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Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce a tax allowance on petrol for disabled drivers who are dependent on their cars. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor keeps all tax issues under review as part of the Budget process. Drivers who receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance can already get help leasing or buying a car from the Motability scheme. They also qualify for the Blue Badge scheme (formerly Orange Badge scheme) of parking concessions and are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance his Department gives to help develop small and medium-sized business organisations in the Greater London area. 
Ms Hewitt: The nine Business Links in London receive financial support from the DTI's Business Link core services budget to deliver a range of help to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the Greater London area.
From next April, one New Business Link operation covering the whole of London will take over as the primary source of help to SMEs. My Department will be providing substantial funding for the new business support arrangements.
Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 22 June 2000, Official Report, column 236W, on Lesotho, if he will list the payments by Her Majesty's Government in respect of loans underwritten through the ECGD to the companies listed. 
Mr. Caborn: No claims payments have been made direct to the companies concerned as they are not the beneficiaries of the ECGD cover. ECGD's guarantee is given to the lending bank for any defaults arising under any loan agreement.
Only one of the loans listed has so far given rise to claims payments, namely the loan made by HSBC to finance the Cairo Waste Water project in Egypt. On a closer examination of records, it is regretted that the value
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of this loan was incorrectly shown as £32.0 million in the answer provided to my hon Friend's earlier question on 22 June 2000, Official Report, column 236W. The total value of this loan was, in fact, £142.8 million. Claims including interest of the value of £190.8 million have been paid to the lending bank following a series of defaults under this loan of which some £43 million has been recovered to date. The balance of the debt has been rescheduled under debt rescheduling arrangements with Egypt.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will allow Post Office Counters to contract with parcel companies in the private sector. 
Mr. Byers: This is a commercial matter for the Post Office.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the acquisitions made by Royal Mail in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000. 
Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list for his Department and its agencies the approved list of manufacturers of (a) cars and (b) commercial vehicles; and if he will make a statement on his Department's leasing and purchasing policy. 
Dr. Howells: The Department does not purchase vehicles. The primary purpose of the Department's policy on leased vehicles is to achieve value for money on official travel. There is no restriction on the make of (a) cars and (b) commercial vehicles that can be obtained through the Department's leasing arrangements.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects the EU to approve a regional aid map for the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Byers: In the near future.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the policy since 1989 on writing annually to those of his Department's staff who are paying reduced rates of National Insurance contributions, reminding them of the rules governing the payment of reduced rates, as recommended in the Inland Revenue guidance note on reduced rate National Insurance contributions for married women. 
Dr. Howells: The Department has not previously issued annual reminders to staff paying reduced rates of National Insurance contributions but this policy is currently under review.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Secretary and Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland was appointed; what the term of his appointment is; how many official visits he made outside Northern Ireland in each year since his appointment; what expenses were reimbursed to him for (a) entertainment, (b) subsistence, (c) travel and (d) car mileage or the use of a vehicle; and what vehicle allowance was paid to him in each year since his appointment. 
Mr. Ingram: The current Secretary and Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland was appointed on 1 July 1995 on a 4-year contract. This contract was renewed on 1 July 1999 for a further 4 years.
The first table shows the number of official journeys made each year by the Secretary and Chief executive outside Northern Ireland since his appointment in July 1995 until 30 June 2000. The second table details expenses reimbursed to the Secretary over each financial year.
|2000-30 June 2000||0||0||0||0|
(3) Total £669
All figures rounded to the nearest £
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the Secretary and Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland is authorised to use fuel charge cards issued for the use of the (a) RUC and (b) Police Authority. 
Mr. Ingram: Use of fuel charge cards issued to the Royal Ulster Constabulary is at the discretion of the RUC's Chief Engineer and the Head of Transport. The Police Authority is not in possession of fuel charge cards.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the terms of employment of the Secretary and Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland provide for (a) use of official vehicles (i) on and (ii) off duty, or (b) reimbursement for mileage or the use of a vehicle and (c) a vehicle allowance. 
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Mr. Ingram: The Secretary and Chief Executive of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland has access to official vehicles when on duty. The Secretary and Chief Executive is entitled to claim mileage allowance for the use of a private vehicle on official business in accordance with the Northern Ireland Civil Service Code.
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many firearms certificates have been withdrawn in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years and the current year; and how many (a) shotguns, (b) .22 rifles, (c) fullbore rifles and (d) handguns were affected by the withdrawal of certificates. 
Mr. Ingram: The Chief Constable has advised that the information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Readily available information is set out in the table.
|Year||Revocations||Refusals to renew||Partial refusals(4)||Total|
(4) When only one, or more than one, of a number of firearms on a firearm certificate has been refused to be renewed.
(5) January to June
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have been arrested and charged with drugs offences in Northern Ireland since 1 January; and what is his estimate of the street value of each type of illegal substance seized. 
Mr. Ingram: The table shows the number of persons arrested and charged with drugs offences during the period 1 January to 31 May 2000, together with the type of drugs seized and the estimated street value.
|Opiates (inc. Heroin)||Powder||2,800|
|Total value of drugs seized (January to May 2000)||6,963,714|
April to May 2000 figures are provisional and may be subject to change
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