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Ms Hewitt: In July 2000, the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced a target date for establishing a Trading Fund by 1 April 2002. In September, I launched a public consultation document on the establishment of a Trading Fund. I have today placed a copy of the report on the outcome of the consultation before the Libraries of both Houses.
The systems needed to operate the Trading Fund are not yet fully in place and have yet to be adequately tested. I have therefore decided that the original target date is no longer appropriate. In doing so, I have taken account of the responses received to the consultation, as well as a range of operational factors.
I remain committed to the preferred course of capitalisation in the longer term. In the meantime, ECGD is giving priority to its business and systems. I shall make a further announcement in due course.
The following table, using the IP data, shows the number of petrol retail outlets in operation in England and Wales which were not branded either by a major oil company or a hypermarket chain and thus provides some measure of the number of independent retailers. Dealers who sell major oil company branded fuel are excluded by this method. In the last three of these years, some sites
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have been identified as "unbranded", and are identified separately in the table. In the year 2000, no regional breakdown of the unbranded sites was given.
(4) On the 2000 survey, no regional breakdown of unbranded sites was given. As the UK total of unbranded sites was virtually unchanged, (1999:867, 2000:866), it has been assumed for the purposes of the table that the unbranded numbers in England and Wales were also unchanged.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what Government assistance has been made available to Federal Mogul at (a) its UK plants and (b) its Sunderland plant in the last five years. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 4 February 2002]: The Women's Unit was created in 1998. Its staff for the first financial year of its existence (199899) was 45. The unit was renamed the Women and Equality Unit following last year's general election in order to recognise its new policy responsibilities across the United Kingdom for gender
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Mr. Robin Cook: As I stated in my memorandum to the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, I would like to see greater certainty about the timing of parliamentary adjournments, a closer relationship between adjournments and school holidays, and a rearrangement of business to reduce the length of the summer period during which Parliament does not sit, while maintaining the current balance between sitting and non-sitting weeks.
Mr. Pope: To ask the President of the Council what (a) evidence he considered and (b) local education authorities he consulted on school half term holidays before announcing the dates of the February recess. 
Mr. Robin Cook: Before announcing the dates of the February adjournment I consulted the Department for Education and Skills to establish which dates were likely to coincide with the majority of half term holidays. I recognise, however, that such holidays vary across the country, and regret it is impossible to satisfy all hon. Members.
Mr. Forth: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the appointments made by his Department since 1 May 1997 of chairmen of (a) non-departmental public bodies, (b) commissions, (c) inquiries, (d) agencies and (e) task forces; and if he will list their (i) term of office, (ii) salary and (iii) known political affiliation (A) past and (B) present. 
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterparts regarding the treatment of al-Qaeda prisoners captured in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Bradshaw: We are in close contact with the US as the detaining power. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the treatment of those detained by the US in Afghanistan with Colin Powell during his visit to Washington on 31 January and 1 February, and again made it clear that detainees should be treated humanely
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and in accordance with international norms. The US authorities have said that the detainees are being treated humanely and consistently with the principles of the Geneva Convention.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people in his Department worked on Afghanistan in (a) 1999, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) January 2002; and on what tasks and in which policy areas they were deployed. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 5 February 2002]: FCO staff working on core Afghanistan-related issues in 1999, 2000, 2001 and January 2002 were four, four, between 19 to 30 and 24 respectively. The staff were working mainly on political and economic matters.
An additional 235 FCO staff worked at various times on a variety of crisis-related work between 11 September and the end of 2001. This figure does not include staff already in the relevant front-line geographical and functional department. It is not possible to give a precise number given the cross-cutting nature of the crisis and the breadth of the FCO's response to it.
Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary maintains regular dialogue with his European counterparts on the future of Afghanistan. He met EU Foreign Ministers on 28 January at the General Affairs Council in Brussels, and is attending an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on 89 February in Caceres, Spain.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the strategic importance of the United Kingdom retaining its existing role in Gibraltar. 
Peter Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the member for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram), to my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) on 14 November 2001, Official Report, column 741W.
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