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Written Answers

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 22 May 2003

Treasury

Cancer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the most recent cancer survival rates for the most common forms of cancer are in the UK; and what information he has received on survival rates in (a) other EU, (b) other G8 and (c) EU applicant countries. [114617]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. MacDougall, dated 22 May 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning what the most recent cancer survival rates for the most common forms of cancer are in the UK; and what information has been received on survival rates in (a) other EU, (b) other G8 and (c) EU applicant countries. (114617)
Survival figures for the UK as a whole are not currently available. The available figures for the separate countries of the UK are not directly comparable because of differences in coverage and for other reasons. The latest available information on survival rates for cancer in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available from the following websites:
England: http://www.nationalstatistics.gov.ukyStatBase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D4924.xls
Wales: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites/documents/242/CancerRegistration.pdf
Scotland: http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/isd/cancer/excel/surviv_update.xls
Northern Ireland: http://www.qub.ac.uk/nicr/commoncan.htm
The Office for National Statistics does not collate cancer survival figures for other countries. Comparable statistics on cancer survival in those parts of Europe that are covered by cancer registries were produced by the EUROCARE 11 study and published in "Survival of cancer patients in Europe EUROCARE 11 study" (1ARC scientific Publication No. 151); this is available in the House of Commons Library.
No similar publication has been produced for the G8 countries.

Biodiesel Duty

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will develop the tax derogation on biodiesel to support the rural economies. [114795]

The Chancellor reviews all taxation policies taking account of relevant economic, social and environmental factors in forming his Budget judgment.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the calculations which he used to determine that £0.2710 shall be the biodiesel duty rate. [112891]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: The new biodiesel rate of 27.10 pence per litre was chosen to maintain the 20 pence per litre duty differential with ultra-low sulphur diesel. The Government offers lower duty rates for less environmentally-damaging fuels by offering duty differentials relative to the main road fuels. These differentials are intended primarily to reflect the relative environmental benefits of the fuels in question. In determining the size of the duty incentive for biodiesel, the Government has taken into account principally the environmental benefits of the fuel, which amount to approximately 55 per cent. carbon emissions savings on a lifecycle basis, as well as a range of other benefits offered by the fuel, including fuel security benefits and the potential to encourage the recycling of waste products.

Capital Modernisation Fund

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his Answer of 28 February 2003, Official Report, column 767W, on the Capital Modernisation Fund, why the Customs and Excise anti drug surveillance was terminated in February 2002; and if he will make a statement. [114593]

Proceeds Of Crime

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government is taking to tackle organised gangs funded from the proceeds of drug sales. [114225]

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 provides extensive new powers for police and customs officers to seize the proceeds of all crimes, including drug trafficking. This is often the working capital for organised gangs, and recovering those proceeds will prevent them being used to fund further criminal activity.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what targets he has for improving energy efficiency; and how he intends to achieve these targets. [114843]

The UK has a legally binding target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2012. In addition, as set out in the Climate Change Programme published in 2000, the UK has set a domestic goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. by 2010. The Energy White Paper, published in February 2003 reaffirmed this goal and the expectation that more than half of the emissions reductions in the Climate Change Programme—around 10 MtC by 2010—would come from energy efficiency.The Energy White Paper sets out the measures which the Government is taking forward to achieve these reductions.

In addition to this, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also has a specific Public Sector Agreement target to reduce fuel poverty among vulnerable households by improving the energy efficiency of 600,000 homes between 2001 and 2004.

Environment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment is made (a) of the environmental impact and (b) against sustainable development criteria of the bids made for contracts awarded by his Department; who makes such an assessment; and whether these assessments are published. [114841]

It is Government policy to ensure that the relevant officials consider environmental/sustainable development impacts, along with a range of other criteria, when contract bids are assessed. Such assessments are not published.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment is made (a) of the environmental impact and (b) against sustainable development criteria, of the bids made for the different grants awarded by his Department; who makes such an assessment; and whether these assessments are published. [114844]

The Treasury provides grants and grants in aid to the following bodies: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; British-American Parliamentary Group; Inter-Parliamentary Union; British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body; and Statistics Commission.

Eu-Israel Association Agreement

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made with the composition of duty on goods imported to the UK claiming preference under the EU-Israel Association Agreement but where the goods involved are believed to originate in illegal Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [114847]

As at 16 May 2003, Customs have sent 41 verification requests to the Israeli authorities covering 332 claims to preference. Duty totalling £20,095 has been demanded from importers following exhaustion of the verification process.

Financial Statement And Budget Report

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will re-publish Table 4.2 in the Budget Red Book, HC500, to show the number of working households facing a marginal deduction rate of (a) over 50 per cent. and (b) over 40 per cent. [114417]

The table shows estimates of the numbers facing marginal deduction rates (MDRs) in excess of 40 per cent.

Marginal deduction rate percentageBefore budget 19982003–04 system of tax and benefits
Over 1005,0000
Over 90130,00030,000
Over 80300,000135,000
Over 70740,000185,000

Marginal deduction rate percentage

Before budget 1998

2003–04 system of tax and benefits

Over 60760,0001,490,000
Over 50760,0001,675,000
Over 40800,0001,800,000

This analysis does not take into account the way in which the new tax credits will respond to rises in income, described in detail in The Child and Working Tax Credit. The new tax credits only respond to rises in income in the current year of more than £2,500, disregarding the first £2,500 of any risk. This means that recipients will not see their tax credits reduced as soon as their income rises, so reducing the effective marginal deduction in any one year.

Figures are cumulative. This table shows marginal deduction rates for working households in receipt of income related benefits or new tax credits, where at least one person works 16 hours or more a week and where higher earnings would lead to reduced benefits or tax credits. They include the marginal effects of income tax and national insurance contributions, and the withdrawal of housing benefit and council tax benefit.

As a result of the Government's reforms, over half a million fewer low-income households now face marginal deduction rates in excess of 70 per cent. than did so in April 1997. The increase in the number of households facing marginal deduction rates of between 40 and 70 per cent. is primarily due to the introduction of tax credits, and more recently the extension of support to workers aged 25 or over without children.

Golden Shares

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the Government's golden shares and their value at current equity market prices. [114635]

The Government holds special shareholdings in the following companies.No information exists about equity market value as these shareholdings are not tradeable.

  • Rosyth Royal Dockyard Ltd.
  • Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd.
  • QinetiQ Holdings Ltd.
  • BAFS (Marine) Ltd.
  • AWE plc
  • BAE Systems plc
  • Rolls Royce plc
  • British Energy plc
  • UK Nirex Ltd.
  • Consignia Holdings plc
  • National Grid Transco plc
  • Scottish Power plc
  • Scottish & Southern Energy plc
  • Viridian Group plc
  • Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd.
  • Belfast International Airport Ltd.
  • British Airports Authority plc
  • National Air Traffic Services Ltd.
  • London and Continental Railways Ltd.
  • Eurostar Ltd.
  • Intercapita & Regional Rail Ltd.
  • Stena Line plc
  • CDC Group plc
  • Partnerships UK Ltd.
  • Troika Ltd.

Illegal Food Imports

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer, of 14 May 2003, Official Report, columns 261–62W, on food imports, (a) whether the personnel for the new mobile anti-smuggling teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel, (b) which regions the new anti-smuggling teams will operate in, (c) which regions the detector dogs will operate in, (d) what provisions are in place for replacing ill detector dogs and (e) when the publicity campaign at ports and airports in the UK and overseas will be unveiled. [114950]

Staff for the new teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel. The anti-smuggling teams and detector dogs are mobile and the locations of their deployment will be varied according to risk. Where illness or injury seriously impairs a detector dog's long-term effectiveness, the dog would normally be retired from duty, Customs would then arrange for the supply and training of a new dog as soon as possible.DEFRA publicity is continuing while Customs publicity material is developed. This will be rolled out later this year.

International Finance Facility

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions his Department has had with the relevant finance and development departments of other donor countries regarding the proposed International Finance Facility; and if he will make a statement; [114665](2) what his Department's spending predictions are for

(a) overseas aid after 2015 and (b) the International Finance Facility; and if he will make a statement; [114664]

(3) what assessment he has made of the financial risks associated with the proposed International Finance Facility; how he plans to minimise them; and if he will make a statement; [114669]

(4) what percentage of the funds from the proposed International Finance Facility will be given as (a) grants and (b) loans; and if he will make a statement; [114667]

(5) what contingency plans his Department has in conjunction with the Department for International Development in the event that the required number of donors for the proposed International Finance Facility reaches 50 per cent. or less of the target; and if he will make a statement; [114666]

(6) what criteria will be used to decide which countries will receive aid from the proposed International Finance Facility; and if he will make a statement. [114668]

The UK Government continue to press the urgent case for an International Finance Facility to raise the additional finance needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 in all relevant national and international fora.The UK Government are committed to the UN 0.7 per cent. ODA/GNI ratio target. The UK will reach an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.4 per cent. in 2005–06 from a level of 0.26 per cent. in 1997 and 0.33 per cent. in 2003–04.Further details of the IFF proposal, including its proposed structure, can be found in the IFF proposal document published in January 2003 and an accompanying technical note published in February 2003. Both these documents are available in the Library of the House and on the Treasury website at http:// www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/IFF.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to change (a) duty levels on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and (b) the level of grants available for vehicles converting to LPG. [114742]

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East (Dr. Kumar) on 14 May 2003, Official Report, column 262W.The consultation mentioned in that reply will seek stakeholders' views on the effectiveness of a range of potential incentives, including fuel duties and the grants for LPG vehicles currently offered through the TransportEnergy PowerShift programme.

