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Written Answers

Volume 462: debated on Friday 29 June 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 29 June 2007

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadcasting Programmes: Scots Gaelic Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the new Gaelic television channel is expected to commence transmission. (146015)

A precise date has not yet been set. However, we hope the new Gaelic digital service, providing a vastly improved service to the Gaelic-speaking community not only in its heartlands of the Highlands and Islands, but across Scotland, will be launched as soon as is practicable.

Departments: Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of sick leave taken by staff in his Department was stress-related in each of the last three years. (145970)

The percentage of stress-related sick leave taken by staff in the last three financial years is as follows:

Percentage of sick leave

2004-05

3

2005-06

10.5

2006-07

13

The Department has been improving the way in which it monitors and records sickness absence.

As part of our attendance, health and welfare programme for staff, we have a range of policies in place to reduce stress. These include: a stress management policy; a revised sickness absence policy; a full range of flexible working patterns to support work-life balance; an on-site gym and yoga classes.

The Department also launched the employee assistance programme in April 2007, which includes a confidential advisory service and counselling service for all staff.

We will also be undertaking a stress audit at the end of 2007, beginning of 2008.

Defence

Army: Reserve Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the present strength is of the Army Volunteer Reserve. (146763)

The present strength of the Army Volunteer Reserve (Territorial Army) as at 1 March 2007 is 35,700. This figure includes Mobilised Territorial Army and Officer Training Corps, but excludes full-time reserve service personnel and non-regular permanent staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the 1 April 2007 data will be available under heading TSP07 Strength of all Services Reserves and Cadets on the Defence Analytical Service Agency website. (146764)

“TSP7 UK Reserves and Cadets Strengths at 1 April 2007” will be published on the Defence Analytical Services Agency website during September 2007. The actual date of publication will be pre-announced not less than two weeks prior to publication on the Office for National Statistics website in line with National Statistics protocols.

Ballistic Missile Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the missile defence feasibility study that was delivered to the NATO summit in Riga in 2006. (146743)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 165W, to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey).

Defence Equipment: Exhibitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) from which countries buyers (a) have been and (b) will be invited to the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition at the ExCel Centre in September; (145715)

(2) on which days the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition will be open to (a) overseas customers, (b) the press and (c) the public; and what estimate he has made of the number of visitors expected at the event;

(3) what the estimated cost of the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition is to the public purse.

The full list of countries that will receive official invitations to Defence Systems and Equipment International is still being finalised. The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) intends to publish a list of those countries from which delegations are invited a day or so in advance of the exhibition opening, the timing being consistent with the security of guests. It is planned to place this list on the DESO internet site:

www.deso.mod.uk

The exhibition is organised by Reed Exhibitions Ltd. We understand it will be open to registered visitors including from overseas, and accredited media representatives between 11-14 September 2007. It will not be open to the general public. An estimate of the number of visitors likely to attend is a matter for the organisers.

The costs of hosting official overseas delegations at DSEiO7 will largely be met by the organisers. The balance of these costs met from Defence funds is expected to be in the region of £120,000. Other MOD costs will be met from a number of budgets and an estimate of these cannot be centrally made. No estimate has been made of costs for which MOD is not responsible.

Departments: Assets

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assets and resources have been disposed of by his Department in the last 10 years; and what revenues have been accrued as a result. (145490)

[holding answer 26 June 2007]: Tens of thousands of individual fixed assets are disposed of annually, either as a result of changing requirements, upgrade or replacement programmes or where equipment has reached the end of its serviceable life. Information on all items disposed of could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Proceeds from the disposal of fixed assets were not held centrally before financial year 1999-2000. From 1999-2000 the figures are as follows:

Financial year

Proceeds (£)

1999-2000

234,862,000

2000-01

317,987,000

2001-02

287,923,000

2002-03

404,774,000

2003-04

481,298,000

2004-05

266,912,000

2005-06

299,317,000

Departments: Non-departmental Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list his Department’s (a) Executive agencies, (b) Executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), (c) tribunal NDPBs, (d) advisory NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations for the current financial year. (146776)

The information is as follows:

