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Legal and Regulatory Framework for Charities

Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when the Strategy Unit Review of the Legal and Regulatory Framework for Charities in the not- for-profit sector will be published. [73439]

Mr. Alexander: The Strategy Unit (formerly Performance and Innovation Unit) review of the legal and regulatory framework for charities and the not-for-profit sector will be published in September.

EU Legislation

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what mechanism there is to ensure Government Departments produce explanatory memoranda on proposed EU legislation in time for proper consideration by the European Scrutiny Committee. [71654]

Mr. Alexander: The Government is committed to the effective scrutiny by Parliament of proposed EU legislation and has given an undertaking that Ministers will not agree to proposals in the Council of Ministers until scrutiny by Parliament has been completed. This undertaking is the cornerstone of the scrutiny process and is embodied in a Resolution of the House of Commons dated 17 November 1998.

The Government is committed to depositing proposals for primary EU legislation in Parliament within 48 hours of receipt by the Government, and to the provision of an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) within 10 working days of an EU document's deposit in Parliament, wherever practicable.

The Cabinet Office is responsible centrally for the maintenance of scrutiny procedures, working closely with Departments and the staff of the European Scrutiny Committee. Where EMs cannot be submitted quickly, the Cabinet Office ensures that the lead Department provides the European Scrutiny Committee with an explanation for any delay together with an assessment of the impact on the opportunity for consideration by the Committee. The Cabinet Office also liaises with Departments to ensure Departments plan ahead effectively to avoid occasions

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when late submission of an EM will cause difficulties for the proper consideration of issues by the European Scrutiny Committee.

Politics (Young People)

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent meetings he has had regarding young people's involvement in the political process; and what the outcomes of those meetings were. [72386]

Mr. Denham: I have been asked to reply.

I have held a number of meetings with young people, members of the UK Youth Parliament, hon. Members, and the media, relating to the re-engagement of young people in democracy and voting. Those discussions have supported the recommendations of the YVote?/YNot? project published on 3 July.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what (a) legislation is in place and (b) programmes are being funded that encourage young people's involvement in the political process. [72387]

Mr. Denham: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have taken several legislative steps in recent years to modernise and simplify electoral law and processes so that they are more relevant to modern lifestyles, including those lived by young people. These measures should make access to the process more flexible and make it easier both to register to vote and to cast a ballot. The Government, with the help of others such as the Electoral Commission, will continue to consider carefully any suggestions for changes that will lead to increased involvement of the young in the electoral process.

The National Curriculum Order for Citizenship laid before Parliament on 23 June 2000 sets out the statutory requirements for citizenship education. The subject will be part of the national curriculum for secondary schools from this August. It will consist of three main strands: political literacy, social and moral responsibility and community involvement. These will help young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to engage in active citizenship and understand their role in the political process.

The Children and Young People's Unit will continue to work with a range of organisations to support the action recommended in the YVote?/YNot? project. The independent Electoral Commission, with whom the Children and Young People's Unit has been working closely, has a statutory responsibility for raising public awareness of the electoral process and democratic systems, and has run focused advertising campaigns aimed at encouraging higher levels of voter participation within specific communities, including young people. The commission intends to continue to run bi-annual advertising campaigns, linked to key dates in the electoral calendar, including local and national elections and the annual registration canvass. The commission will also be launching later this year a 'New Initiatives Fund' which will provide grant funding to individuals and organisations outside government to test innovative ideas aimed at increasing participation in elections by young people and others.

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Publications Scheme

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will make a statement about the House's publications scheme under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [73374]

Mr. Kirkwood: The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires any public authority, including this House, to develop and implement a publication scheme setting out details of the classes of information which it publishes or intends to publish. I am pleased to announce that the House of Commons scheme has now been approved by the Information Commissioner and will be available on the parliamentary website at from Wednesday 24 July. Paper copies are available to hon. Members in the Library and to any member of the public on request from the House of Commons Information Office.

House of Commons Staff

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what percentage of House of Commons staff are (a) full-time employees and (b) agency staff provided by outside contractors. [72814]

Mr. Kirkwood: At 30 June 2002, the House employed 1,373 full-time staff and 90 agency staff, out of a total work force of 1,740 individuals. Thus full-time staff represent 79 per cent. of the total, and agency staff represent 5.2 per cent.

Edward Heath Statue

Mr. Banks: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what arrangements have been made for re-siting the bust of the right hon. Sir Edward Heath by Martin Jennings within the Palace of Westminster. [73638]

Mr. Kirkwood: I have been asked to reply.

Hon. Members will wish to know that Mr. Speaker has amended the "10-year rule", governing the display of representations of politicians in the main building of the Palace. A portrait, bust or statue of a politician other than a Prime Minister may be displayed once 10 years have passed after their death. A portrait, bust or statue of a former Prime Minister may now be displayed either once five years have passed after their death, or when three Parliaments have elapsed after they have resigned the office of Prime Minister (provided they are no longer Members of the House and that a minimum of 12 years has elapsed), whichever of these events comes first. There remain no restrictions on the siting of representations of living politicians in the outbuildings of the Palace.

Accordingly the bust of Sir Edward Heath may now be displayed in the main building of the Palace. It is the intention that it should be sited in Members' Lobby from later this year.

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Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the President of the Council what the (a) dates, (b) location and (c) sources were of attributable (i) articles, interviews or contributions for the media, books or other journals and (ii) speeches or presentations made in the public domain, by departmental special advisers since March 2001; who in his Department authorised the activity; and on what date this activity was recorded with the departmental Head of Information. [72245]

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given earlier today by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Computer Equipment

Dr. Cable: To ask the President of the Council what his policy is for the disposal of computer equipment that has been updated; and if he will make a statement. [72843]

Mr. Robin Cook: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 19 June 2002, Official Report, column 398W.


Value Added

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the gap between value-added per employee in the public and private sectors in the UK. [73653]

John Healey: The Office for National Statistics publish data on jobs in the public and private sectors annually in an article in Economic Trends. The latest, which gives data for 2001, appeared in the June 2002 edition of Economic Trends (page 39–52). Value Added by sector of the UK economy is available in the ONS Blue book. The latest Blue book dataset, including statistics for 2001, will be published on 26 July.

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