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16. Rosemary McKenna: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on her action to promote tourism in Scotland in co-ordination with other parts of the United Kingdom. 
Mrs. Liddell: I am in regular contact with the British Tourist Authority and its partners to ensure that Scotland and the whole of the UK is promoted as a tourist
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destination. Tomorrow evening I shall be speaking at a BTA reception which has been organised to introduce Scottish MPs to the BTA and give them an opportunity to see how Scotland and their own areas are promoted by the BTA.
I am also working closely with the BTA and Visit Scotland on my new initiative to make connections with friends of Scotland across the world.
17. Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action she has taken to explain the Government's policy in relation to the war in Afghanistan to Scotland's Muslim community. 
Mrs. Liddell: I visited the Islamic Centre and Glasgow Central Mosque on 9 November, where I spoke to over 100 people including around 3040 leaders of the Muslim community from throughout Scotland.
I made clear this Government's policy on the war against terrorism and offered our continued support to Scotland's Muslim community as respected members of our society.
18. Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met the Secretary of State for Defence to discuss plans for the future involvement of Scottish regiments in combating terrorism; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: Although I see my right hon. Friend on a regular basis I have not yet had the opportunity to discuss plans for the future involvement of Scottish regiments in combating terrorism. I hope to do so in the near future.
19. Mr. McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people in Scotland benefit from the uprating of the national minimum wage. 
Mr. Foulkes: The increase in the adult national minimum wage to £4.10 per hour and the youth rate to £3.50 from October 2001 is benefiting around 135,000 people across Scotland. The national minimum wage is having a direct and beneficial impact on the pay of the lowest paid workers in Scotland; is helping to close the gap between the highest and lowest earners; and is helping reduce the differential between men's and women's pay. This has been achieved without any discernible adverse impact on the economy.
20. Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment she has made of the cost of teachers' pay in Scotland for the purposes of determining the funding allocation under the Barnett formula. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Barnett Formula provided the Scottish Executive with a population-based share of increases in comparable spending of UK Government Departments in the 2000 Comprehensive Spending Review. Within its overall departmental expenditure limit
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it is for the Scottish Executive to decide how to allocate its budget, including the funding of teachers' pay in Scotland.
21. Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last met the chairman of Scottish Enterprise to discuss trends in the Scottish economy; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: I last met the Chairman of Scottish Enterprise on 27 November and we discussed a range of issues. While Scotland cannot remain immune to the effects of a global slowdown, the tough decisions that this Government have taken mean that the economic fundamentals in the UK and in Scotland remain sound. The Scottish economy, as part of the UK economy, is better placed than ever before to cope with the effects of a global downturn in demand.
24. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what economic modelling has been undertaken to determine the prospects for the Scottish economy up to 2005. 
Mrs. Liddell: Neither the Scotland Office, nor the Scottish Executive, publish forecasts for the Scottish economy. We do, however, monitor several independent forecasts on the Scottish economy.
22. Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she next expects to meet the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to discuss compensation, on disability grounds, for former miners. 
Mrs. Liddell: I have frequent discussions with my right. hon Friend. We are making good progress with the coal health compensation scheme in Scotland. So far the Government have paid out a total of £19 million in relation to respiratory diseases and £25.8 million in relation to Vibration White Finger.
23. Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on employment trends in Scotland since September. 
Mrs. Liddell: Latest figures show that there are 2.381 million people in work in Scotland, a fall of 0.5 per cent. over the previous three months but a rise of 3,000 over the same period a year ago. The number of people out of work and claiming benefit rose by 800 in October, but remains at its lowest level for a quarter of a century.
25. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action the Government are taking to reduce rail congestion in east central Scotland. 
Mr. Foulkes: The Scottish Executive has taken a leading role in researching the potential for development of rail infrastructure in Scotland.
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I understand that they are to conduct a Central Belt railway capacity study, which aims to assess the likely costs and benefits of potential improvements to existing, and new, passenger services, and infrastructure enhancements in central Scotland.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was, in real terms and for each year since 1999 (a) the annual charge to moneys paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund as a result of the operation of the Barnett Formula and (b) the total annual sum received by the Scottish Executive from the Scottish Consolidated Fund. 
Mrs. Liddell: Information on the grant paid to the Scottish Consolidated Fund since 1999 is published in the Scotland Office Estimates and the Scotland Office Departmental Report. The grant is a block grant and is not disaggregated or hypothecated.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much public money, in real terms, was received in each year since 1979 by the (a) Scottish Office, (b) Scotland Office and (c) Scottish Executive that was external to the block grant and Barnett Formula; and what was for each year (i) the single largest item of such expenditure and (ii) the total amount of such expenditure. 
Mrs. Liddell: This information is not readily available. Moreover, coverage of the block grant arrangements has changed since 1979, which makes comparisons over this period difficult. However, information on Scottish public expenditure back to 199596 was published in chapter 8 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses in April 2001. Information for earlier years was published in previous editions of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was, in real terms and for each year between 1979 and 1999 (a) the annual change to the budget of the Scottish Office arising from the operation of the Barnett Formula and (b) the total annual expenditure of the Scottish Office. 
Mrs. Liddell: This information is not readily available. Moreover, coverage of the block grant arrangements has changed since 1979, which makes comparisons over this period difficult.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the First Minister on the development of Community Banking in Scotland. 
Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a wide range of issues.
The first community banking agreement in the UK is being piloted between the community of Wester Hailes in Edinburgh and the Bank of Scotland. Funding for the scheme has been provided by the Bank of Scotland and the Scottish Executive through the West Edinburgh Pathfinder initiative.
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Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many businesses in Scotland, broken down by sector, have benefited from the First Steps e-business access programme. 
Mrs. Liddell: This is a matter for the Scottish Executive. However, I understand that the First Steps into E-Commerce workshop was delivered by Scottish Enterprise to almost 1,700 in Scotland between February 2000 and August 2001. The programme has since been redeveloped to address customer feedback. First Steps now consists of four separate workshops allowing companies to attend the most appropriate session/s based on their current level of e-business adoption. Since 10 September 2001 almost 400 delegates have attended one of the four workshops in the First Steps workshop series. Scottish Enterprise do not hold details of company sector for past attendees. However they are looking at capturing that information for future events.
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