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17 Apr 2007 : Column 607W—continued

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which organisations appealed the decision not to grant funding under the community relations core funding scheme 2007-10; and which organisations were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful with their appeals. [131681]

Maria Eagle: The organisations listed as follows appealed the Department's decision not to grant funding under the community relations core-funding scheme 2007-10:

Harmony Community Trust was the only group to make a successful appeal.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who the members are of the (a) decision making group and (b) appeals panel for the community relations core funding scheme 2007-10; and why each was appointed. [131682]

Maria Eagle: The information is as follows:

(a) Advisory Panel Members (Decision Making Group)


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(b) Appeal Panel Members

Members of both the Advisory and Appeals panels were appointed on the basis of their experience of community relations education and youth sectors and knowledge of funding and accountability requirements.

Fly Tipping

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from the Irish government on the police investigation into an incident in County Tyrone in February 2004 when a journalist found briefing papers originating from the Irish Department of Justice at an illegal dump. [131022]

Mr. Hain: There have been no representations received from the Irish Government in relation to this incident.

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact on pharmacy practice planning of clawing back sums for multiple dispensing of prescription items. [130690]

Paul Goggins: The Department recently withdrew its intention to reduce the multiple dispensing fee for 2006-07 and reinstated the rate of all fees to their former levels for 2006-07, pending the outcome of further negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Contractors' Committee (PCC). The February claw-back has therefore been reversed and repaid to pharmacies in the March monthly payment.

Negotiations recently concluded will result in an increase in the pharmacists' main dispensing fee from £1.04 to £1.11 per item for both 2006-07 and 2007-08. This will mean a further arrears payment shortly for those 2006-07 prescription items already processed by the Central Services Agency.

Recent discussions with PCC have led to meaningful progress towards resolution of multiple dispensing and medicines management issues, with both parties agreeing to look urgently at this issue as part of the ongoing negotiations on the new pharmacy contract.

Prime Minister

Former Ministers: Business Interests

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it a requirement that former Ministers wishing to
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take up appointments subject to scrutiny by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments within two years of leaving office must seek clearance from that body. [131070]

The Prime Minister: Guidance for Ministers on the acceptance of appointments after leaving ministerial office is set out in the ministerial code.

Minister Policy Advisers: Autobiography

Mrs. May: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the merits of requiring former Government advisers to submit draft manuscripts of their memoirs to the Secretary of the Cabinet for comment and approval. [130764]

The Prime Minister: The requirements placed on former civil servants, including special advisers, in relation to the publication of memoirs are set out in section 4 of the Civil Service Management Code.

Ministers: Codes of Practice

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy for oversight of the ministerial code to be vested in Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [131018]

The Prime Minister: Section 1 of the Ministerial Code sets out the lines of accountability.

Petitions

Stephen Williams: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many petitions on the Downing Street website have so far been (a) received, (b) approved and (c) rejected; [131571]

(2) what the average time is to approve or reject a petition request for the Downing Street website. [131584]

The Prime Minister: Information on e-petitions is available on the No. 10 website (http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Pagell051.asp). A copy of this web page has been placed in the Library of the House.

Public Sector: Standards

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister what recent steps he has taken to foster and promote the public's trust in those in public life. [131166]

The Prime Minister: The Ministerial Code was last updated in July 2005. In March 2006 I appointed Sir John Bourn KCB as independent adviser on Ministers’ interests. I have renounced my right as Prime Minister to nominate individuals directly for honours and announced an independent review of party funding, which has now concluded. A new Civil Service Code was also issued last year.

In addition, this Government were the first to publish a Ministerial Code, the document Travel by Ministers, a model contract and Code of Conduct for Special Advisers as well as annual lists of travel by Cabinet Ministers and gifts given to Ministers.


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Trade and Industry

Biofuels

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of biomass to the security of energy supply to the UK. [129053]

Malcolm Wicks: The potential contribution of bioenergy towards the Government’s energy policy and climate change objectives was reported on by the Biomass Task Force in October 2005 and in the Government’s Response to the Task Force published in April 2006.

The Government are expecting to publish a UK Biomass Strategy in May 2007. The Biomass Strategy outlines how our policies on biomass for industry, energy and transport jointly operate to provide a clear, coherent and co-ordinated framework for the development of biomass as a whole and identifies the challenges to delivery.

Business Link

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on the regionalisation of Business Link. [105800]

Margaret Hodge: Decisions concerning the operational delivery arrangements have been devolved to the regional development agencies (RDAs) who have carried out full consultation with local stakeholders on delivery arrangements.

However, any proposals by RDAs in awarding contracts for the delivery of Business Link branded service are subject to clearance from the DTI’s Secretary of State by submitting their proposals to the Central Project Review Group (CPRG) process. CPRG is used to establish value-for-money during the process of awarding contracts. CPRG consists of representatives from DTI, HM Treasury and the Small Business Service.

I apologise for the delay in responding. This was due to an administrative error.

Businesses: EC Countries

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what methods of finding a business partner in another EU member state for the purposes of an application under the European Research and Development Programme are open to UK businesses. [130675]

Malcolm Wicks: The European Commission provides, through its well-established “CORDIS” service, a free on-line partner search service to help organisations find research partners, either in the context of specific EU-funded R and D projects or broader searches for technology-oriented partnerships. This service can also be used by organisations to advertise project ideas, partnering needs and expertise requirements. The service can be accessed at:


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The European Union’s R and D Framework Programme also funds a number of thematic-specific databases, including:

In addition, the European Commission occasionally organises brokerage events in certain areas of the Framework Programme.

UK organisations can also contact the relevant UK Framework Programme National Contact Point who should be able to help identify potential partners. Details of these contact points can be found on the UK Framework Programme website at:

EC Energy Policy

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the EU on establishing a common energy policy across all 27 member states. [131261]

Malcolm Wicks: The formation of a common EU energy policy was agreed by Heads of State and Government at the Hampton Court informal summit, during the UK presidency of the EU in 2005. Since then, the formation of a common EU energy policy has been discussed at:

In addition, the Secretary of State, Lord Truscott and I have had numerous bi-lateral meetings with our opposite numbers around the EU and with the Commission.

At the spring European Council, 8 to 9 March 2007, Heads of State and Government discussed the Strategic Energy Review, published by the Commission on 10 January 2007, and adopted an Energy Action Plan.

Electronic Equipment: Waste Disposal

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice his Department is
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making available to small businesses on compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [129348]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has made extensive efforts to inform all industry, including small businesses, of the requirements of this directive since its publication in the EC’s Official Journal in February 2003.

These have included, most recently, the publication in February this year of Government Guidance Notes clarifying the obligations that will be brought into force from 1 July 2007. The Department also ran a series of roadshows across the UK in January and February this year, specifically targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, and is continuing dialogue with a number of organisations representing the small business community, including the Federation of Small Businesses and RETRA (the Radio, Electrical and Television Retailers’ Association).


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