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Parliamentary Questions

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of parliamentary questions replied to by her Department were the subject of a holding answer in the last three sessions of Parliament. [22011]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The percentages of parliamentary questions tabled to the Department for Education and Employment during the last three Parliamentary Sessions for which a holding answer was provided are as follows:


Learning and Skills Council

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the resources available to the Learning and Skills Council. [22277]

Margaret Hodge: Today, the Secretary of State issued the annual grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). In 2002–03, the Council will have available a resource budget of £7,310,890,000 to deliver the challenging objectives set out in the remit letter of November 2000 and the targets in the Council's corporate plan.

The Council has taken over many of the functions previously carried out by the Further Education Funding Council and TECs, as well as various activities carried out by the Department for Education and Employment and Government Offices. Our most recent estimate is that these organisations spent in total between £270 and £280 million on administering the functions which are now the responsibility of the LSC.

The Council takes on significant new responsibilities in 2002–03, including the funding of school sixth forms, further action to raise basic skills, and decisions at local level about the allocation of funds for young people's and adult learning provision. In total the new budget represents a 33 per cent. increase in funds compared with 2001–02, and even without school sixth forms represents a 6 per cent. real terms increase compared with the previous year.

In the light of these responsibilities, and the different VAT regime to which the LSC is subject compared with TECs, the Secretary of State has agreed to a £25 million increase in the administration budget of the LSC for 2001–02 and 2002–03, to £213 million and £218 million respectively.

This delivers the commitment given to Parliament during the passage of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 that there would be administrative savings of at least £50 million compared with previous arrangements.

Scottish Expenditure

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will list, in real terms, for each year since 1979 (a) the total sums of money spent directly by her Department in Scotland and (b) the total sums of money allocated by her Department for spending in Scotland through (i) the Scottish Office, (ii) the Scotland Office and (iii) the Scottish Executive; [16181]

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Estelle Morris: Expenditure in Scotland on programmes now administered by the Department for Education and Skills was estimated at some £2 million (real terms) in each of the years 1996–97 to 2000–01, most of which was for career development loans. No information for the years prior to 1996–97 is available.

Most education and skills expenditure in Scotland is not the responsibility of DfES: it is devolved to the Scottish Executive. Prior to devolution this expenditure was the responsibility of the Scottish Office.

New Deal

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of the young people in Wiltshire who found employment through the new deal have found sustained unsubsidised work. [18405]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I have been asked to reply.

Up to the end of September 2001, the new deal had helped 1,888 young people move into work in the Wiltshire Employment Service district. 72 per cent. of the jobs secured were sustained and unsubsidised.


Daily Mail (Stephen Byers)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the action initiated by her predecessor against the Daily Mail in respect of comments made in that newspaper on 19 March; for what reason the action initiated was not pursued to the courts; what assessment was made of the likelihood of a successful outcome to the action before it was embarked upon; and if she will make a statement. [21740]

Ms Hewitt: On 2 April 2001 my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tyneside, North (Mr. Byers), replied to a question from the hon. Member for Lewes as follows:

My right hon. Friend the Member for Tyneside, North subsequently lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Council on 26 April. The outcome was that the Daily Mail published a clarification on 5 October in which the newspaper accepted that the account given by my right hon. Friend of his involvement in the inquiry into companies associated with Geoffrey Robinson represented the true position.

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I have no plans to make a statement.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the cost met from public funds of the legal action taken by the previous Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Tyneside, North (Mr. Byers) against Associated Newspapers. [21668]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman) on 19 November 2001, Official Report, column 6W.

Portland Cement

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of Portland cement sold in the United Kingdom was (a) domestically produced and (b) imported in each of the last five years. [20517]

Mr. Wilson: The information requested is as follows:

Sources of grey Portland cement sales in the United Kingdom

Produced domesticallyImported

Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Portland cement consumption per capita was for the United Kingdom in the last 12 months. [20605]

Mr. Wilson: During 2000 for the United Kingdom, the per capita consumption of grey Portland cement was 222 kg.

Nuclear Waste Transportation

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is her intention that the effect of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill will make publication of routes along which (a) nuclear waste and (b) spent nuclear fuel is transported illegal. [20445]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 December 2001]: In relation to nuclear material which is being transported, an offence would be committed under clause 80 of the Bill, only if an intentional or reckless disclosure of information is made that could prejudice the security of nuclear material being transported to or from a nuclear site in the UK used for a purpose mentioned in section 1(1) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 or being carried on board a UK ship. Whether an offence has been committed will depend on the facts of the case. The courts would have to assess whether the disclosure was capable of prejudicing security and whether the requirements of intention or recklessness have been met.

MOX Plant, Sellafield

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what account she took of a potential terrorist threat before giving authorisation to the MOX fuel plant at Sellafield. [20176]

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Mr. Wilson [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The decision on the justification for the manufacture of MOX fuel was announced on 3 October by my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Health and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In reaching their decision Ministers took full account of all relevant information including advice from the UK's civil nuclear security regulator, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS).

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