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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2744W—continued

Union Modernisation Fund

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what changes in funding to the Union Modernisation Fund have been proposed as a result of priorities for success. [35612]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.


WorldSkills Competition

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the Government plan to prepare for the UK WorldSkills bid. [39310]

Phil Hope: The preparation work for the bid is already well advanced, and is being shared between the UK Government and skills partners in the business, voluntary and public sectors. This will help to build an enduring social partnership which will promote a higher level of skills investment across the UK as an important legacy effect. A national coalition of skills partners, including the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Investors in People UK (IiP UK), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the devolved Administrations, is working hard to secure the funding we need.

We have put in place a Project Board and a UK-wide steering group chaired by myself to manage the bid process. At its first meeting on 7 December, the steering group endorsed the partnership approach as the best way forward and approved the plans for the Pre-Qualification Visit in January.

In January a team from the WorldSkills Executive Board will visit us to validate our Expression of Interest against their essential criteria for hosting the event. If these criteria are met, we will be invited to submit a full bid. Our task will be to showcase the best that London can offer and convince the WorldSkills assessors that we mean business. We will then work with the LSC, the SSDA, IiP UK, UK Skills and the devolved Administrations to submit a full bid by 31 March 2006.

Our bid will eventually be presented to the WorldSkills Council in Melbourne in May, where we will find ourselves competing against France, Sweden and Australia. If successful, we will then build the national organisation and funding model we need to deliver the event.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received on the UK's bid to host the 2011 WorldSkills Competition. [38713]

Phil Hope: The Expression of Interest that we submitted to WorldSkills in September included letters of in principle" support from Allan Wilson (Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, Scottish Executive) and Angela Smith MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland). We have also received written in principle" support from Jane Davidson, the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, Welsh Assembly, as well as letters from Sir Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI, Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC, Sir Roy Gardner, Chief Executive of Centrica plc, and Garry Hawkes, Chair of Edge. Discussions are also on-going with various bodies to provide sponsorship (both in cash and in kind) for the bid as well as the event itself, should we be successful.
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These include the Corporation of London, City & Guilds, the Honda Institute, and various media organisations.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what skills areas she has identified for targeting in the 2011 WorldSkills Competition, should the UK win the bid. [38714]

Phil Hope: The UK put forward 18 competitors at the 2005 WorldSkills competition in Helsinki. In 2011 we aim to field a full team comprising over 40 competitors in skills ranging from welding and autobody repair, to beauty therapy and restaurant service. We will use the Japan 2007 and Canada 2009 competitions to build our capacity to do this. By 2011 we hope to have a pool of young people trained to a world class standard from which to select the UK team.

If our bid for 2011 is successful we will also be able to showcase a number of demonstration skills" reflecting our developing skills priorities as the host nation. Discussions about these priorities are still at an early stage, as we have yet to submit our bid, but current ideas include customer service, dance (traditional, modern and ethnic based), IT skills for use in the City, or updated versions of traditional skills (i.e. construction skills). Our final choice will not be made until 2007–09.


Ministerial Car Fleet

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many vehicles are in the ministerial car fleet, broken down by type of fuel used. [39253]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The responsibility for the provision of ministerial cars and drivers has been delegated under the terms of the framework document to the Government Car Despatch Agency. I have asked its chief executive Mr Roy Burke to write to the hon. Member. Copies of his letter will be placed in the Library.

Parliamentary Questions

Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in what circumstances Ministers may cease to answer parliamentary questions concerning the performance of a particular public service institution when its status has changed as a result of public sector reforms. [38168]

Mr. Jim Murphy: In accordance with Section 1 of the ministerial code, Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies.


2012 Olympics

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Assembly Government, (b) the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and (c) the Disability Rights
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Commission on the impact of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics on Wales; and if he will make a statement. [37611]

Mr. Hain: I regularly discuss matters affecting Wales both with Cabinet colleagues and with Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government. This has included the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

I have had no discussions on these matters with the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). However, the DRC has been involved in the preparations for theGames through their membership of London 2012's London Disability Organisations Forum.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the huge economic, sporting and social benefits of the 2012 games are spread across the whole of the UK, and I intend, along with Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government, to ensure that we in Wales can maximise those benefits.

The games will provide an outstanding showcase for disabled sport—both in Britain and abroad. The UK was a pioneer in disabled sport, with London hosting the first ever Paralympic games in 1948.

Aerospace Industry

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what financial support his Department has provided to help the growth of the aerospace industry in Wales since 1997. [39130]

Nick Ainger: None.

Ancient Woodlands

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on the protection of ancient woodlands in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [38343]

Mr. Hain: I meet the First Minister regularly to discuss a range of issues, including forestry matters in Wales.

Woodlands for Wales", published in 2001, sets out the Assembly Government's strategy for the sustainable management of woodlands in Wales for the next 50 years. The strategy includes commitments on the conservation of trees and woodlands. Specific actions underpinning those commitments in respect of protection of ancient woodlands are set out in the Forestry Commission Wales Corporate Plan for the period 2006–06–2007–08, a copy of which is on theAssembly Government website.

In July this year, the Assembly Government announced a £2.3 million project to restore ancient woodlands in Wales.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39095]

Mr. Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) on 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2068W.
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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on advertising by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39097]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office was established in July 1999 and there were no payments on advertising during July 1999 and June 2003.

In June 2003 the Wales Office became a separate entity within the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA).

We have adopted the DCA corporate policy for advertising and since this period, the Wales Office has made no payment on advertising.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many widescreen televisions have been purchased by his Department for use in London Headquarters in each of the last five years; and what the cost was in each year. [39147]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office has purchased no widescreen televisions.

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