Previous Section Index Home Page


Manufacturing Industry

25. Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the First Secretary concerning the prospects for manufacturing industry in Wales for 2001. [141913]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I regularly discuss a wide range of issues with the First Secretary including prospects for Manufacturing in Wales.

This Government will continue to maintain the long-term economic stability Britain enjoys today, which will, in turn, allow businesses to invest and plan ahead with confidence.

Special Educational Needs

26. Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary about addressing the needs of children with special educational needs in Wales. [141914]

Mr. Hanson: There has been close co-operation between Whitehall colleagues and the National Assembly on addressing the needs of children in Wales with special educational needs. My right hon. Friend and I welcome the introduction of the Special Education Needs and Disability Bill, which will strengthen the rights of children with special educational needs and provide greater choice for their educational future.

Census

27. Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent representations he has received about the census in Wales. [141915]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have received very few representations about this matter, with only around 10 letters in all, including those from Members of the House. The representations that I receive shows that people are more concerned with those issues which really matter: cutting crime, supporting pensioners and improving health care and education.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what further steps he has taken to enable people to indicate their national identity by way of a Welsh tick-box in the forthcoming census. [142006]

Mr. Paul Murphy: There are a variety of opportunities for those of us who are Welsh to express our national identity in the forthcoming census. Anyone who writes in the ethnic group question that they are Welsh will be counted as such. Unlike a simple tick-box on the census form this will identify those Welsh people who are from black, Asian or other backgrounds. We are explicitly recognising the diversity of those who regard themselves as Welsh and who have other ethnic backgrounds.

A question on the country of birth will enable people to indicate that they were born in Wales and respondents will be asked whether they can understand, speak, read or write in the Welsh language.

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 172W

Hunting

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the impact of a ban on hunting with dogs on rural areas in Wales. [142005]

Mr. Hanson: I have made no specific assessment of the impact of a ban on hunting with dogs in rural areas. However, the hon. Gentleman knows that the Burns commission looked at this issue in some detail. We appreciate that there may be repercussions on rural areas and these will be taken into account during the passage of the Bill.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

GM Crops

Mr. Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell), representing the Church Commissioners, what research has been analysed to inform the policy of the Church Commissioners in respect of genetically modified crops. [141640]

Mr. Stuart Bell: The hon. Gentleman will know that the Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) undertook an extensive inquiry earlier this year on behalf of the Church's central investing bodies, including the Church Commissioners, into the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. In doing so it consulted extensively with scientists and academics, including visits to research establishments. It studied papers prepared by English Nature, the RSPB and the Soil Association and a briefing issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Submissions from environmental groups, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics among others, were also considered. Full details of the research and consultation process are included in the EIAG's report "Genetically Modified Organisms: a Perspective and Reflection", published in April. A copy has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

The EIAG has recommended to the Church Commissioners that while there is no theological objection to the genetic modification of seeds for use in agriculture crops, a precautionary principle should for the present be adopted over the use of land for this purpose, and the Commissioners have accepted that advice. The EIAG has called for a clear ethical framework for the practical application of the science, and tight and comprehensive regulation of research and testing that leads to a full evaluation of the benefits and risks. It will continue to monitor developments, working closely with regulators, industry and conservationists.

TREASURY

Fuel Tax

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on discussions between his Department and the European Commission on greater harmonisation of indirect taxes on (a) petrol and (b) diesel within the EU. [141368]

Mr. Timms: Discussion of the draft Energy Products Directive is on-going.

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 173W

Aviation Fuel

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received in favour of taxation on aviation fuel. [142055]

Mr. Timms: At present, the taxation of aviation fuel is not permitted under EU law and long-standing international agreements. I have received a number of representations commenting on this situation, including a number querying the rationale for the exemption.

Flexible Retirement

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made in the joint review by his Department and the Inland Revenue of flexible retirement; when he expects it to report; and if he will make a statement. [141320]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Discussions are currently taking place with representatives of pension schemes about this issue.

Official Meetings

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place his official diary for the month of July in the Library. [142487]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 30 November 2000, Official Report, column 934W.

Bereavement Allowance

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of beneficiaries and cost of extending the coverage of the Widow's Bereavement Allowance to men. [141496]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) on 16 November 2000, Official Report, column 762W.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims the Inland Revenue has received from men for the Widow's Bereavement Allowance since November 1999; and how many have received payment. [141495]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue does not maintain records for the number of claims it has received from men for the Widow's Bereavement Allowance. There is no entitlement in law for widowers to claim this allowance.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will publish agreements with business, including agreements with individual companies, groups of companies and sectors, relating to the climate change levy. [141467]

Mr. Timms: Energy intensive sectors exposed to international competition--as defined by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations--will be entitled to 80 per cent. rebate on the climate change levy in return for entering into Negotiated Agreements which will deliver

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 174W

demanding reductions in their energy use. These agreements are entered into with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Sickness Absence

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library centrally collated incidences of sickness absence reported by managers in his Department for each month since they became available. [142509]

Dawn Primarolo: The latest published statistics on sickness absence were given in the report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service 1998" prepared by BMI Health Services Ltd.

Business Case Studies (Euro)

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many businesses have requested copies of the free business case studies issued by the Euro Preparations Unit; [142270]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the "Fourth report on Euro Preparations", copies of which have been deposited in the Library of the House.


Next Section Index Home Page