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PRIME MINISTER

Cabinet Committees

Ms Ward: To ask the Prime Minister what the membership is of each Cabinet Committee. [41942]

The Prime Minister: Since the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Jones) and my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) on 10 July 2001, Official Report, column 452W, I have established six new Cabinet Committees and made a number of minor changes to the membership and terms of reference of existing Cabinet Committees. I have placed a copy of the current list of Cabinet Committees, their membership and terms of reference in the Library of the House. Details will also be updated on the Cabinet Office website.

Public Services

Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's strategy for the reform of the public services. [41287]

The Prime Minister: I am today publishing a pamphlet, entitled "Reforming Public Services: Principles into Practice", which sets out the Government's strategy. Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of the House today.

Volunteers

Bob Russell: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2001, Official Report, column 701W, on voluntary work, how many members of staff he had in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001. [39548]

7 Mar 2002 : Column 487W

The Prime Minister: For figures for 2001 I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) on 5 November 2001, Official Report, column 8W. As of 1 September 2000 170 staff were on the No. 10 payroll.

Special Advisers

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister how many civil servants reported within his office ultimately to a special adviser on 1 January and in (a) 1998, (b) 2000 and (c) 2002; and what proportion they represented of all civil servants at No. 10 Downing Street. [40717]

The Prime Minister: The Order in Council in 1997 provides for my Chief of Staff and my Director of Communications and Strategy to manage civil servants. No other special advisers in No. 10 manage civil servants directly. I also refer the hon. Gentleman to the No. 10 organogram, a copy of which is in the House Library.

Jo Moore

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister what evidence he has collated of civil servants in the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions undermining the credibility of Jo Moore. [41275]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing to add to the detailed statements made by the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and his permanent secretary.

Chief Press Officer

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister when his officials were informed that exchanges involving the Chief Press Officer of the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, about announcements on Friday 15 February, were not as suggested at his spokesman's lobby briefing the previous morning; when he informed the President of the Council of this; and who was responsible for the inaccuracy. [41276]

The Prime Minister: The PMOS has fully explained the position in the lobby. Copies of the lobby notes are available on the Number 10 website. The President of the Council has made his position clear and I refer the hon. Member to his personal statement on 28 February 2002, Official Report, column 842.

Steel Imports

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with President Bush about the possible imposition of tariffs on steel imports by the United States; and if he will make a statement. [41091]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) in the House on 6 March 2002, Official Report, columns 281–82.

Privacy and Data Sharing Report

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Prime Minister when the PIU will issue its privacy and data sharing report. [40862]

7 Mar 2002 : Column 488W

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) on 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 204W.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list those items valued at more than £50 which have been stolen or lost from her Department in each of the last four years. [27997]

Ms Hewitt: The Department of Trade and Industry's log of missing items is a mix of lost, stolen or misplaced items belonging to the Department or its workforce. In the majority of cases the value of items is not recorded and it is not possible to answer this question in detail without incurring disproportionate cost. However, I refer the hon. Member to parliamentary questions answered on 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 847W and on 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 1071W.

Postal Services

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to ensure the universal postal delivery service in rural areas since the publication of the Postcomm report on competition in postal services. [40713]

Mr. Alexander: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, East, Nairn and Lochaber (Mr. Stewart) on 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 1125W.

Postcomm's document "Proposals for effective competition in UK postal services", published on Thursday 31 January, is a public consultation and we would expect concerns about the universal service obligation to be thoroughly considered as part of the consultation process.

Postcodes

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by what means the Post Office enables the public to consult a list of alpha-numeric postcode suffixes matched to a word-based local descriptor; and if she will place such a list covering Northern Ireland postcodes in the Library. [38297]

Mr. Alexander: I am informed by Consignia that postcode information is available from a number of sources; online at www.postcodes.royalmail.com and through a telephone helpline charged at local rates. Postal address books are available at public libraries. Postal address books for local postcodes are available to businesses free of charge and to members of the public for a small fee.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her Department's plans to encourage the use of renewable energy. [37993]

7 Mar 2002 : Column 489W

Brian Wilson: The Government are providing substantial support to industry to encourage the use of renewable energy.

Introducing the new renewables obligation, exempting renewables from the climate change levy and protecting existing non-fossil fuel obligation (NFFO) contracts will together create a long-term market incentive for renewables worth over £1 billion per year by 2010.

We are underpinning the obligation with direct Government funding for renewables worth over £260 million between 2001 and 04. We are setting up extensive capital grants programmes, in particular for offshore wind and energy crops projects, initiating a major photovoltaics demonstration programme, and boosting research and development.

We recently introduced an order to allow locational flexibility for NFFO 3, 4 and 5 projects that have not yet been commissioned. This will allow more appropriate locations to be found in order to overcome problems in securing planning permission.

We have initiated studies of each UK region's capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources. Once all these assessments are completed, it is expected that specific regional targets for renewable energy will be adopted across the UK. We are also publishing an overview of those regional assessments.

The Government are also exploring the scope for upgrading the electricity distribution system to enable the UK's huge renewable energy resources to be exploited to the full. For example, an initial study of the feasibility of an underwater cable to connect parts of the western seaboard of the UK directly to the national grid has recently been completed. We shall be moving to a more detailed study of all the options and their costs.

EU Delegations (Scottish Ministers)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the UK delegation to the Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 1 March; and what information is being provided by her Department to guarantee effective pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. [40318]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 4 March 2002]: I represented the UK at the Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism Council on 1 March. It is the responsibility of the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise the Scottish Executive's involvement in preparations for EU Council meetings. These arrangements are a matter for the Committee and the Scottish Executive. The Department provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.


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