Ministerial Correspondence Unit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff have been employed in the Ministerial Correspondence Unit of the Department in each of the last two years. [115873]

The unit's complement of nine staff in 2001 was increased to 10 in 2002.

Public Service Agreements

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Department has taken to publicise its Public Service Agreement targets; and at what cost to public funds. [114445]

Information on Public Service Agreement targets is published on the Treasury public website and included in routine publications, such as the Treasury departmental report, which involve no significant extra cost.

Royal Mint

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the independent review of the Royal Mint will be published. [114594]

Grant Thornton undertook an independent review of the Royal Mint's financial control systems in 2002. This is available on the Mint website.

Sustainable Development

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the departmental strategy for sustainable development will be published; and what steps (a) are being taken and (b) are planned to take forward the actions outlined. [114894]

A joint Sustainable Development Statement for the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments and Agencies was agreed last year and a copy is available on the Treasury website. They are all adhering to the Government's objectives for sustainable development as set out in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what remit relating to sustainable development is undertaken by his Department's (a) executive agencies, (b) advisory non-departmental bodies, (c) executive non-departmental bodies, (d) tribunals, (e) public corporations and (f) other bodies. [114895]

This remit is contained in the Joint Sustainable Development Statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments and Agencies published last year. A copy is available on the Treasury's website.

Timber

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department's procurement policy includes timber used in the construction of departmental building projects; and if he will make a statement. [114842]

It is Government policy to use timber from certified sustainable sources for all departmental new builds or refurbishments.

Vat Registration

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers he has over the operations of VAT to prevent master franchises from using coercive attempts to press their franchisees into registering for VAT as a means of the master franchises obtaining an exemption under the provisions of the Trading Schemes Act 1996; and if he will make a statement. [114818]

In Budget 2003, the Government raised the registration threshold for VAT to £56,000—the highest threshold in Europe. Businesses with a taxable turnover above this threshold are required to register for VAT. Businesses with a turnover below £56,000, and which make taxable supplies, are entitled to register for VAT voluntarily by application to HM Customs and Excise. Customs have no powers to determine, or to intervene in, the circumstances behind an application for voluntary registration.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114423]

The Department does not maintain records of its expenditure on advertising separately. The expenditure for publicity by Defra's Communications Directorate, which includes advertising, publications, events, shows and direct information literature mailings in financial year 2001–02 was £6.6 million and in 2002–03 is estimated to be £6.0 million. The allocation for 2003–04 is £4.3 million.This includes communication on a very wide range of matters, much of it necessary or beneficial to the public and the wide range of industries in which Defra has an interest, together with local government, voluntary organisations and other bodies.Decisions on publicity budgets for 2004–05 have not yet been made. These will be made later this year as part of the planning process

Apples

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to prevent traditional English varieties of apple from dying out. [114267]

Defra owns the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent and supports the conservation and scientific direction of the collection at a cost of some £280,000 per annum.The collection is a rich genetic resource, containing over 2,300 different varieties of apple as well as other top fruit and stone fruit and material from the collection is available to researchers and breeders. Research on the collection—including that on traditional varieties—is also made widely available.

Avian Influenza

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will ban imports of cull day-old chicks from the Netherlands and Belgium; [113700](2) what steps she is taking to prevent the spread of avian influenza from continental Europe to the UK; [113699](3) if she will extend the import ban on live poultry and hatching eggs to include table eggs from the Netherlands and Belgium. [113701]

In order to prevent the spread of Avian Influenza (AI) from the European Union to the UK the Department has taken the following steps.In March 2003 Defra issued Declarations under Regulation 27 of the Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (and equivalent legislation in the devolved territories) introducing a ban on the import of live poultry, hatching eggs and racing/show pigeons from the Netherlands and Belgium. These Declarations make it a criminal offence to import live poultry and hatching eggs into England from both the Netherlands and Belgium. A further Declaration was issued on 9 May 2003 prohibiting the import of live poultry and hatching eggs from the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also introduced similar measures.In normal circumstances, all birds (poultry or captive birds) entering the UK from the EU must be accompanied by an EU model health certificate stating that premises and area of origin are free from AI.The Government have also banned the import from the Netherlands, Belgium and from the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany of fresh, unprocessed and non-heat treated poultry manure and litter. EU legislation does not permit trade in fresh poultry meat if it was obtained from poultry originating in established surveillance zones in those countries.In addition, action was also taken on 16 May to ban the importation into the UK of cull day old chicks from the Netherlands, Belgium and from the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.Table eggs do not present a high risk of spread of disease. Any risk would be of mechanical transmission of virus on eggs, packaging or means of transport. Controls in force in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany provide good safeguards against this risk and a ban on imports would be disproportionate.Defra has reminded egg and poultry producers in the UK about the need for stringent biosecurity measures at all times. To minimise the introduction of AI into their flocks by means of faecal contamination, poultry producers should ensure that their boots, clothing, equipment and vehicles are disinfected. Access by wild birds should be minimised, for instance by clearing up feed spillages. Officials have asked poultry producers in the UK to be vigilant for any signs of respiratory disease in birds and contact their local veterinary office immediately if they have any concerns.The Department is monitoring the AI situation in the EU. Should there be any significant changes, the risk assessment for the UK will be reviewed.Officials have reviewed and updated the Contingency Plan, are learning the lessons about the Dutch outbreak from the authorities there, and remain in close touch with the poultry industry about measures we would take should the disease appear here.

Carbon Trust/Energy Saving Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what monitoring her Department has carried out to assess the effectiveness of the (a) Carbon Trust and (b) Energy Saving Trust; and if she will make a statement. [113452]

The Carbon Trust is a private company created in April 2001 to take the lead on energy efficiency in the business and public sectors, and to support the development of the low carbon sector in the UK. The Trust has already done much valuable work in developing its three main programme areas and is taking a proactive role in the energy efficiency arena in its role as the main source of energy efficiency information and advice for the non-domestic sector. An initial impact assessment programme for the Trust is being developed and should provide preliminary results over the summer.

A policy evaluation of the Energy Saving Trust to review their effectiveness in carrying out their objectives in the period 1996–99 was completed in September 2000. The report concluded that the Energy Saving Trust had a valuable contribution to make to the Government's sustainable energy objectives in promoting energy efficiency and that there was a continuing case for funding those objectives that could not be met through other sources.

The Government's Energy White Paper has made clear that they will continue to support the work of the two trusts. It also announced a review of low carbon delivery programmes and associated support bodies before the end of 2004.

Deer

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the dates were of the recent visits by DEFRA vets to the Baronsdown Deer Sanctuary; how many deer were estimated to be in the sanctuary and how many of them were inspected; how long each visit lasted; how many of the visits were done (a) during daylight and (b) after dark; what study was made during the visits of the relative size of the deer in the sanctuary against Exmoor Red Deer in general; and whether any of the deer exhibited signs of malnutrition. [114835]

The Baronsdown Deer Sanctuary was inspected by officials of the State Veterinary Service on 1 April. The detailed findings of the inspection are confidential to the managers of the Sanctuary.

Duck Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will hold a public consultation on animal welfare aspects of duck farming. [114255]

We plan to hold a public consultation later this year on a revised welfare code for ducks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the planned revision of the welfare code for duck farming, with particular reference to the provision of access to water. [114256]

The revised welfare code for ducks will be subject to public consultation later this year. The provision of access to water will be one of the areas considered.

Eggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her policy towards assisting the egg sector to offset the costs of additional Communities legislation. [112505]

Although we make every effort to minimise the regulatory burden on all sectors of the agriculture industry, it is not our policy to subsidise the cost of meeting legislative requirements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what analysis she has made of the effect of Green Box compatible payments following impact analysis on Council Directive 1999/74/EC, on the UK egg industry; what assistance to UK producers is planned; and if she will make a statement. [112506]

A regulatory impact assessment of Council Directive 1999/74/EC on the welfare of laying hens was placed in the Library of the House. We have no plans to compensate producers for the costs of meeting this legislation.The egg industry are concerned that following tariff reductions in the current WTO round, they will have to compete against imports from third countries where compliance with lower standards of animal welfare confers a substantial cost advantage. The EU has successfully pressed for such non trade concerns to be taken into consideration in the negotiations and the UK will continue to play an important role in formulating EU policy in this area.