Executive agencies

Defence Analytical Services Agency

Defence Medical Education and Training Agency

Defence Storage and Distribution Agency

Defence Vetting Agency

Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency

People Pay and Pensions Agency

Service Children’s Education

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

Executive non-departmental public bodies

National Army Museum

RAF Museum

Royal Naval Museum

Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Royal Marines Museum

Advisory non-departmental public bodies

Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors

Advisory Group on Medical Countermeasures

Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions

Defence Nuclear Safety Committee

Defence Scientific Advisory Council

National Employer Advisory Board

Nuclear Research Advisory Council

Review Board for Government Contracts

War Pensions Committees

Trading funds

ABRO

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Met Office

UK Hydrographic Office

Public corporations

Oil and Pipelines Agency

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Departments: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the concordat governing the relationship between his Department and the Northern Ireland administration. (145942)

No such concordat exists.

The principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements between the UK Government, Scottish Ministers, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive, published in 2001, continue to underpin our working relationship with the Northern Ireland Executive.

RAF Brize Norton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Ministry of Defence regulations for civil aircraft use of RAF Brize Norton. (145308)

[holding answer 26 June 2007]: Yes, once the regulations have been redacted to remove classified information.

Rendition

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates aircraft HZ-124 has landed at RAF Brize Norton since 21 May 2007. (145309)

[holding answer 26 June 2007]: It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of travel arrangements of foreign governments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2007, Official Report, column 1052W, on rendition, on which 14 dates aircraft HZ-124 landed at RAF Brize Norton between 1 July 2006 and 21 May 2007; and what the total amount is of the fees paid by the owner of HZ-124 to his Department for using RAF Brize Norton since 1 July 2006. (145488)

[holding answer 26 June 2007]: It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of travel arrangements by foreign governments. The fees for the use of RAF Brize Norton by aircraft HZ-124 since 1 July 2006 were waived in accordance with the regulations in Chapter 7, Annex F of Joint Service Publication 360, which govern the waiver of charges for the use of military airfields by British and foreign civil and military aircraft.

The hon. Member may also wish to note that my answer of the 21 May 2007, Official Report, column 1053W, was incorrect and should have read:

Since 1 July 2006, aircraft HZ 124 has landed 15 times at RAF Brize Norton. The aircraft operated in accordance with the MOD regulations for civil aircraft use of military airfields. The regulations also cover the applicability and level of landing, housing, parking and insurance fees charges. The regulations have been adhered to for each flight.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research has been conducted by the Department and its agencies on (a) the effectiveness of the Green Dot approach to recycling in the countries that have adopted this initiative and (b) assessing its feasibility in the UK; (145621)

(2) what factors the Government take into account when deciding whether to adopt the Green Dot approach to recycling; and what assessment the Government have made of its use in other European Union member states.

[holding answers 27 June 2007]: No such research has been conducted and my Department has not carried out any assessments of the systems employed in other member states.

The Green Dot system is used in several member states to transpose the requirements of the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste. The Green Dot is a licensed trademark which denotes compliance with an authorised packaging recovery scheme in other European Union member states. Its use indicates that a financial contribution has been paid to a national packaging recovery company, set up in accordance with the principles defined in the EU directive and the national law which transposes it.

The Green Dot is not a recycling symbol, although is often misinterpreted as such, so should not be used to denote general recyclability or recycled content.

The Green Dot system is not used in the UK; producer responsibility obligations are fulfilled via a different method. The management of packaging and packaging waste is covered by two sets of regulations in the UK, the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 and the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended). The packaging waste regulations require producers to buy packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs), or the export equivalent (PERNs), to demonstrate that they have financed a certain amount of recycling. Introducing a Green Dot system, therefore, would simply mean changing the system we have used in the UK to implement the provision of the packaging directive, rather than extending producer responsibility.

The approach that has been taken by the UK is unique and was formulated and agreed with industry following the adoption of the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste.

Waste Disposal: Nappies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of reusable nappies to reductions in landfill material. (146506)

Disposable nappies form 2-3 per cent. of the household waste stream, approximately 400,000 tonnes per year.

