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Lecturers (Pay)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many higher and further education establishments have not implemented the 3.7 per cent. wage rise for lecturers. [34917]

Margaret Hodge: The Department does not collect this information centrally. However, we understand from figures produced by the Association of Colleges that 80 per cent. of general further education colleges have implemented an award of 3.7 per cent. or higher, a further 10 per cent. have implemented a partial award and 10 per cent. have yet to make an award.

Lecturers in higher education institutions are paid according to separate higher education pay scales and have settled for a minimum 4.3 per cent. pay award for 2001–02. We are not aware of any Higher Education Institutions failing to implement the award.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures there are to ensure that the wage increase for university lecturers, agreed in August 2001, is paid by colleges and universities to staff. [34918]

Margaret Hodge: The higher education employers and trades unions will monitor the implementation of the pay awards they have agreed. The Government do not play a part.

PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Golden Jubilee

Mr. Yeo: To ask the President of the Council what events (a) he is and (b) other Ministers in his Department are planning to attend as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations; and what events his Department is planning to arrange to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. [33248]

Mr. Robin Cook [holding answer 4 February 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport gave on 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 1204W.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 212W

Fair Trade Goods

Mr. Weir: To ask the President of the Council, pursuant to his answer of 16 November 2001, Official Report, column 897W, on Fair Trade goods, if, during Fair Trade Fortnight, he will review the amount of fairly traded goods used in his Department. [35450]

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Lazarowicz) on 11 February 2002.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Wray: To ask the President of the Council if he will make proposals to the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons to enable an employee of an hon. Member to hand in oral questions to the Table Office. [34626]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Procedure Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into parliamentary questions, and I will ensure this suggestion is drawn to the attention of the Chairman.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Farms

Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, how many farms the Church owns; and how many it owned in 1997. [34465]

Mr. Bell: The Church Commissioners currently own 353 farms of at least 20 hectares, and a large number of smaller holdings.

On the best information available, the comparable figure for 1997 is 379.

TRANSPORT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

THE REGIONS

Railtrack

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to written answer 23221, of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 495W, for what reason this information is market sensitive; and which share prices of other markets could be affected by the provision of a response to it. [26732]

Mr. Spellar: Release of this unaudited information could have an adverse effect on the company's bonds. We are not aware of other share prices of other markets that could be affected.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who will provide working capital for the company limited by guarantee prior to the completion of Railtrack administration. [30240]

Mr. Jamieson: No working capital will be required.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 213W

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) who made the approaches to (a) Mr. Iain McAllister and (b) Mr. Iain Coucher to join the team working on a company limited by guarantee to bid for Railtrack; and what other approaches have been made to potential directors of a company limited by guarantee to bid for Railtrack; [30230]

Mr. Jamieson: It is in the public interest that at least one viable bid is submitted to the administrator for him to judge alongside any other bids that are made. To this end my Department took the initial steps to engage a team to develop a bid based on the concept of a company limited by guarantee.

My Department announced the appointment of Iain McAllister on 29 November 2001. Subsequently, the Strategic Rail Authority announced on 17 December that it had taken responsibility for the engagement of the CLG team and for meeting its bid costs. The SRA announced the appointment of Iain Coucher on 16 January. Copies of the relevant press notices have been placed in the Library of the House. It is for the bid team to make a proposal to the administrator, including a proposal for the management of the proposed company.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who will meet the legal costs of the team working to establish a company limited by guarantee to bid for Railtrack. [30237]

Mr. Jamieson: The cost of the bid team's legal advisers, will be paid directly by the Strategic Rail Authority from within its budget.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether he has received requests from the European Commission for clarification of the application for state aid consent for Railtrack in administration. [30229]

Mr. Jamieson: There is a continuing dialogue with the European Commission about the application that the United Kingdom has submitted for state aid approval.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 30 January 2002, ref 30241, Official Report, column 320W, how and when these costs will be repaid to the SRA. [33409]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 4 February 2002]: The SRA is itself funding the cost of putting forward a proposal based on the concept of a CLG on the basis that it is in the public interest to ensure that at least one viable bid is put to the administrator, which would enable Railtrack to be taken out of administration as soon as possible, which articulates a particular vision for a not for distributable profit railway network operator and which can be tested against other bids.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether Schroder Salomon Smith Barney are retained by his Department. [33412]

12 Feb 2002 : Column 214W

Dr. Whitehead [holding answer 4 February 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions to the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 583W.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) how many shares he held in Railtrack Group Plc on 31 March 2001; how many he holds now; and what value was received for shares sold; [34785]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 8 February 2002]: The Government held 1,031,243 shares in Railtrack Group Plc at 31 March 2001, approximately 0.2 per cent. of the total called up share capital. They still holds these shares.

At the share price of 687p on 31 March 2001, the Government's shareholding was valued at £7.08 million. Trading in the shares of Railtrack Group Plc was suspended on 8 October 2001. At that time the share price was 280, valuing the Government's shareholding at £2.89 million.

Transport for London

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many staff are employed by Transport for London working (a) exclusively and (b) 50 per cent. of their time on new train routes in London. [27704]

Mr. Jamieson: This is an operational matter for the Mayor and Transport for London.

Rail Strikes

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many (a) days work by staff, (b) days work by passengers, (c) trains and (d) passenger journeys have been lost to railway strike action in each year since 1991. [28734]

Mr. Spellar: The information is not available in the form requested.


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