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Correspondence

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the hon. Member for West Derbyshire will receive a reply to his letter of 20 March about the Orange Badge Scheme for disabled drivers. [121443]

Mr. Hill: I responded to the hon. Member on Tuesday 9 May.

Exeter-Waterloo Line

Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans the Government have to alter the rail franchise which covers the Exeter to Waterloo Line; and if he will make a statement. [121225]

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Mr. Hill: The Franchising Director has announced that he is considering replacement of the existing South West Trains franchise with an option to include or exclude Exeter to Waterloo services. This is one of a number of alterations being considered to the existing franchise map, but on which no firm decisions have yet been taken.

Standard Spending Assessment

Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the standard spending assessment per head of population for each English local authority for the most recent year for which information is available, ranked in descending order of allocated expenditure per head; and if he will make a statement. [121307]

Ms Armstrong: Two tables have been placed in the Library. The first table gives the 2000-01 Standard Spending Assessments (SSAs), the mid-98 population estimate and the SSA per head, together with the ranking for education authorities. The second table provides similar information for shire districts. The tables have been sorted and ranked in descending order of SSA per head. It would be inappropriate to compare shire districts with education authorities since they have vastly different responsibilities.

Pollution Prevention and Control

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representation he has received on the implementation of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive; and if he will make a statement. [120453]

Mr. Hill: Copies of representations, unless marked confidential, are kept on the Department's files where they may be viewed. The Department has just issued its fifth consultation paper on the implementation of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive. This includes a summary of the representations from the fourth consultation paper.

Representations from previous consultation papers have been received from:










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DEFENCE

Correspondence

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason he has not replied to the letter from the hon. Member for Twickenham of 17 August 1999 regarding conditions of service of members of the TA. [120989]

Mr. Spellar: I wrote to the hon. Member on 9 May.

Armed Services (Egg Suppliers)

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) eggs and (b) egg products purchased for the armed services in the last year for which figures are available were of British origin. [121352]

Dr. Moonie: The supply of food for the Armed Forces is contracted out to "3663". They advise that 100 per cent. of the eggs and egg products supplied to our forces based in the UK in the 12 month period ending March 2000 were of British origin. Supplies of eggs and egg products for our forces based overseas, which make up approximately 7 per cent. of the total requirement, were in the main sourced locally.

Garrison Churches, Aldershot

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the three garrison churches in Aldershot. [120932]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 8 May 2000]: A study is under way to consider the redevelopment of the Aldershot Garrison and this will encompass all the buildings, including the churches. Any proposal concerning the Garrison Churches will be discussed with the relevant bodies prior to any decision being made.

Trident

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the latest estimate of the cost of the Trident acquisition programme; and if he will make a statement. [121749]

Mr. Hoon: The current estimate of the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme, with payments already made expressed at the prices and exchange rates actually incurred and future spend at the current financial year exchange rate (the hybrid estimate), is now £9,745 million. Leaving aside the effects of price inflation (+£12 million), there has been a real cost reduction since last year of £23 million. Expenditure on the Trident acquisition programme to 30 September 1999 represented some 96 per cent. of this estimate. If all expenditure, past and projected, is brought up to the current year's economic conditions (the non-hybrid estimate) the estimate is £13,170 million.

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Estimate table
£ million

USUKTotal
Hybrid
Previous estimate (April 1999) at 1998-99 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269)2,8736,8839,756
Real Changes-16-7-23
Price Inflation on unspent balance+2+10+12
Exchange Rate Variation0n/a0
Revised Estimate at 1999-2000 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269)2,8596,8869,745
Non-hybrid
Previous estimate (April 1999) at 1998-99 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269)3,4489,42312,870
Real Changes-16-7-23
Price Inflation on unspent balance+64+258+323
Exchange Rate Variation0n/a0
Revised Estimate at 1999-2000 economic conditions (£1=$1.6269)3,4969,67413,170

Note:

Figures rounded to nearest £ million hence any apparent imbalances.


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10 May 2000 : Column: 391W

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Departmental Communications Systems

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to modernise his Department's communications systems. [121806]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will today sign a contract with Global Crossing to provide a new telecommunications network and associated telecommunications services. The contract has been negotiated as part of the Private Finance Initiative, and will run for a 10 year period. The projected Net Present Value of the contract is £106 million. The total cost of the contract over the 10 year period is projected at £165 million.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Procurement (British Goods)

Mr. Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the policy is of the House in respect of public procurement and buying British goods; and what changes there have been in this policy since May 1997. [120823]

Mr. Kirkwood: The policy of the House is to procure all works, services and supplies in accordance with the relevant European Public Procurement Directives which ensures that British companies are given equal opportunity to secure House business.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Disability Legislation Compliance Cost

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what studies have been undertaken into the compliance costs for (a) further and (b) higher education of their forthcoming involvement in disability discrimination legislation. [119320]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 18 April 2000]: The Government issued a consultation document on 17 March covering how disability rights in education might be implemented. The consultation period ended on 28 April. The costs of compliance in further and higher education will be estimated in the light of an analysis of responses to the document.

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Higher Education (Access)

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to widen access to higher education. [121618]

Mr. Blunkett: My Department already has a range of initiatives to increase participation of disadvantaged groups. For instance, through the Excellence in Cities programme we are giving 5,000 gifted and talented 16 and 17-year-olds a taste of university life this summer. I can confirm that we will be providing new bursaries, worth up to £1,000 a year, that will give those from disadvantaged backgrounds the extra financial incentive and confidence they need to embark on a higher education course. These bursaries, which will be introduced from next year, will be known as "opportunity bursaries". However, more action is required if we are to extend the opportunities of higher education to all those capable of benefiting from it.

Today, I am pleased to announce a further package of measures that will open up new horizons to people from disadvantaged groups. This package includes:





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