Animal By-Products

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether farmers will be entitled to make retrospective claims for the collection and disposal of fallen livestock from her Department's subscription scheme for fallen livestock between May and August. [111115]

The Government do not intend to make retrospective payments to farmers for the collection and disposal of fallen stock between May and August and there is no reason to do so. The proposed subscription scheme is not an essential requirement of the Animal By-Products Regulation but a facility to help reduce costs. Participation is voluntary and the scheme is dependent on a minimum take up of 50 per cent. of holdings.

Fish Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what progress has been made in advising non-profit distributing fish quota trading companies whether the purchase of fish quotas to lease to local or member fishermen is allowed under (a) UK and (b) EU rules; [114022](2) when she expects to advise the Duchy Fish Quota Company whether its business plan to purchase and lease fish quotas

(a) meets EU state aid values, (b) is eligible for European Structural Fund aid, (c) is eligible for UK national Government aid and (d) is eligible to receive public funds from local authorities; [114023]

(3) what advice she has given to local proposals to intervene in the market for fish quotas in order to protect the availability of that quota for fishermen within that locality. [114021]

I am aware that a scheme for quota purchase in Cornwall is under consideration. We have advised the Duchy Fish Quota Company that the use of public funds in schemes for the purchase and lease of fish quota is under examination by the European Commission, for compatibility with state aid rules. We have promised to report to the company the European Commission's conclusions when they are reached.

Free-Range Eggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what restrictions are imposed on English bed and breakfasts on use of eggs produced by their own free-range chickens. [113406]

None. The egg marketing standards regulations do not apply to eggs supplied by the producer direct to the final consumer.

Haskins Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to (a) receive and (b) publish Lord Haskins' review of DEFRA and its agencies. [114342]

Lord Haskins expects to submit a full report in the summer. Publication will follow as soon as possible after due consideration by Ministers.

Honours

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many officials in her Department have received honours; and how many honours are held by her officials, broken clown by category of honour. [111481]

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was formed in June 2001 following machinery of government changes. Departmental data held on honours relate to the period since then.In that time, 14 members of the Department have received an honour. Of those, five have now left, so currently nine honours awards are held by Defra officials. These comprise: one CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath), one CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), four OBEs (Officers of the Order of the British Empire) and three MBEs (Members of the Order of the British Empire). Data are not routinely kept on

(a) the number of awards held by individuals, or (b) any awards received by staff before they joined the Department, or (c) awards given to current staff for achievements not related to official duties.

Laying Hens

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on DEFRA-funded research into enriched cages for laying hens; [114257](2) what research into cages for laying hens she has assessed, with particular reference to enriched cages; and if she will make a statement. [114260]

Defra is currently funding research into these types of cages in order to enhance our scientific and practical knowledge. The research project which finishes in June 2004, aims to evaluate the effect of stocking density and cage height on bird behaviour, welfare and performance as well as investigating innovative material suitable for dustbathing in enriched cages. The project is a collaboration between ADAS, Bristol, Lincoln and Roslin universities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the EU directive (1999/74/EC) in respect of height requirements for enriched cages. [114258]

Council Directive 1999/74/EC sets a minimum height of 45cm for the useable area of enriched cages.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what economic assessment she has made of the welfare of laying hens (a) housed in free-range systems and (b) housed in barn systems; and if she will make a statement. [114259]

An economic assessment of the effect of Council Directive 1999/74/EC on alternative systems was undertaken as part of the Regulatory Impact Assessment prepared for the implementation of this Directive into domestic law.Further economic assessments will be carried out in preparation for the 2005 Review of Directive 1999/74/EC.

Live Animal Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the export of livestock to France in each of the last three years. [113357]

All livestock exports from the United Kingdom to France must comply with strict animal health and welfare rules. In particular, additional EU animal health rules which were introduced in 2001 as a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak have applied to all sheep and goat exports from the UK to France since EU trade restrictions were lifted.

National Parks

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many national parks there are; how much land they cover; and what representations she has received to (a) enlarge them and (b) create new national parks. [115152]

The seven National Parks in England, together with the Broads (which are of similar status) cover 993,592 hectares. This is 7 per cent. of the land area of England. The Countryside Agency is responsible for designating National Parks in England and modifying their boundaries, subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State. Since Defra was established in July 2001, the Agency has submitted Designation Orders for new National Parks in the New Forest and the South Downs. The Agency has not sought to enlarge any existing National Parks. Last year's review of English National Park Authorities recommended that the boundary of the Broads should be studied, and Defra has had occasional queries about boundary changes elsewhere.Responsibilities for National Parks in Wales and Scotland lie with the devolved administrations and their respective statutory advisers.

Network Rail

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department was consulted by Network Rail in respect of its plans to cut back vegetation along railway lines; whether the matter has been discussed with the Department of Transport; and if she has made an assessment of the tree removal programme with regard to biodiversity. [114078]

All wild birds, and certain animals and plants, are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. For all birds, listed plants and animals it is an offence to kill, or take any species. Licences can be issued under section 16 of the Act to derogate from this protection for specific reasons, such as public health and safety.Network Rail has not consulted the Department, nor have officials discussed this matter with the Department of Transport. However, where railway companies propose to remove trees, scrub or vegetation from railway properties, the Department would advise that such work is undertaken outside of the breeding and rearing season for birds, and with the minimum of disruption to animals and plants.The Department has not made an assessment of the effect of the tree removal programme on biodiversity.

Public Awareness Activities

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what budgets her Department has allocated for public awareness activities in each financial year to 2005–06; and to what policy areas funds have been allocated. [113451]

Defra has allocated £7.6 million for publicity-related expenditure in 2003–04. Of this, the significant allocations are: £2.3 million for Environmental Protection; £0.6 million for the Waste Implementation programme; £1 million for Flood Awareness; £0.25 million for Wildlife and Countryside; £0.25 million for Illegal Imports awareness; and a further £1.5 million for events around England which are principally focused on communicating Defra's policies on Sustainable Food, Farming and Rural Affairs. We are currently assessing the priorities for the remaining funds against our strategic communications objectives.Decisions on publicity budgets for 2004–05 and 2005–06 will be made later this year as part of the planning process

Rural Payments/Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of Suckler Cow Premium Scheme payments had been made by the Rural Payments Agency for 2001–02 claims. [115312]

As of 20 May 2003, balance payments under the 2001 Suckler Cow Premium Scheme have been made on over 97 per cent. of claims. Remaining claims have either been rejected or are being considered under Category 5 of the 2001 Bovine penalty review. Under the 2002 scheme, advance payments have been issued on over 80 per cent. of claims.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the Countryside Agency's rural policy report to be published. [115183]

I understand that the Countryside Agency will publish its annual rural proofing report on 3 June.

Salmon

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason salmon in the Hampshire Avon are being tagged by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; what the anticipated mortality rate is among tagged salmon; what prior consultation was undertaken with (a) riparian owners and (b) angling interests; and if she will make a statement. [114670]

One cause of the decline in salmon stocks may be increases in river temperatures resulting from natural factors or human activities. This could reduce the survival or reproductive success of the fish. The tags used in the study record temperature and transmit the fish's position, allowing scientists to investigate whether or not adult salmon show temperature preferences during upstream migration. This is of particular relevance to the spring-running multi-sea winter salmon in the Avon, which are resident in freshwater for many months prior to spawning. The results of this work will be used to provide advice to Government and other organisations dedicated to the conservation and sustainable management of salmon stocks, on the potential impacts of habitat management practices and climate change on salmonid populations.Between 1985 and 1990 more than 400 salmon were tagged with radio transmitting tags in the Avon estuary. The great majority of these fish entered the Avon and were tracked migrating upstream to their spawning areas. 45 were reported caught by anglers, which is consistent with recapture rates elsewhere of conventionally tagged fish. No radio-tagged fish were found dead in the river. This suggests that tagging salmon with radio tags has a negligible influence upon their natural behaviour or survival.Both riparian owners and angling interests were consulted through the Environment Agency, who discussed the work with the Chairman of the Avon and Stour Fishery Association; riparian interests were sent a copy of a letter from CEFAS explaining the purpose of the work and the methods to be used. The Chairman of the Wessex Salmon and Rivers Trust, and English Nature, were also consulted.

Skips

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the local authorities which have levied charges for licences to place skips on the highway; what changes have been made; and if she will make a statement. [115775]

My Department does not hold information as to which local authorities levy charges for placing skips on the highway.

Sponsorship

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of her Department's projects have received sponsorship in the last financial year; who the sponsor was in each case; what the nature of each project was; what time period was covered by each project; what the total cost of each project was; how much money was involved in each sponsorship deal; and if she will make a statement. [112401]

Details of individual amounts of sponsorship valued at more than £5,000 would be published in the Defra Departmental Report and the Department's annual, audited Resource Accounts.The Department's projects received no such sponsorship in 2002–03.

