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23 Oct 2002 : Column 384W—continued

Lone Parents

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of lone parents exclusively (a) use registered childcare services and (b) rely on informal childcare in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) the North East and (iii) the UK. [76623]

Mr. Miliband: This data is unavailable at constituency or regional level. The latest national survey carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of DfES shows that in England, 29 per cent. of all lone parents had used formal childcare in the past

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year and 73 per cent. of all lone parents had used informal childcare in the past year. There is no information on exclusive usage. The study ''Repeat Study of Parents Demand for Childcare'' was published by the DfES in May 2002.

Teacher Assaults

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers have been the subject of (a) physical assaults, (b) verbal assaults and (c) other threatening behaviour from (i) children and (ii) parents in each year since 1988. [76776]

Mr. Miliband: The Department has not collected this information. However, 135 serious injuries to teachers in Great Britain caused by physical violence were reported to the Health and Safety Executive in both 1999–2000 and 2000–01; data for 2001–02 are not yet available. This figure includes major injuries, and also injuries which resulted in more than three days' absence from work, as a result of assault reported to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. Information is not available on whether the assaults were carried out by children, parents or others.

Teachers (Criminal Checks)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost of the delay to the completion of the checks on newly qualified teachers by the Criminal Records Bureau has been; and if she will make a statement. [76804]

Mr. Miliband: We have asked a number of Local Education Authorities to provide estimates of the costs incurred by schools as a result of delays by the Criminal Records Bureau in the completion of checks, but it will not be possible to identify separately the cost incurred as a result of delays in completing checks on newly qualified teachers only.


Public Services (Electronic Access)

Mr. Spring: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the level of electronic access to the main public services. [75727]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The latest survey of departments shows that 52 per cent. of government services are available online. The full results of the survey are available on the website of the Office of the e-Envoy at$file/esdrep-spring-2002.htm.


Web Sites

Dr. Cable: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the web site links associated with his Department, including sites now dormant or closed, and indicating whether they are live, dormant or closed; what the start up costs were for each site listed; what the operating

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costs were in each year since start up for each site; which company hosted each site; what assessment takes place for each site; which company does the assessment; if he will place the assessment reports in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [75586]

Mr. Christopher Leslie: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has responsibility for a number of primary web sites in addition to the main Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's web site ( It is not possible to state the start up costs as the site has been created out of the former DTLR (and before that, DETR) web site. The annual cost of running the web site is currently #85,000 (excluding staff costs). The web hosting company is EduServ, who are based in Bath. There has been no assessment of the ODPM web site, as it has only existed since the creation of the Office earlier this year. Because not all sites are managed centrally, information about every web site could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, the following are primary sites listed on our main web site and are live unless specified:

Fire safety Campaign web
Department for Transport,
Government and the Regions (dormant)
Urban Summit event web
Independent review of the Fire
Government Office regional Co-ordination Unit and Government
Neighbourhood Renewal web
Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI) interactive web
Central government information for local
Supporting People web (live from 1 November 2002)
Fire Service
Queen Elizabeth II
The Rent

Local Government

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many English local authorities who were debt-free were (a) Conservative, (b) Liberal, (c) Labour and (d) under no overall control in the latest year for which figures are available. [76381]

Mr. Raynsford: 104 directly elected English local authorities have reported that they had debt-free status as at 1 April 2002. On 10 May 2002, 49 were

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Conservative, 10 were Liberal Democrat, six were Labour, seven were Independent and 32 were under no overall control.

Source: Capital Estimates Return 2002–03

For the purposes of this return, an authority is ''debt-free'' only if:

(a) at 31 March 2002, the authority's credit ceiling was nil or a negative amount and

(b) at 1 April 2002, the authority had no money outstanding by way of external borrowing other than short-term borrowing or hard to redeem debt, as defined in Regulation 154 of the Local Authorities (Capital Finance) Regulations 1997.

Regional Assemblies

Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many responses to the Government's regional Government White Paper (a) favoured, (b) opposed and (c) suggested alternatives to devolved regional assemblies based on the Government's favoured boundaries, broken down by the region of the address of each response. [76088]

Mr. Raynsford: The Government did not formally consult on any specific aspects of the White Paper other than on involvement of stakeholders in the work of elected regional assemblies. Nevertheless, we are currently undertaking an analysis of all of the 1,100 formal responses received on the White Paper—I will write to the hon. Member once this has been completed and will place a copy of the letter in the library of the House.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what role he envisages for English regional assemblies in the governance of (a) trading standards and (b) the meat inspection service. [75931]

Mr. Raynsford: The Meat Hygiene Service is an executive agency of the Food Standards Agency and provides consistent standards of inspection and enforcement services across England, Scotland and Wales. Enforcement of trading standards is the responsibility of local authorities. The Government has no plans to transfer these functions to elected regional assemblies in England. Our current proposals for the powers and responsibilities of elected regional assemblies are set out in chapter 4 of the White Paper Your Region, Your Choice (Cm 5511), which was published on 9 May.

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Mr. Gummer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for regional assemblies in England to administer the inspection of non-animal foodstuffs upon arrival at a dock or airport within their region. [75918]

Mr. Raynsford: The enforcement and inspection of non-animal foodstuffs from third countries is the responsibility of local authorities at their point of import. The Government has no plans to transfer this function to elected regional assemblies.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for the financial responsibility of the inspection of non-animal feedstuffs to be placed in the hands of regional assemblies in England. [75938]

Mr. Raynsford: This function is primarily the responsibility of the local authority trading standards services. The Government has no plans to transfer it to elected regional assemblies.

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