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Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is her objective that the minimum service standard for mainland telephone lines in the UK should be ISDN; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 17 December 2001]: The Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) sets the minimum service standard for mainland telephone lines in the UK as part of the Universal Service Obligation on BT, taking into account the appropriate European legislation. I am therefore asking the Director General of Telecommunications to write to the hon. Member to address this point.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the fund for broadband development has been allocated; and over what period it is expected to be fully allocated. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 17 December 2001]: I set out allocations for the UK broadband fund on 9 October 2001. The Regional Development Agencies and devolved Administrations are in discussion with my officials to develop action plans. The fund will be allocated over the period 200204.
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 269W
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with Consignia concerning its business prospects; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The Department has regular discussions with Consignia about a range of strategic issues facing the company. Last year's Postal Services Act gave the company greater commercial freedom so that it could improve its services and performance. We expect the management and the unions, which have been asking for more commercial freedom for years, to work together to use the freedom we have given them to deliver a better service to customers.
Nigel Griffiths: The advice Trade Partners UK provides to UK companies considering trading or investing in Sudan is based on the nature of the inquiry and the specific area of business of the company concerned.
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 270W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons the European Union has increased the quota allocation for imports from Pakistan's clothing and textile industry; and what assessment she has made of the impact on Pakistan's economy of the increased allocation. 
Nigel Griffiths: The EC increased Pakistan's quotas for textiles and clothing as part of Commissioner Lamy's initiative to improve market access for these products on a reciprocal basis, taking into account the impact on Pakistan's economy of the events of 11 September and their aftermath. Given the importance of textiles and clothing to the Pakistani economy, the impact is likely to be of significant benefit.
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 271W
The PPRS: Fifth Report to Parliament covers the operation of the 1999 scheme, which was introduced in October 1999. It explains the Government's objectives for the scheme, how the scheme is managed and operated, including pricing policy, and gives detailed consolidated
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 272W
Mr. Hutton: I can announce today that, following 22 simultaneous consultation exercises across the whole of England, we are proposing to establish 28 new health authorities from 1 April 2002, when the existing health authorities will be disestablished. Subject to progress with the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill these new health authorities are expected to become strategic health authorities by next October. The table indicates the new health authorities and their constituent existing health authorities.
|New health authority||HAs involved|
|Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire||Cambridgeshire|
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire||Bedfordshire|
|North West London||Brent and Harrow|
|Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounlsow|
|Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster|
|North Central London||Barnet, Enfield and Haringey|
|Camden and Islington|
|North East London||Barking and Havering|
|East London and the City|
|Redbridge and Waltham Forest|
|South East London||Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich|
|Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham|
|South West London||Croydon|
|Kingston and Richmond|
|Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth|
|Northumberland, Tyne and Wear||Gateshead and South Tyneside|
|Newcastle and North Tyneside|
|County Durham and Tees Valley||County Durham and Darlington|
|North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire||Easting Riding and Hull|
|Calderdale and Kirklees|
|Cumbria and Lancashire||North Cumbria|
|North West Lancashire|
|Greater Manchester||Bury and Rochdale|
|Salford and Trafford|
|Wigan and Bolton|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||Liverpool|
|St. Helen's and Knowsley|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||North and Mid-Hampshire|
|Isle of Wight and Portsmouth and South East Hampshire|
|Southampton and South West Hampshire|
|Kent and Medway||East Kent|
|Surrey and Sussex||East Surrey|
|East Sussex, Brighton and Hove|
|Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire||Avon|
|South West Peninsula||Cornwall and Isles of Scilly|
|North and East Devon|
|South and West Devon|
|Somerset and Dorset||Dorset|
|Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland||Leicestershire|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire||North Staffordshire|
|Birmingham and the Black Country||Birmingham|
|Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire||Coventry|
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 273W
Jacqui Smith: We published the White Paper "Reforming the Mental Health Act" in December 2000. The White Paper made clear our intention to reform mental health legislation and bring it into line with the contemporary patterns of care and treatment including the changes and new investment set out in the NHS Plan, and to improve the provisions for high risk offenders, including those who are dangerous and severely personality disordered.
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 274W
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has a duty to secure the provision of proper facilities for the education and training of 16 to 19-year-olds including those who may have missed out on education due to prolonged illness.
The Connexions Service also provides integrated information, advice, guidance and personal development opportunities for all young people aged 13 to 19 in England, including giving more in depth support to those who are at greatest risk of not making a successful transition to adulthood.
18 Dec 2001 : Column: 275W
In addition, the DfES published in November this year, new statutory guidance "Access to Education for children and young people with Medical needs" which sets out minimum national standards for the education of children who are unable to attend school because of medical needs. The guidance advises that all agencies should try to enable a pupil to continue any course being taken on entry to hospital or while ill or injured at home. Local education authorities (LEAs) also have the power to provide suitable education otherwise than at school for young people over compulsory school age but under the age of 19. A local education authority (LEA) should normally arrange continuing education for young people over compulsory school age but under 18 where he or she is a "year behind" if they need to study for a further year to complete an examination course.
From April 2002, local LSCs will allocate resources to LEAs for provision delivered in school sixth forms and LEA maintained 1619 institutions. I expect this to ensure a genuinely coherent approach to post-16 provision.
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