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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what responses he has received to his consultation paper on rate relief for farm diversification; and if he will make a statement. 
In the light of our consultation, we are proposing to implement a scheme to allow 50 per cent. rate relief for an initial period for five years to all new small businesses established on property that was previously subject to the agricultural exemption from rates.
We also intend to implement the proposals in "Modernising Local Government Finance: A Green Paper", published last September, for extending the rate relief scheme for village shops to provide mandatory relief to certain food shops, pubs and petrol filling stations.
Legislation to implement these proposals will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. They are a significant contribution to realising the vision set out in the White Paper, "Our countryside: the future".
Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Framework Document of his Department and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution will be published. 
A key recommendation of the recent five-year Financial Management and Policy Review (FMPR) of the Royal Commission, which Ministers endorsed, was the preparation of a Framework Document to bring greater clarity to the Commission's relationship with
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the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and to reinforce the Commission's drive towards improved effectiveness.
I am pleased to announce today the publication of a 'Framework Document' which sets out the respective roles and responsibilities of DETR, as sponsor Department, and the Commission, including provisions for more effective forward planning and performance review. It is available on my Department's website www.detr.gov.uk and copies are being placed in the Library of the House.
The Council had been due to meet in Dublin on 23 January. Many of those who would be expected to attend the Council meeting were involved in continuing political discussions on implementation of the Good Friday agreement. The meeting was therefore postponed to allow more time for these discussions, as was the successor date of 5 February. It is hoped that a summit level meeting can be held as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister: I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Sir Nigel Wicks GCB CVO CBE as the new Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in succession to Lord Neill of Bladen QC with effect from 1 March 2001.
In addition, I have appointed two new members to the Committee: Rabbi Julia Neuberger and Rita Donaghy OBE. They are appointed in succession to Sir William Utting and Sir Clifford Boulton. All three appointments are for three years in the first instance with the possibility of renewal. All three appointments were made fully in line with the Guidance of the Commissioner on Public Appointments.
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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Prime Minister for what reason he has not corrected, in line with Chapter I (iii) of the Ministerial Code, the inaccurate answer, concerning the number of extra students in further and higher education since the Government came into office, recorded on 8 February 2001, Official Report, column 1178. 
The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 February 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given today by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Lifelong Learning to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell). In addition, I have written to the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) and have placed a copy in the Library.
Mr. George Howarth: There has, for many years in Northern Ireland, been a wide range of initiatives at local level directed towards encouraging young people into more constructive activity. Most of these initiatives, however, now fall within the responsibility of the devolved Administration in Northern Ireland.
The Community Affairs Branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, in partnership with other bodies, carry out work with young people, who either have committed crime or are deemed at risk of offending, aimed at diverting them away from criminal activity.
7. Mr. Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 on the normalisation of security in Northern Ireland. 
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8. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress is being made towards the normalisation of security measures in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to border areas. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend and the hon. Member to the reply my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland gave earlier to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson), Official Report, columns 892-93.
Dr. Reid: The strength and stability of the Northern Ireland economy in recent years has been an important factor in creating the right conditions for advancing the peace process. Political progress has in turn had a positive effect on the economy, bringing tangible benefits to everyone and so helping to encourage support for further progress.
Dr. Reid: We are continuing to make progress on the implementation of the Belfast Agreement. We still have some way to go, but there is a desire from all quarters to move forward. The Assembly is functioning smoothly and the Programme for Government has been well received, as has the budget announced by the Finance Minister, Mark Durkan.
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