8. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister on the operation of the Barnett formula; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann McKechin: I have had recent discussions with the First Minister on a variety of matters. This Government believe that the Barnett formula has delivered stable and transparent settlements for Scotland under successive Administrations for almost 30 years.
9. Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on defence procurement in Scotland. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of matters.
Following a substantial inquiry earlier this year, the Scottish Affairs Committee found the defence industry to be a vital part of the Scottish economy, generating nearly £2.31 billion in sales and, together with the MOD, supporting almost 50,000 jobs. Sustained UK Government investment in Scotland has played a central and significant part in this success and I will work hard to ensure that Scotlands interests continue to be heard at the highest level.
10. Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had on the future of the financial services sector in Scotland. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK Government are securing the future of the Scottish financial services sector in Scotland through the current interventions in the market it is making to deliver stability.
11. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the future of Scotland's regional airports. 
My right hon. Friend and I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues. I met the managing director of BAA Glasgow earlier this month
to discuss a range of issues. Both my right hon. Friend and I have also been in contact with BA concerning their cabin crew based in Scotland.
12. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the banking industry in Scotland. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I have regular discussions with my right hon. Friend. The Scottish banking system is now well placed to combat these difficult times after the significant intervention by this Government to stabilise the market.
13. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent assessment he has made of the prospects for the Scottish economy. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK Government have taken decisive action to support both the banking sector in Scotland and to boost demand and confidence in the Scottish economy more widely.
Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has held with ministerial colleagues on the condition of the economy in Scotland. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I have regular discussions with my ministerial colleagues. The Scottish economy is performing well in the face of difficult economic conditions, and will benefit from the actions of the UK Government to boost demand and restore confidence.
14. Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people in Scotland had their wages increased as a result of the recent rise in the national minimum wage. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: It is estimated that 90,000 Scottish workers have benefited from the rise in the national minimum wage introduced on 1 October.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what issues relating to the devolution settlement he has considered since his appointment. 
Ann McKechin: Following our appointments, the Secretary of State and I have made it clear that we will work with colleagues in Government and the devolved Administration to ensure that the settlement continues to deliver results for Scotland.
Consideration of a wide range of matters relating to the devolution settlement is integral to the work of the Scotland Office and its Ministers. We work to ensure that the devolution settlement continues to deliver for the people of Scotland and maintains Scotland's position within the United Kingdom.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information his Department has gathered on the effect of its policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of employees with mental illnesses within his Department; and what use has been made of that information. 
Ann McKechin: Under the disability equality duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, the Departments and public sector bodies listed in the associated regulations are required to publish and implement disability equality schemes. These are plans setting out how they will carry out the disability equality duty, monitor, and report on progress. In particular this includes their arrangements for gathering information on the effect of their policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of their disabled employees, including those with mental health conditions, and making use of that information.
The Scotland Office is covered by the scheme introduced by the Ministry of Justice which involves impact assessments, action plans and information gathering; the scheme and associated action plan is available at
The public sector bodies sponsored by the Office that are subject to these requirements are responsible for publishing and implementing their own disability equality schemes.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the cost was to the public purse of holding the meeting of the Cabinet in Birmingham on 8 September 2008; 
(2) how much was spent on police protection for the Cabinet meeting in Birmingham held on 8 September 2008; 
(3) how much was spent on (a) lunch and (b) refreshments for those attending the Cabinet meeting held in Birmingham on 8 September 2008. 
The Prime Minister: The visit of the Cabinet to Birmingham was preceded by several ministerial visits across the region; a public engagement event with approximately 250 people was followed by a formal Cabinet meeting and an economic event including business leaders.
The cost of the public engagement event, the Cabinet meeting and the economic events in Birmingham was £61,920, excluding VAT. There are no separate figures for the Cabinet event, and the costs for all the events have been taken together. The figure includes the cost of hiring the venue, catering, associated security and search equipment, delegate management and rail travel for both staff and Ministers. In addition, Departments and agencies will have incurred costs in terms of staff time and other support. The cost of any security provided by the police is a matter for the relevant police force.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Leader of the House how much her Office spent on external training courses for departmental staff in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008; and which external organisations were paid by her Office to provide such courses in each year. 
Chris Bryant: Staff of the Leader of the Houses Office are encouraged to attend training courses as part of their development. For the financial year of 2007-08, the following external training courses were provided to members of staff.
Staff also have the opportunity to attend internal training courses which are provided to members of staff by the Cabinet Office free of charge.
Details of any payments in 2008-09 will only be available when the Departments resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament.
Due to the machinery of government changes, the Leader of the House of Commons office now forms part of the Cabinet Office. Information for external training courses prior to 2007 can be provided only at disproportionate costs.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Leader of the House what personal training courses at public expense she has undertaken since her appointment. 
Mr. Scott: To ask the Leader of the House how much has been spent by her Office on Plain English Campaign training courses for its staff in each year since 2005. 
Philip Davies: To ask the Leader of the House how many documents produced by her office were submitted to the Plain English Campaign for approval for crystal mark status in each year since 2005; and how many documents achieved such status in each year. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on overnight accommodation by his Departments civil servants in the last 12 months. 
Paul Goggins: The cost of overnight accommodation, including subsistence, for civil servants within the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies, for the financial year 2007-08 was £407,855.
The cost of overnight accommodation could be separated from this figure only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will place in the Library a full copy of the research that the Electoral Commission commissioned into the socio-demographic breakdown of the turnout in the 2008 local elections in England. 
Sir Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has placed in the Library a copy of the report of public opinion research commissioned from ICM to support the Commission's review of the 2008 local elections in England and Wales.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) value and (b) volume of imports of (i) wheat, (ii) barley, (iii) fresh vegetables, (iv) potatoes, (v) fresh fruit, (vi) beef and veal, (vii) pork, (viii) bacon and ham, (ix) mutton and lamb, (x) poultry meat, (xi) eggs and (xii) liquid milk in each year since 1997, broken down by country of dispatch. 
Jane Kennedy: I have arranged for the information requested to be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how his Department's budget has changed following the movement of responsibilities to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The budget for the new Department is currently being decided between it and the contributory Departments: the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The budget will be announced to Parliament in the spring supplementary estimate.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which IT projects sponsored by his Department have been abandoned prior to completion in each of the last five years; and how much was spent on each project. 
Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 27 October 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1516-17W.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff from his Department will be redeployed to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: Approximately 400 staff will be transferred from DEFRA to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The detail is still being worked on but once this has been agreed, the information on number of posts transferred will be a matter of public record.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what agencies or units for which his Department is responsible require the public to make telephone calls to them on numbers that charge more than the national call rate; and how much income each such agency has derived from such charges in each of the last three years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: DEFRA has made use of 0870 telephone numbers, which generated income of £1,023.61 in 2005-06, £792.06 in 2006-07 and £3,764.02 in 2007-08. All of these amounts have been paid into the consolidated fund extra receipts and so were not used to defray DEFRAs costs. The Department also makes use of 0845 numbers which are charged at standard national rates.
The Animal Health Agency uses two lines which are 0844 numbers and charge at 4.2 pence per minute. Animal Health makes no income from these lines.
None of the Departments other agencies makes use of any lines that charge above the national rate.
The pesticides safety directorate confirmed that they did not use lines which charge above the national rate when they were an agency of DEFRA, prior to their move to the Health and Safety Executive in April 2008.
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