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9 Feb 2005 : Column 1586W—continued

Sand Reserves (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what sand reserves are recorded in the Lancashire Structural Plan; where deposits are located; and what planning guidelines apply to (a) sand quarries and (b) sand extraction. [214973]

Keith Hill: The draft Replacement Lancashire Structure Plan, due for adoption in March 2005, does not record sand and gravel reserves or future requirements. However, the Lancashire Minerals and Waste Local Plan, adopted in December 2001, requires the release of 3.2 million tonnes by 2006. The local plan identifies three areas of search, which are:

The returns to the North West Aggregates Working Party for 2003 show that there are 3.54 million tonnes of permitted reserves at the three working sand quarries in the county. The national context for sand extraction is given by Minerals Planning Guidance Note 6, revised in 2004. It sets out a regional apportionment, of which Lancashire's share is 15 per cent., or 8.2 million tonnes.

Planning policy in relation to sand quarries and sand extraction is given at a national level by Minerals Planning Guidance Note 1 (currently being revised as Minerals Planning Statement 1: Planning and Minerals). Sand extraction is covered by MPG 6, referred to above. The draft Replacement Lancashire Structure Plan has a policy (26) on Provision for
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working minerals" which covers all aspects of minerals' working in overall terms; more detail is provided by the Lancashire Minerals and Waste Local Plan, which contains policies relating to:

Travellers (London)

Tom Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many illegal encampments of Travellers there are on private land within the Greater London area. [215167]

Yvette Cooper: The bi-annual Count of Gypsy and Traveller caravans, which is carried out by local authorities on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, does not differentiate between unauthorised encampments on public and private land. It does however distinguish between the number of caravans on unauthorised encampments and those on unauthorised developments of Gypsies' own land without planning permission, As at July 2004, the latest date for which published information is available, the number of caravans on unauthorised encampments in the Greater London area was 101, and the number on unauthorised developments was 108.
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Departmental Properties

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many properties are held by the Department; what total floor space these properties provide; how many properties are vacant; and how much floor space vacant properties comprise. [206498]

Mr. Miliband: The total number of properties held by the Cabinet Office as at 1 December 2004 was 41. The total area (net internal area) of all those properties comprised some 84,501 m 2 . As at the 1 December 2004 one lease hold property (consisting of 994 m 2 ) was vacant. The lease on that property has now expired and has not been renewed.

Directgov Website

Mr. Allan: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will publish detailed visitor activity logs for the Directgov website. [214271]

Mr. Miliband: Directgov received over 1.1 million visits in January 2005. Independent usage tracking by Hitwise" rated Directgov in the top 10 of most visited UK government websites in four of the last six months of 2004.

Traffic figures detailing user activity are published on the eGU website ( on a monthly basis; these cover the number of users, visits and pages viewed on the Directgov website. A copy of the latest monthly report has been placed in the Library.
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Catering Costs

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent on (a) entertainment lunches involving civil servants and guests and (b) working lunches, in each year since 1997. [215040]

Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 15 December 2004, Official Report, column 1084W. The Treasury's accounting system does not differentiate between entertainment lunches and working lunches. All expenditure on official entertainment is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government Accounting".

Credit Unions

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will discuss with the Association of British Credit Unions proposals to allow credit unions to set up hardship funds which will allow access to borrowing for those who have no previous history of saving. [214621]

Mr. Timms: The Government will continue to have discussions with the association on a wide range of issues including on the Government's objective to increase the availability of affordable credit to the financially excluded and will certainly consider any proposals which it brings forward.

Departmental Policies (Stockton, South)

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many jobs have been created in Stockton, South constituency since (a) 1997 and (b) 2001. [215303]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibilities of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Ms Dari Taylor, dated 9 February 2005:

Number of employee jobs and change in jobs(44)(5507370045) in the Parliamentary Constituency of Stockton South: 1997 to 2002

Number of employee jobs
Change(46) in number of jobs since 19979,000
Change(46) in number of jobs since 20015,000

(44) Excludes self-employed jobs.
(45) These figures are aggregates from which agriculture class 0100 (1992 SIC) have been excluded.
(46) The change since 1997 and 2001 has been rounded to the nearest thousand separately from rounded levels.
1997; Annual Employment Survey, rescaled.
1998–2002; Annual Business Inquiry.

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EC Pension Liabilities

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the latest estimate is of the UK share of the European Communities' pension liabilities; and how much the UK has contributed. [215277]

Mr. Timms: The United Kingdom contributes to the Community budget as a whole, and not to individual elements of it. For 2003 (the latest year for which we have outturn figures), the amount in the budget for pensions was €755.2 million. The UK's percentage contribution to the overall 2003 budget was 11.92 per cent. after abatement.

EU Budget

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 31 January 2005, Official Report, column 594W, on the EU budget, if he will make a statement on what additional liabilities arise to the Commission upon failure to discharge the EU budget. [215301]

Mr. Timms: No additional liabilities arise. The Commission's liability under article 276 of the treaty covers all observations of the Council and the European Parliament made during the discharge process, irrespective of whether the budget sector they relate to received a positive statement of assurance.

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