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12 Jan 2004 : Column 564W—continued

Ministerial Visit (Basra)

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the library a copy of a transcript of his remarks to journalists on board his flight from Basra on 4 January. [146581]

The Prime Minister: Any comments I made en route to Basra on 4 January were made on the record and were fully reported by the media at the time in the same way as any briefings I make on visits like this.


Tom Brake: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 5 January 2004, Official Report, column 57W, on Chechnya, how many (a) meetings, (b) telephone calls and (c) letters he has exchanged with President Putin since 18 June 2003. [147081]

The Prime Minister: I last met President Putin on 26 June during his State Visit to the UK and we discussed a wide range of issues including Chechnya.

I regularly discuss either by telephone or through correspondence a wide range of issues with President Putin.

As with previous Administrations, it is not the practice of this Government to make public details of all discussions I have with foreign leaders.


Mr. Randall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the task forces he has set up since 1997; when each last reported; and when he expects each to have completed its task. [147237]

The Prime Minister: Information on task forces in existence between May 1997 and October 2000 was made available in three reports published in January, July and December 2000 on "Task Forces, Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and Reviews".

For the years 2001–02 and 2002–03, this information has been included in the publications 'Public Bodies 2002' and 'Public Bodies 2003' respectively.

Copies of these reports are available in the Library of the House.

World Trade Organisation

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with (a) President Bush and (b) Mr. Romano Prodi since 14 September 2003 on the need to resume trade negotiations following the termination of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial in Cancun. [146637]

The Prime Minister: I regularly have discussions with President Bush and Mr. Prodi on a wide range of international issues including on trade.

The Government are committed to working with our international partners to restart the Doha Development Round at the earliest opportunity.

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Mr. Betts: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to include measures of (a) the state of the physical environment and (b) crime and disorder in revised indices of deprivation; and what methodology will be used to measure these. [146108]

Yvette Cooper: It is proposed that the revised Indices of Deprivation 2000 (ID 2000) should include new domains to cover the living environment and crime and disorder.

For the Living Environment domain, indicators have been proposed to cover both the quality of the 'indoors' living environment and the 'outdoors' physical environment. In respect of the latter, the two indicators proposed are:

The purpose of the Crime domain is to measure the incidence of recorded crime, representing the occurrence of personal and material victimisation at a small area level. It is proposed that four composite indicators are constructed (burglary, theft, criminal damage and violence) covering some 33 different categories of recorded crime. These indicators will be constructed either using full recorded crime data from the 39 geographic regional police forces or if this is not possible, full recorded crime data for the majority of the police forces but modelled crime data for the areas that are unable to provide recorded crime data.


Mr. Key: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how much of the e-Government budget has been (a) allocated to and (b) spent on (i) parish councils and (ii) town councils; and if he will make a statement; [147427]

Phil Hope: The Government's target to see all services electronically enabled by 2005 only applies to local authorities and fire authorities who are subject to the Best Value Performance Indicator 157, and does not apply to town and parish councils.

As they are not subject to this target, parish councils are not being funded directly under the £675 million Local e-Government Programme. However, many councils are working very successfully with local parish councils to both support their websites and to build local parish content into community public portals. Our National Strategy for Local e-Government encourages all councils to have this joined-up approach to providing local online services and information. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is funding 66 Local e-Government Partnerships to provide Community Portals, which will include local parish content.

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Emergency Planning

Mr. Soames: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what role will be played by local authorities in the South East of England in the event of the mass evacuation of London; and what recent discussions he has had with them on contingency plans for the mass evacuation of London; [147284]

Mr. Raynsford: Mass evacuation of parts of London, or any other area, would be very much a last resort.

However, as part of its role in making sure London is as well prepared as possible to cope with any emergency situation, the London Resilience partnership has been carrying out generic planning for the temporary evacuation of areas of London in the event of this being necessary. The local authorities and emergency services in the surrounding counties, including the South East of England, have been actively involved in this work and have had detailed discussions over the past year with officials in the London Resilience Team and the Regional Resilience Team based in the Government Office for the South East.

The principal role of local authorities in the event of any serious emergency, whether or not it necessitates mass evacuation, is to provide support for the people in their area; in general this will involve close co-operation with the emergency services. In the event of mass evacuation of areas of London being required, the local authorities in the surrounding counties—including those in the South East of England as need be—would be involved in providing initial rest and reception facilities for evacuees.

We do not make publicly available detailed contingency plans for meeting specific needs on responding to particular types of incident.

Emergency Tri-Service Centre

Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment has been made of the operation of the Emergency Tri-Service Centre in Gloucestershire. [146569]

Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has made no assessment of the operation of the Emergency Tri-Service centre in Gloucestershire. The Government's consultants, Mott MacDonald, looked at shared control arrangements while undertaking work to update their April 2000 report "The Future of Fire Service Control Rooms and Communications in England and Wales". The latest report was published on 11 December 2003 and copies are available in the Library of the House.

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EU Regional Funding

Ann Winterton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what organisations responsible for the distribution of European Union regional funding currently operate in the (a) North East, (b) Yorkshire and Humberside and (c) North West regions; and what organisations in each of those areas are in receipt of such funding. [146683]

Mr. Raynsford: The distribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in England is the responsibility of Government Offices for the Regions. The Government Offices for the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber respectively distribute funds to recipient organisations in their regions.

A variety of public, private and voluntary sector organisations in these areas receive ERDF. A list of recipients of ERDF during the current 2000–06 programming period will be available in the Libraries of the House. ERDF supports measures such as the development of sites and premises for industry and businesses; transport infrastructure; support for small and medium sized enterprises; tourism; research and development; and community economic development.

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