Reusable nappies may reduce demands on landfill but they still impact on the environment in other ways, such as the water and energy used in washing and drying them. In May 2005, the Environment Agency published a report entitled "A Life Cycle Assessment of disposable and reusable nappies in the UK". The report concluded that there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts of the disposable, home use reusable and commercial laundry systems that were assessed. None of the systems studied were more or less environmentally preferable.

The DEFRA-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) Real Nappy Campaign was established to promote the use of reusable nappies. The three-year campaign succeeded in diverting approximately 23,000 tonnes of biodegradable nappy waste from landfill in England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of (a) the length of time required for a disposable nappy to fully decompose in landfill and (b) the number of tonnes of (i) carbon dioxide, (ii) methane and (iii) other greenhouse gases which are emitted by landfill disposable nappies in each (A) first 10 years after disposal and (B) subsequent decade until total decomposition. (146507)

The Wisard software tool used by the Environment Agency in their report, "Life Cycle Assessment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK", assumed a 500 year time boundary for leachate in landfill. The Environment Agency therefore concluded that it would take that amount of time for the plastic part of a disposable nappy to decompose. The paper-fluff and faeces should take approximately 100 and 10 years respectively to degrade.

My Department does not hold the information requested on the gases emitted by landfilled disposable nappies. However, the Environment Agency's report (available from their website and the Library of the House) does contain some information on the impacts of disposable nappies on global warming and the gases involved.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the annual volume of disposable nappies going to landfill in each of the last five years. (146552)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Romsey (Sandra Gidley) on 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2122W.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2007, Official Report, column 1371W, on waste management, which measures his Department (a) has introduced and (b) plans to introduce that are specifically designed to reduce the amount of waste that the UK produces. (146100)

Waste Strategy for England 2007, published on 24 May 2007, sets out a range of measures which will drive the reduction of the amount of waste produced in England. Table 8.6 of the strategy summarises how these measures will help to drive waste reduction. Further detail is available throughout the strategy which is available on the DEFRA website and in the Library of the House.

Waste management is a devolved matter and, in the rest of the United Kingdom, is the responsibility of the respective devolved Administrations.

Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 17 May to the Minister of State on recycling plants. (146705)

A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 20 June 2007. I apologise for the delay which occurred due to high volumes of correspondence received.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Cuba: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political situation in Cuba. (145771)

[holding answer 28 June 2007]: The June EU Council Conclusions on Cuba reaffirmed the UK view that there have been no significant changes to the political, economic and social system in Cuba over the last year, despite the temporary transfer of power from Fidel to Raul Castro last July. The conclusions state that the Council

“deplores that the human rights situation has not fundamentally changed”

and observe that

“the Cuban Government continues to deny its citizens internationally recognised civil, political and economic rights and freedoms”.

In response to this lack of change, UK/EU policy continues to be based on the 1996 EU Common Position, which states that the EU’s main objective is to encourage a peaceful transition to pluralist democracy in Cuba. The UK/EU remains committed to a two-track policy of intensive dialogue with both the Cuban Government ‘and’ civil society in Cuba. We also continue to urge the Cuban Government to improve human rights standards in Cuba, including the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working in his Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2001-02; and at what total cost. (146589)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office introduced performance-related bonus payments for staff in its senior management structure (senior civil service) in 2003-04. We did not pay bonuses to senior staff during the period from 1997 to 2001-02.

European Constitution Treaty

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings involving UK (a) officials and (b) Ministers with (i) officials and (ii) Ministers of other EU countries were held to discuss the EU Amending treaty in the three months before 23 June 2007. (146250)

My right hon. Friend the former Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett), the former Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon), the former Minister for Europe and officials had numerous meetings with EU partners in the period leading up to the European Council. Discussions covered many areas, including EU institutional reform. My right hon. Friend the former Foreign Secretary’s discussions included those with her EU counterparts at the 17-18 June General Affairs and External Relations Council, which considered a presidency report on EU institutional reform.

