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Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has made to the Strategic Rail Authority regarding the likely effect of a 1020 per cent. cut in the cost of franchises for the All Wales railway franchise; when they were made; and in what form. 
The SRA are aware of our realistic ambitions for the Welsh rail network. The rail subsidy reduction exercise is aimed at improving value for money for the operation of the railways in Wales. As yet no decisions on the outcomes of the cut in subsidy have been taken and the SRA have made it clear that they will not consider any proposals which suggests closure of routes in response to a possible reduction to the subsidy.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales about the likely effect of a 1020 per cent.cut in the cost of franchises for the All Wales rail franchise; and when the discussions took place. 
Peter Hain: I meet with the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government regularly to discuss a range of issues, including transport in Wales. Recently the Parliamentary Under Secretary for State for Wales met with the Assembly's Minister for the Environment to discuss, amongst other things, rail franchises in Wales.
We are working closely with the Assembly to ensure that the SRA are aware of our realistic ambitions for the Welsh rail network. The rail subsidy reduction exercise is aimed at improving value for money for the operation of the railways in Wales. As yet no decis;ions on the outcomes of the cut in subsidy have been taken and the SRA have made it clear that they will not consider any proposals which suggest closure of routes in response to a possible reduction to the subsidy.
Peter Hain: During the course of 1997 the former Welsh Office employed three different special advisers of whom a maximum of two were in post at any one time. The Wales Office now has two special advisers.
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Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on salaries for staff at the Welsh Office in 1997; and how much was spent in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many telephone helplines are sponsored by his Department; and which of these helplines are charged at (a) national rate, (b) premium rate and (c) local rate. 
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what the annual rate is at which his Department has renewed its vehicle fleet, by (a) volume and (b) percentage for each (i) category of vehicle, (ii) type of power unit and (iii) type of fuel over the last three years; 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his estimate is of the number of staff employed by the Welsh Office in each year from 19992000 to 200506; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Hain: Data on staffing levels for my Department, since its establishment on 1 July 1999, is released twice a year by Cabinet Office Press Notice. The latest data for April 2002 was published on 31 October 2002. Data for April of each year from 200001 appears in the latest edition of the annual publication "Civil Service Statistics". Copies of the Press Notices and annual publications are available from the Libraries of the House.
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|Employee jobs in Scotland(September 2002)(3)
|Employee jobs in Fife(2001)(4)
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
(3) ONS Quarterly Employment Estimates
(4) Annual Business Inquiry
(5) Figures denoted in the table are for 2000. Figures for this sector for 2001 are incomplete due to the foot and mouth epidemic. The total percentage will therefore not add to 100.
Apart from a very small number of posts, where there are particular business requirements, all vacant posts in the Department are advertised as being available on a part-time, job share/split as well as on a full time basis. Job sharing is only one of the alternative and flexible working patterns available to staff to take up. These arrangements are decided in conjunction with local management to best suit the needs of individuals and the Department.
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Mr. Paul Murphy: In 2002 it is estimated that 'Total Income from Farming' in Northern Ireland fell to £129 million. For full-time farm businesses the average net farm income is forecast to be £4,600 for the year ending March 2003, some £3,700 lower than in the previous year. These figures are disappointing but reflect lower producer prices in 2002, particularly for milk, and increased expenditure on purchased feedstuffs, a reflection of the poor weather experienced during the summer of 2002. At present there are some encouraging signs which, if maintained, should lead to an improvement in farm incomes. These include the firming of milk prices and the significant strengthening of the euro relative to sterling. In addition the Vision Action Plan, recently announced by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, addresses many of the challenges currently facing the industry and provides a clear strategy to work towards a viable and sustainable agriculture sector for the future.