Veterinary Medicines

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her European counterparts in relation to the supply of veterinary medicines. [114009]

There are a number of European fora attended by my officials and those of the other Member States at which issues relating to veterinary medicines are discussed and at which issues relating to their supply may be raised. In particular, European Commission proposals to amend medicines legislation, including one to require a prescription for all medicines for use in food-producing animals, are currently being discussed in a series of Council Working Groups. This year the Working Group has met twice each month except February when there was one meeting. My officials are seeking to modify the Commission's proposal to enable a flexible approach to the distribution of veterinary medicinal products that takes advantage of existing national practices, so long as consumer protection and animal welfare can be demonstrably assured.

Culture, Media And Sport

Agency Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many agency workers have been employed by the Department in each of the last two years; and at what cost to public funds. [115196]

From May 1 2001 to April 30 2002, DCMS employed 92 agency workers at a cost of £409,742.From May 1 2002 to April 30 2003, DCMS employed 86 agency workers at a cost of £485,518.

English Heritage

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what finance was allocated to English Heritage in each year since 1997; and how many sites and buildings have been listed in this time. [115170]

The Government grant-in-aid allocation to English Heritage was £105.2 million in 1997–98, £102.4 million in 1998–99, £114.9 million in 1999–2000, £116.8 million in 2000–01, £110.4 million in 2001–02, and £116.4 million in 2002–03; and 7,898 items were included by the Department in the statutory list of buildings of architectural or historic interest during that period, following the receipt of advice from English Heritage.

Film Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her Answer, of 7 May 2003, Official Report, columns 729–30W, on film certificates, what the estimated tax cost of relief provided under section 48 of the Finance (No.2) Act 1997 was in each year since 1997 for (a) theatrical films,

Annual expenditure on certified British films
Categories199719981999200020012002
(a) Total value of Schedule 1 & co-production films (with some theatrical potential Certified179254449407820973
(b) Total value of domestic & co-production small screen productions Certifiedn/kn/kn/kn/a8161,018
Aggregate of everything certified
Total value of Co-Production films with some theatrical potential Certifiedn/kn/kn/kn/k1,6281,991
Co-productions Certified
Total value of co-production films with some theatrical potential certified43607991245408
Total value of small screen Co-productions certifiedn/kn/kn/kn/k92130
(f) Total value of all co-productions certifiedn/kn/kn/kn/k337538

Notes:

1. "Certified films" include films certified as British under Schedule 1 of the 1985 Films Act and official UK co-productions which received final approval.

2. Value figures are in £ million.

3. Years are calendar years.

4. For some films certified before 28 August 2000, a production cost figure is unavailable. However this is not believed to cause significant distortion overall.

n/k = not known.

The new definition of a British film came into force on 27/8/1999, since when some TV production costs are also known.

Only from 28 August 2000 are production costs known for all certified TV & film productions.

Updated 19 May 2003.

Legal Deposit Libraries Bill

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the National Library of Wales regarding the Legal Deposit Libraries Bill. [115034]

We have discussed with the Welsh Assembly and the British Library, both of whom represent the interests of the National Library of Wales, all aspects of the Bill.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received from on-line publishers regarding the Legal Deposit Libraries Bill. [115035]

We have received representations from on-line publishers about all aspects of the Bill that affect their interests, and officials have met them to discuss the points they have raised.

(b) all (c) television fiction and documentaries; (d) televison other, (e) certified copy and counts in no category and (f) co-productions. [114946]

HM Treasury maintains the confidentiality of individual tax returns. Information in the categories listed as (a) to (f) is only available in terms of the production costs of films certified by DCMS. The categories for which production costs of film and television productions certified by DCMS are available are (a) "theatrical films certified"; (b) "all television productions certified", and (f) "all co-productions certified''. These figures are set out in the table.A separate record has not been maintained of the costs of "television fiction & documentary" and "television other" productions. DCMS expects the tax cost of certified copy certificates to be zero. DCMS records the productions costs as zero when copy certificates are issued, only recording the real production cost when the film is originally certified.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial provision she has made for legal deposit libraries arising from their new responsibilities under the Legal Deposit Libraries Bill. [115036]

We have discussed the financial consequences with the British Library who have told us that they can meet the costs within existing resources. We have not received any representations on funding from the other deposit libraries.

Local Authority Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what specific or direct grants have been made by her Department to local authorities for 2003–04 (a) in England and (b) broken down by local authority, identifying whether the grant is (i) ring fenced, (ii) a specific formula grant, (iii) within aggregate external finance and (iv) outside aggregate external finance. [114921]

The information for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is as follows:

Grant to Tyne & Wear Museums Service: £1,100,000. A federation of ten museums and galleries run by the Tyne and Wear local authorities. This grant is ring fenced and is outside of Aggregate External Finance.
Grant to Greater London Authority: £1,900,000. The grant is ring-fenced for tourism purposes and is inside Aggregate External Finance.
Under section 378 (1)

(a) and (b) of the Greater London Authority Act (1999) the Greater London Authority has a duty to promote Tourism. Under the terms of the Agreement between DCMS and the GLA the DCMS grant must be used for tourism purposes.

Museums And Galleries

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her estimate is of total

£ million
1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
London194.16193.26194.83207.76217.14233.60254.08
Rest of England39.9835.4934.0739.9441.6546.6253.42
Total234.14228.75228.9248.7258.79280.22307.5

Note:

Branches of London museums in the rest of England are included in the London figure.

Regional Arts Councils

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the savings made following the restructuring of regional arts councils in May 2001. [115307]

On 1 April 2002, the Arts Council and the Regional Arts Boards merged to form a single organisation to support the arts in England. A key outcome of this merger will be a reduction in administration costs and these savings will be made available to the arts. Arts Council England has announced that they will save nearly £20 million over the next three years. The forecast timing of these savings is: 2003–04 £4.1 million, 2004–05 £7.4 million and 2005–06 £8.1million.

Youth Football

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the change in financial support to funding youth football teams in Shropshire will be for the next season. [115029]

The Government invest substantially in the development of youth football through the Football Foundation. The Foundation makes substantial contributions to the funding of football in Shropshire. Over £1 million has been spent on grass-roots development and community and education initiatives in 2002–03. This includes an approved grant of £62,000 for a football development scheme run by Telford and Wrekin Council. In 2003–04, three grass-root development applications totalling approximately £300,000 have been received so far for good causes in the county. These are currently being considered.

government financial support for museums and galleries (a) in London and (b) in the rest of England, in each year from 1996–97; and if she will make a statement. [99845]

An estimate of financial support to be provided by Government for museums and galleries in London and the rest of England is listed in the table. The distribution of funding reflects the fact that the larger national museums are based in London.Further government support for museums and many other services is channelled through the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services block, and is not separately identified. Individual authorities decide what to spend on local museums, from 1996–97 to 2001–02 they spent over £80 million on local museums m London and almost £800 million on local museums in the rest of England. Museums and galleries also receive some funding from the EC budget through the Structural Funds.

Trade And Industry

Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total expenditure on advertising by the Department was in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what the level of planned expenditure is for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [114424]

DTI advertising expenditure through the COI was

  • (a) £7,128,875 (2001–02)
  • (b) £13,741,906 (2002–03) provisional figure
  • Details of planned advertising expenditure in 2003–04 and 2004–05 is not held centrally and will become available only at the end of these financial years.

    Corporate Social Responsibility

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to require public limited companies to publish an annual social responsibility report. [114908]

    The Government's plans for a revised reporting regime for all companies were contained in the White Paper "Modernising Company Law" (Cm 5553), published in July 2002. This included the proposal that economically significant companies should be required to prepare an Operating and Financial Review as part of their annual financial statements and reports. The Review would include information on matters of corporate social responsibility where those were relevant to an informed assessment of the company.

    We continue to encourage companies to publish annual corporate social responsibility reports on a voluntary basis.

    Atypical Workers Directive

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate the Government has made of the number of jobs that would be affected if the Atypical Workers Directive were implemented; [115237](2) what estimate the Government has made of the costs of implementing the Atypical Workers Directive; [115239](3) if she will make a statement on the Government's policy towards the Atypical Workers Directive; [115236](4) what study of the comparative effects across the EU of the Atypical Workers Directive the Government has made; and if she will make a statement. [115238]

    The Government are not opposed in principle to the proposed directive on agency work but are keenly aware of the potential impact on UK agencies and agency workers of a directive that takes no account of conditions in the UK labour market. The Government are pressing very hard for the UK's legitimate concerns to be recognised.The Department of Trade and Industry has not produced a study of the potential impact on other countries in the European Union. The European Commission's impact assessment (Commission Paper 2002 149) was published in March 2002 with their proposal for a directive. This document is in the Libraries of the House.An explanatory memorandum setting out the Government's policy on the proposed directive and a regulatory impact assessment of the potential costs and benefits for the UK including a discussion of possible employment effects have been published and are in the Libraries.

