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Departmental Report

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the 2002 Departmental report will be published. [49589]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 15 April 2002, by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Andrew Smith).

Sidex

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he received from other Ministers requests for advice in connection with the attempted acquisition of Sidex by the LNM Group. [37936]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Consistent with the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information exemption on internal discussion and advice, which aims to preserve the unbiased nature of civil service advice and, where appropriate, to ensure commercial confidentiality, it would not be appropriate to disclose the information requested.

Meetings

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many meetings he has had with hon. Members in each of the last 12 months. [49325]

Mr. Paul Murphy: As a member of the House of Commons and as a member of the Government, on a typical working day I meet many hon. Members in both formal and informal settings. Due to the large numbers of these meetings and their routine nature, no separate record of them is kept.

Press and Public Relations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people were employed in a press or public relations function in his Department on 1 January in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001 and (f) 2002. [39932]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Since the establishment of the Wales Office in July 1999. There has been one press secretary, one senior press officer and one assistant information officer employed within my Department.

Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total cost to his Department was of the use of external consultants in each of the last four years. [35019]

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Mr. Paul Murphy: Since its creation in July 1999 my Department has spent some £47,000 on external consultants. It has also made use of property management consultants under a contract held by the National Assembly for Wales.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the total savings to public funds of the Private Finance Initiative contract for shipping services for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) by comparison with a non- Private Finance Initiative alternative; [49554]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 20 July 2001, Official Report, columns 607–08W.

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Rail Journeys (Staff)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 117W, regarding the cost of rail travel by Department staff, how many staff undertook the first class rail journeys in 2001. [50326]

Ms Hewitt: The DTI has devolved to local management the authorisation of travel claims for its staff, subject to checking procedures. It does not record detail of the number of staff undertaking first class rail journeys separately from other data recorded when paying travel expenses paid for staff engaged on departmental business. To provide the information requested would entail disproportionate cost.

Smart Card Technology

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the use of smart card technology in her Department and in the areas for which it is responsible; and what discussions she has had with private companies about the use of smart card technology within her Department. [50474]

Ms Hewitt: My Department uses smart cards to protect the facilities providing remote access to our corporate computer systems. Some 800 staff currently use smart cards in this way.

My officials discuss options for the use of smart card technology within the Department periodically with relevant companies, especially those providing us with ICT support.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will answer the Questions tabled on 11 March by the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford, refs 43210, 43211 and 43212. [50053]

Ms Hewitt: I understand that these questions were answered by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office yesterday.

Galileo Programme

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to what extent the UK is supporting the European Union's Galileo satellite programme broken down by Departments' budgets and purpose of funding; what representations about the programme were made from the US and how they were responded to; and if she will make a statement. [48886]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

The UK is supporting the Galileo satellite navigation programme through contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA), which is jointly funding and carrying out the programme with the European Union. For the definition phase (1999–2000) and some early development work (2001) the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has contributed £7.91 million while my Department has contributed £2.45 million. For the development and validation phase (2002–05) which was approved in March by the EU Transport Council, negotiations within ESA over

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member states' contributions are still progressing. Funds for the programme are also being provided from the budget of the European Communities to which the UK contributes.

The US has expressed concerns about the security implications of Galileo and, in particular, the problems of signal interference and incompatibility, which could arise with its own Global Positioning System (GPS). As we shared these concerns, in our negotiations within the EU we ensured that these were taken into account. The Transport Council decision emphasises the need for Galileo to be interoperable with GPS and that a co-operation agreement between the EU and the US should be negotiated as soon as possible.

Special Advisers

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many special advisers there were in her Department; and what their salaries were in each of the last five years. [46951]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 10 April 2002]: There are three special advisers in my Department. For information about salaries I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 11W.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times special advisers have accompanied Ministers on overseas visits in each of the last five years; which countries were visited; and what the total cost of each individual visit was. [47147]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001 no special advisers in my Department accompanied Ministers on overseas trips. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2000 is already in the public domain. Details of Government Special Adviser travel for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 will be published as soon as possible.

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times Ministers in her Department have travelled abroad at taxpayers' expense since March 2001; what countries they visited; and what the total cost of each visit was. [47109]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Since 1999 this Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Minister costing £500 or more during each financial year. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. The 1999 list contained information on all such visits undertaken from 2 May 1997 to 31 April 1999. Details for travel undertaken in the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current financial year.

All travel is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

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