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20. Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales about the operation of regional selective assistance in Wales. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I meet the First Minister regularly to discuss a range of issues. Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the most important grant available to businesses in Wales looking to invest to grow. 240 companies received RSA grants between January and December 2001, to the value of £130.5 million in grant funding and £553 million in total investment. This funding will result in the creation of 8,700 jobs and the safeguarding of another 4,700 jobs.
Mr. Paul Murphy: The new deal has been a huge success story in Wales. There has been a 75 per cent. fall in the number of young people aged 1824 claiming JSA in Wales since launch of new deal and a 50 per cent. fall in the number of long term JSA claimants over 25.
22. Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales and Cabinet colleagues about the performance of the Welsh economy. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I meet the First Minister and Cabinet colleagues regularly to discuss a range of issues, including the Welsh economy. I very much welcome last week's labour market statistics which show that unemployment in Wales fell by 7,000 over the last quarter.
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There is a report from the Welsh Drug Misuse Database (WDMD) for the years 1999 and 2000, which offered an analysis of reports from reporting agencies to the WDMD relating to problem drug users who presented for help and treatment during 1999 and 2000. The increase shown in heroin as a main drug in treatment cases does not necessarily indicate a rise in the number of people dependent on the drug.
In May 2000, an 8-year strategy was published by the National Assembly entitled: "Tackling Substance Misuse in Wales: A Partnership Approach". The strategy covers not only illegal drugs but also alcohol, over-the-counter and prescription drugs and volatile substances. The four aims of the strategy embrace those of the UK strategy Tackling Drugs to build a better Britain.
The National Assembly made £2 million available through the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund (DATF) in 200102 to support drug and alcohol treatment services in Wales and to improve access to treatment, particularly for vulnerable young people. The fund is administered through Drug and Alcohol Action Teams (DAATs) and has supported many treatment services including those who provide services to people with a heroin dependency. This fund is in addition to expenditure from key agencies including health, the police and probation.
25. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has held with the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions regarding rail services in Wales since October 2001. 
The Assembly have developed a good working relationship with the SRA and the Wales and Borders Single Franchise is being taken forward as a priority in the strategic plan. This provides a real opportunity to increase the quality and frequency of services and the new franchise is expected to be operational next year.
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Mr. Paul Murphy: I am planning to meet representatives of the National Farmers Union shortly. During last year both my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and myself travelled extensively through Wales and met members of the farming community.
I welcome the recent announcement by the National Assembly for Wales that they have spent almost £28 million to the end of December to help the rural economy recover from the effects of foot and mouth disease. In Wales, this is in addition to over £51 million paid out as compensation for culled animals and over £60 million paid out under the Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme.
28. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales and others on the mechanisms for co-ordinating policy for reducing alcoholism in Wales. 
However I am aware that the Assembly is tackling the problem of substance misuse, including alcohol abuse, through its 8-year substance misuse strategy "Tackling Substance Misuse in Wales: A Partnership Approach".
29. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will hold discussions with the First Minister and the Environment Secretary on the cross border impact of the proposals for an incineration plant at Wrexham. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I understand that the National Assembly has received a number of requests to call-in this planning application. It is for the Assembly to decide how to proceed. I will however draw the hon. Member's concerns to the attention of Assembly Ministers.
Mr. Touhig: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I meet regularly with the National Assembly First Minister and the Assembly Health and Social Services Minister to discuss a range of issues, including the NHS in Wales.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if it is his policy to limit funding for investment by Railtrack and its successors to the total in the regulatory settlement for Control Period 2. 
Mr. Spellar: The funding available to Railtrack and its successor is the regulatory settlement for Control Period 2, as supplemented by the agreement between Railtrack and the Department in April 2001. If bidders for Railtrack consider that this is insufficient, they will need to include proposals for additional funding in their bids.
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick) on 23 October 2001, Official Report, columns 19597W.
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