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Race Relations

Mrs. Fitzsimons: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will bring forward secondary legislation under section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976. [10242]

Angela Eagle: I have today laid two Orders under Section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000).

The Orders bring into effect the proposals set out in the consultation document on implementation of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 which was published on 22 February this year.

The first Order brings some 300 additional bodies (or groups of bodies) within the scope of the general duty to promote race equality. The second imposes specific duties on the policy and service delivery functions of key public bodies to which the general duty applies, to ensure their better performance of the general duty. Separate duties are placed on schools and other educational bodies. It also places duties on the employment functions of bodies to which the general duty applies.

The Orders will come into force on 3 December 2001.

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Royal Prerogative

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the personal prerogative powers exercised by the Queen. [8096]

The Prime Minister: Most of the prerogative powers under the Crown are exercised on the advice of Ministers. A small proportion are personal powers of the Sovereign where he or she may or must act without ministerial advice, such as, in certain circumstances, the power to refuse a dissolution of Parliament. The exercise of powers under the prerogative has evolved over many years, and a precise list is not possible.

MOX Plutonium Plant

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what role he played in making the decision to permit British Nuclear Fuels to operate its MOX plutonium fuels plant; and what considerations underlay the decision to announce the decision on 3 October. [8871]

The Prime Minister: The decision to permit the manufacture of mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel was made by the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for Health having considered all relevant information, including the responses to their public consultation. The timing of the announcement was a matter for those Ministers and they made it at the earliest opportunity.

Special Advisers

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if the Cabinet Secretary has established an investigation into civil service procedures and relations with special advisers. [9637]

The Prime Minister: No.

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish new guidance to special advisers on their relations with officials and the media. [9638]

The Prime Minister: No. The new "Code of Conduct for Special Advisers" already sets out special advisers' responsibilities in relation to the permanent civil service and their contacts with the media. All civil servants, including special advisers, who work on media and publicity-related issues, are also covered by "Guidance on the Work of Government Information Service".

Minister for Local Government and the Regions

Mr. Collins: To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he last spoke to the Minister for Local Government and the Regions; [9635]

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The Prime Minister: I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects, and will continue to do so. As with previous Governments it is not my practice to provide details of confidential discussions.

News Management

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will issue guidance to Ministers to ensure that the practice of timing the release of information with a view to minimising coverage of that information is discontinued. [8768]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 23 October 2001]: No. The Ministerial Code already makes it clear that Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public. The published guidance on the work of the Government Information Service and the GICS Handbook sets out clear principles and guidance for all those who support Ministers in this role.


Summer Recess (Departmental Publications)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) press notices and (b) consultation documents were issued by his Department during the summer recess. [9237]

Mr. Leslie: For the period of the summer recess, 20 July to 15 October inclusive, 18 press notices were issued on behalf of the Department. All press notices are published on the Cabinet Office website and are freely available to the public. The Cabinet Office (including the HMSO) issued eight consultation documents during the same period.

Cabinet Office consultations issued during recess included:

The three documents can be accessed via the Department's own website register of consultations or on the central Government UKOnline register.

The figures also include five 'GovTalk' consultation documents issued during recess. is a website which enables the public sector, industry and other interested participants to work together to develop and agree policies and standards for e-government.

Departmental Running Costs

Pete Wishart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the total annual running costs for buildings used, owned or rented by his Department for each nation and region of the UK, and estimate the average cost per square metre for properties used by his Department as a whole, and by region and nation of the UK. [6783]

Mr. Leslie: Estimates for the total running costs (in total and on an average cost per metre basis) for the financial year 2000–01 in respect of buildings used, owned or rented by my Department are as follows.

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Country/regionTotal running cost (£000)Average costs per m2 (£/m2)
Scotland 25606
South West95238
South East3,298237
North West104262
East of England75221
Yorkshire and Humberside90210
East Midlands49269
North East41162
West Midlands103233
Total England30,260374

The figures in the table exclude:

"Government Opportunities"

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was of the (a) production and (b) distribution of the publication "Government Opportunities". [8978]

Mr. Leslie: "Government Opportunities" is a publication issued by a private publisher at no cost to the Government.



8. Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to tackle poverty among Palestinians. [6119]

Clare Short: Poverty among the Palestinian people has deepened greatly during the last year when closures of the West Bank and Gaza have become more frequent and severe. The key to tackling poverty is to find a just and lasting solution to peace in the Middle East. The Government are working to try to establish practical steps forward.

Since 1994 we have provided technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority to help prepare for Palestinian statehood.

To help cope with the current crises we have increased our contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. We have recently committed £6 million to support emergency assistance to deal with the current crises.

24 Oct 2001 : Column: 295W

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