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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 26 June 2001


Special Advisers

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the Special Advisers with executive responsibilities under the Civil Service Order in Council; and if he will make a statement. [763]

The Prime Minister: Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell have executive powers under article 3(3) of the Civil Service Order in Council.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to amend the terms and conditions of employment for Special Advisers; and if he will make a statement. [301]

The Prime Minister: In its response to the Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Government committed themselves to a new Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and a revised Model Contract. The new Code and Contract apply to all appointments of Special Advisers made after the election. Both documents will be published shortly.



Green Belt

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures he is proposing to take to ensure that green belt areas are not used for further housing developments; and if he will make a statement. [36]

Ms Keeble: Planning Policy Guidance note 2--Green Belts--already recommends that local authorities' development plans should include a strict presumption against inappropriate development in the green belt. This includes most types of housebuilding.


Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how long PPG 25 has been out for consultation; and when definitive planning guidance on floodplain development is to be published. [806]

Ms Keeble: The initial draft of PPG 25 was published in April 2000. Following the autumn floods and the examination by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, a revised draft was published in February 2001. The final PPG is expected to be published in July.

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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will introduce legislation to extend the European franchise to the people of Gibraltar. [422]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 25 June 2001]: The UK is committed to fulfilling its obligation to give effect to the Matthews judgment. We will do everything in our power to ensure that Gibraltarians can vote in the next European Parliamentary elections in 2004.

SRB-funded Housing

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the target was for SRB-funded housing units between 1997 and 2001; and what outputs were achieved for SRB-funded housing units in this period. [831]

Ms Keeble: Between April 1997 and March 2000, the number of dwellings completed or improved with support from the Single Regeneration Budget was 115,343 forecast and 152,753 achieved.

Output figures for 2000-01 will be collected centrally towards the end of 2001. Forecast and actual figures are total outputs from SRB schemes--that is, they include outputs from all funding sources. Forecast outputs may change as we agree and update delivery plans with partnerships each year.

Departmental Title Change Costs

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the expenditure incurred in introducing the title of his Department. [395]

Dr. Whitehead: My Department's costs have been very low as it makes extensive use of electronic templates, keeps low stocks of stationery and generally uses out of date stationery for purposes such as internal photocopying and notepads.

Costs incurred so far amount to £25,250, for changes to the logo templates, building signage, website and stationery for the central Department. This figure includes VAT. There may be some further minimal expenditure on building signs.


MOD Police Agency

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what Key Targets have been set for the Ministry of Defence Police Agency for the financial year 2001-02. [1166]

Dr. Moonie: The following Key Targets have been set for the Ministry of Defence Police Agency:

Key Target 1

To achieve at least 60 per cent. patrol activity from those officers devoted to patrolling.

Key Target 2

To achieve a crime solving rate of at least 38 per cent.

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Key Target 3

By 31 March 2002, to have developed a methodology, and associated targets, for measuring the MDPs contribution to security measures at those Defence establishments where it has a presence.

Key Target 4

By 31 March 2002, to produce a methodology to assess the quality and consistency of service delivery to customers of the Area Policing Teams and establish a baseline figure, which can inform the setting of targets in future years.

Key Target 5

To extend the efficiency index in respect of the business areas of Firearms, Marine Policing and Dog Handling, previously piloted in one OCU, to the remainder of the Force, setting baseline figures for future years of improvement.

Key Target 6

By 31 March 2002, to have implemented a Force Diversity Strategy, and within the overall recruitment to the Force to have recruited 20 per cent. women and 3 per cent. from minority ethnic communities.

Key Target 7

Defence Diversification Agency

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decision has been taken on the future of the Defence Diversification Agency following the recent period of consultation. [1167]

Dr. Moonie: We have been greatly encouraged by the response to the consultation on the future of the Defence Diversification Agency (DDA) and were particularly pleased by the many words of encouragement and support for the agency and its work. We continue to support a strong UK defence industry and recognise fully the significant role it plays in our wider industrial base. It was for these reasons we set up the DDA with three key aims: to extend technology and expertise within the defence sector to civilian use; to foster partnerships and joint development programmes, recognising that the civil sector has much of potential benefit to defence; and to inform and assist the defence industry's own diversification planning.

We intend that the DDA should continue to be a highly effective technology broker and achieve its aims in support of our overall defence diversification strategy. We believe that to do this successfully, the DDA must remain part of the defence community. But it cannot remain as part of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) as now because of the planned public-private partnership. MOD's strategy of putting an increasing proportion of its research work outside of QinetiQ (as the new company will be known) and the Defence Scientific and Technology Laboratory (Dstl; the retained part of DERA) means that DDA would, in the longer term, be poorly

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placed if wholly located in either. There is also the need to ensure commercial confidentiality and fairness to all defence research suppliers.

We have decided to bring the DDA into the Ministry of Defence head office. Existing DDA technology development managers will be transferred in their current locations to QinetiQ and Dstl. This recognises that QinetiQ and Dstl will remain our major suppliers of defence research for some time and, importantly, this option commanded the highest level of support from the DDA staff themselves. It will also have the benefit of allowing us to retain DDA's existing regional structure and thus ensuring that the existing close links are maintained with both the defence technology base and local business communities.

Once we have experience of how the DDA will operate in practice under the new structure, we will proceed with determining the appropriate composition and terms of reference for the Defence Diversification Council.

Overseas Recruitment

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the overseas recruitment missions that have taken place over the last six months and which are planned over the next year, indicating in each case (a) the country (i) visited and (ii) to be visited, (b) the number of overseas nationals (i) recruited and (ii) expected to be recruited and (c) the cost of the mission; and if he will make a statement. [228]

Mr. Ingram: Recruits to the UK armed forces must be British or Commonwealth citizens or Republic of Ireland nationals. Overseas recruitment missions are limited to those locations where numbers of expected applicants justify the effort.

A visit to St. Helena, which has generated some 40 applicants in each of the last two years, is currently taking place. Costs are not yet available.

An Army visit is being planned for later in the year to St. Lucia, from where 1,400 applications have been received. The cost of the visit is estimated at around £100,000.

No other recruiting visits have taken place in the last six months or are currently planned in the next 12 months.

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