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Working Families Tax Credit

21. Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many families in Scotland are estimated to have benefited from the Working Families Tax Credit. [150755]

Mr. Foulkes: This information is contained in the Working Families Tax Credit Quarterly Enquiry for August 2000, a copy of which is in the House Library. The Quarterly Enquiry shows that Working Families Tax Credit is paid to an estimated 108,000 families in Scotland.

Economic and Social Policy

22. Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met the Scottish First Minister to discuss the impact of the Government's economic and social policy on Scotland. [150756]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a wide range of issues. The Government are pursuing a comprehensive and co-ordinated strategy to fulfil Britain's economic potential, building a stronger economy and a fairer society in which everyone can contribute to and share in rising prosperity. Scotland is benefiting and will continue to benefit from this comprehensive strategy.

Oil and Gas Industry

Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on the future of oil and gas industry businesses in Scotland. [150738]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government and industry are working together through PILOT to ensure that Scotland and the UK remains a centre of profitable activity well into the new century.

The Oil and Gas industry continues to be a major contributor to the Scottish Economy. Renewed confidence in the UK Continental Shelf as a place to do business is leading to increased investment intentions. The major package of investment projects announced by the oil companies in December last year will generate 2500 jobs across the UK, around half of which will be in Scotland.

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These projects are excellent examples of how new ideas and initiatives--such as sharing knowledge on new technologies, improving communication across the supply chain, facilitation of asset trading technologies and commercial co-operation--are enabling access to previously undeveloped fields.

ADVOCATE-GENERAL

Brown Judgment

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Advocate-General for Scotland what advice she has given on the Brown case judgment and implications for road traffic and other cases in Scotland. [150760]

The Advocate-General for Scotland: As the hon. Lady will be aware, I give advice to Departments on various matters. In relation to the Brown case, I presented arguments to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in November of last year. Their Lordships decided that the current legislation was compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

PRIME MINISTER

Taoiseach

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Prime Minister when Her Majesty's Government were consulted by the Office of the Irish Taoiseach concerning his planned visit to Scotland on 11 February. [150822]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 February 2001]: The Government were not consulted. However I understand that the Scotland Office, the Northern Ireland Office, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were aware of the visit.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Summer Recess

45. Mr. Robathan: To ask the President of the Council what representations have been received about changing the summer recess dates to more closely mirror school summer holidays. [150782]

Mr. Tipping: I have received no recent representations, although I am aware this is a matter which concerns many Members.

Regional Select Committees

46. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the President of the Council what proposals she has for establishing Select Committees for the regions. [150785]

Mrs. Beckett: I have no proposals to add to the establishment of the Standing Committee on the Regions.

Modernisation Committee

47. Mr. David Taylor: To ask the President of the Council what further proposals she plans to bring before the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House. [150786]

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50. Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the President of the Council what further proposals she plans to bring forward to the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons. [150789]

Mrs. Beckett: I have little to add to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary on 19 December 2000, Official Report, column 204.

Information Technology

49. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the President of the Council when she expects to (a) receive and (b) implement the SSRB report on the supply to and use of information technology by hon. Members. [150788]

Mrs. Beckett: The report is made to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and it will be dealt with in the normal way.

Programming of Legislation

51. Mr. Gapes: To ask the President of the Council what assessment she has made of the progress on the programming of legislation. [150790]

53. Shona McIsaac: To ask the President of the Council if she will make a statement on progress on the programming of legislation. [150792]

Mrs. Beckett: I refer my hon. Friends to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Dr. Stoate), Official Report, column 145.

House of Lords Reform

52. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council what progress is being made on setting up the Joint Committee on the reform of the House of Lords. [150791]

Mr. Tipping: My right hon. Friend the President of the Council announced on 3 July 2000, Official Report, column 92W, that the Government aimed to establish a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider the parliamentary implications of the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords so that it should begin work as soon as possible after the summer recess.

Unfortunately, discussions with the other parties in both Houses on the membership and precise terms of reference failed to reach agreement. We have therefore concluded that there is little present prospect of setting up a Joint Committee in the present Parliament.

Business Co-ordination Unit

Gillian Merron: To ask the President of the Council if she will make a statement on progress with the Government's Business Co-ordination Unit. [150787]

Mr. Tipping: Following its launch in September I am very pleased to report that the Unit has made good progress. In just a short space of time it has improved access to Ministers for the business community, through its co-ordination of invitations received across Whitehall.

The initiative has been extremely well received both by the business community and the agencies that represent business. I am also pleased to say that this initiative is an

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excellent example of Government working together--the support the Unit has received from Regional Government Offices has been a key factor in its success.

Paper Recycling

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee what plans she has to set targets for the recycling of paper. [150781]

Mrs. Roe: This is a matter for the Serjeant at Arms. I have asked him to write to the hon. Member.

House of Commons Envelopes

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee how many pre-paid House of Commons envelopes have been supplied to hon. Members since May 1997. [150783]

Mrs. Roe: This is a matter for the Serjeant at Arms. I have asked him to write to my hon. Friend.

Messages from Her Majesty

Mr. Winnick: To ask the President of the Council if she will put proposals before the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons to allow messages from Her Majesty no longer to be communicated to the House by the Vice-Chamberlain of the Household. [152456]

Mrs. Beckett: I have no such plans, but my hon. Friend may wish to raise the matter with the Procedure Committee.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Millennium Dome

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much money has been allocated to clear the dome site. [150929]

Janet Anderson: As indicated in the New Millennium Experience Company's (NMEC) October 2000 forecast, which was placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 October, decommissioning costs being borne by the company are estimated at £7.5 million. Further potential costs of approximately £15 million relating to certain decommissioning requirements will be borne by English Partnerships as indicated in the agreement of 12 January 2001 between English Partnerships and NMEC. English Partnerships are to be reimbursed from sale proceeds. I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and the Regions on 17 January 2001, Official Report, column 258W, which gives details of that agreement.


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