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Poverty

21. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he makes of the change in levels of poverty in Wales over the last five years. [44167]

Mr. Touhig: Poverty and social exclusion are complex multi-dimensional issues, affecting many aspects of people's lives including income, health, housing, the quality of their environment and opportunities to learn. There is no single measure that can capture the complex problems that need to be overcome.

The annual report "Opportunity for all", available in the House of Commons Library, sets out and monitors the UK Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion. The UK Government are working in partnership with the National Assembly for Wales to tackle poverty and social exclusion in Wales.

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Environmental Issues

22. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his responsibility for environmental issues affecting English constituencies across the Welsh border. [44168]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The bilateral concordat between the Assembly and the DTLR sets out the principles for dealing with cross-border environmental issues and the arrangements for joint sponsorship of the Environment Agency.

Youth Policy

24. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the mechanisms are for co-ordinating youth policy between his Department, the Welsh Assembly and Welsh local authorities. [44170]

Mr. Touhig: My Department maintains close contacts with both Whitehall and the National Assembly in the appropriate policy areas. The Crime Reduction Director for Wales is part of the Home Office regional team and, as such, provides a link between HO and the National Assembly on relevant aspects of youth policy.

Wales Office Staff

27. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff were employed by the Wales Office in 1997; and what the current figure is. [44173]

Mr. Paul Murphy: For the period since April 2001 the average staff of my Department has been 44 full-time equivalents. The Wales Office did not exist in 1997.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many and what proportion of the staff of his Department are part-time employees. [47194]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office at the present time has four staff who work part-time out of a total of 40 staff.

Engineering Profession

29. Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the contribution made by the engineering academic profession to the Welsh economy. [44175]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The long established Engineering Education Scheme in Wales (EESW) and those participating in it are playing a formative role in shaping the engineers of tomorrow. This is one of the key elements in making a successful technology and innovation led economy.

Care Homes

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on care homes in Wales. [44155]

Mr. Touhig: The Assembly is very aware of the problems faced by the care sector. Its objective is to work with local government and the sector to improve the quality of care services and ensure a viable, and vibrant care home sector.

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At a national level the Assembly is taking strategic action and established a Wales Care Strategy Group to discuss the current problems facing the care sector.

Performance Targets

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new initiatives his Department has taken in 2001–02 to assist in achieving its Public Service Agreement targets. [47184]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 13 March 2002, Official Report, column 1073W.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list his Department's expenditure by months in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01; and if he will make a statement. [32218]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer he received from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 692W.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the National Assembly for Wales. [31064]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None; the nature of its functions means that the Wales Office undertakes very few consultations.

Cynon Valley

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales about health issues in the Cynon Valley. [40532]

Mr. Touhig: My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with the First Minister and Health Minister of the National Assembly for Wales about health issues in Wales. I am aware that the Assembly has recently discussed and endorsed the Townsend Report's proposals for addressing health inequalities in Wales. These will be particularly important to communities like the Cynon Valley.

In addition, I am working closely with the Health Minister on primary legislation which will enable the Assembly to put in place structural changes to the NHS in Wales, with the aim of improving efficiency and management of the NHS in Wales.

Unpaid Advisers

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the names of the unpaid advisers appointed by him and his predecessors since June 1997, stating in each case (a) the date of their appointment, (b) the duration of their appointment and (c) the project or projects on which they have been engaged. [43383]

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Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 25 March 2002]: I have not appointed any unpaid advisers as defined in paragraph 51 of the Ministerial Code and I have no record of my predecessors having done so.

Details of unpaid appointments made to task forces, review groups and other ad hoc advisory groups in Wales are set out in periodic reports issued by Cabinet Office, copies of which are in the Library of the House.

New Deal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many people have been employed by his Department in each of the last three years under (a) the new deal for young people, (b) the new deal for the over 50s and (c) the new deal for lone parents; and at what cost, listed by category, to public funds; [44917]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Since 1 July 1999, staff in my Department have generally been seconded from the National Assembly for Wales and elsewhere. During this period, there have been no people on new deal programmes employed in the Wales Office.

Prior to that date the former Welsh Office employed seven staff under the new deal for young people. The movements of people from the new deal programme who left the Department are not monitored.

New deal recruits take up existing vacancies so extra costs to public funds are limited to the subsidy, where appropriate, and any additional training and development which may be needed. The cost of the latter cannot be readily identified.

PFI/PPPs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the (a) private finance initiatives and (b) public private partnership projects which have been delayed. [44887]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department does not have any private finance initiatives or public private partnerships that have been delayed.

Property Protection

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new measures his Department took in 2001–02 to protect its property from theft or damage. [47245]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Staff remain vigilant in implementing security arrangements.

Entertainment Costs

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list for each of the last five years the total amount of money spent by Ministers in his Department on food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for official entertainment purposes. [47205]

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Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department spent some £21,000 on hospitality in 2000–01 and some £8,000 in 2001–02. Figures for 1999–2000 are not readily available.

Special Advisers

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent by departmental special advisers on food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for entertainment purposes in each of the last five years. [46843]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Since the establishment of the Wales Office on 1 July 1999, my special advisers have not spent any departmental funds on entertainment.

Records prior to this date are not available.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many times special advisers have accompanied Ministers on overseas visits in each of the last five years; which countries were visited; and what the total cost of each individual visit was. [47136]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Information is available only for the period since the Wales Office was established on 1 July 1999.

Departmental special advisers have accompanied Ministers on visits abroad on seven occasions, Belgium five times, Ireland once and Spain once. It is not practicable separately to identify the costs of these visits, but all journeys were judged to comply with the Civil Service Code.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many special advisers there were in his Department; and what their salaries were in each of the last five years. [46960]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Since its creation in July 1999, the Wales Office has had two special advisers. They are paid in accordance with the Government-wide special advisers' salary scales promulgated by the Cabinet Office.


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