    Company Auditors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to make auditors subject to a single statutory regulator. [114907]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 29 April 2003, Official Report, columns 311–12W.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to impose a duty of care to (a) shareholders and (b) employers on company auditors. [114906]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 19 March 2003, Official Report, column 766W.

    Competitiveness Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the Competitiveness Council held on 12 to 13 May; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [113979]

    My hon. Friend the Minister for Employment Relations, Industry and the Regions, represented the UK at the Competitiveness Council on 13 May 2003.The council adopted conclusions on Industry Policy in an Enlarged Europe, which were discussed at the Competitiveness Council on 3 March 2003.The commission introduced its new Communication on Innovation Policy. Among other things it highlights the EU's continued underperformance in turning ideas into commercially successful products and services. The commission emphasised that new models and marketing methods were as important as exploiting technological research. Key characteristics of EU policy should be an emphasis on diffusion, and seeing the world from a business perspective. Other important elements were innovation in the public sector, regional diversity and the challenges of diversity.The UK welcomed the communication, while expressing some disappointment that the commission had not done more to integrate research and innovation policy. The communication could also have gone further in promoting the role of competition. A light touch was needed in applying the open method of co-ordination.Many similar points were made in discussion on the commission's Action Plan for increasing spending on Research and Development to 3 per cent. of GDP. Member states particularly stressed the need for fiscal and other incentives, and more flexibility over state aid. This area was of equal importance to accession states; Slovenia was interested in the question of policy co-ordination and how to make markets work better.Commissioner Liikanen presented the commission's 7th Report on the situation of world shipbuilding. The report highlighted that the difficulties in world shipbuilding are growing, as evidenced by a further decrease in orders for new vessels in the major shipbuilding regions in 2002. The commission stressed that the most important market segments for EU yards developed negatively. For EU producers, order intake in 2002 was down by 50 per cent. compared to 2001. Investigations into Korean yards show that there were large-scale subsidies, and the commission was working closely with industry representatives on the challenges the sector currently faces, and would report by the end of the year. The French and Spanish delegations, supported by Germany and Portugal urged the commission to extend the temporary defence mechanism and include liquid gas carriers. France also pressed for the commission to open a WTO dispute procedure against Korea.In introducing the Communication on European Defence—Industrial and Market Issues the commission argued that the industrial aspects of defence equipment supply were important for EU competitiveness. The fragmented state for the EU market needed to be overcome, and consolidation should be encouraged by an appropriate regulatory framework which would promote cost-effectiveness. Commissioner Busquin supported this with a plea for more civil/military synergy in R&D. A number of member states were cautious. The UK gave a broad welcome but said detailed examination would be needed, including inter-governmental work on key issues.The council considered a draft resolution which broadly supported the commission's Green Paper on European Space Policy and better co-operation between the commission and the European Space Agency. After a comprehensive discussion, and concerns raised by the Italian and German delegations, details on the form and scope of such an agreement were deleted. The resolution was then agreed.Wide-ranging proposals for regulation of chemicals were presented by the commission. Commissioner Liikanen recognised the need to strike a balance between public health and environmental objectives on the one side, and competitiveness on the other and stressed the commission's effort to ease the burden on SMEs and respond to industry concerns. A number of member states, including the UK, intervened to warn of major concerns over the effect on competitiveness and the danger of moving chemical production outside the EU, and emphasised the need for impact assessment and for the Competitiveness Council to keep the issue under review. The Italian delegation said that the legal base included Article 95, which meant that the Competitiveness Council should lead on the dossier, and indicated that this would feature highly on the agenda during their presidency.The commission also presented their latest report on the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Strategy, stressing three key priorities: more effective use of intellectual property rights; the need to implement EU legislation on GMOs; and improved access to finance.Ministers discussed the arrangements for selecting the site for the new International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). All member states apart from Spain agreed with the draft council conclusions supporting the commission's approach that a single EU candidate site should be selected to compete subsequently with the non-EU sites. Spain argued that the EU would stand a better chance if both EU sites (French and Spanish) were put forward together. The presidency was forced to abandon formal conclusions, and summed up that all Spain could accept the suggested process, which would be based on an objective criteria and expert input.

    Travel Insurance (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans she has to encourage travel insurance companies to warn their clients that they are not covered for death, personal injury or loss of income due to flight-related deep vein thrombosis; [114967](2) what plans she has to issue advice to holiday makers about the absence of travel insurance cover for flight-related deep vein thrombosis. [114966]

    We currently have no plans to issue advice to holiday makers or travel insurance companies about travel insurance cover for deep vein thrombosis, although I am advised that such cover is available. It is important that consumers check details of any exclusions themselves before they take out insurance, to ensure that it is suitable for their needs and circumstances.The Government is helping with research being carried out under the auspices of the World Health Organisation into the incidence, extent and cause of deep vein thrombosis amongst air travellers.

    Eu Committees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU advisory committee on employment, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110305]

    I have been asked to reply.The delegation is made up of the Director of the Joint International Unit, the Divisional Manager of the European Union Division and the Leader of the Employment Policy team.The Employment Committee (EMCO) has met 10 times since January 2002.The Employment Committee does not take decisions as such. Rather it considers issues and produces Opinions which reflect the views of the member states. These are then submitted to the Council of Ministers where decisions are made. The documents on which decisions are taken in the Council of Ministers are subject to the normal scrutiny procedures.Dates of the meetings, the agenda items and a summary of the Opinions are as follows:

    2002:

    7 and 8 February informal meeting, Spain. Two opinions were adopted (on the Commission's synthesis report and on the Action Plan on Skills and Mobility); both were submitted to the Council.

    The agenda:
    Joint Council and Commission report on increasing participation and promoting active ageing—EMCO Opinion
    The Commission Communication on 'The Lisbon Strategy—Making Change Happen' (the Commission's synthesis report)—EMCO Opinion
    The report of the High Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility, the Commission Action Plan on Skills and Mobility, and the Commission Communication on Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality—EMCO Opinion
    Employment Strategy: debating the future (following the informal Ministerial meeting in Burgos)
    National Action Plan (NAP) structure 2002 and the use of quality in work indicators
    Work Programme 2002

    7 May. One opinion on the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs) 2002 which was submitted to the Council.

    • The agenda:
    • BEPGs 2002—EMCO Opinion
    • Peer Review programme 2002–03
    • Strengthening the local dimension of the Employment Strategy

    6 June. No opinions were adopted at this meeting.

    • The agenda:
    • Impact evaluation of the Employment Strategy
    • Report on the Ad Hoc Group's examination of the NAPs 2002
    • Report on indicators for the Joint Employment Report (JER) 2002
    • Study on the potential of Community policies for employment promotion
    • Election of two vice-Chairpersons

    18 and 19 July informal meeting in Denmark. The Committee adopted a report on indicators to be used in the JER 2002.

    • The agenda:
    • Impact evaluation of the Employment Strategy
    • Employment in Europe 2002
    • Employment and the Structural Funds (to be confirmed)
    • Commission paper on human capital, growth and employment (to be confirmed)

    20 September. One opinion and one contribution to the Commission were adopted (the final outcome was a joint opinion with the Economic Policy Committee (EPC) on the future direction of the European Employment Strategy (EES), which was submitted to the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (ESPHCA)/Economic and Financial (ECOFIN) Council, and a letter from the Chair to the Commissioners Monti and Diamantopoulou on the competition policies).

    • The agenda:
    • Evaluation of the EES
    • Draft Commission document (Part 1) to the Joint Employment Report 2002
    • State aids and employment
    • Report from The High level Group on Industrial Relations and Change in the European Union and the Commission Communication "Social dialogue, a force for innovation and change"

    24 October. No opinion as the meeting was cancelled.

    • The agenda:
    • Commission assessment report on employment challenges for the candidate countries
    • Other issues to be decided

    21 and 22 November. Two opinions (the final outcome was a joint EMCO/EPC/SPC position on structural indicators and a draft for Council conclusions on streamlining prepared jointly by the EMCO/EPC/SPC—both of these were submitted to the ESPHCA/ECOFIN Council).

    • Employment Guidelines 2003
    • Joint Employment Report 2002
    • Employment recommendations to member states
    • Contribution to the preparation of the BEPGs 2003—EMCO contribution
    • Structural indicators—EMCO Opinion
    • Report from the Indicators Group on the follow up on quality in work indicators
    • Work Programme 2003

    2003:

    28 January. No opinions were adopted at this meeting.

    • The agenda:
    • Commission Communication 'The future of the European Employment Strategy'
    • Commission Communication 'Choosing to grow: Knowledge, innovation and jobs in a cohesive society' (Commission's report to the Spring Summit)
    • Finalisation of the draft Joint Employment Report 2002
    • Discussion on the revision of the EMCO rules of procedure
    • Work programme 2003

    20 and 21 February informal meeting, Greece. One contribution (EMCO proposal for key messages from the Council (EPSCO) on the future of the EES).

