Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps are taken to ensure that those resident in the Isle of Man meet obligations placed on them by the Child Support Agency.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will raise with Kent county council its requirement that (a) small businesses submit full accounts rather than abbreviated ones and (b) all potential suppliers of goods and services have public liability insurance of at least £5 million.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take steps to ensure that the standard terms of contract adopted by Kent county council do not (a) discriminate against and (b) place an undue burden of regulation on small businesses.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the secondary schools where (a) 10 to 20 per cent. and (b) more than 20 per cent. of pupils gained no GCSE or equivalent qualification in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by local education authority; and what percentage of pupils in each school was entitled to free school meals.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils entitled to free school meals achieved (a) 5 GCSEs at grades A* to C, (b) no GCSE qualifications and (c) no qualification in the last year for which figures are available.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools had more than 20 per cent. of pupils entitled to free school meals in the last year forwhich figures are available; and what this represents as a percentage of the total number of schools in each sector.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many applications have been made under the popular schools expansion programme; and how many (a) have been (i) approved and (ii) rejected and (b) remain under consideration; (2) what the total budget is for the popular schools expansion programme; and how much has been spent to date.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the schools which (a) are failing and (b) have been judged to be failing for more than three years; on what date each was first identified as failing; in which local education authority area each school is located; how many pupils attend each school; and what the pupil capacity is of each school.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will introduce legislation to ban the use of animals in circuses.
Stephen Byers: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will extend the powers of the Local Government Ombudsman to include complaints made against the actions of a local authority monitoring officer.
Stephen Byers: rose—
Stephen Byers: I know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman—[Hon. Members: "Answer!"] I am going to answer his question in two parts. First, he should read the judgment to see what the judge says about the way in which the term "grannies" was used; he is very clear about that.—[Laughter.] It is interesting that Conservative Members have obviously not read the judgment. Secondly, the right hon. and...
Stephen Byers: Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirm that, in line with the structure that he helped to create, the trigger for the review would have been a request from Railtrack's directors? If so, will he concede that they made no such request?
Stephen Byers: The hon. Gentleman stated that the Government took away the shares of those who held shares in Railtrack. To ensure that he is not misleading the House, will he reconsider what he said? He will know that Railtrack shareholders got £2.50, I think, or £2.60 each, so they got the value in the company. The Government did not take away any shares from Railtrack shareholders.
Stephen Byers: I listened with great attention as the motion was moved by the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan). I spent just over three weeks in the High Court at the end of June and the beginning of July, and the hon. Gentleman's speech was a total rerun of every argument that was put before the court. There was nothing new in his contribution. None of the documents to which he referred was...
Stephen Byers: Here we go!
Stephen Byers: And I took it as such, as always. I was disappointed by the hon. Gentleman's contribution, however, because I was looking for some substance and detail, and something new. I am afraid that it was a rehash of the arguments that were put on behalf of the claimants in the court case, which they comprehensively lost when Mr. Justice Lindsay had the opportunity of examining their claims in detail....
Stephen Byers: When I was Secretary of State, I obviously had to have regard to the interests of shareholders, which is right and proper. But, as Secretary of State for Transport, I also had an overriding consideration: the travelling public. People chose to invest in Railtrack shares, and they received the value that was in the company. That is the nature of shareholding. There was value in the...
Stephen Byers: That was an interesting intervention, although it was more of a winding-up speech. There is no chicanery here. I am sure that this was the right decision, and I am even more confident of that now than when I took it way back in October 2001. Politically, I can see the value of the private sector in some parts of public service, but I do not accept that contracting out to a private sector...
Stephen Byers: That certainly was not the thrust of Lord Cullen's judgment when he issued his public report on the tragic crash at Ladbroke Grove. It was Lord Cullen whom I quoted earlier, and he referred not to the actions of the Government but to the nature of Railtrack itself, which was suffering from institutional paralysis. A lot has been made this afternoon of Railtrack's not being insolvent. My right...