Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the Government will be making to the European Council at Barcelona on the furthering of the e-Europe initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
There has been encouraging progress since the Lisbon summit of March 2000 towards its goal of making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world. As the Commission has stated in its report to Heads of State and Government for the Barcelona Spring European Council on Economic Reform, telephone calls are cheaper and there is a greater choice of operators
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everywhere. The number of homes connected to the internet has doubled. In all but one member state, over 90 per cent. of schools have access to the internet. These results show that the eEurope Action Plan 2002 is well on track towards its objective of bringing the internet within reach of all European consumers, businesses, schools, and Governments by the end of this year. The next stage must be to maintain this momentum by encouraging the conditions for it to be used as fully as possible. A key step will be encouraging widespread broadband technology. Higher-speed, "always on" connections will make using the internet more attractive and will stimulate the development of new interactive services.
I attended an Informal Council of Information Society Ministers on 22 February. We discussed the progress of eEurope and how it should be followed up. I expect that the results of these discussions will be forwarded to the forthcoming Barcelona summit.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the Government will be making to the European Council at Barcelona on the liberalisation of the European energy market; and if he will make a statement. 
Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of (a) the ratio of borrowing to GDP and (b) the proportion of public debt to GDP as laid down by the treaty of Maastricht and the growth and stability pact in 2004 of each of the countries applying for EU membership. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the states which he estimates have the capacity to launch missiles that could reach the territory of the United Kingdom. 
We assess that there is currently no significant ballistic or other missile threat to the United Kingdom and that only the four other nuclear weapon states (the United States, Russia, China and France) have ballistic missile systems with the range to reach the United Kingdom mainland. We continue to monitor developments closely.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the statutory instruments issued by her Department in the last 12 months, indicating (a) the purpose of each and (b) the cost of each to (i) public funds, (ii) businesses and (iii) individuals. 
Information about the cost of statutory instruments made to public funds is not held centrally and would cost a disproportionate amount to establish. Similarly, the cost to businesses and individuals is not held centrally and is not available.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people have been appointed by her to official bodies and NDPBs coming under the aegis of her Department in the last three years; and who they were. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The total number of public appointments made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 January 1999 is 312. The details of each appointment are contained in tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what was the gross funding of the (a) Further Education Funding Council and training and enterprise councils in the last full financial year and (b) Learning and Skills Council in its first financial year. 
John Healey [holding answer 13 February 2002]: The Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) accounts for 200001 are not yet available, but planned total funding for the FEFC for all purposes in 200001 was £3,530 million, excluding student support funds and employer contributions. The Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) paid a total of £1,270 million to Training and Enterprise Councils in 200001.
The Learning and Skills Councils budget for 200102 is £5,493 million, excluding assumed employer contributions. This represents a 9 per cent. real terms increase compared to plans for 200001 in the same area.
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Mr. Timms: The Department for Education and Skills has not created any specialist housing units for teachers in the past year. However, as part of the £250 million Starter Homes Initiative, more than 3,500 teachers will receive assistance in purchasing homes in areas of high demand or high price. In September 2001 we announced the first round of the Initiative, which aimed to help more than 2,800 teachers. In January of this year we announced that a further 700 teachers would receive help in the second round of the Initiative. Assistance will be in the form of equity loans, interest free loans and shared ownership. The tables set out the numbers of teachers who will receive assistance, by LEA, for each of the two rounds of the Initiative.
|London (covering all London boroughs
|Covers Bournemouth, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Christchurch, Swindon
|South Gloucestershire/City of Bristol
|Bath and North East Somerset
|Brighton and Hove
|Isles of Scilly
|Windsor and Maidenhead
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many overseas visits have been undertaken by parliamentary private secretaries in her Department at departmental expense in each of the last four years; and at what cost to public funds. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Parliamentary Private Secretaries supporting Ministers in this Department have travelled overseas on Government business on two occasions; both visits took place in 1998, at a total cost of £940. All travel complied with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new entrants to the Civil Service were employed in her Department in each of the last five years; and how many in each year were aged 50 and over.