Iraq: Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance has been given to Iraqi citizens who have provided interpretation services for official UK representatives in Iraq to (a) enter and (b) remain in the UK on grounds of their security; and how many Iraqis have been assisted in this way. (146018)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold a central record of applications for assistance to enter and remain in the UK on grounds of security, from Iraqi citizens who have provided interpretation services for UK representatives in Iraq. In order to answer my hon. Friend’s question accurately, officials at all diplomatic posts, and some Departments in the UK, would be required to examine all their records since 2003, which would incur disproportionate cost.

As I said in my response to the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Mr. Moore) on 21 June 2007, Official Report, column 2206W, in line with our policy worldwide, we do not comment on the substance of individual immigration or consular cases, and all applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Health

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the adequacy of specialist services for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis; and if he will make a statement; (146603)

(2) when (a) he and (b) officials in his Department last met representatives of the charities and organisations working on behalf of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patients; and what matters were discussed.

We have made no assessment of the impact of the adequacy of specialist services for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

We are not aware of any recent meetings by ministers or officials with representatives of charities and organisations working on behalf of those living with CFS/ME.

NHS: ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Connecting for Health has paid Google for the sponsored link on Google's search engine; and which words or phrases in the search criteria bring up Connecting for Health as a sponsored link. (141977)

This link was established by a communications agency contracted to NHS Connecting for Health without authorisation and without consultation on the search criteria used. This was part of a wider programme of initiatives to improve communications about the Connecting for Health programme. The arrangement has been terminated. No costs have been borne by NHS Connecting for Health or indeed by the taxpayer.

We are exploring with the agency concerned the circumstances under which this arrangement was made and the terms under which it operated, including the search criteria. We will write to the hon. Member when these inquiries are complete, and a copy will be placed in the Library.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was allocated to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust in each of the last 10 years; and what the average allocation was to hospital trusts in England over the same period. (146245)

Revenue allocations are made directly to primary care trusts (PCTs), not national health service trusts or individual hospitals. NHS trusts receive most of their income through the commissioning arrangements they have with PCTs.

Home Department

Immigration Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average time a Home Office presenting officer spent on (a) a deportation appeal, (b) an asylum appeal and (c) an immigration appeal, excluding the time spent travelling and waiting for, and presenting, an appeal hearing was over the last 12 months. (141409)

Over the last 12 months the average time spent by a presenting officer on an individual deportation appeal or an individual asylum appeal was three hours and thirty-six minutes. The average time spent by a presenting officer on an individual immigration appeal was one hour and thirty-six minutes. These figures exclude time spent travelling, waiting for and presenting appeal hearings. They represent the average preparation time spent by a presenting officer for each case type.

It should be noted, however, that this is only an average time. Cases vary tremendously in their complexity, therefore Presenting Officers will spend whatever time is required to prepare a case to the necessary standard.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Higher Education: Trade Unions

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on how many occasions he has met members of the University and College Union to discuss academic boycotts. (146158)

In the course of regular discussions with the University and College Union I have discussed academic boycotts and made clear the Government’s opposition to them.

International Development

CDC Capital Partners: Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to provide guarantees for (a) present and (b) former employees of CDC that their pensions will be assured following any flotation or sale. (146706)

DFID has no present plans for a flotation or sale of CDC.

Pension benefits for current and former CDC employees are provided through the CDC pensions scheme. This is a conventional UK occupational pension scheme, established under trust and with its assets entirely separate from CDC. No payment can be made from the scheme to CDC, except in circumstances where the scheme is wound up, and a surplus exists after all benefits have been secured in full by the purchase of annuities.

The most recent actuarial valuation was undertaken on 31 March 2006. This showed the scheme, although better funded than most UK pension schemes, to have a shortfall of assets against liabilities. Additional contributions are being paid by CDC to remove that shortfall. In addition, CDC has put aside significant additional assets in a contingent funding arrangement which safeguards the future payment of the shortfall contributions and provides materially improved security for the accrued benefits of scheme members.

Developing Countries: Sight Impaired

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on improving the availability of accessible eye-care in developing countries. (146478)

Neither I nor my predecessor have had any discussions with EU counterparts about improving the availability of accessible eye-care in developing countries.

