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Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many overseas visits she has undertaken since her appointment; to which countries; to meet which institutions and bodies; and at what cost. 
Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 25 January 2002]: Since my appointment as Secretary of State, I have visited Europe, North America and South East Asia, at an approximate cost of £17,500. My meetings on these visits focused on constitutional and trade issues and the Friends of Scotland initiative.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the running costs were of (a) her Ministers' private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff, and (b) her Department in each year from May 1997 to the nearest date for which the information is available. 
In the period 1 July 1999 to 31 March 2000, an incomplete year as it was the first for the Department, were £3.6 million, of which £2.0 million were staff costs. The running costs in 200001 were £5.7 million, of which £3.6 million were staff costs.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases (a) her Department and (b) its agencies have defended in (i) industrial tribunals and (ii) the courts in each year since 1997; how many were concluded in their favour; and what the total cost to his Department of litigation was in each year. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the target time will be in 200203 for (a) Ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in her Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the total amount of money spent by Ministers in her Department since its creation on food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for official entertainment purposes. 
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1226W
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by departmental special advisers on food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for official entertainment purposes in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland with reference to the 2000 Spending Review service delivery agreement targets, if a three-year rolling audit programme of local authorities by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland began in April 2001; and if a third of Scottish authorities were audited in 200102. 
Mrs. Liddell: This is a matter for Scottish Ministers, but I understand that the local authority audit programme undertaken by the Food Standards Agency Scotland commenced in April 2001. The three-year rolling programme consists of each Scottish local authority receiving an annual partial audit, equating to a full audit over the three-year programme, and the target was met in 200102.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many net additional staff her Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. 
Mrs. Liddell: My Department has recruited seven net additional staff in the 12-month period from June 2001three at executive officer level: one in September 2001, one in november 2001, one in April 2002; and four at administrative level: two in June 2001, one in November 2001 and one in April 2002.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the magazines and periodicals subscribed to by her Department, stating for each subscription the (a) number of copies taken and (b) annual cost. 
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1227W
|Title||Average number of copies|
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the newspapers subscribed to (a) Monday to Saturday and (b) on Sunday by her Department, stating for each subscription (i) the number of copies taken, and (ii) the annual cost. 
|Newspaper||Average number of copies|
|Aberdeen Press and Journal||2|
|West Highland Free Press||1|
|Independent on Sunday||2|
|Mail on Sunday||2|
|News of the World||1|
|Scotland on Sunday||4|
24 Jul 2002 : Column 1228W
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of ordinary written questions for her Department were answered within a week of tabling in each month since June 2001; and what proportion of questions for named day received a substantive answer on that day in each month since June 2001. 
Mrs. Liddell: Approximately 6070 per cent. of both types of written question were answered within the required time scales. In view of the large increase in the number of questions being tabled, an upgraded PQ tracking system is being considered as one of the options in improving performance in this area.
Mrs. Liddell: The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, some 110,000 people across Scotland have benefited from the national minimum wage since it was introduced in April 1999.
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