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The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Government attach great importance to creating an extensive and competitive market in the provision of broadband services using a variety of technologies. We expect that there will be an increasing demand for faster and more symmetrical services over the next few years and that increased investment in fibre-optic networks is likely to be one of the outcomes of this progress in the market. Decisions on where and when networks will be deployed will be predominantly for the market. However, the Government will continue to encourage investment where they can; for example, aggregating the demand for public sector connectivity through the Broadband Aggregation Programme will create fresh opportunities for further investment by industry in infrastructure for high speed broadband.

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Waste Electrical andElectronic Equipment Directive

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, requiring electrical goods manufacturers to recycle worn-out appliances, will be introduced into United Kingdom law.[HL1082]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK and other member states are required to transpose the WEEE and ROHS Directive by mid-August this year. The Government are therefore planning to lay regulations this summer.

The main requirements of the WEEE Directive take effect a year after the transposition date in August 2005.

Royal Parks

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why police cars and motorcycles regularly drive along footpaths in Hyde Park; and whether they consider that this is in the interests of pedestrians using those routes.[HL971]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): Along with high visibility and mounted patrols, these vehicle patrols comprise an important aspect of the Royal Parks policing strategy. They are very much in the interests of those using the footpaths as they reassure visitors and deter crime in the park.

Drug Free Sport Directorate

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the strategy report presented to UK Sport by Focus Consultancy entitled UK Sport Review of Relationships within the Drug Free Sport Directorate.[HL997]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The report prepared by Focus Consultancy was not a strategy report. It was a confidential review of a range of equality issues in the Drug Free Sport Directorate of UK Sport, designed to help to inform the organisation's equality and diversity strategy. As such it explores a number of internal matters and it is not appropriate that the report be published.

Penrose Inquiry

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the results of the Penrose inquiry into the collapse of Equitable Life.[HL1081]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Treasury intends to publish the report as soon as possible. I will continue to keep the House fully informed.

Public Finances

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the United Kingdom has breached the European Commission's strict 3 per cent public deficit ceiling.[HL1083]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In light of the Pre-Budget Report projections, the UK continues to meet a prudent interpretation of the stability and growth pact that reflects low debt and long-term sustainability more generally, the need for public investment in the UK, and which takes into account the economic cycle.

Footpaths: Motorised Vehicles

Earl Peel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take to combat the increasing use of bridleways and footpaths by motor cycles and other motorised vehicles.[HL1032]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): On 9 December 2003, the Government published a public consultation paper, Use of mechanically propelled vehicles on Rights of Way. We propose to develop a strategy to promote better use of the extensive powers that already exist to deal with vehicle misuse on rights of way. As a first step, we will issue shortly a government circular promoting good enforcement practice. In addition, we are proposing new legislation to limit the ability to claim motor vehicular rights over footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Employees

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people were employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in each of the years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.[HL1075]

Lord Whitty: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was created in June 2001. The number of permanent staff employed in the department was 7,970 in October 2001, 6,980 in April 2002 and 6,690 in April 2003.

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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Consultations

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many consultations have been issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since its inception; how many of them are complete; and how many have resulted in an action programme.[HL1078]

Lord Whitty: The department has issued 222 consultations since its inception, of which 193 are complete. All responses to Defra consultation exercises are thoroughly analysed and taken into account in the development of policies and proposals. We do not hold information centrally on how many have resulted in a formal action programme, but many have led to proposals being changed in response to stakeholders' comments, or have contributed to the development of policies or UK negotiating lines.

Sheep: Electronic Identification

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to issue further guidance on the use of identification boluses in lambs, particularly in respect of the size of the bolus.[HL1079]

Lord Whitty: Electronic identification boluses are currently being used as a component of the national scrapie plan. All field staff who administer boluses for the NSP, both SVS staff and local veterinary inspectors, undergo practical training in bolus administration which incorporates detailed guidance on the size of bolus to use for different weights of sheep. The size of bolus in use has been kept under review and changes to the bolus used have been made as the scheme has progressed based on experience gained. The most recent update to guidance was issued to all staff on 22 October 2003. In addition to the national scrapie plan use of bolus, the Government are anticipating the widespread use of this technology in the future and have just launched a pilot project on a minimum of 50 commercial sheep farms to assess how industry can make best use of electronic identification and to identify any issues that may arise. Feedback from both the national scrapie plan and the government trial will inform future guidance to the industry on the use of electronic identification including boluses.

London Markets

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When a decision will be taken about the future existence of the four City of London markets (Billingsgate, Leadenhall, Smithfield and Spitalfields).[HL1204]

Lord Whitty: The future of these markets is a matter for the Corporation of London.

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Special Advisers

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Macdonald of Tradeston on 3 December 2001 (WA 91), whether they will update the list of special advisers, envoys and advocates, indicate which post holders have resigned since then, and provide the date on which each resignation became effective.[HL982]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: At 3 February, Ministers had appointed the following special advisers: The Prime Minister Jonathan Powell David Hill Sally Morgan Hilary Coffman Geoff Norris Roger Liddle Andrew Adonis Katy Kay David Bradshaw Kate Garvey Catherine Rimmer Liz Lloyd Alasdair McGowan Chris McShane Simon Stevens Carey Oppenheim Justin Russell Patrick Diamond Sarah Hunter Matthew Elson Arnab Banerjee Jo Gibbons Sara El Nusiari Julian Le Grand p/t Matthew Taylor p/t Angela Goodchild p/t John McTernan Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State Joan Hammell Ian McKenzie Paul Hackett p/t Chief Whip (Commons) Sue Jackson Fiona Gordon Chief Whip (Lords) Margaret Ounsley

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Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Bill Bush Nick Bent Secretary of State for Defence Michael Dugher Secretary of State for Education and Skills Robert Hill Lisa Tremble Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sheila Watson Stephen Hale Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Ed Owen Michael Williams Secretary of State for Health Richard Olszewski Steve Bates Paul Corrigan Secretary of State for the Home Department Matt Kavanagh Katherine Raymond Huw Evans Leader of the House of Lords, and Lord President of the Council Matthew Seward Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor Gary Hart Phil Bassett Secretary of State for International Development Alex Evans Beatrice Stern Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith Adam Higgett Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal Greg Power Phil Taylor

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Secretary of State for Scotland Iain Gray Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Jim Godfrey Roger Sharp (unpaid) Kitty Ussher p/t Deborah Lincoln Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Maugham Chancellor of the Exchequer 1 Ed Balls, Chief Economic Adviser Ian Austin Spencer Livermore Chief Secretary Nicola Murphy Jonathan Ashworth Secretary of State for Wales Andrew Bold

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Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Chris Norton Tom Clark Minister without Portfolio Martin O'Donovan Patrick Loughran

The Government regularly publish details of special advisers currently in post, updated to reflect resignations as necessary.

Lord Birt continues as an unpaid strategy adviser to the Prime Minister.

Sue Nye is an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Andrew Pinder holds the position of e-envoy.

Sir Ewen Cameron, Chairman of the Countryside Agency, holds the position of rural advocate on an unpaid basis.

    1 In addition the Chancellor of the Exchequer has appointed Paul Gregg (p/t), Shriti Vadera, Stewart Wood and Michael Jacobs to the Council of Economic Advisers on special adviser terms.

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