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Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current industrial dispute involving the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. [130448]

Dr. Moonie: The current industrial dispute involving Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary commenced in February this year following their rejection of the 1999 pay offer, which has subsequently been implemented by administrative action. The issue at the centre of the dispute is a demand by the RMT for additional Earned Voyage Leave. While nothing further can be done for 1999, RMT members have been guaranteed improvements to leave in addition to pay both for the current year and in years to come. It is disappointing therefore that they are continuing the action.

RFA vessels that are directly involved in front-line operations or on humanitarian relief tasks have been exempted from the individual action by the RMT. Changes are being made to other vessels' movements and deployments when necessary to minimise the effect of such action. RMT members are however now taking continuous action. This will mean that ships in port will be prevented from sailing, as happened with Sir Geraint on 11 July. In these circumstances, my Department has no alternative other than to apply appropriate sanctions.

The Ministry of Defence remains ready to talk to the RMT with a view to solving the dispute by negotiation.

Royal Navy University Units

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to disband University Royal Navy units. [130445]

Mr. Spellar: There are no plans to disband University Royal Naval Units.

HMS Sheffield

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the future role of HMS Sheffield will be. [130444]

Mr. Spellar: HMS Sheffield will continue to fulfil a wide range of general purpose and specialist roles in support of UK interests worldwide. In order to maintain her capability across a variety of defence missions, her weapons and sensor suites, including the Sea Wolf AAW missile system and her combat management system, will receive upgrades during the course of her next refit.


Sport Action Zones

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Sport Action Zones there are in the Greater London area. [129790]

Kate Hoey: There is currently one Sport Action Zone in Greater London: London South Central, which covers the areas of North Southwark and North Lambeth. It is one of the first 12 Sport Action Zones announced in January this year. It is eventually intended to designate 30 Zones across the country.

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Baltic Exchange

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what reports he has received from English Heritage concerning whether the former Baltic Exchange building can be rebuilt; what conclusions were reached by English Heritage; and if he will place a copy of the reports in the Library. [R] [129708]

Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 7 July 2000]: My Department has seen a copy of a recent letter sent to the City Corporation, in which English Heritage sets out its view on the current planning and listed building consent applications relating to the Baltic Exchange site. In forming that view English Heritage has had regard to (among other considerations) the extent to which the original building could be reconstructed. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

Football Competition Bids

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assistance his Department has offered to the United Kingdom football associations for (a) recent and (b) future bids to host international football competitions in Britain. [129926]

Kate Hoey: No financial assistance was offered by my Department to the FA in respect of the bid to hold the European Championship Finals of 1996. However, my Department made a commitment to providing funding totalling £400,000 for the cultural programme which ran alongside the tournament in the eight host cities. Following the success of the 1996 bid, this amount was paid through the Association for Business Sponsorship for the Arts and the Sportsmatch scheme.

Direct costs to the Government have arisen in respect of the previous Minister of Sport's visits to a number of countries in support of the bid. The cost of these visits was £102,780, although some other Government business was also conducted.

My Department committed a total of £20,000 to assisting the FA's bid to hold the 2006 World Cup. That amount is in respect of the travelling expenses of the Prime Minister's Special Envoy, and £10,000 has been paid to date.

Cricket Training

Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of cricket training facilities for young people outside school hours. [130105]

Kate Hoey: Outside school hours the largest providers of cricket training facilities are cricket clubs, and of the 6,600 affiliated clubs, around 4,100 have junior sections. In 1999 there were 157,000 youngsters who participated in these clubs.

Funding is also available to cricket through the Lottery Sports Fund, one of whose priorities is young people. The Fund has made 527 awards to cricket facilities, worth a total of over £61 million, towards project costs of over £107 million.

The ECB spends 11 per cent. of the £26 million per annum it receives from broadcasting revenue for the development of cricket. Approximately 2,000 coaches per

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year are qualified through the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Coach Education Scheme and the majority of these go on to work with young cricketers in clubs. The ECB is investing £450,000 on Inner City Projects this year to increase the opportunities for young people to play cricket.

Junior cricket is also eligible for funding from Sportsmatch, the Government's sports sponsorship incentive scheme. Since its inception in 1992 Sportsmatch has made 336 awards worth a total of over £2.08 million to grass roots and junior cricket applications in England, attracting a similar amount in commercial sponsorship.

Works of Art (Theft)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people have been successfully prosecuted for the theft of works of art and artifacts from the national collections since 1990. [130061]

Mr. Alan Howarth: I have asked my officials to contact the National Museums and Galleries which are sponsored by DCMS to request information for a reply to my hon. Friend's question. I will write to him as soon as this is available, placing copies of my letter in the Library of the House.


"Households Below Average Income"

Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the latest edition of "Households Below Average Income" will be published. [130923]

Mr. Darling: "Households Below Average Income" for 1994-95 to 1998-99 has been published today and copies have been placed in the Library.

Fresco Interiors

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) when Fresco Interiors will receive payment of their invoice of 14 May for flooring work undertaken at his Department's offices at Quarry Hill in Leeds; [130461]

Mr. Rooker: The contract for the flooring work undertaken at Quarry House is between Fresco Interiors and G. S. Hall, the sub-contractor of Trillium who supply the Department with serviced accommodation. Payment of the invoice is therefore a matter for G. S. Hall.

The Department does not have a universal set of standard terms and conditions for contractors and sub-contractors simply because different contracts, some of which can be very complex, require different provisions. We do however ensure that, wherever

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possible, contracts include provision for payment of all sums within a specified period not exceeding 30 days from the date of receipt of a valid invoice. As a Department, we fully support the Government's prompt payment initiative and aim to pay all our bills on time and will endeavour to ensure that all contractors do likewise.


Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what costs have been incurred, in each of the most recent three years for which figures are available, in making payments for industrial injury benefits to those suffering organophosphate poisoning from sheep dips. [130400]

Mr. Bayley: The information is not available in the format requested.

The table shows the number of people in the last three years who were first diagnosed as having prescribed disease C3 (Poisoning by phosphorus or an inorganic compound of phosphorus or poisoning due to the anti-cholinesterase or pseudo anti-cholinesterase action of organic phosphorous compounds) which includes poisoning from sheep-dip.

Industrial injuries Disablement Benefit. Number of cases first diagnosed as having prescribed disease C3 1997-1998 to 1999-2000

Percentage assessment(3)
Period coveredTotal numberLess than 14 per cent.14 per cent. or more
April 1997-March 1998312
April 1998-March 1999404
April 1999-March 2000422

(3) Benefit is payable for a 14 per cent. or more disablement assessment.


DSS Information Centre. Figures based on a clerical 100 per cent. count.

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