    Finalisation of the EMCO contribution to the preparation of the Spring Summit (following the informal Ministerial meeting in Nafplion on 24 January) on the basis of the Commission Communication 'The future of the European Employment Strategy', the Commission Communication 'Choosing to grow: Knowledge, innovation and jobs in a cohesive society' and the draft Joint Employment Report 2002
    Debate on the format and coverage of the annual National Action Plans for employment (NAPs)
    Election of a new Chairperson

    23 April. No opinions were adopted.

    The Commission's Guidelines Package (including proposals for the Employment Guidelines 2003, employment recommendations to member states and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines 2003)—first discussion
    Debate on the issue of 'making work pay'
    Report from the Ad Hoc Group on the future role of the Group (possibly including the adoption of the revised terms of reference for the Group).

    Export Controls

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 456W, on export control, if she will make it her policy to inform the Metropolitan Police of proposed legislative changes to export controls. [115076]

    All relevant Government bodies are informed when making legislative changes to export controls, including the Home Office.

    Fireworks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussion she has had with the Home Department regarding the anti-social behaviour aspect of firework abuse; and if she will make a statement. [115439]

    The Department has been in discussion with the Home Office about its penalty notices for the disorder offences scheme. Pilots are currently running in four police force areas in England and Wales. There are 11 penalty offences in the scheme, including that of throwing fireworks in the street. The Home Secretary announced on 14 May that the scheme is now to be rolled out nationally.

    Discussions with the Home Office have also taken place on the anti-social misuse of fireworks relating to issues of enforcement arising from the current Private Member's Fireworks Bill.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues in the Northern Ireland Office regarding the implementation of the Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002. [115662]

    The Department had discussions with the Northern Ireland Office regarding the Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002 when the Fireworks Bill, which my right hon. Friend sponsors, was being drafted.In the light of the recent press notice issued by the Northern Ireland Office highlighting the success of the Northern Ireland Regulations, officials will be having further discussions particularly in relation to the lessons learned in Northern Ireland and what elements of the Northern Ireland legislation might be used in any fireworks regulations applying to the rest of the United Kingdom which may come out of the Fireworks Bill currently before Parliament.

    Garages And Car Dealers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to introduce a system of licensing for independent motor vehicle garages and franchised motor dealers; and if she will make a statement. [112929]

    I have no plans at present to introduce a system of licensing for garages or motor dealers. I support the initiative announced on 15 May for trade associations in the sector to seek Office of Fair Trading approval for a new code of practice to enable consumers to identify garages committed to delivering good customer service.The new code will implement a set of minimum standards of customer service through a process of audit checks and other compliance measures, including mystery shopping. Consumers will have a mechanism for having complaints dealt with and have access to independent arbitration where a matter cannot be resolved with the garage, Participation in the Code will be open to businesses that are not members of trade associations.At the core of the new code is an independent advisory group, including representatives from trading standards and the National Consumer Council, which will help design and approve a strong compliance system to ensure that participating garages meet the Code standards.

    Honours

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many officials in her Department have received honours; and how many honours are held by her officials, broken down by category of honour. [111496]

    Since the beginning of 2000, 48 members of the Department of Trade and Industry have received a State honour. The breakdown by level of award is as follows.

    Award

    Number

    KCB1
    Kt1
    GCMG1
    CMG3
    CB6
    CBE6
    OBE12
    MBE18

    Data are not routinely kept on:

    • The number of awards held by individuals
    • Awards that are not related to official duties
    • Awards already held by staff before joining the Department
    • Awards held by staff transferring to the Department under machinery of Government moves
    • Whether recipients of awards remain in the Department

    Kpmg

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many contracts her Department has awarded to KPMG since 1997. [113689]

    Central records indicate 14 contracts have been awarded since 1 April 1999. Information is not held centrally for earlier years and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Newspaper Distribution

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the report by the OFT into the Wholesale Code of Practice on newspaper distribution; [114578](2) if she will make a statement on the request by the National Federation of Newsagents for a full referral of newspaper and magazine distribution to the Competition Commission by her Department. [114581]

    The OFT is currently finalising its recommendations to its review of the Code of Practice on newspaper distribution, in the light of the responses it has received to its public consultation. The OFT will be publishing its conclusions in the summer. We will consider the OFT's final report before deciding what action is needed.

    Non-Executive Directors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to make non-executive directors of companies subject to (a) election and (b) approval by employees. [114910]

    A company's Articles of Association will usually determine the procedure for the appointment of directors. Most quoted companies' Articles require directors to be elected by the shareholders every three years.

    Post Office Card Account

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and industry if she will make a statement on the redesign of the pin pad for Post Office card account cardholders. [114955]

    The Post Office is working to ensure their services are as accessible to as many customers as possible. In the short term the Post Office intends to improve current PIN pads by fitting a guard over the buttons to help guide customers. I understand that this will be done as soon as possible. In the longer term they intend to look at technological options to provide a secure alternative to PIN pads for people unable to use them.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Blaby, of 16 May 2003, Official Report, column 466W, on post office subsidies, when the Government expects to receive European Commission approval for the state aid announced in December 2002; and when post offices will start to receive these funds. [115369]

    As I said in my reply to the question referred to by the hon. Member, the timetable for state aid clearance is a matter for the European Commission. DTI continues to work closely with the Commission to ensure that the questions and issues they raise are responded to as quickly as possible. We are confident we have a strong case and we hope to have approval in due course. The £450 million of support for the rural post office network runs from April 2003 to 2006. Post Office Ltd. will administer the fund within the guidelines and parameters set by Government.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of Postwatch in resolving Royal Mail customers' complaints. [114524]

    When it was established in 2001 one of Postwatch's key objectives, agreed with the Department of Trade and Industry, was to provide more effective complaint handling performance. That performance is measured through an annual customer satisfaction survey.The details of the 2001 survey are published in the Postwatch Annual Report and Accounts 2002–03, a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The 2002 survey results will be published in the Postwatch Annual Report and Accounts 2003–04, a copy of which will be placed in the Libraries of the House at the end of June 2003.

    Remuneration Packages (Senior Staff)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to give company employees a role in determining remuneration packages for senior executives and directors. [114912]

    Remuneration of company employees, including senior executives is a matter for the company. Remuneration of directors is a matter for the company's board, and for its shareholders.

    Secondments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 488W, on departmental secondees, if she will list (a) private sector companies. (b) NGOs and (c) other, to which civil servants have been seconded from her Department, in each case giving (i) the dates of secondment and (ii) the grade of the civil servant seconded, in each year since 1997–98. [114172]

    From records held centrally in my Department, the information requested is contained in a table which has been placed in the Library.

    Sickness Absence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent estimate her Department has made of the cost to industry and business in the UK of sickness absence; and what plans have been made to tackle abuse of sickness absence by employees. [113496]

    According to latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive, the cost to employers in the UK of work-related illness was around £1.1 billion in 1995–96. The Government believe employers themselves are best placed to tackle the problem of sick leave in those cases where it is being abused. Acas publishes some guidance on how employers might deal with absences, including sickness absences.

    Advocate-General

    Departmental Creche Facilities

    To ask the Advocate General what creche facilities are provided by her Department; and at what cost. [104294]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given below by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

    Staff Union Duties

    To ask the Advocate General how many staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in 2002. [106776]

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland at column 911W.

    Scotland

    Departmental Creche Facilities

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what créche facilities are provided by her Department; and at what cost. [104292]

    My Department does not provide créche facilities. Staff on loan from the Scottish Executive or other departments can access facilities or support provided by their parent organisation.

    Dover House

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many functions have been held in Dover House in each of the last six years. [115812]

    The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. The following number of events have been held in Dover House in the three full years since then:

    Number of events
    2000–0122
    2001–0220
    2002–0327
    The majority of the above have been events sponsored by third parties, often charities, using Dover House as a venue to support work they are doing in Scotland. For example, in 2000–01 and 2001–02, 14 of the events held were third party receptions and in 2002–03, 20 of the events held were third party receptions (with no costs accruing to the Department). The hon. Member himself was instrumental in Dover House being used as a venue to promote tourism as a spin off from the production of a television programe which was filmed in his constituency.

    Entertainment Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she has entertained Labour hon. Members at public expense in the last 12 months; and at what cost. [106395]

    No separate functions or entertainment have been provided solely for Labour MPs at departmental expense.

    Staff Union Duties

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in 2002. [106775]

    No staff in my Department receive paid facility time on a full time basis to undertake trade union activities.

    Defence

    Armed Forces (Undermanning)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the extent of undermanning in the armed forces this year; and if he will make a statement. [113249]

    As at 1 April 2003 the shortfall against the current trained requirement of the armed forces stood at 6,510. This is an improvement on the same time last year with an increase in the overall trained strength and a decrease in the deficit.All three Services are working hard to address the shortfalls so that the targets set out in the current Public Service Agreements can be met.

