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21 Jan 2002 : Column 589W
Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 289, if he will publish the documentation to support his reference to the uncovering by the Railtrack administrator of more financial difficulties at the company. 
The Prime Minister: No. These are matters for Railtrack plc and its administrator. The administrator will lodge a Statement of Proposals with the Registrar of Companies and others, including creditors of Railtrack plc, at a time to be agreed by the court. The statement will therefore be widely available. It will contain the administrator's proposals and strategy for transferring the business to another company or companies and the carrying on of the relevant activities before making the transfer. And as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions told the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee on 16 January this will include a statement of affairs from the Directors of Railtrack, that will
"understand why the High Court judge . . . took the decision which he did".
Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Lewes, of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 367W, whether his policy in respect of telephone tapping of hon. Members extends to (a) other methods of interception of communications and (b) bugging. 
As to bugging, the position remains as I informed the House on 4 December 1997, Official Report, column 321, the policy applies in relation to the use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies as well as to telephone interception.
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Bob Russell: To ask the Prime Minister when he last used the railway service in connection with his official duties; what station he left from and what was the destination; and whether it is his intention to make greater use of the railways in future. 
The Prime Minister: I last travelled by train on 6 December 2001 from Paddington to Reading. I travel making the most efficient and cost-effective arrangements, and will continue to use the railway service regularly when appropriate. My travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel set out in chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code, and the accompanying guidance document, Travel by Ministers.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister what the average time is that the Head of his Department has recommended since May 1997 between a special adviser leaving his Department and taking up outside employment; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: All special advisers are covered by the Business Appointment rules which are set out in full in the Civil Service Management Code. Each case is considered on its own individual merit, and an average of the outcomes would therefore be meaningless and potentially misleading. Individual applications submitted to the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments for advice are reported on in the committee's annual report.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister what matters in respect of United Kingdom assistance to Russia in its weapons dismantlement and nuclear materials management programmes were discussed in his meeting with President Putin in December 2001. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what the (a) date and period of appointment, (b) qualification and (c) status of the contract is of each person appointed to (i) the Forward Strategy Unit and (ii) the Performance and Innovation Unit. 
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(3) what procedures her Department has to ensure environmental appraisals are undertaken prior to (a) administrative and (b) policy decisions being made; 
(4) what plans her Department has to appraise the environmental implications of its Spending Review submission to the Treasury. 
Mr. Foulkes: The Scotland Office is a small Government Department with limited programme expenditure and procurement capacity. It has therefore not been necessary for it to carry out any environmental appraisals since its establishment in July 1999. The Scotland Office's management board take environmental considerations into account as part of its normal decision-taking process, including its Spending Review submission to the Treasury.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many officials from her Department have attended the environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course run by the Civil Service College. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what plans she has to make representations to the Department for Work and Pensions to reconsider its decision to withdraw attendance allowance to those recipients who will be entitled to receive free personal care in Scotland; 
(3) pursuant to her answer of 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 141, on the Barnett formula, what views of Whitehall were made clear to the Scottish Health Minister by her Office during the consideration by the care development review of the subject of the payment of attendance allowance to those recipients who will be entitled to receive free personal care in Scotland; 
(4) what plans she has to make representations to the Department for Work and Pensions to secure the continued allocation to Scotland of the attendance allowance money withdrawn from recipients who will be entitled to receive free personal care; 
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(5) pursuant to her answer of 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 141, on the Barnett formula, which other Whitehall Departments were involved in the dialogue with the Scottish Executive and the Department for Work and Pensions on the subject of the payment of attendance allowance to those recipients who will be entitled to receive free personal care in Scotland. 
Mr. Foulkes: The Scottish Executive, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Treasury and the Scotland Office had a number of discussions on this matter. These discussions were amicable. Throughout, it was recognised that decisions on care services are devolved and those on benefits are reserved. The Government have made it clear that they are not prepared to transfer resources in this area to the Scottish Executive. The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, Mr. Malcolm Chisholm, said on 15 January that the discussions were concluded and the matter would not be taken any further.
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