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Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory


Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the 1999-2000 Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee annual report will be published. [143682]

Ms Quin: The 1999-2000 SEAC annual report was published today, and will be available in the Libraries of the House. The report will also be released on the MAFF website

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Access to Information

Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to publish regulations on access to information under local authority executive constitutions. [143688]

Ms Armstrong: I have been asked to reply.

I have today laid before the House the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000. These regulations govern meetings of the executive under new local authority constitutions, recording of executive decisions and access to papers relating to executive decision making.

The regulations introduce a rigorous new regime of accountability. For the first time, the public will have a right to more than three days' notice of key decisions which will affect the local community. For the first time, key officer decisions will be notified to the public in advance and be open to public scrutiny afterwards. In addition, the regulations are clear that where these key decisions are to be decided collectively by the executive or its committees, the public has a right to see those decisions being taken or discussed in advance with officers.

I have also today published the revised chapter of the statutory guidance under Part II of the Act, which deals with access to information. This reinforces the intention of the regulations to ensure that there is a proper culture of transparency and accountability around executive decision making.

Modular constitutions for local authorities are also published today. These are designed to assist local authorities who are drawing up proposals for new constitutions. Councils who follow the proposals in this document will be able to design a constitution which meets the aims of efficiency, transparency and accountability of decision making which underpin Part II of the Local Government Act.

I am also publishing a direction under s37 of the Act today. This sets out what a council's new constitution must contain and a revised chapter of the guidance has been issued to accompany the direction.

Copies of all these documents are available in the Library of the House.

Employment Regulations

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list those organisations that (a) have replied to his Department's consultation on the Employment Agency Regulations and (b) he has met to discuss the regulation of 'temp to perm' contracts and the regulation of employment agencies; and if he will place all responses to this consultation in the Library. [143173]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 18 December 2000]: I will write to the hon. Member listing the organisations and place a copy of that letter in the Libraries of the House. In the last 12 months I have met the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Manpower, Adecco, Blue Arrow, Brook Street and Hewett Recruitment to discuss the regulations. Copies of

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e-mailed or written representations received will be made available on request except where the correspondent has indicated they wish their representation to remain confidential.

Arms Sales

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedures the ECGD follows in order to ensure that commission payments on arms sales covered by ECGD guarantees to United Kingdom companies are declared to it. [142808]

Mr. Caborn: When completing applications for ECGD cover exporters are obliged to declare any commission payments. In addition to existing procedures for identifying and controlling agents commissions, ECGD has recently introduced provisions in all its facilities aimed specifically at combating bribery. These provisions, among other things, enable insurance policies to be avoided in bribery situations and allow ECGD to seek to recover any loss it may suffer under its facilities following the conviction of either the exporter or the bank for corruption in connection with a contract or its financing.


Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the extra £100 million announced in October for miners suffering from chronic bronchitis and emphysema has been paid to former miners residing in (a) South Shields constituency, (b) the North East of England and (c) nationally. [142633]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 18 December 2000]: £100 million was an estimate of the offers that might be made once spirometry results had been reviewed.

As at 13 December the Department had made in excess of 11,000 revised and new expedited offers totalling £54 million, further offers continue to be made. Of these, the value of payments made, following acceptance by the claimant, are as follows:

Many thousands of new offers will be made before Christmas. However, payments will depend on how quickly claimants and their solicitors respond. Once an offer has been accepted, payment is usually made within 10 days.

Petrol Prices

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations his Department has received about anti-competitive pricing practices in the petrol supply sector. [143151]

Dr. Howells: My Department has received a number of representations from petrol retailers.

The Director General of Fair Trading is responsible for monitoring markets. He completed a review of differential pricing within this market in November. He concluded that differential pricing has not resulted from anti- competitive behaviour by the major oil companies.

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Postal Services

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has issued consultation documents in relation to implementation of the Postal Services Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [143686]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Under the Postal Services Act 2000, the Secretary of State has today published consultation documents on the definition of turnover for the purposes of financial penalties (section 30), free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons (section 41), and social and environmental guidelines (section 43). These consultation documents are available on the DTI website and hard copies are available from the Postal Services Directorate at the Department of Trade and Industry. Responses should be submitted by 31 January. Hard copies are also available in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Royal Mail

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from (a) individuals and (b) organisations on the Royal Mail services in London NW1. [142952]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 15 December 2000]: In the last six months, my Department has received representations about Royal Mail services in London NW1 from five individuals, one Member of Parliament and one business.

