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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 July 2000

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

UK Institute of Arable Crops

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department provides for research by the UK Institute of Arable Crops. [130455]

Mr. Foulkes: We do not provide financial assistance in the form of core funding for the Institute of Arable Crops Research (IACR). Funding is provided for specific research projects with agreed objectives which contribute to achieving our overall objectives and also under consultancy contracts.

IACR is currently involved in 12 research projects with a total value of £2,355,599 which are wholly or partly funded from our Renewable Natural Resources research programmes. Most of these involve research collaboration with other institutions in the UK or overseas. It is not possible to disaggregate the share of funding received by IACR in the time available.

IACR also has some involvement in an Indo-UK collaboration on oilseed crops funded from our India programme which includes research and technology transfer and has a total value of £2 million over eight years.

In addition IACR has a contract to provide us with specialist advisory and diagnostic services in the field of tropical plant virology and in response to inquiries from our partner countries. The value of this contract is currently around £40,000 a year.

UN Drugs Control Programme

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department provides for the UN Drugs Control Programme; and what this funding is earmarked for. [130451]

Mr. Foulkes: Over the last three years we have provided £2.377 million to UNDCP in support of alternative development in Bolivia, Peru and Pakistan; £1.550 million to UNDCP in support of demand reduction and education in Peru and East Asia; and £0.196 million in support of strengthening law enforcement in China and East Asia.

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CABINET OFFICE

E-Government Strategy

Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress has been made on the toolkit for assessing IT professional skills in departments, proposed in the e-Government strategy published in April. [130796]

Mr. Ian McCartney: The Central IT Unit in the Cabinet Office, with support from CCTA, has now developed the toolkit and I am today placing copies in the Libraries of the House, and on the Information Age Government website at www.iagchampions.gov.uk. The toolkit has been extended to cover both the IT professional and business system management skills needed to implement department's e-business strategies, as recommended in the report "Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action" that I published in May.

Appointments (Women)

Mr. Allan: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which she has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. [129844]

Mr. Stringer: Since 1 May 1997, my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office has appointed (or re-appointed) 90 men and 68 women to serve on the boards of non-departmental public bodies. Of these, 21 men (72 per cent.) and eight women (28 per cent.) were appointed to paid posts and 69 men (53 per cent.) and 60 women (47 per cent.) were appointed to unpaid posts.

In addition, my noble Friend, Baroness Jay, the Minister for Women has appointed 16 women to serve on the Women's National Commission. Of these, one is a paid post.

This Government are committed to increasing the representation of women in public life. In support of this, the Department has drawn up an action plan for increasing the number of women and ethnic minorities holding public appointments. The latest plans, together with the Government's overall plan, were published on 24 May 2000 in "Quangos: Opening up Public Appointments 2000-2003", copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.

National Insurance

Mr. Webb: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what has been the policy since 1989 on writing annually to those of her 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. [129492]

Mr. Stringer: My Department has no policy for writing annually to staff who are paying reduced rates of National Insurance.

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CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Bishops (Allowances)

Mr. Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what account the Church Commissioners take of allowances paid to bishops by the House of Lords in setting their pay and allowances. [130404]

Mr. Stuart Bell: None. These allowances are paid to bishops to cover their overnight accommodation, subsistence, secretarial and travel costs incurred in the exercise of their duties as Members of the House of Lords. They are entirely separate from bishops' stipends and working costs paid by the Commissioners.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Glass Industry

12. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to award grants to new companies in the glass industry. [128951]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend has no such plans at present.

Energy Needs (Gas)

13. Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the importance of gas in the UK's future energy needs. [128953]

Mrs. Liddell: Gas plays, and will continue to play, an important part in meeting the UK's energy needs. In 1999, gas accounted for 33.2 per cent. of UK primary energy requirements; and, from within that total, gas generation accounted for 38.5 per cent. of electricity supplied. A working paper produced by my Department suggests that the contribution of gas to primary energy demand in the year 2020 will be of the order of 47.5-49.2 per cent., and its share of fuel used for electricity generation to be in the range 57-64 per cent..

Entrepreneurial Skills (Universities)

14. Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to equip universities with entrepreneurial skills. [128954]

Ms Hewitt: The Government's £25 million Science Enterprise Challenge initiative has established 12 centres of enterprise in UK universities.

The Centres will:





Package Holidays

15. Mr. Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to meet package holiday industry representatives to discuss their pricing policies. [128955]

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Mr. Caborn: I have no plans at present to meet with travel industry representatives to discuss their pricing policies.

Magnox Stations

16. Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of increased carbon dioxide emissions consequent upon the rescheduling of closure of Magnox nuclear power stations. [128956]

Mrs. Liddell: The projections within "Energy Projections for the UK: Working Paper", issued by my Department in March, include assumptions on the timing of closure of Magnox stations. The projected levels of carbon dioxide release in the Kyoto target period are unaffected by the recent announcements.

Employment Law

17. Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to propose extensions to the provisions of employment law with respect to information and consultation. [128957]

Mr. Alan Johnson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has no plans to propose extensions to the provisions of employment law with respect to information and consultation.

Clothing and Textiles Industry

18. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken through procurement policies by public bodies to assist the UK clothing and textiles industry. [128958]

Ms Hewitt: We shall be bringing together leading public purchasers of textiles and clothing to discuss how British companies can be more competitive when bidding for public contracts.

Manufacturing Industry

19. Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to improve the long-term viability of manufacturing industry. [128959]

Mr. Caborn: We are assisting manufacturing industry to improve its long-term prospects by providing a stable macro-economic framework and by pursuing policies that help firms to innovate and grow.


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