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Mr. Wilson: The operation of the New Deal in Scotland has been a success. Over 28,000 young people have found work in just over two years. The New Deal is also helping long-term unemployed people, lone parents, disabled people and people over 50 find work. The success of the New Deal in Scotland is founded on a partnership with the Employment Service, the Scottish Executive and private and public sector partners.
19. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his oral answer of 25 July 2000, Official Report, column 886, if he will make a further statement on freight facility grants in Scotland. 
Dr. Reid: Administration of the Freight Facilities Grant Scheme for railways in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive. The Scottish Executive recently announced a doubling of expenditure on Freight Facility Grants (FFG) to £36 million in the period from April 2001 to March 2004 and an increased target of removing 18 million lorry miles from Scottish roads.
20. Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received concerning employment prospects in relation to commercial and Ministry of Defence contracts in respect of Clydeside shipyards. 
Dr. Reid: Following the recent award by the Ministry of Defence for two ALSLs to BAE Systems at Govan, I received very favourable representations from the workforce about their confidence for the future of Govan. This has been further boosted by the news yesterday that Govan is to build eight Landing Craft. I know that Ferguson's have also had recent successes and BAE Systems at Scotstoun has a secure future in terms of Type 45 Destroyer work. There are, therefore, very good prospects for more than 3,000 workers in Clydeside shipyards.
21. Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact on (a) the Scottish economy and (b) Scotland's identity of the use of Scottish banknotes. 
Mr. Wilson: Scottish banknotes are a long established feature of commerce in Scotland. Apart from a very slight liquidity benefit accruing to Scottish banks authorised to issue their own notes, there is no direct impact on the Scottish economy. The issue of banknotes is determined according to UK monetary policy.
Dr. Reid: The Government are committed to full civil rights for disabled people. The Disability Rights Commission, which was set up on 25 April this year, is a major step forward towards achieving this. The Commission's remit extends throughout Great Britain and
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it has an office in Scotland. Both the UK Government and the Scottish Executive are working closely with this office.
Since it was established, the Disability Rights Commission has been active on a number of fronts. It runs a Disability Discrimination Act helpline (on 08458 622633) and it expects to take some 50,000 calls by the end of 2000-01. It is dealing with around 40 cases per month, which involve advice to individuals, providing information on other bodies, conciliation and providing direct support. The Commission will also be preparing Codes of Practice for the Special Educational Needs and Disability in Education Bill. It is also engaged in research.
23. Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he has taken to co-ordinate Scottish non-governmental organisations involved in aid programmes and assistance to countries which have experienced conflict or humanitarian and natural disasters with the work of other UK organisations. 
Mr. Wilson: There was a debate in the Scottish Grand Committee on 10 July about the Scottish Contribution to International Development. To mark this debate, my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development hosted an international development reception at the Scotland Office building at Melville Crescent, Edinburgh. This reception enabled representatives of Scottish non-governmental organisations engaged in overseas work to meet in an informal atmosphere and discuss issues of concern with Ministers and officials.
This Government have a strong commitment to International Development. The UK is a leading player in the international objective of halving by 2015 the proportion of those living in extreme poverty. To help achieve this, the proportion of the UK's Gross National Product being devoted to overseas aid will rise from 0.29 per cent. in 2000-01 to 0.33 per cent. in 2003-04.
Scotland plays a major part in the work carried out by the UK. As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said at the Scottish Grand Committee, his Department works closely with Scottish institutions and society, and the Scottish Executive, to help achieve the Government's objectives.
24. Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor on the level of the basic State Pension and pensioner poverty in Scotland. 
The Government announced in the pre-Budget report that the level of the basic state retirement pension would be increased by £5 a week for single people in April 2001 and by £8 for married couples. The Government also
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announced that in April 2002 the pension for single people will be further increased by £3 with the pension for couples going up then by £4.80. These increases are excellent news for the around 900,000 pensioners in Scotland.
The Government have taken major steps to combat pensioner poverty in Scotland. In the pre-Budget report, we announced that the Minimum Income Guarantee would be increased, from April 2001, to £92.15 a week for a single pensioner and £140.55 a week for couples. We also indicated that the Minimum Income Guarantee would be at least £100 a week for a single pensioner and £154 for a pensioner couple by 2003. The Winter Fuel Allowance will be set at £200 per eligible household this winter, which helps around one million people in Scotland.
Finally, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security has announced details of the proposed pensions credit which will benefit single pensioners with incomes below £135 and pensioner couples with incomes below £200.
Mr. Wilson: The introduction of the National Minimum Wage has resulted in increased wage rates for over 100,000 people in Scotland, especially women and part-time workers, without any indication of significant adverse effect on employment and the economy.
Dr. Reid: I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about a range of matters. The Barnett formula continues to provide a fair deal for Scotland within a United Kingdom framework.
(8) Under Family Law Act 1996, Part IV
(9) Under Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976
(10) Not collected
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Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support the National Asylum Support Service is provided for the asylum seekers living in the Angel Heights hostel in Leeds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: The National Asylum Support Service is aware of two hostels in Leeds used for housing asylum seekers: Angel Hall and Angel House. Angel Group Ltd., a contracted provider of accommodation to the National Asylum Support Service (NASS), operates both of these hostels. Neither of these hostels is currently under contract to the National Asylum Support Service.
However, Angel Group Ltd. has occasionally used Angel Hall as a drop-off point and reception centre for asylum seekers dispersed to Leeds by NASS. These asylum seekers have then been moved to other addresses within the Leeds area.
One asylum seeker supported by NASS was temporarily housed for a short period in one of the Angel hostels in Leeds. NASS does use a hostel in Newcastle upon Tyne operated by Angel Group Ltd. called Angel Heights.
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