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Trade in Services

Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will publish the text of the final list of requests for market access tabled by the European Commission under the general agreement on trade in services; and what she estimates their impact would be on (a) poverty and (b) sustainable development in each of the developing countries affected. [76267]

Clare Short: Requests for market access as part of the general agreement on trade in services (GATS) are made on a bilateral basis with WTO members making requests directly to other members. The commitments then offered by countries receiving requests will be made public by the WTO and will apply to all WTO members according to the Xmost favoured nation" principle. Countries are therefore not under any obligation to make their requests public and any information regarding these requests would ordinarily be treated as confidential by the WTO secretariat. The European Commission has, however, published a summary of its requests on its website (—sum.htm).

It should be stressed that regardless of the requests being made or the Member making them, no country receiving requests is under any obligation to make commitments in any sector. The GATS is a Xbottom-up" agreement whereby countries individually choose in which sectors they want to make binding commitments and in which they do not.

For developing countries to make informed decisions regarding the liberalisation of service sectors (or any other area of trade liberalisation) they must have a clear understanding of the likely impact any such actions will have on their domestic economies and the livelihoods of their citizens, especially the poor. This is why DFID is engaging with a variety of donor organisations (primarily the World bank and UNCTAD) to help ensure that developing countries are given adequate support in this area.

However, the number of developing countries involved in the GATS negotiations is very large (the majority of WTO members are developing countries) and it would not be possible for DFID to collect and present impact assessments for all these countries.

Instead, each country will be responsible for carrying out its own assessments which it may or may not choose to make public. DFID's role is to help ensure that developing countries have the necessary capacity to carry out informative and useful impact assessments which take proper account of the interests of the poor and of sustainable development issues.

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Finningley Airfield

Caroline Flint: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has received the Inspector's report on the planning application to redevelop Finningley Airfield. [77653]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received the Inspector's report on this application on 19 September. In order to ensure that the advice set out in the XGuidance on Property Issues in the Handling of Planning Casework" is followed, I have decided, since the application site is in the Yorkshire and Humber Region, where my constituency is located, that this case should be dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East.


A-level Regrading

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which universities have had to make provision for extra students following the results of the regrading of A-levels. [76780]

Margaret Hodge: This information is not held by the Department. As of 22 October 2002, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has been informed of 15 students whose move to another institution had been agreed as a result of re-grading.

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost will be of ensuring that no student is financially disadvantaged by the A-level regrading. [76782]

Margaret Hodge: My right hon. Friend has made it clear that students will not suffer financial disadvantage as a result of changing their institution due to regrading of A-level results. The A-level claims fund has been established to meet the legitimate costs of students who are able to transfer and students have until 31 January 2003 to apply. The fund can meet accommodation, books, travel and, where necessary, tuition fees, as well as other costs at the discretion of the institution.

The costs falling to the fund are not likely to be high, given the relatively small number of students affected. Institutions will pay claims from students in the first instance and they will be fully reimbursed.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight on 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 218, (a) whether there is an upper limit on the number of AS Levels which may be accrued by an individual, (b) how much marginally easier an AS Level may be than the old A Level standard, (c) whether it is his policy that the current

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A Level is of equivalent standard to the old A Level standard, (d) whether UCAS points may be aggregated such that two AS Levels are equivalent to one A Level and (e) whether a pupil will, by obtaining six AS Levels at grade C, achieve the equivalent of three A Levels at grade C. [76538]

Mr. Miliband: [holding answer 22 October 2002]: In reply:

Departmental Websites

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the website links associated with his Department, including sites now dormant or closed, and indicating whether they are live, dormant or closed; what the start up costs were for each site listed; what the operating costs were in each year since start up for each site; which company hosted each site; what assessment takes place for each site; which company does the assessment; if he will place the assessment reports in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [75589]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Core programme costs for the Department for Education and Skills central website (real terms figures in 2001–02 prices) were as follows:


Separate start up costs are not available. These costs include central hosting via EduServ (including, for the majority of the associated sites (listed below), maintenance and research.

The planned research programme for the core departmental site comprises an annual exit poll on site performance and user satisfaction, regular usage statistics, and other user research on specific issues as needed.

The initial exit poll research conducted by Research International will be placed in the HOC Library.

Archived parts of the site are available to the public at

The Department has a small number of separate websites aimed at specific campaigns and users. The majority of these sites are hosted by the Department's central hosting agreement and do not have separate hosting costs. Sites are typically subject to user research and usage statistics. Information on programme costs for each site, where it is separately available, is given below. (Real terms figures are in 2001–02 prices).

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Children and young people unit:

Hosted through our central contract with EduServ, separate programme costs not available.


2001–02 —#30,600


Hosted through our central contract with EduServ, separate programme costs not available.

Foundation degree:

Hosted through our central contract with EduServ, separate programme costs not available.

Lifelong Learning:


The site was hosted by Transcend Technology Ltd. between 1995–97 and 1997 onwards by Demon Internet.

The company who manages and maintains the site (Lifelong Learning Internet Services) completes a report for the Department annually. The report will be placed in the HOC Library.

Millennium Volunteers:

Hosted through our central contract with EduServ, separate programme costs not available.

Planet Science:

Annual budget:—#192,000

The site is hosted by Cyberstride on behalf of Planet Science, the company set up by NESTA to run the whole project.

The site currently features an online survey, the results of which will placed in the HOC Library when they are available in the new year.

Sure start:



Annual budget:—#1,250,000

The site is currently hosted via the Central Office of Information. Qualitative assessment on usage and customer satisfaction is under way. The National Literacy and Numeracy areas have recently been assessed by Central Office of Information Communications.

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Teacher net:

Annual budget:—#140,000

Research on image and customer satisfaction has been carried out by Netpoll and Prospero. Technical quality assurance is carried out by PJ Net Solutions Ltd. Research will be placed in the HOC Library.

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