12 Feb 2002 : Column 141W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 12 February 2002

SCOTLAND

Hospital Waiting Lists

5. Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she intends to meet health ministers from the UK Government and the devolved Administrations to discuss NHS waiting lists. [32336]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with UK Ministers and Scottish Ministers on a wide range of issues. Last autumn, on my behalf, my hon. and learned Friend the Advocate-General attended the Joint Ministerial Committee on Health, when a variety of issues was discussed. However, NHS waiting lists in Scotland are a devolved matter for the Scottish Executive.

Rail Network

6. Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the regions on the Strategic Rail Authority plan as it affects Scotland. [32337]

Mr. Foulkes: My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues at the DTLR on a wide range of matters, including the operation of the rail network.

Rural Economy

8. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the future viability of the rural economy in Scotland with special reference to designation of assisted areas. [32339]

Mr. Foulkes: Rural Scotland has a dynamic and vibrant economy and enjoys significant regional aid coverage.

Small Business

10. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps she is taking to encourage small business development in Scotland. [32341]

Mrs. Liddell: We have delivered the conditions under which business can prosper. The fundamentals of the Scottish economy as part of the UK economy remain strong—high levels of employment, low levels of unemployment, strong public finances, low inflation and the low interest rates. Specific support activity to encourage small business development in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

11. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she next expects to meet representatives of small businesses to discuss regulation and employment issues. [32342]

12 Feb 2002 : Column 142W

Mrs. Liddell: I next plan to meet the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Business on Monday 11 March.

European Capital of Culture

12. Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the role of her Department in the competition for European Capital of Culture 2008. [32343]

Mrs. Liddell: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for identifying the UK nomination for European Capital of Culture 2008. The Scotland Office has been involved in preparatory work to establish a process for assessing bids to become European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Ministerial Travel

13. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what her policy is on the use of railways for ministerial travel between Glasgow and London. [32344]

Mrs. Liddell: I use the most efficient and cost-effective mode of transport and travel by train as and when appropriate.

Unemployment

14. Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on unemployment in Scotland. [32345]

Mrs. Liddell: Latest figures show that the number of people in Scotland out of work and claiming benefit stands at 104,700, a reduction of 600 on the previous month and down by 6,400 over the year.

Energy Review

15. Anne Picking: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the Scotland Office involvement in the PIU energy review. [32346]

Mr. Foulkes: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 165W.

24. Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the contribution made by her office to the energy review, with special reference to clean coal technology. [32355]

Mr. Foulkes: I represented the Scotland Office on the PIU Energy Review Project Advisory Group. The potential role of clean coal technology was within the scope of the review.

Government policy is to encourage the development of clean coal technology for application both at home and abroad.

18. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations she has received concerning the Government's energy policy in Scotland. [32349]

Mr. Foulkes: I represented the Scotland Office on the PIU Energy Review Project Advisory Group. I have regular discussions with a wide range of individuals and organisations with interests in different aspect of energy policy.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 143W

Aggregates Levy

16. Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations she has made to the Treasury on the imposition of the aggregates levy in Scotland. [32347]

Mr. Foulkes: I met with representatives of the British Aggregates Association on 21 January and conveyed to my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the views expressed by the Association.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations have been made to Her Majesty's Treasury on the aggregates levy; and if she will make a statement. [23829]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 19 December 2001]: My hon. Friend the Minister of State met with representatives of the British Aggregates Association on 21 January and conveyed to my right hon. Friend the financial Secretary to the Treasury the views expressed by the Association.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate has been made of the amount yielded from the proposed aggregates levy in Scotland; and if she will make a statement. [23953]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 19 December 2001]: The proposed aggregates levy is expected to raise around £380 million in the UK in its first full year. The revenues raised will be returned to business and local communities affected by quarrying through a 0.1 percentage point cut in employer's national insurance contribution. Additionally Scotland's share from the Sustainability Fund, allocated by HM Treasury using the Barnett formula, is likely to be approximately £3 million.

Friends of Scotland Initiative

17. Rosemary McKenna: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions she has had with the First Minister about her Friends of Scotland initiative. [32348]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a wide range of issues. The First Minister is very supportive of my Friends of Scotland initiative and we will work together on this for Scotland.

Air Traffic Control Centre, Prestwick

19. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met representatives of NATS to discuss construction of the Prestwick air traffic control centre. [32350]

Mrs. Liddell: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to his previous questions on the subject on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 710W.

Attendance Allowance

20. Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to her answer of 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 595W, on attendance allowance, what role the Scotland Office played in discussions with the Scottish Executive on payment of attendance allowance to those recipients who will be entitled to receive free personal care in Scotland. [32351]

12 Feb 2002 : Column 144W

Mrs. Liddell: I have nothing more to add to the answer given to the hon. Lady on 21 January 2002, Official Report, columns 595–96.

Minimum Income Guarantee

21. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many pensioners in Scotland are benefiting from the minimum income guarantee. [32352]

Mr. Foulkes: Around 181,000 people in Scotland benefit from the minimum income guarantee.

Scottish Parliament

22. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions she has had with the Scottish Executive about the costs of the devolved Parliament. [32353]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with Scottish Executive Ministers. The costs of the Scottish Parliament will be met from the Scottish Assigned Budget.

Oil and Gas Industry

23. Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met the Minister for Energy to discuss developments in the UK oil and gas industry. [32354]

Mr. Foulkes: I have regular discussions with my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and Energy to discuss a wide range of issues including the UK oil and gas industry.


Next Section Index Home Page