Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on the EU proposals relating to the classification of yoghurt. 
I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that in 2003 there was some initial interest at European level in setting European Commission standards for the composition and labelling of yogurt. However, no formal proposals for legislation have been made by the European Commission and there has been no further progress on this initiative since then.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Prime Minister what the total value is of (a) catering and (b) entertainment contracts let by his Office; and what value of such contracts has been let in each nation and region of the UK, including London. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Members to the answer given by my noble Friend Lord Bassam of Brighton to the noble Lord Hanningfield on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column WA261. In addition, the cost of other catering services provided by my office in 200405 was £48,680. This includes associated overheads, including staffing. Beverages and light refreshments were provided for a broad spectrum of official events, including: Cabinet meetings, meetings with foreign Governments, and a wide range of external guests and visitors from the UK and overseas.
Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister whether it is his policy that no authorisation will be given for the interception of communications in respect of (a) hon. Members and (b) Members of the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Louth and Horncastle (Sir Peter Tapsell) at Prime Minister's Questions on 14 December 2005, Official Report, columns 130102.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Prime Minister if he will accompany the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham on a visit to that constituency via the London Underground to observe changes in the levels of overcrowding since his last tube journey in 2000. 
The London Underground is the responsibility of Transport for London. Transport for London provides regular performance reports on the London Underground. These are available on their website (www.tfl.gov.uk).
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by his Office, broken down by party; and who was responsible for making each appointment. 
The Prime Minister: None. As Prime Minister I have responsibility for appointments to a number of public bodies sponsored by Government Departments. Details of former hon. Members who have been appointed to such positions have been addressed in each Department's response to the hon. Member.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister how many secondees there have been to his Office from consultancy firms, including the Big Four accountancy firms, in each of the last three years; and what areas of the Department they have worked in. 
The Prime Minister: For these purposes my office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I have therefore asked my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Murphy) to reply. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he was consulted about the decision to discontinue the case against those charged with running a spy ring at Stormont in 2002; 
19 Dec 2005 : Column 2400W
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Prime Minister how much has been spent by his Office on taxi travel in the 200506 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. 
The Prime Minister: For these purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the letter from my right hon. Friend the then Duchy of Lancaster (John Hutton) to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies), a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Figures for financial year 200506 are not yet available.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average time taken by herDepartment has been between receipt of a formal expression of interest for an academy and a decision being taken. 
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what date she received from Southwark council the expression of interest for a federated academy in East Dulwich; when she expects to make a decision on this; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions have taken place between the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, the local Learning and Skills Council and Newcastle college about a second city academy in Newcastle for the 11 to 16 years age group. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what (a) research and (b) exemplar the proposals to create (i) academy and (ii)trust schools were based; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of such schools. 
The independent five-year evaluation of the Academies Programme undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that academies are
19 Dec 2005 : Column 2401W
overwhelmingly popular with both parents and pupils, and that academies have made a significant difference to the teaching and learning culture since the predecessor schools. The evaluation has also found clear evidence that sponsors are having a positive impact on academies by both establishing a positive vision and ethos for the new academies, and also by providing their expertise.
Improvements in GCSE results are already in evidence, despite many pupils only having attended their academy for a few terms. Of the 14 academies open at the time of the last round of GCSE examinations, all but two showed an increase in the proportion of students achieving five grades A* to C relative to their predecessor schools, and the average annual increase in the number of students gaining five grades A* to C across all academies is 6 per cent. a year. Several academies have shown remarkable improvements in their GCSE results since opening. The City Academy in Bristol, for example, has shown an increase of 25 per cent. in the number of pupils achieving five grades A* to C in just two years. Four other academies have shown increases of greater than 20 per cent. since opening.
The Government's proposals to establish trust schools represent an extension of the freedom to innovate to schools outside those areas currently being targeted by the academies programme. The creation of trust schools will assist in offering more and better choice and diversity in the schools system for parents and pupils. Trust schools will build on the long tradition of voluntary schools which are backed by trusts, and also on the successful experience of specialist schools and academies in working with sponsors from the voluntary, not-for-profit and private sectors. The success of specialist schools in their value-added performance is attested by research by Professor David Jesson, most recently his study: 'Educational outcomes and value added by specialist schools, 2004'.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria are used for the geographical distribution of academies; what part her Department plays in this; on what basis, and by whom, the schools to be designated as academies are chosen; whether local authorities have any veto on the establishment of an academy; and how many of the academies are in areas where a better schools building programme has been authorised. 
Jacqui Smith: Academies are situated in areas of deprivation and/or educational need. The main criteria for consideration of an Academy is for it to be sited in an area of historically weak educational performance and that the local authority area concerned is listed in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister statistics on deprivation. Other factors such as poor ratings by OFSTED and low admission numbers for predecessor schools are sometimes considered, but it is the academic under-achievement and deprivation that are of primary importance. Some Academies are being established in areas not considered as deprived overall but with particular enclaves of deprivation or low attainment.
DfES is responsible for: identifying potential Academy proposals; working with the responsible stakeholders to produce an EOI for establishing an Academy; assessing the viability of the proposal once an EOI has been received including consulting with stakeholders in the local area; co-ordinating the building process for the Academy, setting up the Trust that will govern the Academy; working with the Trust and the Sponsor to set up the educational vision and ethos of the school; organising for the Funding Agreement to be signed between the Secretary of State and the Trust to govern the Academy.
All of the 27 open Academies are in areas where the Building Schools for the Future programme is running. A breakdown of which local authority is in which wave of the BSF programme can be found at http://www.bsf.gov.uk/documents/ in the document Local Authority project by wave".