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Neighbourhood Renewal

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received concerning good-quality housing in the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal; and if he will make a statement. [130244]

Ms Armstrong: The Social Exclusion Unit has just completed an extensive 12 week consultation on the framework document on the National Strategy for

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Neighbourhood Renewal. The consultation included over 70 events around the country and to date over 600 written responses have been received. Housing quality was raised at a number of the events. The written response is currently being analysed and it is too early to assess how many concern good quality housing. The results from the consultation will be reflected in the final strategy document to be issued later this year.

Social Exclusion (Islington)

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the coordination of Government policies on social exclusion in respect of Islington's voluntary sector. [128648]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The local voluntary sector has an important role to play in combating social exclusion. Local authorities, including Islington borough council, provide substantial funding to that sector. The extent of that funding is a matter for individual councils bearing in mind their statutory responsibilities, their priorities and the wishes of their electorate.

Rural White Paper

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he

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will make a statement on the account that will be taken in the Government's proposed Rural White Paper of the effect on the rural economy of hunting, shooting and fishing. [128657]

Mr. Mullin: The Government recognise that country sports, such as fishing, shooting and hunting, contribute significantly to the economy in some rural areas. We are taking account of this during the preparation of the forthcoming Rural White Paper.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Rural White Paper will be published. [128655]

Mr. Mullin: The Rural White Paper is being prepared in tandem with a White Paper on urban policy and we intend that both White Papers will be published when the House returns in the autumn.


Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the proportion of mortgages held on (a) fixed rate, (b) variable rate and (c) other terms in each of the last 20 years; and if he will make a statement. [130257]

Mr. Mullin: The Department does not collect information on the totality of outstanding mortgages. It does, however, collect information on the numbers of "new advances" that are fixed rate, discounted variable rate and other variable rate. Figures were first collected in 1993 and the figures for 1993 and 1999 are as follows.

Percentage of new mortgages by number Percentage of new mortgages by value
FixedDiscounted variableOther variableFixedDiscounted variableOther variable


DETR 5% Survey of Mortgage Lenders

Equivalent information on outstanding mortgages has been collected using ad hoc surveys of mortgage lenders carried out by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) in 1994, 1997 and 1999. Their findings were published in Housing Finance No. 24 (1994); News & Views No. 22 (1997) and Housing Finance No. 44 (1999).

Drinking Water Inspectorate

Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the tenth annual report of the Drinking Water Inspectorate will be published. [130471]

Mr. Meacher: The Drinking Water Inspectorate has published its tenth Annual Report today.

The main features for 1999 were:

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The Inspectorate has also published two leaflets for consumers. "How Good is the Drinking Water", will summarise the main points of the Report. "DWI Report on (Each) Water Company" gives brief details of the quality of drinking water supplied by individual water companies.

Copies of the Report and leaflets have been placed in the Library of the House.


Sierra Leone

Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the work of the Short Term Training Team in Sierra Leone. [130626]

Mr. Hoon: The work of the Short Term Training Team is progressing well, with the recruits due to complete their infantry training before the end of July. In the light of the success of this training, and in order to provide further support for the Government of Sierra Leone, I have approved a second six-week course, which will run to early September. The training team for this course will be largely drawn from one Royal Irish, whose equipment will be transported by the RFA Sir Galahad, which will then return to the UK. The existing RFA, Sir Percivale, will remain in support. In addition, the Government will be providing some items of personal equipment needed by the trainees, including boots and ponchos, from surplus MOD stocks, as well as an additional 5 million rounds of 7.62 mm link ammunition to help to meet urgent operational needs. As with the previous batch of ammunition announced on 29 June, this will be delivered to Sierra Leone subject to the Government of Sierra Leone securing formal agreement from the ECOWAS Secretariat that this ammunition can be imported as an exception to their Small Arms Moratorium. In accordance with UNSCR 1171 (1998), this shipment will be notified to the UN Sanctions Committee. Its provision will also be subject to confirmation that it will be used only by regular SLA soldiers, in accordance with international humanitarian law and human rights standards, and not by child soldiers.

Appointments (Women)

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which he has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. [129848]

Dr. Moonie: The following figures apply to appointments and reappointments made to Ministry of Defence non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) since 1 May 1997:

These figures include appointments not made by the Secretary of State for Defence, such as appointments to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, which are made by the Prime Minister. They exclude appointments made to bodies which have been declassified as NDPBs since 1 May 1997, such as the subcommittees of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council.

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Within the overriding principle of selection based on merit, MOD is committed to increasing diversity in appointments to its NDPBs and raising the representation of women, people from ethnic minority groups and disabled people in line with government-wide objectives.

Green Transport

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the key buildings for which his Department (a) submitted and (b) did not submit green transport plans by March. [122608]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 18 May 2000]: The Ministry of Defence has approximately 340 key buildings and sites. Of these, stand-alone travel plans for 19 key sites have been submitted. The sites are:

Travel Plans for the remainder of my Department's key buildings and sites were not submitted by March 2000. Plans for these sites will be produced as part of measures

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for promoting green transport initiatives within our corporate Environmental Management System (EMS), and where significant environmental impacts arising from transport activities are identified by site-based EMSs.

However, it must be borne in mind that many of our sites are in locations that are relatively isolated and MOD Main Building is not just an administration Centre but also a 24 hour operational Headquarters.

The framework for the corporate EMS was approved in April 2000 and an implementation programme is being developed during the current Financial Year. Formal implementation of the EMS will commence in April 2001.

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