Mr. Leslie: The existing dispersal of many civil service functions across the UK has worked well, and the Government believe that the administration of public service benefits from this national and regional diversity. The Government will continue to consider this matter.
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: I continue to play a role on international climate change discussions and negotiations on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. I work to foster effective relationships internationally at the highest political level. The UK's negotiating positions for international negotiations on climate change are agreed through the
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Cabinet Committee on the Environment, which I chair. The lead Department for climate change is DEFRA, which retains policy responsibility for international negotiations and implementation of the UK's policies. My office works closely with them and with other Departments with a key interest on strategic and cross-departmental issues.
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: During the last month the Cabinet Office has continued to work with other Government Departmentsincluding DEFRA which has lead responsibility for climate changein furthering Government policy on climate change.
16. Paul Farrelly: To ask the Minister of State for Cabinet Office if he will second an official from the Cabinet Office to the North Staffordshire Partnership to assist in the regeneration of the region. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: I last met the Regional Director of the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber on 27 June. My hon. Friend the Minister of State Cabinet Office met various staff of the Government Office on 4 December.
20. Adam Price: To ask the Minister of State for Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of the scope to relocate Executive functions of (a) Government Departments and (b) public agencies to the nations and regions of the UK. 
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Mr. Leslie: The Annual Report and Accounts of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, of which the Government Car Service is a part, were seen and approved by me before publication in the House on 17 July 2001. Furthermore, the agency's financial statements contained in that report were subject to an audit by the National Audit Office and no observations were made.
Both the Social Exclusion Unit and the Regional Co-ordination Unit support the work of other Government Departments to deliver sustainable improvements in the most disadvantaged areas, and of the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit in co-ordinating and leading strategy centrally.
The nine Government Offices for the Regions have particular responsibility for neighbourhood renewal at regional level, supporting local strategies, administering funds and reporting on local activity.
Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the nature, time scale and cost of repairing the defect which was discovered on HMS Sceptre, HMS Sovereign and HMS Superb. 
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Sceptre identified the need for more detailed analysis to support the existing safety case for reactor plant operation. Inspection of Sceptre will be undertaken as part of her refit at Rosyth Dockyard. While imperfections have not been identified in either Sovereign or Superb, they have similar Reactor Pressure Vessel design. An acceptable safety case was produced for Superb and she has now returned to operations, pending further inspection later this year. Precautionary inspection of Sovereign is now taking place during her on-going maintenance at Clyde Submarine Base. The time scale and cost of work to return Sceptre and Sovereign to operations is subject to
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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops are serving overseas and in which countries; and what proportion of United Kingdom military forces are (a) overseas and (b) in the United Kingdom. 
|United Kingdom (84 per cent.)
|Overseas total (16 per cent.)
|Overseas split by location:
|Other Mediterranean, Near East and Gulf
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many retired members of the armed forces have claimed compensation for service-related Noise Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss since 1990; how many claims were accepted; how many claimants appealed to the pensions appeal tribunals; and how many claims were rejected. 
Dr. Moonie: The information requested is not available in relation to War Pension claims for disablement arising from Noise Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims by retired members of the armed forces for compensation for service-related noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss since 1990 were disallowed for the reason that (a) hearing loss at the time of claiming was less than 50 dB averaged over one, two and three kHz, (b) hearing loss at the time of leaving the armed forces was less than 50 dB averaged over one, two and three Khz, (c) hearing loss exceeding 50 dB after leaving the service but at the time of leaving the armed forces the hearing loss was less than 50 dB averaged over one, two and three kHz, (d) hearing loss exceeding 50 dB averaged over one, two and three kHz after leaving the service but there was no evidence of hearing loss at the time of leaving and (e) claims were made more than seven years after leaving the armed forces.