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14 Oct 2005 : Column 636W—continued

Sign Language

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is provided to local authority social service departments on the provision of sign language services for adults who have learning disabilities. [17805]

Mr. Byrne: The Government recognise British Sign Language (BSL) as a language in its own right.

The Department of Health does not issue guidance to local authorities on the provision of sign language for adults who have learning disabilities. However, we would expect all local authority social services departments to take the communication needs of the population into account when providing services.

The Disability Rights Commission published guidance in 2004 on how social services should comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) in relation to communicating with deaf people who use BSL, including people who have a hearing impairment who also have a learning disability.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Departmental Buildings

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total floor space is of buildings owned or leased by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies. [14533]

Mrs. McGuire: The total amount of space occupied by DWP and its agencies is 2,441,605 m 2 .

The vast majority of buildings occupied by DWP have been transferred, for value, to Land Securities Trillium under the terms of the PRIME PFI contract.
 
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Therefore DWP does not own or lease them, a unit price is paid for the provision of fully serviced accommodation.

Scottish Constituency Boundaries

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes have been made in the collecting of statistics to reflect changes in Scottish constituency boundaries for the Westminster Parliament. [15050]

Margaret Hodge: While no changes have been introduced in methodology, the statistical presentation has been updated to reflect new Westminster parliamentary boundaries.

DWP will continue to publish National Statistics that reflect the Westminster boundaries in existence when the information was collected. Accordingly, for data based on May 2005 and planned for publication in October 2005, the National Statistics will be based on the new Westminster constituency boundaries. DWP will also produce similar statistical information based on the current constituency boundaries for the Scottish Parliament and make these available on request.

We are developing a time series of quarterly data on benefit caseloads and new deal participants back to May 1999 based on the new Scottish constituencies for the Westminster Parliament. This data is planned to be made available in October 2005 as part of the changes to the DWP National Statistics outputs announced via a press release on 15 July 2005.

HOME DEPARTMENT

London Underground

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications of mobile phone use for security on the London Underground; and if he will make a statement. [15819]

Ms Buck: I have been asked to reply.

The Department keeps the transport security measures we require under constant review. This process is informed by the work of the Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre and includes consideration of terrorists' modus operandi and the practical constraints of an open, mass transit system. I understand that London Underground is considering a trial of technology to allow the use of mobile phones on stations that are underground. The Department will continue to assess whether there are any security implications.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

British Beef (Thai Ban)

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the Minister of State for Trade's discussions with the Thai Foreign Minister regarding the Thai ban on British beef at the EU/ASEAN meeting in Laos. [17462]


 
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Ian Pearson: The issue of the Thai ban on beef did not feature in discussions between myself and the Thai Foreign Minister at the EU/ASEAN meeting in Laos on 28 July 2005. However, I lobbied for the lifting of the ban on British beef with the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, in Bangkok on 27 July and the then Thai Commerce Minister Dr. Thanong Bidaya, in Bangkok on 26 July 2005.

The Thai Department of Livestock Development and the Thai Food and Drug Administration are currently revising their guidelines and regulations in the light of the May 2005 revision of the World Organisation for Animal Health's (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code Chapter on BSE (Article 2.3.13) which allows trade in de-boned skeleton muscle meat and blood products without regard to the exporting country's BSE status as long as certain conditions (such as cattle age and slaughter techniques) are met.

EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will list those public services in the UK where there is economic consideration provided by or on behalf of the recipient as defined by the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [15425]

(2) which UK service sectors are (a) economic and (b) non-economic in nature as defined by the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market. [15427]

Ian Pearson: The proposed EU directive on services in the internal market aims to cover a number of services that are provided to the public sector (for example private firms providing accountancy or IT services), and some services provided via the public sector (for example recycling services).

Where activities are performed for no remuneration by the state in fulfilment of its social, cultural, educational and legal obligations, these are not covered by the definition of services in article 50 of the treaty of Rome and therefore do not fall within the scope of the directive.

The directive only includes services which are economic in nature and are normally provided for remuneration. It does not aim to cover non-economic services.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the UK Government have undertaken of whether UK authorisation schemes are (a) non-discriminatory, (b) based on a strong public interest and (c) proportionate under the terms of the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market. [15426]

Ian Pearson: The UK Government are committed to better regulation. The proposals in the Directive are very much in line with our continuing approach in this area.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations he has received regarding the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market from (a) business organisations, (b) trade unions, (c) other organisations and (d) individuals; [15428]
 
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(2) what consultation he has carried out regarding the EU Directive on Services; and what further consultation he intends to hold. [15430]

Ian Pearson: The UK Government consulted over 2,000 organisations within the period March to June 2004. These included individual businesses, business organisations, trade unions, consumer groups, and trade bodies. A summary of the responses received is published on the DTI website (http)://www.dti.gov.uk/ewt/services_directive.htm). We continue to consult stakeholders regularly.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is his policy to support an exemption for the health sector from the country of origin principle in the EU directive on services in the internal market. [15429]

Ian Pearson: The UK Government's position is to seek an exclusion for all healthcare services from the country of origin principle.

Salmon

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of the 16 per cent. anti-dumping duty imposed on EU imports of Norwegian farmed salmon on (a) salmon farmers and (b) salmon processors in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [15767]

Ian Pearson: None. Anti-dumping duties were imposed for only a short time, from their implementation on 27 April 2005 until their replacement on 4 July 2005 by a minimum import price (MIP) set at €2.81 per kilo (whole-fish equivalent).


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