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3 Apr 2003 : Column 783Wcontinued
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers of what regiment were photographed posing beside a loyalist paramilitary mural on 1 February; what disciplinary action has been taken against these soldiers and their commanding officer; and what measures have been taken to ensure this behaviour is not repeated. 
Mr. Ingram: 16 members of the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire were photographed against a loyalist mural on 1 February. No disciplinary action has been taken against the soldiers although administrative action was taken against their Platoon Commander. Since the taking of the photograph instructions have been issued that murals are not to be used as a backdrop for group photographs.
Mr. Ingram: Tritium has been produced for the defence programme at the electricity generating station at Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire. Our stocks are sufficient to meet requirements for the foreseeable future.
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Ms Hewitt: The gender gap in hourly pay between men and women increased slightly from 18.5 per cent in 2001 to 18.9 per cent in 2002. ONS found the increase was due to a widening of the gap at the higher end of the earnings distribution. The gender pay gap for the bottom 75 per cent. of women narrowed over the same period from 13.3 per cent. to 12.8 per cent.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for Women what recent consultations the Minister has had with child care organisations in the last year regarding the provision of child care; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: I have met with various child care organisations over the past six months, as well as speaking at the DayCare Trust conference last November. As part of last year's inter-departmental review of child care, my noble Friend the Minister for Sure Start conducted a broad consultation with organisations with an interest in child care.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for Women pursuant to her answer of 27 February 2003, Official Report, column 651W, on the EU Equality Advisory Committee, if she will place the minutes to the EU Advisory Committee Meeting in the Library when they are available. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 March 2003]: The minutes of the EU Advisory Committee meeting on 9 October have not yet been published. They have to be approved by the Commission and then to be adopted by the Advisory Committee. It is expected that their adoption will take place at the Committee's next meeting on 28 May. After this date, the minutes will be publicly available and I shall place a copy in the Libraries of the House.
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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for Women pursuant to her answer of 27 February 2003, Official Report, column 651W, on public appointments, if she will list the other bodies that have shown interest or plan to run similar events in 2003. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 March 2003] We have distributed over 3,400 copies of "Get a Public Life", the practical guide on why and how to run your own seminars. I am aware of the following bodies or individuals that have run events already in 2003 or are planning to do so in the near future:
Equality Unit in Wales in partnership with Wales Women's National Coalition
Waltham Forest Women in Public Life
The Women's TUC
The City Livery Club
Yorkshire Forward and Fairplay
Caroline Flint MP
The Labour Party
Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made with the pilot schemes set up to test the practicalities of extending the gas network in rural areas; and if she will list the pilot schemes. 
Mr. Wilson: The report of the working group on extending the gas network made a number of recommendations, including a programme of pilot schemes to assist communities in non-gas areas with high concentrations of fuel poverty. In the absence of central funding for such a programme, the Government have worked with the industry and other interested parties to devise approaches to promoting connections to non-gas areas, drawing on existing funding schemes and using creative approaches. We expect the first industry-led pathfinder projects to begin in the coming months.
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Mr. Wilson: Under the restructuring proposal announced by British Energy on 28 November 2002, the Government is taking financial responsibility for the company's historic spent fuel liabilities under contracts with BNFL, and underwriting new and enhanced arrangements by the company in the form of a new Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF) to meet decommissioning and other back-end liabilities.
Under the operation of the NLF, the Government propose to put in place a series of controls and incentives to ensure that British Energy runs its nuclear power stations as though it were exclusively responsible for the discharge of nuclear liabilities.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she has received since 9 September 2002, which indicated that British Energy was offering electricity contracts for sale at below the wholesale market prices. 
Mr. Wilson: The Department receives regularly representations about the operation of the electricity market from a variety of sources. The implementation of the trading strategy announced by British Energy on 28 November 2002 as part of its restructuring proposals is a matter for the company.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with British Energy on financing the cost of installing flue gas de-sulpherisation of Eggborough power station since 9 September 2002; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: My officials have discussed a wide range of matters with British Energy during this period. The installation of flue gas desulphurisation of Eggborough is an operational matter for British Energy.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her statement of 28 November 2002, Official Report, column 488, on British Energy, (1) if she will publish the evidence to support the statement that it was necessary to underwrite financial assistance to British Energy because it was the best way of securing the safety of the nuclear power stations; 
Mr. Wilson: Nuclear safety and security of electricity supplies are our main priorities for British Energy whether or not the company's restructuring proposals is successful. Our decision to support the company's proposal involved complex assessments stretching over many years. The detailed calculation of those assessments contain assumptions which are commercially confidential, under Exemption 13, Third Party commercial confidences of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 26 March 2003, Official Report, column 221W, on British Energy, whether an application has been made to draw on the
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current facility to finance the cost of installing flue gas de-sulphurisation at British Energy's Eggborough Power Station (a) directly and (b) indirectly. 
Mr. Wilson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 March 2003, Official Report, column 685W, on British Energy. Details of individual applications are also commercially confidential, under Exemption 13, Third Party commercial confidence of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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