By the end of June, 98 per cent. of all schools in Iraq had reopened and around 4.5 million children had taken end of year exams. A further 1 million children will take exams in July.

    To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer to the Liaison Committee on 8 July, if he will make a further statement on intelligence received relating to Iraq seeking to obtain uranium from Niger since the end of the first Gulf war in 1991 which is deemed valid. [125711]

    The assessment that Iraq sought uranium from Niger drew on intelligence from more than one source, including non-documentary intelligence. We agree with the IAEA that some of the documents they hold are forgeries. However, others may be genuine. The Government are keeping the situation under review.

    Official Report

    To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral statement of 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 678, if he will make a statement on whether his purported quotation of the right hon. Member for Wells was not accurate and should be withdrawn, with the necessary correction of the Official Report. [122733]

    I am happy to accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that he does not believe that the very nature of the European Union is incompatible with democracy and accountability.

    Constitutional Affairs

    Immigration Appeals Tribunal

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time adjudicators and how many members of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal are not British Citizens; and what their nationalities are. [125336]

    Immigration adjudicators; there are currently 170 salaried adjudicators and 429 fee-paid adjudicators. The total of salaried adjudicators includes the Chief Adjudicator, the Deputy Chief Adjudicator, nine Regional Adjudicators and seven Deputy Regional Adjudicators. Of the 170 salaried adjudicators, two are not British Citizens; they are from Zimbabwe. Of the 429 fee-paid adjudicators, four are not British Citizens; one is from Eire, one from Canada, one from Zimbabwe and one from Malaysia.Immigration Appeal Tribunal members; there are currently 81 members working for the Immigration Appeals Tribunals, which includes the President, the Deputy President, full-time Vice Presidents, fee-paid lay members and fee-paid legal members. Of these, 15 were appointed at a time when nationality was not recorded. The remaining 66 are British nationals.

    Deputy Prime Minister

    5 St Phillip's Place, Birmingham

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans his Department has to take a lease of 5 St. Phillip's Place, Birmingham; and for what purpose his Department proposes to use the building. [124181]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering re-locating the Government Office for the West Midlands. As part of that process, a number of options are being evaluated. As yet no decision has been taken.

    Affordable Housing

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his intentions are with regard to amendment of the specified maximum amount under section 9(3) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. [118958]

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intends to consult on the statutory regime for local government employees' political activities, and in the light of that we will wish to consider the appropriate statutory framework for the remuneration of political assistants.

    Correspondence

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 3 June from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Pam Whittle. [124329]

    My right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Keith Hill) replied to my right hon. Friend's letter on 7 July.

    Eu Committees

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many officials in the Department serve on EU committees or working parties. [116082]

    11 officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister serve on European Union (EU) Committees and working parties, as well as ad hoc working groups and sub-groups. Officials attend five EU Committees (the National EIA and SEA Experts Committee, the Committee for the Development and Conversion of the Regions, the Raw Materials Supply Group, Standing Committee on Construction and the Working Group on the draft Directive on waste for the extractive industries). Membership of these Committees is not fixed, and depending on the subject matter under consideration, the most appropriate policy officials attend. Officials also attend a number of related ad hoc working groups and sub-groups.

    Euro Roadshow

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the events he plans to attend as part of the Government's euro roadshow. [121393]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (John Healey) to the right hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) on 20 June 2003, Official Report, column 459W.