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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 24 July 2007

House of Commons Commission

Recruitment

Mr. Doran: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on senior staff appointments in the House. [152080]

Nick Harvey: Mr. Speaker announced on 28 June that Sir Philip Mawer had written to him saying he wished to step down from the appointment as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards on 31 December 2007. By that date, Sir Philip will have served for almost six years. The Commission has agreed that the process of recruiting a successor by open competition should begin. The post was advertised in the press on 22 July and the Commission plans to make a recommendation for the House to consider early in the new Session.

The Librarian was appointed on a three year contract in December 2004. The Commission has agreed to make the appointment permanent.

The Serjeant at Arms was appointed on a three year contract starting in December 2004. Following the Tebbit review of the management and services of the House, involving a re-allocation of duties (including the creation of a new post to direct key support services and facilities for Members and others) and after careful consideration the Speaker accepted the House authorities’ recommendation not to approve renewal of the contract. Further details on implementation of the Tebbit recommendations are contained in my answer to another question today from the Chairman of the Administration Committee.

Tebbit Review

Mr. Doran: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what progress has been made on the Tebbit Review of Management and Services of the House. [152079]

Nick Harvey: The House of Commons Commission has fast tracked several areas of the Tebbit review on management and services. These include the amalgamation of Estates and Works; the expansion of the Office of the Clerk into that of the Chief Executive and the reorganisation of the Board of Management on functional lines.

A new Parliamentary Director of Estates is to be appointed to take forward an estate strategy which will prioritise large and costly projects facing the House in the future, including refurbishment of the cast iron roofs and large scale mechanical and electrical works servicing the Chamber.


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The Commission has instructed the Clerk of the House to push ahead with a reorganisation of the Office of the Clerk (to be named Office of the Chief Executive) which will be at the centre of moving forward a coordinated strategy for achieving delivery of services, ensuring better planning, customer satisfaction and value for money which are highlighted in the Tebbit report. The Commission also approved proposals for restructuring of the Board of Management on functional lines in terms of Chamber and allied services, support facilities for Members, their staff and others on the estate, information and communication services (including IT/IS), and finance/HR, with the possibility of two external members of the board.

Scotland

Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what legislative provisions introduced by his Department since 1997 have been (a) repealed and (b) not brought into force. [149615]

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which Bills introduced by his Department in the last five years did not contain sunset clauses; and if he will make a statement. [152497]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999 and has respectively supported and been responsible for two Acts; the Sunday Working (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004. All the provisions of both Acts remain in force.

Elections

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date the request was received from the Electoral Commission Inquiry to bring forward legislation to allow it to access the ballot papers from the recent Scottish Parliamentary election. [150707]

David Cairns: A request from Mr. Ron Gould, who is leading the Electoral Commission’s review of the Scottish elections in May, was received on 14 June 2007, for access to the electronic images of ballot papers. Following consultation with the Electoral Commission including statutory consultation on the draft order, legislation to allow access both to the electronic images and to the ballot papers themselves was introduced on 2 July, debated in both Houses on 17 July and approved by Parliament on 23 July.

Solicitor-General

Legal Costs

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Solicitor-General who the 10 highest paid barristers were in respect of fees paid by (a) the Treasury Solicitors and (b) the Crown Prosecution Service in each of the last three years; what the fee income was in each case for each year; and if he will make a statement. [146611]


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The Solicitor-General: The information requested for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 in respect of fees paid by the Treasury Solicitor and the Crown Prosecution Service has been placed in the Library.

International Development

Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what legislative provisions introduced by his Department since 1997 (1) have not yet been brought into force; [149744]

(2) have been repealed. [149743]

Mr. Malik: None.

Departments: Official Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent on overnight accommodation by civil servants within his Department’s areas of responsibilities in the last 12 months. [149049]

Mr. Malik: It is not possible to disaggregate costs in respect of hotel accommodation without incurring a disproportionate cost. We are able to provide figures for travel and subsistence costs for our Department, which reflect all domestic and overseas travel for Ministers, Advisors and Officials and include costs for all travel, accommodation and subsistence. The cost for the last 12 months was £10,838,328.

Departments: Visits Abroad

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many overseas visits were made by (a) officials and (b) Ministers within his responsibility, and at what cost, in each year since 1997. [151649]

Mr. Malik: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis, a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. Information for 2006-07 is currently being compiled and will be published before the summer recess. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.

Developing Countries: Water

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support he has given to governments in developing countries to provide (a) training for water and sanitation workers and providers and (b) education for water and sanitation workers and providers. [152452]

Mr. Thomas: DFID recognises that capacity building is vital to achieving the millennium development goal targets for water and sanitation. DFID supports a
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range of institutions and initiatives that have capacity building at the core of their work. In particular, DFID:

DFID assesses the in-country capacity of the sector as part of its standard institutional appraisal for water projects and programmes, and when necessary includes a capacity building component.

Republic of Congo: Debts

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the Republic of Congo’s (Brazzaville) compliance with its commitments under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative. [149797]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not made its own assessment as it relies on the assessment of the IMF and World Bank, which administer HIPC. According to the Annual Report of the World Bank and IMF Boards in May 2006 the Republic of Congo’s overall progress in the necessary reforms has been limited and slow. There have been improvements in the management of forestry, the social sectors and health, as well as in developing a poverty reduction strategy. However, there has been limited progress in procurement, debt management, the oil sector and civil society involvement in reducing corruption. There has been no progress in strengthening public investment management.

Sierra Leone: Palliative Care

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial support his Department has provided for palliative care in Sierra Leone in the last three years; what support is planned for the future; and if he will make a statement. [151846]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not provided financial support for palliative care in Sierra Leone within the last three years. DFID Sierra Leone has pledged £50 million over the next 10 years to strengthen basic health systems and is currently working on the design of a health programme.


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Transport

Accidents: Yorkshire and Humberside

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatal and (b) serious travel-related accidents there were in (i) the City of York and (ii) Yorkshire and the Humber in each year since 1992. [152204]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of reported fatal and serious personal injury road accidents in the City of York local authority and Yorkshire and the Humber in each year since 1992 are given in the following table.

Number of accidents
City of York Yorkshire and the Humber
Fatal Serious Fatal Serious

1992

4

110

373

3,858

1993

4

84

351

3,459

1994

2

67

294

3,333

1995

3

69

313

3,396

1996(1)

3

59

292

3,220

1997

7

111

295

3,175

1998

4

70

286

3,001

1999

8

106

285

2,922

2000

12

73

288

2,800

2001

6

108

299

2,858

2002

8

103

294

2,893

2003

8

70

296

2,808

2004

7

94

288

2,709

2005

9

71

276

2,507

2006

6

114

278

2,538

(1) In April 1996 the City of York local authority became a unitary authority and increased in size.

Information relating to light railways is not available, and providing the information requested for railway and air accidents would entail disproportionate costs.


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