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Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate she has made for the staffing levels and running costs for the Scotland Office in the years 2000-01 and 2001-02. 
Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 12 February 2001]: Details of the staffing levels and running costs for the period to 2003-04 were set out in the Scotland Office Departmental Report 2001, which was published on 30 March 2001.
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Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the running costs of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Advocate-General for Scotland were in each year since 1999-2000; how much of the budget in each year was allocated to (a) staff costs, (b) maintenance, (c) travel costs and (d) other expenditure; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 7 March 2001]: Information in the form requested is not available. Details of administration costs were set out in the Scotland Office Departmental Report 2001, which was published on 30 March 2001 and in the Department's annual accounts.
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate she has made of the total sums projected to be spent in Scotland in (a) this financial year and (b) each of the next two financial years (i) by the Scottish Executive and (ii) through direct spending by the Government of the UK. 
Mrs. Liddell: Details of expenditure by the Scottish Executive were set out in "The Scottish Budget: Annual Expenditure Report" published by the Executive on 30 March 2001. Expenditure for 2000-01 was £17,997 million and is planned to be £19,823 million in 2001-02 and £21,022 million in 2002-03.
Details of other direct spending by the UK Government in Scotland are not calculated for forward years. Information on public expenditure by country and function is published by the Treasury each year in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much certified timber has been purchased by her Department over the past six months; and what proportion of total timber purchases this represents. 
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Mrs. Liddell: The New Deal has been a resounding success in Scotland with over 48,000 people going into jobs as a result of their participation in the New Deal for Young People, New Deal 25+, New Deal for Lone Parents and New Deal 50 plus.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if her Office's (a) Ministers and (b) officials met, prior to devolution, representatives of A/F Protein Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, United States of America. 
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations her Office's (a) Ministers and (b) officials received, prior to devolution, from representatives of A/F Protein Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, United States of America; and what response she made. 
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the projects funded by the Scottish Office from 1990 to devolution on scientific research into (a) genetically modified and (b) transgenic fish in the UK and abroad, by research project title, indicating the purpose of the research, the project timespan, its total cost and recipient research centres. 
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions between 5 June 2000 and 31 March 2001 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity. 
Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in her Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis for this limit is. 
In respect of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, the only public body for which I am responsible, there was no specific age limit for applications in the last round of appointments for membership, in 1998.
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Mrs. Liddell: The Permanent Under-Secretary of State met officials from the Department of An Taoiseach, the Clerk of the Dail, and the Department of Foreign Affairs during his visit to Dublin of 10-11 February 1999.
The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. In 1999-2000 and 2000-01 there were three special advisers in post at any one time, one of whom was unpaid. There are currently two special advisers.
Mrs. Liddell: The aim of the Employment Service is to help people without jobs find work and employers to fill their vacancies. The Employment Service in Scotland makes an important contribution to an efficient and flexible labour market and to delivering the Government's welfare to work policies, working in close partnership with employers and others. These targets pave the way for the new agency, Jobcentre Plus, whose pathfinder offices will begin work in October. They give stronger emphasis than ever before to helping individuals facing particular difficulty in the labour market to move from unemployment and economic inactivity into sustainable employment. The highest priority will be given to helping people who have been economically inactive for long periods, including lone parents, to find work, and to capitalise on the opportunities created by the new generation of New Deals.
I am announcing today the targets we have set for Scotland. They are challenging and stretching. We are looking for improved levels of customer service to jobseekers and employers, together with consolidation of the improved performance against the Jobseeker's Allowance Labour Market Activity target. These targets cover a full year, but we propose to carry out a
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comprehensive consultation and review later in the year that will inform the setting of targets for the new agency for people of working age, called Jobcentre Plus, for 2002-03.
The Employment Service in Scotland aims to make a major contribution to an efficient and flexible labour market and to the Government's objectives of an increase in the effective supply of labour, and countering poverty and social exclusion by helping welfare recipients facing the most severe disadvantages to compete effectively for jobs. It does this by working closely with employers and with its private, voluntary and public sector partners to provide a quality service for all people without a job and to promote employment opportunities for all who can work. It aims to attract a diverse range of vacancies and to fill those vacancies quickly by matching the right people and skills with the right jobs. Its chief priority is to help individuals facing particular difficulty in the labour market to move from welfare and economic inactivity into sustainable employment. It does this through correct application of the Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) regime, delivery of the New Deals, and the provision of appropriate information, advice, training and support. The challenge and opportunity for the Employment Service, is to sustain continuous improvement in its services to jobseekers and employers and to make these services more accessible and relevant to customer needs, through effective use of modern technology and close working with a wide range of partners.
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