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23. Mr. Ernie Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met representatives of business and trade unions to discuss manufacturing in Scotland; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: I have frequent meetings with representatives of business and trade unions to discuss issues of relevance to manufacturing and other sectors of the Scottish economy. We shall continue to provide the sound economic foundation to provide the best environment for Scottish business.
8. Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on her discussions with the Clydeside Action on Asbestos Campaign concerning the firm, Chester Street. 
Mrs. Liddell: I had a very useful meeting with Clydeside Action on Asbestos, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and Thompsons, solicitors, on 12 February. Thompsons have now provided detailed information on the number of claims that might be affected by the liquidation of Chester Street.
10. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to her answer of 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 155W, on anti-drugs strategy, if she will make a statement on the progress made with matters raised in her meetings with the First Minister. 
Effective co-operation between the Government and the Scottish Executive is vital to tackle the scourge of illegal drugs. Quarterly meetings of the relevant Ministers with the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator now take place, most recently on 19 February in Edinburgh, to review progress within the framework of objectives and priorities set out
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11. Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent advice she has received from the European Commission regarding the impact of a single European currency on the Scottish economy. 
14. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment she has made of the impact of future UK membership of the single European currency on manufacturing industry in Scotland. 
Mrs. Liddell: The determining factor underpinning any Government decision to join the single currency is whether the economic case is clear and unambiguous. The Government have said that they will make another assessment of the five economic tests early in the next Parliament.
12. Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the likely impact of the climate change levy on Scottish industry and business. 
Mr. Foulkes: My right hon. Friend has regular contact with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss a wide range of matters. The climate change levy will raise an estimated £1 billion in its first year, all of which will be recycled back to business by a 0.3 percentage point cut in employers' National Insurance contributions and £150 million of spending on energy efficiency. The Government expect the levy to be broadly neutral between services and manufacturing.
The effect on any specific business, sector or region will depend on a number of factors, including their future energy consumption, the level of employment, eligibility for discounts, use of renewable or combined heat and power energy, and take up of enhanced capital allowances.
13. Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement about the implications of the disagreements on tariffs between the United States of America and the European Union on the Scottish textile industry. 
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Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of matters. Details of the method of calculating the Scottish Assigned Budget were set out in the Statement of Funding Policy, which was published by HM Treasury on 17 July 2000.
Mrs. Liddell: Shipbuilding in Scotland remains competitive. Orders for Landing Ships and First Class Type 45 destroyers for the Ministry of Defence and also orders for merchant ships for Stirling Shipping will all result in work for Clyde yards. Nevertheless, each year will have to continue to work hard to win orders. For my part, I will continue to do all I can to support shipbuilding on the Clyde.
Mrs. Liddell: The latest labour market figures show that there are 2,391,000 people in work in Scotland, the highest level since 1960. The employment rate stands at 73.8 per cent., the highest level since 1975. Claimant count unemployment in Scotland is at its lowest level since January 1976 and has fallen by 49,900 since spring 1997.
The Chancellor announced a variety of measures in his pre-Budget report in November last year which will help mitigate the effect of fuel prices on rural areas. These include: the reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty for cars up to 1500cc; the abolition of Vehicle Excise Duty for tractors and agricultural vehicles; a transitional rebate of 50 per cent. for HGV Vehicle Excise Duty; a 2p per litre cut in cleaner ultra-low sulphur petrol and a 3p per litre cut for ultra-low sulphur diesel. He has also announced more recently that any reduction in duty on ultra-low sulphur petrol that is announced in the Budget will be matched by a reduction in duty on unleaded petrol for a temporary period until 14 June 2001.
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20. Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about levels of provision of ultra-low sulphur fuel in Scotland. 
The continued roll out of ultra-low sulphur fuel across the country is being monitored regularly by the Department of Trade and Industry. The Government's objectives are to ensure that everyone should be able to share the environmental benefits of ultra-low sulphur fuel, and the benefits of the duty cut associated with it. The Government intend to match any reduction in duty on ultra-low sulphur fuel that is announced in the Budget with a reduction in duty on unleaded petrol for a temporary period until 14 June 2001 while ultra-low sulphur fuels are rolled out across the country.
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