Justice

Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what date the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal notified the Home Office of the judge’s decision in Tribunal Case VA/31440/2006 (FCO number 1198381), promulgated on 29 March, about the case of Mr. M.I. sponsored by Mr. R.A. of Aylesbury. (146722)

Information shows that the immigration judge decision was served to all parties on the 29 March 2007.

In entry clearance and family visitor appeals the determination is served upon BIA who will arrange for the forwarding of the determination to the entry clearance post that made the original refusal.

National Offender Management Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on the National Offender Management Service in each year since its inception; and what the budget distribution was per region in each year. (146746)

The National Offender Management Service was created on 1 June 2004. The net resource outturn as recorded in the Home Office accounts, is as follows:

£

2004-05

13,695,058,000

2005-06

4,084,141,000

2006-07

24,342,070,000

1 Figures relate to the full year

2 Provisional subject to audit

Significant parts of the NOMS’ budget are not distributed on a regional basis, and the local services may serve a wider catchment area than their geographical location, so a regional analysis of the overall NOMS budget cannot be achieved without disproportionate cost.

Peterborough Prison: Prisoners Release

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners in HMP Peterborough who are likely to be released early; and if he will make a statement. (146315)

Prisoners: Police Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 25 June to question 144968, on police cells costs, what range of nightly cost was used in calculating the £385 per night average cost; what the (a) highest and (b) lowest nightly invoice received so far is; and whether his Department is made aware of the cost per night before placing prisoners in police cells. (146479)

Police forces do not invoice nightly for Operation Safeguard expenses. The £385 per prisoner per night figure was calculated by applying experience of the costs of Operation Safeguard in 2002. Police forces may submit monthly, bi-monthly or consolidated invoices and the highest and lowest nightly invoices are therefore not centrally held.

The actual cost of holding a prisoner under Operation Safeguard varies between forces.

Leader of the House

Members: Pay

To ask the Leader of the House which hon. Members elected at the 2005 election are not drawing their salaries as hon. Members. (146477)

All current Members elected at the 2005 election are at present drawing their salary except for the five Sinn Fein MPs, none of whom have taken the Oath.

Prime Minister

Accident and Emergency Departments: Closures

To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to meet the Secretary of State for Health to discuss the closures of accident and emergency departments. (146484)

Transport

Community Railways Initiative

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what progress has been made on each of the six pilots in the Community Rail Development Strategy; (146715)

(2) what progress has been made on identifying and separating out maintenance and renewal costs for community rail lines as envisaged in the Community Rail Development Strategy;

(3) what plans her Department has to implement the Community Rail Development Strategy;

(4) what progress has been made in increasing use of community rail lines as envisaged in the Community Rail Development Strategy.

A review of the Community Rail Development Strategy, setting out progress in implementing the strategy and plans for further action, was published in March 2007. A copy is available in the House Library.

Railways: Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on single wagon marshalling for freight on the UK rail network. (146254)

Freight operations on the UK rail network are a commercial matter for the private sector companies which operate the trains.

Treasury

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letter of 3 May 2007 from the hon. Member for North Down on the supply of a VAT number to Lighthouse Electrical in Donaghadee, County Down. (147195)

Taxation: Shipping

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue HM Revenue and Customs received from businesses subject to incorrect Customs procedures codes being entered on export shipments of inward processing relief goods in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (145093)

HMRC advise me that to September 2006, errors have been identified involving 484 businesses. The total revenue involved amounts to £19.7 million customs duty and £81.9 million recoverable import VAT. Of the 484 confirmed cases, 203 have been granted remission from customs duty; following a departmental review by HMRC. This has remitted 564,000 of the £19.7 million customs duty.

Wales

Departments: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much the Department spent on (a) management consultants and (b) other external consultants and advisers in each year since 2000; and which of these consultants undertook work for the Department with a total contractual value in excess of £10 million over this period. (146325)

Since its inception in July 1999, the Wales Office has spent the following on external consultants.

£

2000-01

16,294

2001-02

31,084

2002-03

10,758

2006-07

37,699

None of these consultants undertook work in excess of £10 million.

