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Departmental Central Index

Mr. Burns: To ask the Prime Minister which Minister and which Government Department holds overall responsibility for the operation of the departmental central index. [5026]

The Prime Minister: The Department for Work and Pensions has responsibility.

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Animal Experimentation

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons responsibilities relating to animal experimentation have been retained by the Home Office. [5692]

The Prime Minister: The Home Office has retained responsibility for matters relating to the regulation of animal products under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, because the Department neither sponsors scientific research involving the use of animals, nor does it set any requirements for data produced by such procedures.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to ensure that the future of the mixed oxide plutonium fuels plant at Sellafield is considered as part of the energy review. [6250]

The Prime Minister: There are no plans to consider this as part of the review.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister how many persons elevated to the peerage since 1 May 1997 were resident at the time of their elevation in each region of (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [5905]

The Prime Minister: This information is being collated. I shall write shortly to the hon. Member and place a copy of my reply in the Library.

Cleave Camp

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Prime Minister what was contained in Cabinet document H(67)20 dated 7 March 1967, relating to the transfer of Cleave camp, near Bude in North Cornwall, from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Public Building and Works; and for what reason it was removed from the file and destroyed on 5 March 1997. [5017]

The Prime Minister: H(67)20 sought the agreement of the Home Affairs Committee for the transfer of a site at Cleave camp, Bude, owned at that time by the Ministry of Defence, to the Ministry of Public Building and Works. The document is available at the Public Record Office (PRO) in file CAB 134/2855. Duplicate copies of Cabinet Committee documents are removed from departmental files as part of the usual records management procedures which have been promulgated by the PRO since shortly after the Departmental Committee on Public Records reported.


Select Committees

Mr. Laws: To ask the President of the Council if he will bring forward proposals to enable Back-Bench Members to have greater influence in the selection of members of Select Committees. [5830]

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Mr. Robin Cook: The Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons has agreed that, as an immediate priority, it will look at how best to ensure transparency in nominations to Select Committees. In order to make quick progress on this urgent issue the Modernisation Committee will meet again during the recess, in September. Our intention will be to agree a report on procedures for nominations for vacancies when the House resumes in October.

Mr. Laws: To ask the President of the Council what plans he has to introduce measures to increase the powers and enhance the status of Select Committees. [5831]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons has agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of Select Committees. It will look at how Select Committees are set up, the powers available to them and how their reports are handled in Parliament, as well as other relevant issues.


Departmental Events

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) national and (b) international awareness events his Department has participated in since June 1997 in the form of (i) sponsorship, (ii) departmental attendance, (iii) similar departmental activities and (iv) a message of support. [5037]

Mr. Paul Murphy: This information is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days on average were lost per employee in his Department because of sickness; and how many officials retired early from his Department in each of the past 10 years. [R] [5056]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The information requested is as follows:

Average number of working days sickness absence per staff year


1. Figures relate to Welsh Office, Cadw and Estyn (formerly OHMCI).

2. 1999 figures relate to Welsh Office, Cadw and Estyn up to 30 June, and to Wales Office, National Assembly for Wales, Cadw and Estyn from 1 July.

3. Figures for 1992 and 1993 derive from a different source and might not have the same degree of reliability as those for later years.

4. Data for years prior to 1992 are not available.

5. No data are yet available for 2000.

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Number of early retirements
Welsh Office, Cadw and Estyn (formerly OHMCI)
Wales Office

(2) To 30 June

(3) From 1 July


Includes early retirements of all types

Ministerial Duties

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list for each week from Monday 23 July to Monday 8 October which departmental Ministers will be on duty (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in London. [4898]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My hon. Friend the Under- Secretary of State and I will spend much of our time in Wales during the recess on visits and engagements. In line with paragraph 68 of the Ministerial Code, at least one of us will be on duty at all times.


Economic and Social Research

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reason the Advisory Committee on Economic and Social Research Overseas is being disbanded as a non-departmental public body. [6530]

Clare Short: The Advisory Committee on Economic and Social Research Overseas (ESCOR) was constituted in 1968 (administratively, and not by statute). It provides advice on research proposals submitted for funding to the Department for International Development. It came to be classified as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) in the early 1980s. However,

the Committee is only advisory and has no executive powers;

members are not paid for their services;

it is the only one of four DFID Research Committees so classified;

half of its members are DFID officials.

In June 1997 the Prime Minister made a statement in Parliament announcing that a review would be undertaken to reduce overall numbers of NDPBs. ESCOR is being de-classified as a NDPB in response to this and to bring it in line with other DFID Research Committees, which are not classified as NDPBs. It will be re-constituted on the same lines as those Committees.

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Membership of the reconstituted Committee will continue to be balanced between DFID officials and external academic experts. Membership will continue to be recorded with the Cabinet Office. Appointments will no longer be made directly by the Secretary of State. The Committee will continue to advise on the merits of proposals for economic and social research in development submitted to the Department.

GM Projects

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list (a) the name and (b) the amount spent in each of the last four years on genetically modified related development projects. [5408]

Clare Short: The information is as follows.

Projects involving the potential release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 1998 onwards

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