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National Minimum Wage

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his Department's role in (a) the setting of the level of the minimum wage and (b) its administration; and if he will make a statement. [47418]

Mr. Hain: The Government have accepted the Low Pay Commission's recommendations on the national minimum wage and the minimum wage will be implemented in April 1999. The Department will continue to play a full part in the decisions surrounding the national minimum wage and its administration.

Putting in place the national minimum wage is a key manifesto commitment, which, along with other measures such as the Working Families Tax Credit, and the tax benefits reform, forms part of the Government's strategy to promote work incentives and to "make work pay". It will remove the worst cases of exploitation in the workplace, which have no place in modern Britain/Wales.

River Dee Bridge

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his assessment of the impact of the opening of the new River Dee bridge upon the Garden City, Queensferry, Shotton and Connah's Quay communities with specific reference to (a) the percentage decrease in traffic, (b) pedestrian safety and (c) levels of pollution; and if he will make a statement. [47423]

Mr. Hain: These are matters for Flintshire County Council who are responsible for this scheme.

Development Assistance

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the prospects for the restoration of full development area status to North East Wales; and if he will make a statement. [47906]

Mr. Hain: The European Commission has recently published new guidelines affecting the designation of Assisted Areas. The Commission has asked all Member States to submit, for their approval, new maps of Assisted Areas to take effect by 1 January 2000. A Review of the current Assisted Areas map will be announced shortly. The public will be consulted.

Higher Education

Mr. Gorrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many of those aged (a) under 21, (b) 21 to 24 and (c) over 25 years and over, registered in Wales, applied through UCAS for admission to a course of higher education for the (i) 1994, (ii) 1995, (iii) 1996, (iv) 1997 and (v) 1998 entry cycles; what were the numbers of the population in Wales aged (a) to (c) for (i) to (v); and what was the proportion of those applying as a percentage of the appropriate population cohort. [47265]

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Mr. Hain: The information is given in the following tables.

Welsh domiciled students applying through UCAS for higher education courses

Year Under 21(13)21 to 2425 and over

(12) At 30 September in year of entry

(13) Records relate to only those aged 17 to 20 (inclusive)

(14) Data incomplete. Only forms processed by UCAS up until 16 May 1998 are included

Population in Wales, by age group(15)

YearUnder 21(17)21 to 2425 and over

(15) Figures for 1994 to 1996 are the Office for National Statistics' mid year estimates

(16) At 30 June each year

(17) Population ages 18 to 20 (inclusive)

Estimated proportions of population applying through UCAS for higher education courses

YearUnder 21(19)21 to 2425 and over

(18) Estimates do not account for the fact that the age of UCAS applicants relates to 30 September and the ages for the population relate to 30 June

(19) Calculated using population aged 18 to 20


Millennium Exhibitions

30. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what plans he has to transport the millennium exhibitions throughout the United Kingdom. [46343]

Mr. Mandelson: It is too early for final decisions to be made about the future of individual exhibits beyond the year 2000, but there will be a substantial and diverse legacy from the Millennium Experience, and we hope that it might be possible for elements of the exhibits to be displayed elsewhere after 2000.

Millennium Dome

32. Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of the millennium dome. [46347]

29 Jun 1998 : Column: 67

Mr. Mandelson: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has worked to ensure that environmental concerns properly inform the decision making process for both the construction and the operation of the Millennium Experience at Greenwich, while recognising the time and financial constraints under which the project operates. Amongst other things, the Company's environmental plan, which is being developed in consultation with the London Borough of Greenwich, is issued to all tenderers and trade contractors.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister without Portfolio how many jobs he estimates will be created in the course of constructing the Dome at Greenwich. [46341]

Mr. Mandelson: The Dome is expected to create over 2,000 jobs during construction, on and off the site. A further 5,000 people will be employed in running the Millennium Experience during the Year 2000.

Millennium Experience

33. Mr. Randall: To ask the Minister without Portfolio how much public money he estimates will be spent on the millennium experience between now and the staging of the event. [46349]

Mr. Mandelson: The Millennium Experience is not being funded through taxation. The cost is being met roughly half by a National Lottery grant of £399m from the Millennium Commission, and the other half by private sector sponsorship and other commercial income including visitor revenue. To date, £104.5m of the £399m grant has been spent.

34. Mr. Brady: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what assessment he has made of the economic impact of the millennium experience on the local economy. [46350]

Mr. Mandelson: An economic impact assessment was carried out as part of the planning application process for the Dome in October 1996. This study estimated that 10,000 jobs would be created as a result of the Millennium Experience, 2,000 on construction, 5,000 during the operation and a further 3,000 as a result of the effects on supplier companies and the effects of spending by an increased level of visitors in the area.


EU Funds

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the (a) organisations and (b) projects which received funding under budget lines A-3024 and A-3104 for 1997. [46071]

Mr. Doug Henderson: EU budget lines A-3024 and A-3104 did not exist in 1997--the activities funded under these lines in 1998 came under budget line A-3030 last year. Details of individual grants made under A-3030 are contained in the Commission's "Report on Beneficiaries of Community Grants 1997", a copy of which I will place in the Libraries of the House.

29 Jun 1998 : Column: 68


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Turkish Government on the imprisonment of members of the Turkish National Assembly. [46516]

Mr. Doug Henderson: Our Embassy in Ankara has on several occasions raised the issue of the imprisonment of former Democracy Party members of the Grant National Assembly in its contacts with the Turkish government, and will continue to do so.

Sierra Leone

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will state the (a) number, (b) grades, (c) originating department and (d) current roles of all civil servants assisting the Legg Inquiry. [47229]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Secretariat comprises six staff: a grade 6 officer from the Home Office (the Secretary); a grade 7 officer from the Lord Chancellor's Department (the Deputy Secretary); an executive officer; an administrative officer; and two personal secretaries, all from the Home Office.

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