Departments: Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what visits have been made by Wales Office Ministers to Welsh prisons; and what the dates of such visits were in the last 12 months. (146287)

Prisons in Wales are the responsibility of the Ministry for Justice. Neither myself nor the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales has visited a Welsh prison in the last 12 months, but we have had discussions with ministerial colleagues about prison issues in Wales.

Departments: European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many officials in his Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. (146085)

Officials in the Economic and European Affairs Policy Branch of the Wales Office are involved to a limited degree in EU business. None work exclusively on EU business.

Driving: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on action taken by the police to identify uninsured drivers in Wales. (146554)

I understand that the police make extensive use of insurance data made available through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to tackle the serious problem of uninsured driving. I understand that the latest figures indicate that 94.4 per cent. of all appropriate records are provided to the Motor Insurance Database within seven days. This is in line with expectations to meet the target of 95 per cent. of all appropriate records provided to the database within seven days by 1 January 2008.

Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what visits he has made to Wales on ministerial business; and what the purpose and date of each visit was. (146286)

Since becoming Secretary of State in 2002, I have always undertaken a busy programme of meetings, visits and functions with a wide range of organisations in Wales. It would require a disproportionate cost to identify and list all of the visits I have made, but specific examples are referred to in the Wales Office annual reports.

Work and Pensions

Jobseekers Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1741W, on jobseeker's allowance, if he will provide equivalent data for 1997. (146573)

New Deal for Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many participants there were in the New Deal for Young People in each month since 1998. (146480)

The available information is in the following table.

Participants on New Deal for Young People

Month of participation

Number of participants

July 1998

102,490

August 1998

112,800

September 1998

120,050

October 1998

126,090

November 1998

129,940

December 1998

133,130

January 1999

138,490

February 1999

141,760

March 1999

144,530

April 1999

145,560

May 1999

145,730

June 1999

144,410

July 1999

145,990

August 1999

143,560

September 1999

138,050

October 1999

131,360

November 1999

126,800

December 1999

127,700

January 2000

129,470

February 2000

128,730

March 2000

128,350

April 2000

127,090

May 2000

126,120

June 2000

122,550

July 2000

121,980

August 2000

119,350

September 2000

111 ,400

October 2000

106,430

November 2000

103,080

December 2000

103,810

January 2001

105,820

February 2001

104,670

March 2001

103,550

April 2001

102,950

May 2001

102,310

June 2001

99,550

July 2001

100,220

August 2001

97,940

September 2001

94,730

October 2001

91,600

November 2001

89,410

December 2001

90,550

January 2002

92,450

February 2002

94,370

March 2002

96,170

April 2002

97,180

May 2002

98,110

June 2002

96,400

July 2002

97,730

August 2002

96,110

September 2002

92,510

October 2002

89,930

November 2002

87,530

December 2002

88,860

January 2003

92,460

February 2003

92,870

March 2003

94,440

April 2003

94,430

May 2003

95,150

June 2003

94,360

July 2003

96,410

August 2003

95,690

September 2003

92,640

October 2003

88,960

November 2003

87,320

December 2003

88,190

January 2004

90,470

February 2004

90,300

March 2004

90,680

April 2004

90,310

May 2004

89,940

June 2004

87,760

July 2004

87,820

August 2004

86,460

September 2004

82,770

October 2004

78,810

November 2004

77,610

December 2004

78,720

January 2005

80,500

February 2005

81,400

March 2005

82,490

April 2005

83,840

May 2005

84,670

June 2005

83,360

July 2005

85,970

August 2005

86,480

September 2005

83,840

October 2005

82,060

November 2005

81,310

December 2005

83,440

January 2006

86,770

February 2006

88,390

March 2006

91,840

April 2006

93,660

May 2006

95,930

June 2006

95,340

July 2006

97,780

August 2006

97,790

September 2006

93,320

October 2006

90,360

November 2006

88,380

Notes: 1. A person participating on the programme for more than one month will be included in the table for each month that they are participating. 2. Information on participants is only available from July 1998. 3. Latest data is to November 2006. 4. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: New Deal Evaluation Database, Information Directorate, DWP.