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Aviation Industry

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the Government's action to support the aviation industry and communities dependent on airports. [9582]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government have moved quickly to underwrite, on a temporary basis, third party war risk insurance for airlines and service providers to the airline industry, an initiative which has been widely copied elsewhere. The meeting of European Transport Ministers on 16 October endorsed guidelines issued by the Commission on emergency aid measures, and we will take these guidelines into account in considering whether further aid should be paid to the British airline industry. The Employment Service is working closely with the aviation industry and all the strategic partners (regional development agencies, local authorities and the Learning and Skills Council) to assess the impact of any redundancy announcements, and to introduce appropriate measures.

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Community Transport Services

(Fuel Duty Rebate)

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish plans for extending fuel duty rebate to a wider range of community transport services; and what plans he has to include school bus transport within the rebate scheme. [11624]

Ms Keeble: Following consultation with relevant organisations in the spring, we will be bringing forward regulations later in this financial year on the introduction of fuel duty rebate (FDR) for a wide range of community transport services.

As far as school transport is concerned, bus services specifically designed to convey only pupils to school are not eligible for rebate. However, services provided or secured by a local education authority are eligible providing that some seats on the vehicles concerned are normally available to the general public and are regularly used by them. There are a large number of school services that do receive FDR by virtue of the fact that they meet these eligibility criteria.

Cycle Carriage (Railways)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if the level of cycle carriage on trains of a minimum of six cycles is specified in railway franchise agreements; and if they will be in future; [10907]

Mr. Jamieson: No specific guidance has been issued nor standards set with regard to the number of bicycles that are carried on trains or for the provision of facilities at stations. There are many different types of rolling stock in use on the network and the design of each largely dictates whether bicycles can be carried, and if so how many. Franchise agreements require train operators to carry bicycles on their services where it is practicable for them to do so, and subject to the availability of appropriate space. These arrangements will be maintained in future franchise agreements. The Strategic Rail Authority are obliged by their Directions and Guidance to discuss with train operators the provisions they are making for cycle carriage when ordering new stock. The Authority meet regularly with representatives from cycling organisations and has established a "flexible space" working group to look at how the interiors of rolling stock can be designed to make best use of available space for wheelchairs, pushchairs, bicycles or other bulky luggage.

Affordable Housing (Key Workers)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to grant local authorities greater powers to specify quotas of affordable housing for key workers; and if he will make a statement. [10732]

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Ms Keeble: Under the Starter Home Initiative we will be helping 10,000 key workers to buy their first homes over the three years 2001–02 to 2003–04, mainly through shared ownership or equity loans. A further 1,200 key workers will be able to buy or rent homes under the Housing Corporation's programme of new affordable housing. We are also looking afresh at planning guidance as a means of providing more opportunities for key worker housing.

Bed-and-breakfast Accommodation

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many children in local authority care were placed in bed-and- breakfast accommodation alone in the last year, broken down by local authority. [9820]

Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not collected centrally. The Department does collect data about placements of looked-after children in a broader category consisting of lodgings, residential employment or living independently. This data category does not denote whether the young person is living alone or with other people.

On 31 March 2001, 1,100 looked-after young people in England were reported to be placed in this broader accommodation category. This represents 2 per cent. of all children who were looked after on that date.


Chief Crown Prosecutors

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Solicitor-General how many and what percentage of chief Crown prosecutors are (a) black, (b) Asian and (c) women. [11390]

The Solicitor-General: The Chief Crown Prosecution cadre comprises of 42 Chief Crown Prosecutors and five London-based Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutors, of whom 44 have provided details of their ethnic origin.

The Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Recording the Ethnicity of Staff, in its guidance on the use of ethnicity data, states that:

The statistics are:

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The Law Officers are committed to promoting diversity and equal opportunity with respect to membership of the panels and actively encourage woman and ethnic minorities to apply. Advertisements for all recruitment exercises appear in the specialist legal journals "Bar News" and "The Law Society's Gazette" and state that women and members of ethnic minorities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Treasury Solicitors Panel

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Solicitor-General how many members of the Treasury Solicitors Panel are (a) black, (b) Asian and (c) women. [11391]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General maintains three London panels for civil work, subdivided by seniority: A, for those with over 10 years' experience at the time of appointment; B, for those with between five and 10 years' experience at the time of appointment; and C, for those with between two and five years' experience at the time of appointment. The Attorney- General also maintains a Provincial Panel.

No comprehensive data are held on the ethnic origin of all members of the panel. Since the introduction of a competitive appointments system in 1998 all applicants have been asked to complete an equal opportunities monitoring form which asks them to indicate their ethnic origin. Completion of the form is voluntary and in consequence the information given may not be entirely accurate. With regard to ethnic origin, I set out the results of the equal opportunity monitoring of the recruitment exercises since 1999.

Bar Council Complaints Committee

Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment she has made of the handling of complaints submitted to the Bar Council Complaints Committee; what redress she intends to put in place for those who believe their complaint has not been given fair consideration; and if she plans to introduce changes to the complaints framework in relation to the actions of (a) barristers and (b) solicitors. [11404]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The legal profession is self-regulating. The Bar Council's lay Complaints Commissioner deals with complaints about barristers. The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) deals with complaints about solicitors. These complaints handling procedures are subject to independent scrutiny by the Legal Services Ombudsman. The ombudsman, who is a lay person, may consider

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complaints about the decision reached by the professional bodies, as well as concerns about the handling of a complaint and act accordingly. In the financial year 2000–01, the ombudsman was satisfied in 94 per cent. of referrals concerning complaints handling at the Bar, as opposed to a satisfaction rating of 57 per cent. for referrals concerning the OSS.

The Lord Chancellor has reserve powers to appoint a Legal Services Complaints Commissioner (LSCC) if it appears to him that complaints about members of any professional body are not being handled effectively and efficiently. The Lord Chancellor has no plans to appoint an LSCC to oversee the Bar Council and is currently considering the position in respect of the OSS. His decision will be announced in due course.

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