    Details of undermanning by individual Service as at 1 April 2003 are shown as follows:

    Naval Service

    Army

    RAF

    Trained requirement38,510106,98049,640
    Trained strength37,600102,12048,900
    Shortfall-910-4,850-750

    Eu Defence Ministers Meeting

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which US officials were invited to attend the EU Defence Ministers' meeting in Brussels on 19 May. [115459]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Defence Ministers' Meeting in Brussels on 19 May. [115460]

    European Union Defence Ministers at the General Affairs and External Relations Council focused mainly on military capabilities, noting that

    "the EU now has operational capability across the full range of Petersberg tasks, limited and constrained by recognised shortfalls."
    These shortfalls particularly affect speed of deployment and level of risk for larger scale, higher-intensity tasks. Ministers endorsed the launch of ECAP Project Groups, in which participating member states will work on implementing selected solutions identified by the ECAP Panels. Ministers welcomed the first meeting of the EU-NATO Capability Group, which will help to ensure that EU efforts on military capabilities are coherent and mutually reinforcing with the work in NATO, as well as proposals in the context of the Convention for an EU defence capabilities development and acquisition agency. Ministers also noted the significant progress on ESDP since their last formal meeting in November 2002, and in particular, agreement on the Berlin Plus arrangements with NATO and the launch of the first military ESDP operation in Macedonia. The full Conclusions from the General Affairs and External Relations Council will be placed in the Library in the House shortly.

    European Security And Defence Policy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the conditions under which the UK Government would approve a military operation under the European Security and Defence Policy without (a) the express approval of all NATO allies and (b) NATO support and involvement. [115461]

    All European Union member states have agreed to develop a European Security and Defence Policy to give the European Union

    "an autonomous capacity to take decisions, and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations"
    within the scope of the Petersberg tasks. NATO and the EU are independent international organisations. ESDP operations would be considered only where NATO is not engaged.

    ESDP operations may be conducted either using NATO assets and capabilities, or without recourse to these assets. The EU will make a decision on this for each operation on a case by case basis. A NATO decision will be needed to approve any request by the EU to use NATO assets and capabilities for operations.

    The United Kingdom will decide its position on any proposed ESDP operation on a case by case basis. Considerations would include the objective of the proposed operation as well as the views of partners and allies.

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been taken by British forces in Iraq to remove and make safe (a) unexploded cluster bomblets, (b) landmines and (c) depleted uranium. [111841]

    Providing a safe, secure and risk free environment for the Iraqi people is a key aspect of restoration activity for the Coalition. When any unexploded munitions—including cluster bomblets and mines—are discovered, United Kingdom and other Coalition forces mark the site and inform those in the vicinity. Their normal practice is then to destroy the munitions in situ. Those that present the greatest threat to human life and coalition operations are destroyed first.Increasing amounts of independent research by eminent scientists within groups such as the Royal Society Depleted Uranium Working Group and the United Nations Environment Programme support the view that DU levels will only necessitate precautions to prevent or reduce possible intakes in highly localised areas. As many defeated tanks as possible within the British area of operations are being cordoned off and kept undisturbed, awaiting scientific examination.In support of the United Nations Environment Programme environmental survey of Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has released information on DU used by UK Forces in the Iraq conflict and will be making available details of where that usage occurred. The UK Government will be considering carefully any scientific data which may emerge concerning environmental issues in Iraq.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce plans for a march past or other event of the UK Armed Forces to mark the role of the UK Armed Forces in the recent conflict in Iraq. [115448]

    I refer the hon Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces gave on 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 573W, to the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell).

    Mutual Defence Agreement

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many visits of UK personnel to the US under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement occurred in 2002. [114684]

    The number of visits by United Kingdom personnel, involving one or more individuals, to the United States in 2002 under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement was 237.

    Sandhurst Military Academy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason officer cadets at Sandhurst Military Academy have been refused permission to play rugby league; and if he will make a statement. [115284]

    The Games and Sports Committee at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst was asked to consider the introduction of Rugby League at the Academy at its meeting on 15 May 2003. This committee meets three times a year and resources for the summer sports programme had already been allocated at its meeting in January 2003.The committee reluctantly decided that, due to the number of sports activities already planned, the introduction of Rugby League this summer should be deferred. Currently there is neither the infrastructure, equipment, facilities nor back-up experience to support this venture at such short notice. The committee will revisit the matter again at its next meeting in September, and I am sure will give it careful consideration.

    Terrorism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's plans are for the future involvement of British forces in combating international terrorism in (a) the Far East, (b) the Middle East and (c) Europe. [114616]

    The United Kingdom is committed to the defeat of international terrorism and where appropriate, UK forces will be used to combat terrorism. The New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review outlined our plans to enhance our capabilities to detect, deter, disrupt, coerce and, if necessary, destroy terrorist cells. This forms part of the Government's wider efforts to defeat terrorism through the use of a wide range of diplomatic, social, economic and legal tools.

    Prime Minister

    Attorney-General

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the occasions since 1973 on which the advice of the Attorney-General to Ministers was (a) published in full, (b) published in summary form and (c) reported orally to either House of Parliament. [115474]

    It has been the practice of successive Governments not to publish advice from the Attorney-General.Ministers of this Government are not accountable for what happened under previous Administrations. However, under this Government for example, as the hon. Member will be aware, the Attorney-General made a statement on 17 March setting out his views on the legality of the use of armed force against Iraq. The Attorney-General's advice was not disclosed.

    Convention On The Future Of Europe

    To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) of 14 May 2003, Official Report, column 306, what the basis is of his statement that the European Convention is necessary to make accession work. [115285]

    The Convention on the Future of Europe is looking at how an enlarged EU can continue to function effectively and transparently. The Laeken Declaration, which mandated the Convention, tasks it to see

    "how we can improve the efficiency of decision-making and the workings of the institutions in a Union of some thirty Member States"
    as well as simplify the Treaties and make the EU more accessible to its citizens. Reform of the EU's institutions and processes is necessary for an enlarged EU of 28 to work efficiently.

    Iraq (Cultural Heritage)

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his reply to the letter from ICOMOS of 15 April. [115078]

    I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who also received a copy of the letter about cultural heritage in Iraq to reply on my behalf. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library in due course.The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working in close liaison with the British Museum, the Ministry of Defence, the FCO and UNESCO to assess how they might best be able to help secure and preserve these valuable sites for the benefit of future generations.

    Laeken Declaration

    To ask the Prime Minister what authority was given in the Laeken declaration to draft a constitutional treaty for Europe. [115286]

    The European Council at Laeken concluded that

    "in order to ensure that preparation for the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference is as broadly-based and transparent as possible, the European Council has decided to convene a Convention".
    It agreed the Laeken Declaration that mandated the Convention to consider a number of questions concerning the Future of Europe. One of these was what the features of a constitutional text for the EU might be. The authority for agreeing a Constitutional Treaty remains with the EU's Member States.

    Work And Pensions

    Bank Account Access

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 31 March 2003, Official Report, column 504W, on Bank Account Access, for what reasons the Pension Service Guide to Direct Payment does not include (a) the Bank of Ireland, (b) First Trust and (c) the Northern Bank in the list of banks which offer basic bank accounts with access to cash at the Post Office. [114160]

    The Direct Payment information leaflet contains information on all of the banking options available to the customer.The Northern Ireland Social Security Agency produce separate leaflets for customers in Northern Ireland. The Bank of Ireland, First Trust and Northern Bank are listed in the Northern Ireland edition of the leaflet as these banks offer basic bank accounts with post office access to customers in Northern Ireland.

    New Deal

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his Answer of 19th December, refs 85985 and 87003, if he will list Government departments and agencies that did not employ New Deal participants during the period covered by his answer. [89906]

    The following agencies reported no New Deal starts between 5 January 1998 and 1 July 2002.

    • Royal Parks Agency
    • Central Science Laboratory
    • Pesticides Safety Directorate
    • Veterinary Laboratories Agency
    • Veterinary Medicines Directorate1
    • Disability and Carers Service
    • Medical Devices Agency
    • Medicines Control Agency
    • NHS Estates
    • NHS Pensions Agency
    • Companies House
    • Employment Tribunals Service
    • National Weights and Measures Laboratory
    • Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
    • Office of Telecommunications
    • Postal Services Commission
    • Government Actuary's Department
    • UK Debt Management Office
    • Forensic Science Service
    • Public Guardianship Office
    • Public Record Office
    • Fire Service College
    • Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
    • Food Standards Agency1
    • Meat Hygiene Service
    • CPS Inspectorate
    • Northern Ireland Court Service
    • Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
    • National Savings
    • 1 These agencies have had New Deal starts since 1 July 2002.

    Information is not collected separately on the agencies of the Ministry of Defence, Inland Revenue and the Scottish Executive and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Although this is the current situation I have written to the Cabinet Office to ask that they expand their current monitoring process to collect this information in the future.

