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Intelligence and Security Committee

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Prime Minister when he will respond to the Intelligence and Security Committee's interim report for 2000–01. [6190]

The Prime Minister: I have today laid the Government response to the Intelligence and Security Committee's Report before Parliament.

Champion for Children

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Cabinet champion for children; and if he will establish an inter-ministerial group on children. [4922]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Jones) on 10 July 2001, Official Report,

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column 452W. The terms of reference of the Cabinet Committee on Children and Young People's Services are to co-ordinate policies to prevent poverty and underachievement among children and young people, co-ordinate and monitor the effectiveness of delivery and work with the voluntary sector to build a new alliance for children.


Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the responsibilities of departmental Ministers for reducing poverty following the reorganisation of Government Departments. [3943]

The Prime Minister: The Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury share a joint PSA target to reduce the number of children in poverty by at least a quarter by 2004.

Specific responsibilities for poverty and social exclusion are held by Baroness Hollis of Heigham and the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North (Malcolm Wicks). Other Ministers are involved where it is appropriate.

Electoral Arrangements

Richard Burden: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the breakdown of responsibilities of Ministers and Government Departments for electoral systems and electoral arrangements in the UK relating to elections for (a) councils, (b) the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, (c) the European Parliament and (d) the House of Commons, with particular reference to consideration of proposals for review and reform. [5063]

The Prime Minister: Overall responsibility for electoral law for the UK rests with the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. The law relating to European parliamentary elections, Westminster parliamentary elections and the National Assembly for Wales is wholly the responsibility of DTLR. Elections to the Scottish Parliament are the joint responsibility of DTLR and the Scotland Office. Council elections in England and Wales are the responsibility of DTLR. Council elections in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Office.

The relevant Ministers are: in DTLR, Mr. Stephen Byers, Mr. Nick Raynsford and Dr. Whitehead; in the Northern Ireland Office, Mr. Browne; and in the Scotland Office, Mrs. Helen Liddell.

Council elections in Scotland are devolved and therefore a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

Genetically Modified Maize

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister how many representations he has received calling for suspension of the marketing consent for the Aventis genetically modified maize, known as T25. [5651]

The Prime Minister: I have received a large number of cards and letters, which have been passed to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Unsolicited Commercial Communications

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government's support for an opt-out procedure for unsolicited commercial e-mails in the revised Telecommunications Data Protection Directive (com2000/189) extends to electronic messages, including (a) short messaging service, (b) mail to WAP phones and (c) other forms of electronic messaging; and what remedies she proposes for the consequent costs incurred by consumers. [3243]

Mr. Alexander: The proposed Communications Data Protection Directive treats all forms of electronic messaging, including text messages to mobile phones, as e-mails, for the purposes of regulatory controls on unsolicited commercial communications.

The UK Government have argued that member states should be allowed to choose between opt-in and opt-out controls on unsolicited commercial e-mail. This approach allows an assessment of the situation in the light of working experience of both approaches by the deadline for implementing the new directive.

Fishing Communities

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish the criteria used to apportion to the regional development agencies the money for regeneration of fishing communities announced in April. [4874]

Alan Johnson: RDAs were awarded £120,000 for each port in their region affected by the recent fishing quota reductions. This accounted for £3,840,000 of the £5,500,000 budget. The remaining £1,660,000 was distributed in proportion to the weight of the catch at these ports.

Each RDA has been given freedom to decide how best to direct funding to help with the regeneration of fishing communities in their regions. There is no compulsion to spend specific sums in specific ports.

Insolvency Service

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if consultants have been employed to undertake a pay and grading exercise in the Insolvency Service. [5870]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Yes.

Small Business Council

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what meetings she has had with the Small Business Council since 1997; and what response she has made to the recommendations contained in the SBC's first annual report. [5367]

Nigel Griffiths: The then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I attended the first Small Business Council (SBC) meeting in May 2000. Since then my right hon. Friend and I have had several meetings with William Sargent, Chairman of the SBC. William Sargent met me and presented the first Annual Report of the SBC to me on 12 July 2001.

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Some of the recommendations in the SBC report impact on several other Government Departments (HM Treasury, Cabinet Office and DfES) as well as the DTI. A copy of the SBC report has gone to these Departments for comment and my Department will provide a co-ordinated response to the SBC recommendations in the autumn.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements she intends to make for awarding licences for broadband fixed wireless access at 28 GHz that remained unsold after last November's spectrum auction. [5973]

Mr. Alexander: I intend to make available in September all of the licences that remained unsold after last year's auction. This will allow the provision of competitive services throughout the UK.

The key features of the award process will be:

I will be publishing shortly draft regulations to be made under section 3 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 to provide for this award process. There will be a period of 28 days for comments to be received. With the draft regulations I will also publish for comment a draft of the notice that I intend to issue under the regulations. The notice will set out the detailed arrangements for the award process and will include the date from which applications may be made. I will place copies of the draft regulations and the draft notice in the Libraries of the House. I hope to lay the regulations before Parliament by the end of August.

Annual Reports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Coal Authority's report and accounts for 2000–01 will be laid before Parliament. [5974]

Ms Hewitt: I have today laid a copy before each House of Parliament.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects to receive the annual report of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. [5976]

Alan Johnson: The ACAS Report for 2000–2001 is being laid before both Houses of Parliament today. Copies are available from the Vote Office.

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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she has received the annual reports for 2000 from the recognised supervisory bodies for company auditors under Part II of the Companies Act 1989; and if she will make a statement. [5972]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have received the annual reports for the year 2000 from the five recognised supervisory bodies for company auditors: a combined report from the Institutes of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and one each from the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and the Association of Authorised Public Accountants. Copies of the reports have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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