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Job Losses

27. Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary on developing a response to recent job losses in manufacturing in Wales. [35134]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales on a range of issues.

Where there are significant job losses announced in Wales, there is swift help available through the Employment Service, together with Education Learning Wales (ELWa), Careers Wales and "one-stop shops" to help those who have lost their jobs with a range of assistance. This assistance can include careers advice, assistance with their applications and retraining in order to maximise opportunities to help them back into full employment.

Wales Cinema Day

7. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what contribution his Department made to Wales cinema day this year; and what continuing commitment he has towards film-making and broadcasting in Wales. [35113]

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Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department fully supports Wales cinema day. On 3rd December last year I visited the International Film School of Wales in Caerleon, Newport. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary also visited the film school on 9 November.

Miners' Compensation

20. Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the number of applications for miners' compensation in Wales that have been settled (a) in full and (b) on an interim basis. [35126]

Mr. Touhig: I have regular discussions on many aspects of coal health compensation with the Minister for Industry and Energy at the Department of Trade and Industry.

To date, there have been almost 34,000 respiratory disease and 17,000 vibration white finger claims registered in Wales. Nearly 12,000 interim payments and 2,800 full and final payments worth £71.2 million have been made in relation to respiratory disease. With regard to vibration white finger, 5,000 interim payments have been made and 4,600 claims have been settled by payment. The Department of Trade and Industry and their claim handlers IRISC are on target to make 15,000 respiratory disease offers in Wales by the end of the year.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding miners' pension schemes. [35132]

Mr. Touhig: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly meets with Cabinet colleagues including the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

I very much welcome the announcement made by my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and Energy on 17 January to enhance pensions for those miners on low pensions. The Government have been concerned about these miners for some time.

My hon. Friend also made a joint statement with trustees of the two former British Coal pension schemes, the mineworkers' pension scheme and the British Coal staff superannuation scheme, agreeing a review of arrangements for the Government's guarantee of Members' basic pension benefits.

Both the Government and the trustees recognise that there have been changes in circumstances since 1994 and have agreed to explore how these changes might best be reflected in revisions to the 1994 arrangements which would benefit Members. In doing so, they recognise that any revisions will need to be based on an equitable sharing of risks and reward between the schemes and the Exchequer, and will need to be sufficiently robust to operate satisfactorily in a wide variety of conditions.

Special Advisers

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since 1 May 1997 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity;

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and if he will list the total cost, including (i) travel, (ii) accommodation and (iii) subsistence allowance, for each occasion. [37982]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Information is available only for the period since the Wales Office was established on 1 July 1999.

Departmental special advisers have accompanied Ministers on visits abroad on seven occasions. It is not practicable separately to identify the costs of these visits, but all journeys were judged to comply with the Civil Service code.


Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the President of the Council if he will bring forward proposals to the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House in respect of the rules relating to the type of question hon. Members can ask Ministers. [37780]

Mr. Robin Cook: Not at present. The Procedure Committee is currently inquiring into parliamentary questions, and I await the outcome of that inquiry. The hon. Gentleman may wish to make proposals to them.

Departmental Website

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council what the total cost of his Department's website was in real terms in each of the last four years; and how many hits it received in each of those years. [36205]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Privy Council Office website was established in August 2000. In 2000–01, the cost to my Department of running it (including the initial setting up costs) was approximately £7,200. During the calendar year 2001, there were 300,914 successful hits to the website. The further information requested is not available.


Dr. Cable: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what services to Parliament are provided by outside contractors; when their contracts are due for renewal; and what services are provided in-house. [36716]

Mr. Kirkwood: The House of Commons Commission is responsible only for services to this House. A very wide range of services is provided to support the work of the House, its Committees, and individual Members. I could not provide the information my hon. Friend seeks, except at disproportionate cost. If my hon. Friend has particular services in mind, the Director of Finance and Administration will do his best to assist.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment has been made of the work load and excess hours worked by staff supporting the (a) Parliamentary Commissioner for

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Standards and (b) Registrar of Members' Interests; and if he will make a statement on the Commission's plans for remedy and recognition of the work load. [36863]

Mr. Kirkwood: I refer the hon. Gentleman to paragraph 13 of the Commission paper "Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards: Nomination of Candidate" (House of Commons Paper 598 of the present Session).

Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, by what proportion Mrs. Filkin has been underpaid as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards; and when was the first day of work for which late payment is being made. [37118]

Mr. Kirkwood: Mrs. Filkin has not been underpaid. As the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) indicated in his response to the debate on the nomination of the new Commissioner on 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 267, Mrs. Filkin has been paid for all the days she has worked. As in the case of any individual employed by the Commission, details of her pay are confidential.

John Stonborough

Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether a daily rate of remuneration was agreed after Mr. John Stonborough was selected as Media Adviser to the House; and whether there is a bonus arrangement. [37266]

Mr. Kirkwood: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (David Winnick) on 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 210W.

Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, who keeps records of the days worked by Mr. John Stonborough for the House. [37267]

Mr. Kirkwood: The Director of Finance and Administration arranged Mr. Stonborough's terms of engagement, and is monitoring the contract.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee what percentage of waste within each department in the Palace of Westminster is recycled. [36712]

Mrs. Roe: Information on recycling is not recorded on a departmental basis. However, from March 2002, monthly data will be published, which will show the total amount of waste sent for recycling from the parliamentary estate under the following headings: paper, cardboard, glass, cooking oils and light bulbs.


John McDonnell: To ask the Chairman of the Information Select Committee what the cost was of (a) the introduction of the PDVN system and (b) subsequent upgrades to the system; and what the cost is of its annual maintenance. [35615]

Mr. Kirkwood: I have been asked to reply.

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Figures are not kept in a form which allows the cost of establishing the PDVN to be identified. However, set-up costs were identified in the First Report of the Information Committee of Session 1993–94, "The Provision of a Parliamentary Data and Video Network". The cost of hardware and network software over the period 1994 to 2000 was estimated to be £1,962,000 (at 1994 prices). The hardware and network software was subject to a significant upgrade during the summer recess of 1999, at a cost of £2,100,000.

Cabling of the Parliamentary Estate is a continuing project and is necessary not just for the installation of the PDVN but also for the introduction of a new fire detection system. Identifying cabling costs specific to the installation of the PDVN is thus not possible.

The contract for maintenance of the PDVN currently costs £600,000 a year and includes the replacement of equipment and minor upgrades to the software. The cost of parliamentary staff directly involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the Network is approximately £100,000 a year.

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