Compensation (Industrial Injuries)

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if solicitors are entitled to take part of the compensation awards to claimants under the Vibration White Finger and the Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema litigation schemes. [142187]

Mrs. Liddell: This is a complex area. The Department's position is set out in a letter dated 26 July to hon. Members with direct coal mining interests, including my hon. Friend. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House for all hon. Members, and I am sending a copy of the letter to my hon. Friend. The Department believes that it is inappropriate for solicitors to take a proportion of a claimant's compensation.


Child Asylum Seekers

Ms Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children seeking asylum were placed in the care of local authorities in each of the last three years; and how many children seeking asylum are accommodated in care homes in (a) Britain, (b) each region and (c) Bolton. [142041]

Mr. Hutton: Figures on the number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum (UASC) who were placed in the care of local authorities are not available for the year 1997-98. Only those local authorities spending in excess of 5 per cent. of their children's personal social services standard spending assessment were eligible to claim grant in this period. Figures for weeks commencing 2 April

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1999 and 31 March 2000 are set out in the table. Comparable figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not available.

Claims for payment of the 1999-2000 UASC special grant were submitted by local authorities in February 2000 based on actual expenditure from 1 April 1999 to 28 January 2000 and estimated expenditure from 29 January 2000 to 31 March 2000. The numbers of unaccompanied children for week commencing 31 March 2000 are estimated and subject to final audit and adjustment. Figures are only available for local authorities that submitted claims for the 1999-2000 special grant.

In 1999-2000 there are no records of any unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Bolton and no claim for special grant was made by Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council for this period.

Statistics showing the number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum accommodated in care homes are not held centrally.

Local authorityTotal number of unaccompanied children at week commencing 2 April 1999Total estimated number of unaccompanied children at week commencing 31 March 2000
Barking and Dagenham LB170166
Barnet LB5448
Bath and North East Somerset CC01
Bedfordshire CC135
Bexley LB2481
Birmingham CC1140
Brent LB11779
Brighton and Hove07
Bristol CC415
Bromley LB3331
Buckinghamshire CC25
Camden LB9455
Cheshire CC01
Corporation of London01
Croydon LB134144
Darlington BC01
Derby City C01
Dorset CC01
Dudley MB32
Ealing LB44112
East Sussex CC12
Enfield LB1562
Essex CC1925
Gateshead MBC01
Gloucestershire CC319
Greenwich LB2468
Hackney LB3555
Hammersmith and Fulham LB123157
Hampshire CC16
Haringey LB184353
Harrow LB2449
Havering LB360
Hillingdon LB196412
Hounslow LB1432
Islington LB191398
Kensington and Chelsea RB74113
Kent CC112712
Kirklees MBC20
Kingston upon Hull CC22
Kingston upon Thames RB711
Lambeth LB163176
Lancashire CC11
Leeds CC13
Leicester CC66
Leicestershire CC112
Lewisham LB69118
Lincolnshire CC715
Liverpool CC210
Medway CC38
Merton LB2347
Milton Keynes MBC02
Newcastle Upon Tyne25
Newham LB1625
Norfolk CC47
Northamptonshire CC379
North East Lincolnshire213
North Somerset CC03
Nottingham CC210
Nottinghamshire CC26
Oxfordshire CC2040
Portsmouth CC02
Redbridge LB20194
Redcar and Cleveland CC24
Richmond Upon Thames73204
Rutland CC01
Sandwell CC44
Sheffield CC513
Shropshire CC20
Slough Borough C25
Solihull CC02
Somerset CC02
South Gloucestershire13
Southampton CC05
Southend on Sea BC414
Southwark LB89198
Staffordshire CC1815
Suffolk CC118
Surrey CC914
Sutton LB1558
Swindon BC416
Thurrock CC1141
Tower Hamlets LB813
Trafford MBC01
Wakefield MDC313
Walsall MBC02
Waltham Forest LB1232
Wandsworth LB3833
Warrington BC03
Warwickshire CC1420
West Sussex CC3977
Westminster CC167156
Wiltshire CC03
Wolverhampton MBC01
Worcestershire CC06

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