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European Trade Issues: Ministerial Sub-Committee

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Prime Minister has established a new committee to discuss these issues. The Sub-Committee on European Trade Issues (E)DOP(T), under the chairmanship of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will report to the Ministerial Sub-Committee on European Issues ((E)DOP), which also meets under the Foreign Secretary's chairmanship. The composition and terms of reference of this new committee are as follows: Ministerial Sub-Committee on European Trade Issues

    Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Chairman)

    Chancellor of the Exchequer

    Secretary of State for International Development

    Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

    Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

    Other Ministers will be invited to attend as the nature of the business requires.

    The United Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the European Union is also in attendance.

    Terms of Reference

    "To consider questions relating to European Union trade policy issues and to report as necessary to the Ministerial Sub-Committee on European Issues."

Written Questions: Answers Outstanding for Fourteen Days

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which government departments had not, on 24 May, provided replies to Questions for Written Answer within 14 days of them being tabled.[HL2664]

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The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton):

DepartmentNumber of QWAs outstanding
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions7
Foreign and Commonwealth Office5
Cabinet Office2
Ministry of Defence2
Ministry of Agriculture1
Department for Culture, Media and Sport1
Lord Chancellor's Department1
Department of Trade and Industry1

Early Years Teachers: Training

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is a need for a substantial programme of training for teachers and other staff who are or will be working in pre-schools, nursery education and reception classes which accept four year olds; and, if so, what plans they have for the timing, delivery and funding of such a programme of training.[HL2621]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Her Majesty's Government are already giving priority to training for early years staff. All Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships have had to set out in their Early Years Development and Childcare Plans strategies for training and development, including targets for improving the number of qualified staff in their area. To support these strategies we have earmarked £12 million in 1999-2000 through the Early Years Training and Development Standards Fund for early education, and £7 million for Training and Enterprise Councils to spend on childcare workforce training.

The present unco-ordinated array of qualifications is confusing for employers and employees. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority hopes shortly to publish a new "climbing frame" of qualifications and training for early education, childcare and playwork which will clarify what is available and encourage progression.

Last year the Government set in place new national standards for initial teacher training, including courses for the 3-8 and 3-11 age ranges.

Forestry: Lead Minister

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Secretary of State for Scotland will continue to be the lead Forestry Minister for the United Kingdom after 1 July.[HL2545]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be making an announcement on this shortly.

Wentloog Rail Freight Terminal, Cardiff

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the amount and budget sources of public funding spent, and the elements of works for which they were used, in the construction of the Wentloog rail freight terminal in Cardiff.[HL2537]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My honourable friend Mr. Peter Hain MP, the Minister responsible for Transport in Wales, announced on 14 May that construction work on the new European Railfreight Terminal at Wentloog, Eastern Cardiff, will commence on 14 June 1999 and should be completed within 12 months.

This project is of vital importance to Wales. It will increase the competitiveness of Welsh business by establishing direct links to key European markets as well as making a significant contribution to the Government's objective of transferring freight traffic from road to rail.

The project is being brought forward by a public/private sector consortium consisting of the Welsh Office, Welsh Development Agency, City and County of Cardiff, Freightliner Ltd, Railtrack plc and Euro Clad Ltd. The project will cost £15 million, broken down as follows:

    Welsh Office/Welsh Development Agency--£5.0 million

    City and County of Cardiff--£1.0 million

    European Regional Development Fund--£3.0 million

    Railtrack plc--£3.0 million

    Freightliner Ltd--£0.5 million. and a further £2.5 million, mostly comprising land value, provided by Euro Clad Ltd, Freightliner Ltd, and City and County of Cardiff.

Discussions on the final terms of the project are continuing, but it is likely that the bulk of the public sector funding will be incurred on constructing the terminal itself; Railtrack plc will meet the cost of the connection works to the mainline; and Freightliner Ltd will meet the cost of refurbishing and relocating crane facilities from its existing Pengam deport.

Closed Circuit Television Provision for Crime Prevention

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contribution closed circuit television could make to the reduction of crime in rural areas; and what central government funds are available to help local government to install closed circuit television in small towns and villages.[HL2594]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: We announced on 16 March that an additional £170 million would be made available for the United Kingdom over the next three years to support crime prevention in high crime areas.

A key focus of this additional programme will be investment in closed circuit television (CCTV) in housing estates, town centres, car parks and other crime "hot spots".

A prospectus detailing how to apply for funds to help support the deployment of CCTV in England and Wales will be issued shortly.

Handgun Surrender Figures

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many handguns have been handed in to each police force in the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 respectively; and [HL2574]

    What arrangements were made by each police force in the United Kingdom to destroy handguns handed in under the provisions of the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997; and[HL2575]

    What arrangements they have made to monitor and audit the destruction of weapons handed in under the provisions of the Firearms (Amendment) Acts 1997; and whether they are satisfied that all the weapons handed in have been destroyed in such a manner as to make it impossible for them to be reactivated.[HL2576]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The prohibition of large-calibre handguns under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 came into effect on 1 July 1997 and owners of such handguns were required to dispose of them lawfully by 30 September 1997. By the end of that period, 116,644 large-calibre handguns had been surrendered to the police. In addition, although at that time yet to be prohibited, 26,371 small-calibre pistols were surrendered voluntarily by their owners to the police under the terms of the Government's ex gratia payment scheme. A further 19,183 small-calibre pistols were surrendered to the police between 1 and 28 February 1998 following the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which extended the original prohibition to small-calibre pistols. As a result, the total number of handguns surrendered to the police in England, Wales and Scotland was 162,198. The table below shows the number of handguns surrendered by police force area.

Arrangements for the destruction of weapons handed in to the police under the provisions of the two Acts were a matter for chief officers of police, taking account of operational considerations and local circumstances. The Government are satisfied that the police took the necessary action to ensure that surrendered firearms were destroyed safely and securely by smelting, crushing, chopping up or other similar methods. As part

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of its detailed scrutiny of the receipt and disposal of surrendered handguns, the National Audit Office was satisfied with the arrangements made by the police. A small number of surrendered weapons have been

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retained by the police for training purposes or given to museums. The police continue to store a number of weapons pending resolution of the relevant compensation claims.

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Handguns Surrendered under the Firearms Acts 1997

1997 Act 1997 (No. 2) Act
Constabulary/PoliceLarge CalibreSmall Calibre (ex gratia)TotalSmall CalibreCombined Total
England & Wales
Avon & Somerset3,2275663,7937024,495
City of London733010330133
Devon & Cornwall3,6255734,1988925,090
Dyfed Powys1,3202341,5542391,793
Gtr Manchester3,8341,0934,9275955,522
Met Area 169917787689965
Met Area 22,8526293,4814993,980
Met Area 33,2647494,0134734,486
Met Area 44,1768685,0448205,864
Met Area 53,3245733,8976314,528
North Wales1,2672871,5542631,817
North Yorkshire3,1057943,8991264,025
South Wales2,8627843,6463373,983
South Yorkshire2,1256632,7882193,007
Thames Valley3,8068074,6131,0135,626
West Mercia2,5886083,1964913,687
West Midlands5,0118255,8366406,476
West Yorkshire3,7026544,3565884,944
Sub Total for E & W110,38224,620135,00218,170153,172
Central Scotland28910339217409
Dumfries & Galloway2368331933352
Lothian & Borders1,2532451,4981941,692
Sub Total for Scotland6,2621,7518,0131,0139,026
Overall Total for E, W & S116,64426,371143,01519,183162,198

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