    Source:

    Cabinet Office

    Adult Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department and its predecessors have spent on education and training in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [114471]

    Data on expenditure on education and training spent by this Department and its predecessors are available only for the financial years shown in the following table. The figures for 1999–2000 and 2000–01 have been collated from data sources in the former Employment Service and Department of Social Security.

    Expenditure (£ million)Percentage of running costs
    1999–200081.1453.19
    2000–0190.0343.68
    2001–0297.3193.78
    The figures include trainee and trainer costs, management and administration overheads, and spend on external training provided through Departmental contracts. Costs for accommodation where Departmental estate has been used are not included. In addition to formal training, people are developed by a variety of other means.The Department is committed to the principles of Investors in People. It considers the effective investment in training and development essential to equipping its people with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Government's goals and deliver modern services.

    Benefit Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many claimants there were of (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) incapacity benefit and (c) housing benefit in (i) Scotland and (ii) Fife in (A) May 1997 and (B) the last month for which figures are available; [114618](2) how many lone parents there were on income support in

    (a) Scotland and (b) Fife in (i) May 1997 and (ii) the last month for which figures are available. [114619]

    The information requested is in the tables. Figures are not seasonally adjusted so figures for May 2002 have also been included to allow a year-on-year comparison with May 1997.

    Unemployment claimant count in Scotland and Fife local authority

    Scotland

    Fife

    May 1997158,80711,431
    May 2002103,7128,953
    April 2003102,6648,540

    Source:

    Count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems.

    Housing benefit claimants in Scotland and Fife local authority

    Scotland

    Fife

    May 1997533,00031,810
    May 2002450,00027,700
    November 2002446,00027,330

    Notes:

    1. The data refer to households claiming Housing Benefit which may be a single person, a couple or a family. More than one benefit household can live in one property, for example two or more adults in a flat or house share arrangement.

    2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand and local authority figures to the nearest 10.

    3. Figures for any non-responding authorities have been estimated.

    4. Housing Benefit figures exclude any Extended Payment cases.

    Source:

    Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System.

    Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken in May 1997, May 2002 and November 2002.

    Incapacity Benefit claimants in Scotland and Fife local authority

    Scotland

    Fife

    May 1997300,00016,900
    May 2002289,00016,900
    November 2002288,80017,000

    Notes:

    1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

    2. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample, therefore subject to sampling variation.

    3. Figures include people receiving National Insurance Credits only

    Source:

    Figures are based on 5 per cent. samples of the-benefit computer system and will exclude a small number of clerically held cases.

    Lone parents in receipt of Income Support

    1

    Scotland

    Fife local authority

    May 199795,2005,900
    May 200277,6004,800
    November 200276,2005,000

    1 Lone Parents are defined as single claimants with dependants not receiving the Disability or Pensioner Premium.

    Notes:

    1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

    2. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample, therefore subject to sampling variation.

    Source:

    Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries.

    Child Support

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what date he has set for (a) commencing and (b) completing the transfer of existing child support cases to the new scheme; and if he will make a statement. [115290]

    None. We have made clear that we shall only make a decision on this once we are sure that the new scheme is working well.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of non-resident parents who have had their driving licences removed by the courts since April 2001 as a result of the provisions introduced under the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000. [112338]

    The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to the hon. Member.

    Letter from Doug Smith to Mr. Webb, dated 22 May 2003:

    The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in replying to your recent parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
    You ask if he will estimate the number of non-resident parents who have had their driving licences removed by the courts since April 2001 as a result of the provisions introduced under the Child Support Pensions and Social Security Act 2000.
    There have been four non-resident parents who have been disqualified from driving for failure to pay child support. The intention of the relevant legislation is however to use the existence of this power to encourage more parents to meet this responsibility without a court appearance. I believe that it is having this beneficial effect.

    Council Tax Benefit

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of this year's council tax increases upon (a) council tax benefit expenditure and (b) the numbers of households subjected to council tax benefit restrictions. [111758]

    Our estimated forecast for council tax benefit expenditure in 2003–04 is £3,387 million. This is £130 million more than if average council tax had increased by the same rate as in 2002–03.The amount of council tax benefit paid to households in properties in council tax bands F, G or H is restricted to the amount payable for council tax band E, regardless of the amount of council tax payable. An increase in council tax would not therefore have an impact on the number of existing benefit recipients subject to restrictions. The impact of council tax increases on the number of households that might make a new claim for council tax benefit, who would subsequently be subject to restrictions, is estimated to be negligible.

    Source:

    DWP Information and Analysis Directorate. Expenditure forecasts are consistent with those produced for Budget 2003.

    Project

    Consultancy

    Activity

    E-Government strategyBMRBQuantitative market research
    AIA ConsultancyQualitative market research
    Gov Connect (subcontracted by EDS)Strategic consultancy

    Child Support Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted under the criminal offence of non-co-operation with the CSA; and what the average sentence was from that conviction. [112333]

    The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will reply to the hon. Member.

    Departmental Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the expenditure of his Department on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in 2002. [106312]

    The Department's total expenditure on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in 2002 was approximately £173,000. Subscriptions may also be taken at local level and information about these is not collected centrally.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to reduce his Department's underspend in 2003–04 from that of 2002–03. [112769]

    No underspend is currently planned for 2003–04.The estimated resource underspend reported in Table 2.4 of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, published on 6 May 2003, is £201 million and is 2.7 per cent. of the final provision. This principally reflects lower than planned activity on Labour Market Programmes.The reported Capital underspend of £53 million principally reflects slippage on the departmental change programme.Current spending plans are set out in Table 1 of the Departmental Report.The Department is utilising all 2002–03 underspends to support spending plans over the SR2002 period.

    E-Government Projects

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list by project the consultancies his Department and its non-departmental public bodies have used on E-Government projects since 1 January 2001. [114186]

    The Department for Work and Pensions has carried out a number of projects to progress its E-Government targets since January 2001. The majority of these projects have been undertaken within the main supplier relationship frameworks the Department has put in place. These include Affinity (lead supplier EDS).Other consultancies used are as follows:

    Project

    Consultancy

    Activity

    Interactive E-ServicesEzgov (subcontracted by EDS)Development of electronic forms
    AccentureProject management
    DeticaSecurity authentication solutions
    QinetiqSecurity and testing
    SemaProject management
    Digital television (the Pension Service)DNADesign and development
    MoriEvaluation
    WorktrainXansaFuture strategy consulting
    BrahmDesign
    Oakleigh ConsultingTendering strategy and project management
    Commissum ConsultingSecurity review
    University of Warwick Institute forClassification
    Employment Research/Adset
    Internet job bankKPMGProject audit
    Cap Gemini Ernst and YoungStrategic review of internet job bank and worktrain
    Modernising appealsPA ConsultingGeneral support
    BT SyntegraDevelopment

    Enhanced Pension Take-Up

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what procedure the Pensions Agency has in place to alert husbands and wives to the enhanced pension for wives when a husband reaches 65; and what checking they do to ensure that the enhanced pension is received. [113852]

    This is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Pension Service. She will write to the hon. member.

    Letter from Charlie MacKinnon to Mrs. Lait, dated 22 May 2003:

    The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked Alexis Cleveland to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what procedure the Pensions Agency has in place to alert husbands and wives to the enhanced pension for wives when a husband reaches 65; and what checking they do to ensure that the enhanced pension is received. Due to annual leave I am replying on her behalf.
    A claim package is sent out approximately four months prior to a customer approaching State Pension age (age 65 for a man, age 60 for a woman). This package includes an invitation to claim (form BR833) and a letter of expected entitlement (form BR33M/W). This package is issued to all customers based on whether they have entitlement based on their own National Insurance contributions.
    Form BR833 informs a married man that if his wife is 60 or over a claim form can be sent to him for her to complete to claim State Pension based on his contributions. Also on form BR33M issued to a man it alerts him that his wife can claim State Pension on his National Insurance contributions. It asks him to advise her to claim if she has a reduced rate State Pension of her own or none at all.
    There is no facility to invite claims from married women based on the National Insurance contributions of their husbands.
    There is no checking system because customers reaching State Pension age do not have to claim but can defer receipt of their State Pension for up to 5 years to receive increments added to their basic entitlement.
    I hope that this is helpful.

    Fraud

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the estimated level of fraud is for each benefit his Department pays. [115901]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 31 March 2003, Official Report, column 591W.

    Honours

    To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many officials in his Department have received honours; and how many honours are held by his officials, broken down by category of honour. [111484]

    The Department does not hold information on the number of awards held by individuals, awards that are not related to official duties and awards already held by staff before joining the Department.The Department for Work and Pensions was formed on 8 June 2001 from parts of the former Department of Social Security (DSS) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment.The following table shows the number of state honours awarded to staff from the honours lists published since the new Department was formed at each new year (NY) and the Queen's birthday (BD) round. Three members of staff who were awarded the MBE have since left the Department.

    List
    AwardNY02BD02NY03
    CB111
    CBE011
    OBE122
    MBE798
    Total91312

    Industrial Injuries