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Devolution

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has for further devolution of power to the regions. [144307]

Ms Beverley Hughes: No timetable has yet been drawn up for moving to directly-elected regional government. We remain committed to do so, where support is demonstrated in referendums.

Telecommunications Masts

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what advice his Department is issuing on the possible locations of 'Tetra' telecommunications masts. [144869]

Ms Beverley Hughes: A consultation exercise seeking views on possible changes to the planning laws relating to telecommunications masts generally and associated guidance ended on 31 October 2000. The Department is currently analysing the responses. We shall announce any changes as soon as practicable.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

BCC, Clay Cross

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures he has taken to make job openings available to those who have been made redundant with the closure of BCC at Clay Cross, Derbyshire. [143476]

Mr. Caborn: A Response Group has been set up to co-ordinate the action taken to support those affected by the BCC closure. Action taken so far includes the opening of an on-site Job Shop to provide advice on job vacancies, training and benefits. Two job and training fairs have been held and Rapid Response Funding secured to help provide skills assessment and retraining for those affected. In addition St. Gobain have made 122 new or replacement jobs available to the BCC work force from elsewhere in their operation. Over the longer term the Government Office for the East Midlands, working with East Midlands Development Agency and other regional and local partners, will seek to deliver a range of training, reclamation and other economic initiatives aimed at supporting the regeneration of Clay Cross. Clay Cross

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also has Assisted Area Status giving access to Regional Selective Assistance and Enterprise Grants.

Furthermore, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced last week that Derbyshire county council has been invited to work up its proposals for a new junction on the M1 motorway between junctions 29 and 30 to serve the Markham Employment Growth Zone. This is part of a major regeneration scheme to provide more than 8,000 jobs in the North Derbyshire area. The Council's detailed proposals will be submitted to the DETR next summer so that a decision can be taken by the end of the year.

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Industrial Diseases

Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many settlements have been made in each month and each area since January 2000 in respect of claims for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger; and if he will make a statement. [144295]

Mrs. Liddell: Chronic bronchitis and emphysema claims settled (including denials) since January 2000 on a month by month basis, and by regional split, are as follows:

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Region
WalesScotlandNottinghamshireYorkshireNorth EastNorth WestMidlandsSouth
January671115619132105012
February121264719538195111
March107114214246328026
April55243511752263513
May455021693022326
June4655367561285810
July5314361173832394
August1722187958183712
September201729814015387
October23311661612331
November5421951291810335
December996109478175726014

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The breakdown of vibration white finger claims settled (including denials) since January 2000 on a month by month basis, and by regional split, is as follows:

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Region
WalesScotlandNottinghamshireYorkshireNorth EastNorth WestMidlandsSouth
January13366532253238242
February60378419021310304
March144695535628646518
April80613916313422294
May194866225022046608
June216118100339267415615
July131147102211147435013
August10872108210197234314
September1348312918220620793
October219901912782434210819
November172632893341843611320
December1177716922417434759

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In total the Department has now made over 64,800 individual payments, including interim and full and final settlements, to claimants in respect of compensation for respiratory and vibration related diseases, totalling over £310 million. The Department continues to pay out around £1 million per day in compensation.

Trawlermen

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what provisions he will make to speed up compensation claims for former distant water trawlermen who are suffering from serious ill health. [144755]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Processing staff aim to give priority attention wherever possible to claims in cases where they are aware that the claimant is seriously ill.

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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former distant water trawlermen had received compensation at the latest date for which figures are available. [144754]

Mr. Alan Johnson: As of 8 January 2001, 314 claims have been paid.

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when compensation will be paid to families of deceased former distant water trawlermen. [144756]

Mr. Alan Johnson: All claims will be processed and payments made as quickly as possible after receipt, subject to the need to examine relevant documentation and confirm eligibility.

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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will waive the probate fee for families of deceased former distant water trawlermen, where the will was for less than £5,000. [144753]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Probate fees are charged by the probate offices in appropriate cases and are not a matter for my Department.

Export Licences

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff have been employed in his Export Licence Department in each of the past 10 years. [144175]

Dr. Howells: Licences to export arms and other goods whose export is controlled for strategic reasons are issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry acting through DTI's Export Control Organisation (ECO). The ECO forms part of the Export Control and Non-Proliferation Directorate (XNP). Historical staff records do not differentiate between the ECO and other parts of the Directorate.

The figures set out in the table show the number of permanent staff in post in XNP on 1 April each year. The figures include fractional equivalents for part-time staff.

Number of staff in post in the Export Control and Non-Proliferation Directorate (XNP) on 1 April each year

YearNumber of staff
1994136.50
1995145.00
1996157.33
1997132.39
1998142.95
1999152.09
2000163.48

Before 1994 XNP did not exist in its current form. The export licensing process was undertaken by staff in a number of different Directorates. It would, consequently, entail disproportionate cost to establish the number of staff involved before that date.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many officials in his Department work (a) full-time and (b) part-time in his Department's Regulatory Impact Unit. [144706]

Dr. Howells: Four officials work in the DTI's Regulatory Impact Unit. Three are full-time and one is part-time.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

New Opportunities Fund

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what facilities have been built in schools utilising the New Opportunities Fund. [144675]

Kate Hoey: In November 2000 the Government announced proposals for a £750 million "PE and Sport in

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Schools" initiative to be funded by the New Opportunities Fund. This initiative is subject to public consultation but is intended to focus primarily on refurbishing existing, and building new, indoor and outdoor sports facilities at primary and secondary schools. It is intended that £25 million of the £750 million be directed into the Space for Sport and Arts Scheme which will provide a total of £130 million to create around 300 new facilities for both sports and arts activities in primary schools in deprived areas. All new facilities in schools supported through the New Opportunities Fund would also be for community use and will be additional to current provision.


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