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European Football Championships

13. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with Scottish Ministers concerning Scotland's application to hold the European Football Championships in 2008. [25082]

Mr. Foulkes: My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with Scottish Ministers about a wide range of issues. A decision about whether formally to support a bid for the European Football Championships in 2008 is a matter in the first instance for the Scottish Executive.

Drugs

14. Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent successes have been achieved through efforts in Scotland to confiscate drugs and the proceeds of drug sales. [25083]

Mr. Foulkes: Since its establishment in June 2000, the Scottish Drugs Enforcement Agency, in partnership with other enforcement bodies, has seized controlled drugs worth over £25 million.

Since 1 April 2001, 24 confiscation orders relating to the proceeds of drug trafficking have been secured in Scottish courts. The value of these orders totalled £370,000.

European Union (Participation)

15. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with Scottish Ministers regarding Scottish participation in EU institutions. [25084]

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Mrs. Liddell: Both the Minister of State and I have regular meetings with Scottish Ministers to discuss those reserved policy areas that affect Scotland.

Government policy on these matters is set out in the Memorandum of Understanding, and the concordats on International Relations and Co-ordination of European Policy Issues, agreed between the Government and the devolved Administrations.

Child Poverty

16. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the number of children living in poverty in Scotland in each year since 1997. [25085]

Mr. Foulkes: We are making good progress on child poverty but much remains to be done. Detailed information can be found in "Opportunity for All", and in the Scottish Executive's annual Social Justice Report, "A Scotland where everyone Matters".

Trade Unions

17. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she next plans to meet representatives from the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss trade union legislation. [25086]

23. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she next plans to meet representatives of the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss legislation affecting trade unions; and what will be discussed. [25093]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular contact with representatives of the STUC to discuss a wide range of issues. The next such occasion is on 30 January when the STUC is meeting Scottish Members and others in Dover House to discuss a wide range of issues including trade union legislation. I hope my hon. Friends will attend.

Rural Economy

18. Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs concerning the rural economy in Scotland. [25087]

Mr. Foulkes: My right hon. Friend and I discuss with a wide range of colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, matters concerning rural Scotland.

National Air Traffic Services

19. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met representatives of NATS; and what issues were discussed. [25088]

Mrs. Liddell: I will be meeting senior management from NATS tomorrow.

It is my intention to discuss matters relating to the development of the new Scottish centre at Prestwick.

Laeken Convention

20. Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the Prime Minister about the convention established at the Laeken

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EU Council; and if there will be participants from the Scottish Parliament in the UK delegation to the convention. [25089]

Mrs. Liddell: The Convention on the Future of Europe will begin its work in March. Consultations will, of course, be held in the usual way on who the parliamentary representatives will be.

Rural Enterprises

21. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans she has to encourage rural enterprises; and if she will make a statement. [25091]

Mr. Foulkes: There has been close and effective collaboration between the UK Government and the Scottish Executive to deal with the foot and mouth outbreak and its aftermath. Support for rural enterprises in Scotland is primarily the responsibility of the Scottish Executive.

Pensions

22. Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations she has received concerning pensions payable in Scotland. [25092]

Mr. Foulkes: We receive a wide range of representations on a number of issues. I met with the GMB Retired Members Group on Friday 7 December 2001.

Employment

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on employment trends in Scotland since September 2001. [25078]

Mrs. Liddell: Latest figures show that employment in Scotland stands at 2.382 million, at around its highest level since 1960. The number of people in work from August to October 2001 fell by 9,000 over the quarter but was up by 3,000 on the same period a year earlier.

Dover House

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of staff based at Dover House are not directly employed by the Scotland Office; and by whom they are employed. [27424]

Mrs. Liddell: There are currently 35 Scotland Office staff in Dover House. Thirty-one staff are on loan to the Scotland Office from the Scottish Executive; one member of staff is on secondment from the House of Lords and there are three temporary staff. There are also 10 staff employed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who are currently located in Dover House on a temporary basis; and five staff employed by Scottish Development International.

West Coast Mainline

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she has met representatives of Railtrack since 5 October to discuss the upgrading of the West Coast mainline. [27031]

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Mrs. Liddell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 December 2001, Official Report, column 92W.

Friends of Scotland

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Friends of Scotland she plans to recruit; and how many individuals have expressed interest in the scheme. [27423]

Mrs. Liddell: Many individuals in Scotland and abroad have expressed an interest in promoting a message of a modern and dynamic Scotland. My aim is to enable the largest possible number of Scotland's friends around the world to promote this message to Scotland's benefit.

ADVOCATE-GENERAL

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act

27. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Advocate-General, pursuant to her answer of 4 December 2001, Official Report, column 153, on the then Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill, if she has passed on the concerns of the hon. Member for Linlithgow to her right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. [25041]

The Advocate-General: Following my answer of 4 December, I received from my hon. Friend the letter from Douglas Connell dated 30 November. Mr. Connell's letter was forwarded to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary who has now replied directly to my hon Friend, on 13 December.

Human Reproductive Cloning Act

28. Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Advocate-General what discussions she has had with the Scottish Executive concerning the passage of the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001. [25042]

The Advocate-General: The Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is the responsibility of the Department of Health. There was appropriate consultation between UK Government officials, including lawyers in my Office, and the Scottish Executive before it was enacted.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Standing Committees

48. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the President of the Council if he will bring forward proposals to the Modernisation Committee to improve the effectiveness of Standing Committees in scrutinising Bills. [25064]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: My right hon. Friend has already put forward an extensive programme of reform. Proposals for better pre-legislative scrutiny should provide more material for Standing Committees to use. However, I am sure the Modernisation Committee would be interested in any proposals to improve the effectiveness of Standing Committees.

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