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Institute of Management

Mr. Colman: To ask the President of the Council if she will make a statement on the progress on the award of charter status to the Institute of Management. [149112]

Mrs. Beckett: Officials from my Department have had two meetings with representatives of the Institute of Management. The Institute's application for a Royal Charter is currently being considered by the Privy Council's advisers--those Government Departments with an interest, which are responsible for advising their Ministers in their role as members of the Privy Council. The procedure for the grant of a Royal Charter is explained in my Department's


Sexual Abuse Cases

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what support is available during court cases to adult victims of sexual abuse; and if she will make a statement. [148600]

Jane Kennedy: Witness services provide practical help and support to victims and witnesses. There is a witness service in all Crown court centres and services are being rolled out in magistrates courts. The services provide emotional support to all victims and witnesses. They give information about court procedures, arrange pre-court familiarisation visits and liaise with the court about suitable waiting facilities on the day of the trial. A Witness Service volunteer may, if the victim wishes, accompany the victim into court. The Government are committed to improving the experience of the court process for victims in sensitive cases and are implementing the recommendations in "Speaking up for Justice"; a report aimed at improving the criminal justice process for vulnerable or intimidated victims and witnesses to enable them to give their best evidence.


Section 246 Applications

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many section 246 applications have been acceded to in road schemes. [148048]

Mr. Hill: Section 246(2) of the Highways Act 1980 enables the acquisition, by agreement, of property the enjoyment of which will, in the opinion of a highway authority, be seriously affected by the construction or improvement of a road. This power was exercised by the Secretary of State as the highway authority for trunk roads in the case of 10 applications for discretionary purchase

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of property in the past calendar year. There is no central record of the use of the power by local highway authorities.

Town and Parish Councils

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many town and parish councils have been abolished by him in each of the last three years; and what the reasons given for their abolition in each case were. [148258]

Ms Beverley Hughes: In implementing recommendations made by district councils under Part II of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997, the Secretary of State has abolished five parish councils, all of which were replaced by alternative parish councils, as follows:

Telecommunications Masts

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) when the report arising from the Consultation Paper on Telecommunication Mast Development will be published; [148339]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The consultation exercise seeking views on possible changes to the planning laws relating to mobile phone masts and associated guidance ended on 31 October 2000. The Department is currently analysing the 365 responses. We shall announce our conclusions as soon as possible. A list of individuals and organisations who responded to the consultation exercise have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many mobile phone transmitter masts have been relocated owing to their proximity to a school in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [148402]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Department does not hold such information. However, the report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones does not recommend that the erection of masts on or near schools should be prohibited, nor does it recommend that existing masts be removed or relocated. DfEE has issued information to local education authorities and schools on mobile phones and base stations.

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The Government recently announced that the Radiocommunications Agency will begin an audit of mobile phone base stations and masts to measure radiowave emissions. The audits have now commenced, and a continuing programme is planned to cover all schools with base stations that have asked to be included. The results of the audit will be published on the internet.

Gas Refuelling Depots

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) LPG and (b) natural gas refuelling depots there are in (a) the UK and (b) Wales; and if he will make a statement. [148297]

Mr. Hill: There are approximately 660 LPG refuelling points in the UK, of which 48 are in Wales. My Department estimates that the number of LPG refuelling points will rise to over 1,000 by the end of this year. It is not possible to indicate how many will be in Wales.

There are currently 28 compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling points in the UK, none of which is in Wales. However, my Department will consult shortly on the future direction of the Powershift programme, including how to encourage the wider availability of CNG in urban areas.

Social Exclusion

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the Government's programmes aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion, indicating the annual cost and coverage of each one. [148484]

Ms Armstrong: We published the second annual report on our strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" in September 2000 (Cm 4865). This provides a detailed account of the action we have taken since we announced our strategy in September 1999 and what more we need to do. It clearly shows that we are already making a difference to people's lives and that real progress is being made in a number of key areas. "Spending Review 2000: New Public Spending Plans 2001-2004" sets out annual expenditure for the major programmes aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion.

A number of DETR regeneration and other programmes help to reduce poverty and social exclusion, including English Partnerships, Housing Action Trusts, Coalfields Trust and Fund. In particular, New Deal for Communities and Single Regeneration Budget are aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion.

New Deal for Communities (NDC) is tackling the deprivation faced by people in some of the poorest neighbourhoods in England. Seventeen partnerships were set up in 1998 under NDC, as part of the Government's strategy to tackle social exclusion. Round two of the New Deal for Communities, launched in 1999, included 22 additional areas being invited to bid for funding. Outturn Government expenditure on NDC in 1999-2000 was £48.5 million. Planned expenditure is £120.7 million in 2000-01 and £450.0 million in 2001-02.

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The Single Regeneration budget (SRB) provides funding through the Regional Development Agencies for regeneration schemes in England, which are developed and implemented by local partnerships. It is an important instrument in the Government's drive to tackle social exclusion. There are over 890 partnerships from rounds 1 to 6 with over £5.6 billion in SRB support over their lifetime of up to seven years. It is estimated that these will attract almost over £8.6 billion of private sector investment and help to attract European funding. Outturn Government expenditure on SRB in 1999-2000 was £663 million. Planned expenditure is £814 million in 2000-01 and £878 million in 2001-02.

The Government's Action Plan "A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal", which was launched by the Prime Minister on 15 January, sets out our vision for narrowing the gap between poor neighbourhoods and the rest of the country. It aims to deliver economic prosperity, safe communities, high-quality schools, decent housing, and better health to the poorest parts of the country.

The Action Plan is backed up by a new Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, which is to improve services in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Planned expenditure through the fund, which will be paid to the 88 most deprived local authorities in England, is £200 million in 2001-02, £300 million in 2002-03 and £400 million in 2003-04.

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