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Departmental Budget

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was allocated to the Office and its predecessor for each year since 1975. [11515]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office was created in July 1999 and no figures are available before that date.

Departmental Estate

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the estimated (a) market value and (b) annual rental value is of each property owned by his Department; who the occupier of each property is; and if he will make a statement. [12135]

Mr. Hain: The only property owned by the Wales Office is Gwydyr House in Whitehall, which has an estimated market value of £2.95 million. The building is occupied by the Wales Office apart from two rooms, which are occupied by the National Assembly for Wales. As the property is not rented out, the annual rental value is not known.

Departmental Purchasing

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the companies from which his Department has purchased goods and services of a total value above £1 million in each of the last three years; and how much was spent in respect of each company. [11789]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office has not purchased goods or services from any company for a value of £1 million in any of the last three years.

Departmental Staff

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many full-time equivalents have worked for the Department for each of the last five financial years for which figures are available. [11523]

Mr. Hain: Data on staffing levels in the civil service is collected by the Cabinet Office and published in the Civil Service Statistics. A copy of the Civil Service Statistics, 2004 is available in the Library, and at:
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Hospitals (Opening Dates)

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the opening dates of hospitals in Wales were between 1975 and 1998. [6687]

Mr. Hain: Between 1975 and 1998 approximately 31 hospitals in Wales were opened. However, a record of the formal openings is not held centrally, and due to disproportionate costs, we are unable to provide a comprehensive list of opening dates.

Inward Investment

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with Secretaries in the National Assembly for Wales on encouraging inward investment in Wales. [12522]

Mr. Hain: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of issues including measures to promote the economy in Wales.

During 2004–05, Wales secured 56 inward investment projects. These projects expect to create or safeguard 3,854 jobs and invest capital expenditure totalling £153 million.

Job Losses

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what support the Government are offering to support the manufacturing industry in Wales, with particular reference to possible job losses at (a) Sony and (b) Christie Tyler. [10758]

Mr. Hain: Manufacturing remains vital to the Welsh economy and we want to see a successful manufacturing sector producing high value-added products.

We are working in partnership with industry, trade unions, regional development agencies, and other stakeholders to deliver the Government's Manufacturing Strategy launched in May 2002, and reviewed in 2004.

It sets out the actions, such as the Manufacturing Advisory Service, up-skilling the workforce, and R and D tax credits, needed to create a high value, high skill manufacturing sector capable of introducing new products and processes into our economy and creating new markets to deliver a boost to our prosperity.

This is complemented by a range of measures administered by the Assembly Government to assist the manufacturing sector. These include financial assistance, business advice, promoting innovation e.g. the Technium programme through to initiatives to improve skills and promote entrepreneurship.

In respect of Sony, the job losses announced recently are regrettable. The Assembly Government with its Team Wales partners, including the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) Elwa and Jobcentre Plus are already working with the company to find alternative employment for those affected. I have also discussed with the Sony Group chairman and chief
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executive, Sir Howard Stringer, the possibility of further investment at the Pencoed plant and Sir Howard has assured me that he will look into this.

As regards Christie Tyler, specific assistance has already been offered to the receivers through the WDA, to identify prospective purchasers for the businesses through the Agency's extensive network, both in the UK and overseas. Any leads that are identified are being immediately passed to the receivers.

Part of Christie Tyler group, Cambria Mobel in Pontypridd, has now been sold on a solvent basis to Sofa Brands International, safeguarding the jobs under threat. In addition to this, I understand Management Buyouts (MBO) are being looked at for other parts of the group.

Despite the recent losses, unemployment in Wales is now 4.5 per cent. compared to 8.3 per cent. in 1997, and I am encouraged by the progress that is being made.


Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) legislative debates and (b) committees on Bills pertaining to England and Wales (i) he and (ii) his Parliamentary Under-Secretary have spoken in since his Office was established. [13301]

Mr. Hain: Wales Office Ministers have spoken in many legislative debates and committees since 1999.

Details of the occasions are not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what research costs were incurred (a) in the preparation of and (b) before presentation to Parliament of the (i) Better Governance for Wales White Paper, (ii) the Transport (Wales) Bill, (iii) the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill and (iv) the draft Tourism Accommodation (Wales) Bill. [13302]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office published the Better Governance for Wales" White Paper in response to a request from the Assembly Government, which arose from the report to them of the Richard Commission. The cost of the Richard Commission is a matter for the Assembly.

The Wales Office published the Transport (Wales) Bill and the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill in draft for pre legislative scrutiny, and is planning to do the same for the Tourism Accommodation (Wales) Bill later in this session. These publications are a normal part of legislative scrutiny, and where appropriate costs are met from the Wales Office administration costs budget. Any costs incurred from research in the preparation of these Bills are matters for the Assembly.

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what criteria he will use to measure the consensus required to trigger a referendum on primary legislative powers for the National Assembly for Wales. [13308]

Mr. Hain: Better Governance for Wales (Cm 6582) describes the circumstances in which the Government would consider a referendum. Paragraph 3.24 says:

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Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much external research was commissioned by his Department (a) before introduction to Parliament, (b) during passage in Parliament and (c) after Royal Assent for (i) the Government of Wales Act 1998, (ii)thePublic Services Ombudsman Wales Act 2005, (iii)the Children's Commissioner for Wales Act 2001, (iv) the Health (Wales) Act 2003 and (v) the Public Audit Wales Act 2004. [12131]

Mr. Hain: The Health (Wales) Bill and Public Audit Wales Bills were both published for public consultation and pre legislative scrutiny before being introduced into Parliament.

The idea of a Children's Commissioner was a cross-party consensus dating back to the creation of the National Assembly in 1999 and was one of the recommendations of the Waterhouse Report. The Assembly's Health and Social Services Committee was given the task of drawing up proposals for the role, remit and functions of the Commissioner and carried out a public consultation, which included taking oral evidence from witnesses. The Commissioner is subject to audit from the National Audit Office and has to produce an annual report.

In December 2002 the Wales Office jointly published with the Welsh Assembly Government Ombudsmen's Services in Wales: Time for change?", a consultation document on the principle of bringing together the offices of Commissioner for Local Administration in Wales (which includes the Local Commissioner), Welsh Administration Ombudsmen and Health Service Commission for Wales into a unified service. In October 2003 a consultation document on the detailed powers and jurisdiction of that new office, entitled, A Public Services Ombudsman for Wales: Powers and Jurisdiction" was published.

In respect of the Government of Wales Act 1998, the former Welsh Office established the National Assembly Advisory Group (NAAG) in December 1997, following the successful outcome of the referendum on devolution in Wales, to undertake wide-ranging consultation and consideration of the shape of the new Assembly.

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