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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been made available to higher education through the Joint Infrastructure Fund; what proportion of bids have been successful to date; and what estimate he has made of the overall cost of preparing bids on the part of the institutions involved. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 12 July 2000]: The Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) has made 109 awards worth just under £600 million to 39 universities. The final two rounds of awards, with a total value of £150 million, will be decided in November 2000 and March 2001.
So far, in Rounds 1 to 3 of JIF, the Wellcome Trust and the Research Councils have received around 550 applications totalling approximately £3.2 billion. The success rate is in the region of 20 per cent. by number of bids and amount bid for.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what grants the coal industry has received as a result of the measures announced in his oral statement of 17 April 2000, Official Report, columns 697-99. 
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Mr. Byers [holding answer 13 July 2000]: Since 1 May 1997, 10 companies in Great Britain have been offered Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) totalling £245.7 million. This includes £129 million offered to the Rover Group. One offer was conditional on the approval of the new Assisted Areas Map by the EC. However, for reasons of commercial confidentiality details of individual offers cannot be given until the first payment of grant has been made. Three companies have received some payment of grant and are shown in the table with the amount of RSA offered:
|Peugeot Motor Co||2.0|
Mr. Alan Johnson: My Department's strategy is to assist the industry to improve its competitiveness. In July 1998 my Department established the Shipbuilding Forum whose membership comprises representatives of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry, trades unions, equipment suppliers and customers, both private and public sector. Also involved are the National Training Organisation for the marine sector and relevant Government Departments. The Forum's terms of reference are to consider the current situation of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry and how to improve its competitiveness so as to increase its share of the European market, leading to increased output, profitability and employment.
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In addition, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State chaired a meeting on 13 July where a number of Ministers, including my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, met leading members of the shipbuilding industry and trades unions to discuss the further steps necessary to build a world class shipbuilding industry.
Following that meeting, the Government will take forward discussions on the issues raised on skills, training, productivity and financial support and then present them to the Shipbuilding Forum meeting in the autumn.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Mr. Hamilton) on 4 July 2000, Official Report, columns 137-38W, concerning tests to assess the medical benefits of cannabis, from what source the cannabis extracts will be obtained. 
Ms Hewitt: The source of cannabis extracts are plants legally grown in Switzerland for scientific purposes by a not-for-profit organisation. From there the plants are taken to Germany for extraction and encapsulation of the cannabinoid. Importation of the extract requires a Home Office licence and this has been applied for by the trial co-ordinator.
Ms Hewitt: There were 219,800 firms with fewer than 50 employees registered in the Greater London area at the start of 1998, the latest year for which figures are available. Of these 215,000 had fewer than 25 employees.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when the Genetic Modification Information Unit was consulted about the contamination of Hyola oilseed rape seeds; and if she will make a statement. 
Marjorie Mowlam: The GM communications unit was told of the GM-contamination of oilseed rape on 18 April, the day after Advanta first told MAFF and DETR officials of the issue, and the day before I myself was informed.
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Angela Eagle: Since the start of NDLP 154,731 lone parents have taken part, 16,294 have entered education or training and 54,241 have obtained jobs--over 1 in 3 of those participating. Independent evaluation of the prototype areas found a reduction in the number of lone parents on Income Support in NDLP areas compared to comparison areas.
We are supporting the New Deal with a raft of measures to help lone parents move into work including the Lone Parent's Benefit Run-On, the National Childcare Strategy, and Working Families Tax Credit.
From April 2001 (and in three pathfinder areas from this autumn) we will be introducing work-focused interviews for lone parents with school age children to ensure that they are aware of all the help and opportunities that are available for them.
Angela Eagle: The New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) programme was introduced in July 1997 in eight prototype areas and extended nationally to all Income Support claimants from October 1998. The prototype phase cost £7.9 million, including set-up costs, and the national programme has provisionally cost £60.1 million (to March 2000). Independent evaluation of the NDLP prototypes estimated that NDLP was recovering 90 per cent. of its total costs and more than covered its on-going running costs.
From April 2001 we will be introducing a £15 weekly training premium for lone parents moving into work-focused training through NDLP; increasing the earnings disregard in income-related benefits; and providing more help with child care for those moving into part-time work. We will also be introducing work-focused interviews for lone parents on Income Support with a youngest child of school age to ensure that they are aware of all the measures that we have introduced to help them move into work.
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Angela Eagle: Since the start of the New Deal for Lone Parents, 154,731 lone parents have taken part, 16,294 have entered education or training and 54,241 have obtained jobs--over 1 in 3 of those participating.
Angela Eagle: The total number of initial invitation letters issued between October 1998 and April 2000 was 489,481. From April 2001, we will be introducing compulsory work-focused interviews for all lone parents on Income Support whose youngest child is of school age.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security under the New Deal for Lone Parents, how many lone parents in each month between February and April 2000 (a) attended an initial interview and (b) found work, broken down into those whose youngest child was (i) over and (ii) under five years and three months. 
|Over 5 years 3 months||Under 5 years 3 months|
|Number attending initial interview with a youngest child|
|Number of jobs obtained by lone parents with a youngest child|
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