Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 16 November 2001]: My Department takes opportunities to promote fair trade products but has very limited requirements for goods which are subject to fair trade schemes. Departmental procurement seeks best value for money, in the interest of the taxpayer.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will estimate the total value of London weightings and London living allowances for her Department; and if she will make a statement. 
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Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will estimate total staff costs for her Department and its agencies by nation and region of the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what proportion of each civil service grade in her Department is located in each region and nation of the UK, what the average salary is for each grade; and if she will make a statement. 
|Government Office Region
Mrs. Liddell: In November 2000, the Scotland Office published a survey, commissioned from independent consultants, of the cost of motoring in Scotland as compared with other parts of Europe. The survey looked at the total cost of motoring in 15 European countries. It
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concluded that the overall cost of motoring in rural Scotland is similar to the UK's average, and significantly less than some of our European neighbours. Fuel costs have declined since then.
The Chancellor, in his Budget of 2001, announced a package of measures to encourage cleaner transport, including reductions to the main road fuels. The Budget also included the abolition of VED on agricultural vehicles. The package will benefit up to 20,000 agricultural businesses in Scotland and, taken together, represents the equivalent of a 4p per litre cut in fuel duty to motorists and a 7p per litre duty cut to hauliers.
Mrs. Liddell: I took part in two Scotland Week events during my visit to Brussels in October, a fashion show at HM Ambassador's residence to promote Harris Tweed, and a seminar on the Future of Europe. At the Harris Tweed promotion event I spoke to a large gathering of people, and met representatives of the following organisations who each contributed towards sponsoring the event: Scotland Europa, Western Isles Enterprise, The Harris Tweed Authority and Western Isles Council.
Representatives of many organisations, both Scottish and others, were present at the Future of Europe seminar, at which I also gave a speech. I met representatives of those organising the event, Scotland Europa and the Scottish Executive. I also held other meetings in relation to Government duties.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will give an undertaking that the confiscation provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Bill in so far as they relate to Scotland will not be implemented until the views of the Scottish Parliament have been obtained. 
Mr. Foulkes: No. We will continue to liaise closely with Scottish Executive Ministers and officials. It will be for Scottish Ministers to decide whether they wish to obtain further views from the Scottish Parliament.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the Home Office regarding putting before the Scottish Parliament the changes proposed in confiscation provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Bill in so far as they relate to Scotland. 
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Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to ensure that every United Kingdom citizen has access to a vaccine against smallpox to protect against possible bio-terrorist attack; and if additional stocks will need to be purchased to achieve this level of coverage. 
Jacqui Smith: There is no specific threat of a smallpox attack against the United Kingdom. There are strategic supplies of vaccines and antibiotics for use as appropriate to the incident; and we have got substantial stocks of smallpox vaccine which could be rapidly deployed to contain an outbreak.
The UK policy on future smallpox vaccine manufacture is currently under development. The Department is pursuing other sources of vaccine supply at the Swiss Serum Centre which holds stocks of vaccine left over from the World Health Organisation's eradication programme and is also working closely with the Ministry of Defence in determining the UK's vaccine needs. We are also in discussions with the United States of America and other Governments about stocks of vaccine.
Mr. Hutton: Performance ratings for acute non- specialist national health service trusts were published on 25 September. This is the first time that hospital trusts have been publicly classified according to their performance, with more freedom and rewards for the best and more help for the poorest. This approach is a decisive break with the past.
In the trusts that were awarded no stars, action plans are being drawn up and implemented. These will improve the areas of significant under performance and bring them up to the standard the public and patients have the right to expect.
Mr. Hutton: We expect all doctors, whether from abroad or the United Kingdom, to get the induction they need from their national health service employers when they take up post. We do not hold information centrally on the number of doctors who have participated in local induction.
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In addition to the induction offered by NHS trusts to their employees, the Department is actively promoting good induction practice by funding an induction scheme for doctors from outside the UK. This is run via postgraduate deaneries in association with NHS professionals. Postgraduate deaneries ran a formal pilot of the induction courses in 1999, and we began funding the scheme in 2000. So far approximately 600 foreign doctors have been taken through the overseas doctors induction scheme.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he intends to take to change the residence requirements for funding of GP training for overseas doctors; and if he will make a statement. 
This move will support our drive to increase GP numbers. We know that there are overseas doctorssome currently working in the United Kingdomwho are keen to train for a career in general practice. Out-of-date restrictions have previously excluded such doctors from NHS funding. We have now removed these restrictions and are taking immediate steps to recruit more doctors into GP training.