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Service Children's Education

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many children currently benefit from boarding school allowance; and what the cost of the scheme is in 2003–04. [147138]

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Mr. Caplin: The cost of the scheme in each of the school terms in 2003 is as follows:

TermNumber of childrenCost (£)
Spring 2003 (January-March)4,33213,660,611.01
Summer 2003 (April-July)4,40613,655,127.27
Autumn 2003 (September-December)4,27714,744,626.76
Total cost42,060,365.04

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the funding per pupil by Service Children's Education was in each of the last five years. [147140]

Mr. Caplin: The Agency's Annual Report and Accounts for the past five years contain details of the Annual Operating Costs of Service Children's Education (SCE) together with the pupil numbers served. Copies of these are available in the Library of the House.

It is not possible to provide the information in the format requested. The Quinquennial Review Team recognised that simple cost comparisons between Service Children's Education (SCE) and local education authorities in the United Kingdom cannot be made due to a number of factors. These include the differences in funding mechanisms between the two parent Departments, the accounting requirements placed on SCE as a Defence Agency, and most notably the additional costs incurred by the Agency brought about by operating in an overseas environment.

In addition to the Annual Reports, a series of cost calculations showing a number of different tabulations for pupil costs are contained at Annex E to the Quinquennial Report published in May 2003, a copy is which is available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the academic and education targets set for Service Children's Education schools in each of the last five years, and what assessment he has made of the extent to which these targets have been met or exceeded. [147141]

Mr. Caplin: In common with other Defence Agencies, Service Children's Education publishes its Annual Report and Accounts each year. The Agency's Key Targets and performance against them are contained within these documents, copies of which are held in the Library of the House. The Annual Report covering 2002–03 is scheduled for publication in January 2004.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all the rear weapon suspension points on all the shoulder pylons fitted to RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft fully comply with Military Standard 1760; and if he will make a statement. [147549]

Mr. Ingram: Military Standard 1760 is specifically concerned with the location of electrical connector access points in relation to the weapon suspension points on the shoulder pylons. Due to space constraints the weapon electrical connector access points cannot be located at the position defined by Military Standard 1760 on the Tornado GR4. NATO Stanag 3558 does

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however, provide the option to locate the electrical connector at either the Military Standard 1760 position or at a specified alternative location; it is this alternative that has been utilised on the Tornado GR4.


Government of Wales Act

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what functions have been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales pursuant to section 22 of the Government of Wales Act 1998 since 1998. [147047]

Mr. Hain: The functions are too numerous to list but they can be found in the following National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Orders:


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his Department's procurement policy with regard to offshore IT and call centre outsourcing; whether his Department is outsourcing IT and call centre jobs to offshore companies; to which countries his Department has outsourced these jobs; how much his Department has spent on this outsourcing in each of the last two years; and how much has been budgeted for this purpose for the next two years. [147580]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office has not outsourced any jobs to offshore companies and has no plans to do so in the future.

Richard Commission Report

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales on the forthcoming Richard Commission report. [141188]

Mr. Hain: The First Minister and I meet regularly and we have discussed the Richard Commission on a number of these occasions.


Live Music Forum

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the remit of the Government's taskforce The Live Music Forum; and whether it extends to Northern Ireland. [147573]

Estelle Morris: The Live Music Forum will work with the music industry and other key stakeholders to:

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The Licensing Act 2003 applies to England and Wales. Therefore, the Live Music Forum's remit extends only to those countries.


Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what the projected total annual salary bill of Ofcom is for its first year of operation; [145499]

Estelle Morris: These are matters for the Office of Communications (Ofcom). DCMS officials have, therefore, asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to respond directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the Chief Executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Agricultural Support

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the level of (a) Green Box support, (b) Amber Box support and (c) Blue Box support is from the UK Government to agriculture. [146645]

Alun Michael: The level of agricultural support, categorised by Green, Amber and Blue boxes, is notified to the World Trade Organisation for the European Union and is not separately identified by member state. The latest published notification of domestic support for the European Union is for the marketing year 1999–2000 and records the level of Green Box support as Euro 19.9 billion; Amber Box Euro 47.9 billion; and Blue Box Euro 19.8 billion.

Climate Change

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the implications for the United Kingdom of the article on climate change impacts in the United Kingdom and other countries over the next half century by Professor Chris Thomas of Leeds University, published in Nature in January. [147688]

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Mr. Morley: The article in Nature indicated that about a quarter of the land species in the areas studied could be committed to extinction in 2050 under mid-range global climate warming scenarios. However the article did not provide a prediction for extinction rates in the UK.

The Department, along with the devolved Administrations, statutory nature conservation agencies and non-governmental organisations, is contributing to an ongoing research programme on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the UK. Results suggest that as climate changes, the distribution of species and the composition of habitats will change. With warmer temperatures, some northern species are likely to retreat, while southern species may be able to expand their ranges. Movement of some species may be strongly impeded by our highly fragmented landscapes, possibly leading to local extinctions.

The Department also plans to commission an update of its "Review of the impact of climate change on UK species and habitat conservation (2000)". The latter report is available on the internet and will be placed in the Library of the House.

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