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26. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will discuss with the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors complaints about success fees taken by solicitors in mining disease cases in Barnsley; and if he will make a statement; 
27. Mr. Allen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if the Secretary of State will establish an inquiry into the operation of the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors in monitoring complaints about the level of fees levied by solicitors acting for people making claims for mining-related diseases; and if he will make a statement. 
29. Jon Trickett: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when he next plans to visit the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors to discuss complaints about the level of fees levied on widows by solicitors acting for them in mining disease claims. 
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31. Keith Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many representations he has received in response to his consultation paper on judicial appointments. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what effect her decision to remove the reactive culling of badgers from the research programme on the interaction between TB in badgers and TB in cattle will have on the report date. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 1 December 2003]: None. The proactive element the trial will continue to its conclusion in 2006, after which the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB will report the full results.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice her Department will offer to the forthcoming EU Regulatory Committee on the application for the sale of Bt 11 GM corn. 
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Mr. Morley: Bt 11 GM maize is already available for sale in the EU, including the UK, under a consent granted by the UK in 1998. The scope of this consent was limited to import of grain and processing for animal feed and other non-food uses.
The company that owns Bt 11 GM maize has made a further application for consent for commercial cultivation in the EU and this is currently being considered under EU Directive 2001/18. No date has yet been set for collective EU discussion and decision making on this application in the relevant EU regulatory committee. If such a date is set in the future, my Department will lead in developing a UK line, taking due account of scientific evidence.
An application for use of Bt 11 GM maize in food is also being considered under EC Novel Foods Regulation 258/97. The Food Standards Agency is the UK competent authority and will represent the UK Government at the EC Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health meeting on 8 December 2003 when the application is due to be discussed.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when she expects to make a decision with her European counterparts, on whether the EU will grant a licence for the commercial planting of GM crops; 
Mr. Morley: Decisions on applications to release particular GM crops for commercial cultivation in the EUincluding the UKare subject to collective EU agreement under the procedures and timetable set down in EC Directive 2001/18. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, whereby each proposed GM product is judged on its own merits according to scientific evidence.
EU-wide licenses for three types of GM maize were granted in 199798. None can yet be grown commercially in the UK because no varieties of these three types of GM maize have been added to either the UK national list of seeds or the EU Common Catalogue. One variety, ChardonLL, of the GM maize T25, is awaiting a decision in the UK but this is not expected before the new year.
There are currently 12 pending applications for approval under the directive for commercial cultivation of particular GM crops. Ten are still at the first stage of assessment by the lead member state. The other two have been forwarded by the lead member state with a favourable opinion and are currently being considered by all member states. It is not possible to say precisely when decisions will be taken, but we do not expect any final decisions on current applications before mid-2004.
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Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor announced a review of financial support for 16 to 19-year-olds in this year's Budget. The Government are committed to consult young people and parents as part of the review. As one strand of this consultation, HM Treasury commissioned the National Children's Bureau to survey young people with a questionnaire "Financial Support and Young People". The results of the survey will inform the review which will report in spring 2004 and feed into the 2004 Spending Review.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations his Department has received from the European Commission on the Alternative Investment Market becoming an unregulated market; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what research his Department has undertaken on how an unregulated Alternative Investment Market would affect (a) companies and (b) investors; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what discussions his Department has had with the (a) London Stock Exchange and (b) Financial Services Authority on the Alternative Investment Market becoming an unregulated market; and if he will make a statement. 
(3) how much revenue was raised from VAT on children's clothes in the last year for which figures are available. 
John Healey: A zero rate of VAT applies to young children's clothing and footwear provided they conform with the size limits detailed in the Customs and Excise Public Notice 714 and are marketed exclusively for children under the age of 14.
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In Budget 2001, the scope of the zero rate was simplified and modernized to reflect more accurately the change in size of the average 13-year-old. The cost of these changes to the Exchequer was estimated at £20 million per annum.
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