§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on Government policy on competitive bidding for funds by local councils on specific projects; and how much level of public expenditure was allocated to such arrangements in(a) 1996–97 and (b) 2000–01. 
§ Ms Armstrong
The vast majority of Government support to local authorities is provided as general support. Competitive bidding for funds can play a part in bringing forward local proposals for specific projects. Figures for that part of Government support allocated by competitive bidding, as opposed to provision through a standard allocation process, on specific projects for which local authorities are able to bid, are given in the table.
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 15 March 2001]Three reports from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been received and placed in the Library of the House:
- 1. Interim report of the joint investigation by the Agency and HSE under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations. The possible contravention of waste management controls is also being covered by this investigation;
- 2. Final report of the quality assurance review of the Agency's regulatory actions; and
- 3. Final report of the review carried out by HSE as part of its major incident handling.
The final report of the joint investigation (Report One) will be split into two parts. Part 1 will report on the COMAH investigation into the cause of the fire and will be submitted to the European Commission by 12 April. It will not include decisions on prosecution. Part 2 will report on the Agency's and HSE's views on liability and prosecution of the operator. In the light of Counsel's advice, the Agency advise that they now expect Part 2 to be completed and submitted to Ministers by late summer. A progress report, providing an indication of possible breaches of the waste controls, will be submitted to Ministers by 30 April.