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Government Sports Strategy

Mr. Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what targets he has for getting more people regularly to take exercise; and if he will make a statement. [134150]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

Experts recommend that all adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five times a week and children should be active for at least an hour every day. In each case, physical activity can include activities like brisk walking, cycling and swimming.

The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease set out key milestones for the implementation of a range of prevention programmes at a local level. These milestones state that, by April 2001, all NHS bodies, working closely with local authorities, will have agreed and be contributing to the delivery of local programmes on physical activity. By April 2002, all local health communities will have quantitative data on implementation of these policies. The Health Development Agency has compiled a guide for implementing the preventive aspects of the NSF. This will be sent to Health Authorities in November and will provide examples of the projects they can set up in order to reach NSF milestones.

Several Government initiatives are promoting opportunities for people to be more physically active. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has made safer roads a priority in their White Paper 'A New Deal for Transport'. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have outlined their commitment to improve access to services in their 'Sports Strategy'. There is also a joint DH/DfEE programme to implement the objectives of the 'National Healthy School Standard', which includes physical activity as a component.

Initiatives are in place to promote physical activity among children. The Safe and Sound Challenge, which encourages children to walk or cycle to school along safe routes, has run successfully for two years. In 2000-01, the aim of the scheme will be to offer schools in socially deprived areas the opportunity to develop healthy active modes of travel to school.

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Office Furniture

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what the cost is of each item of portable office furniture (a) in offices in Portcullis House and (b) in other offices in the Parliamentary Estate. [136816]

Sir Sydney Chapman: This is a matter for the Serjeant at Arms; I have asked him to write to the hon. Member.



Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list those aspects of biodiversity which are potentially under threat as a result of the use of GM crops, to which he made reference in his speech on environmental policy at the Joint Green Alliance/CBI Forum on 24 October. [135436]

The Prime Minister: The Government take a precautionary, evidence-based approach to the possible impact on biodiversity of growing GM crops, whether through the herbicide regime, as a result of gene flow, or some other effect.

Core Environmental Principles

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the set of common values as part of core environmental principles to which he made reference in his speech on environmental policy at the Joint Green Alliance/CBI Partnership meeting on 24 October. [135435]

The Prime Minister: As is set out in the Sustainable Development Strategy, 'A Better Quality of Life', published in May 1999, the Government's core aim is:

Key values are best expressed by four objectives: social progress which recognises the needs of everyone; effective protection of the environment; prudent use of natural resources; and maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

Chapter 4 of the strategy also sets out 10 guiding principles and approaches which provide additional background on our common values with regard to achieving sustainable development.

More specifically, we need to build a new coalition for the environment that works with the grain of consumers, business and science, not against them, so that we can continue to grow and share the benefits of that growth. However, the negative impact of growth on the environment has to be reduced and a more productive use of environmental resources developed. To do this we need to: address problems at the right level--international, national, regional and local; harness consumer demand, not stifle it; stimulate science and innovation to provide solutions to environmental problems; use environmental resources more efficiently and become a low-carbon, recycling economy; and see protecting the environment as a business opportunity.

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Our goal is therefore to combine the benefits of continued economic growth with the creation of a fairer society and a cleaner environment.

Hon. Members' Pay

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound) of 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 68-69W, what plans he has to include in the forthcoming review a review of pension arrangements for hon. Members and Ministers and the additional costs allowances. [136420]

The Prime Minister: The review of parliamentary pay and allowances to which I referred in my previous answer will not cover pensions. That is the subject of a separate review which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has asked the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) to conduct and which we expect to receive early in the New Year.

In addition to its commitment to review Members' pay this year, I have specifically asked the Review Body to look at the Office Cost Allowance because of representations I have received asking that this be done. I have not specifically requested the SSRB to look at other allowances.

European Federation

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer from the Minister for Europe of 2 November 2000, Official Report, column 557W, on European federation, if he will define the difference between the two types of Government mentioned; and if he will make a statement. [137683]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave his hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 509W.

EU Council, Biarritz

Mr. Cash: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the information EU Council held in Biarritz. [138248]

The Prime Minister: A Statement on the Information European Council in Biarritz was made at the earliest opportunity in the other place by my right hon. and noble Friend, the Lord Privy Seal, in a written reply to the noble Lord Faulkner of Worcester, 16 October 2000, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WA63-65.

I repeated this statement when the House of Commons returned from the Summer Recess in a written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound), Official Report, columns 69-70W.

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his policy towards COM(2000)644. [135578]

Mr. Vaz: I have been asked to reply.

COM(2000)644 is a Commission Communication, published on 11 October, "on the legal nature of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union".

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The Commission advocates that the Charter should be incorporated in the Treaties of the European Union. The Government reject this view, and incorporation will not happen unless all member states agree.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) on 2 November 2000, Official Report, columns 555-56W.


Baltic States

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) ministerial contacts and (b) military exchange contacts there have been in the past 12 months with (i) Lithuania, (ii) Latvia and (iii) Estonia; and if he will make a statement. [138094]

Mr. Spellar: We have well-developed defence relations with all three countries. These include extensive contacts at both ministerial and military levels. During the last 12 months contacts at ministerial level have included meetings between the Secretary of State for Defence and the Latvian and Estonian Presidents, a meeting between my colleague the Minister for Defence Procurement and the Latvian Defence Minister, Mr. Girts-Valdis Kristovkis, and my own meetings with Mr. Kristovkis, the former Lithuanian Defence Minister, Mr. Ceslovas Stankevicius, and the Estonian Foreign Minister, Mr. Toomas Ilves. In addition, following a very successful visit to the Baltic States in July 1999, the Chief of the Defence Staff has received senior visitors from Estonia and Latvia. The Chief of the Naval Staff visited all three Baltic States in June this year.

Central to our relationships with all three countries are bilateral programmes of defence co-operation, which form part of our Defence Diplomacy mission. These programmes cover the provision of a wide range of assistance, including advice on defence management, English language training and military training. In addition, my Department supports a number of joint Baltic defence projects, including the Baltic Defence College, located at Tartu in Estonia, the Baltic peace-keeping battalion and the Baltic naval squadron. Our aim is to support the establishment of democratically accountable, cost-effective armed forces capable of contributing to national and regional security and, increasingly, international security through peace support operations.

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