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Written Answers

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 3 July 2003

Treasury

Cancer/Heart Disease

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the survival rates for (a) breast cancer, (b) lung cancer and (c) heart disease for each year since 1997 for (i) England and (ii) each region of England. [122790]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Dr. Evan Harris, dated 3 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question concerning the survival rates for (a) breast cancer, (b) lung cancer and (c) heart disease for each year since 1997 for (i) England and (ii) each region of England.(122790)
The latest available breast and lung cancer survival rates are for cases diagnosed in England in 1993 to 1995 and followed up to the end of 2000. At a national level, figures are routinely presented for men and women separately, while those at regional level are given for persons only, and are given in the table below.

Five-year relative survival (per cent.), persons diagnosed in 1993–95 and followed up to 31 December 2000: breast and lung cancer, England and Regional Office area

Percentage

Breast

1

Lung

England

Men5.46
Women75.95.48
Northern and Yorkshire74.04.4
Trent74.04.4
West Midlands76.94.8
North and West74.85.6
Eastern78.65.5
London77.16.1
South East76.95.5
South and West75.04.9

1 Figures for breast cancer exclude the very small number of cases in men.

Source:

Report: Cancer survival in the health authorities of England, 1993–2000. Health Statistics Quarterly 13 (2002), 95–103. This is available on our website at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/HSQl 3_v4.pdf. "Cancer survival: five year relative survival rates in England by Health Authority up to 2000"; at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D5389.xls for breast (female), lung, colon and prostate cancer.

There are no figures available on a nationally comparable basis for survival from heart disease in England.

Average Wage

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the statistical reliability of the calculation of average wage levels using the (a) New Earnings survey and (b) Labour Force survey. [122518]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Michael Foster, dated 2 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the statistical reliability of average earnings data from the New Earnings Survey and the Labour Force Survey.(122518)
Earnings data from the New Earnings Survey (NES) and from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are valuable in different circumstances. The NES data are available annually and are based on a larger sample than those from the LFS. The LFS data are available quarterly and for a wider range of population subgroups than from the NES. An article describing the background and uses of ONS average earnings data was published in the February 2003 edition of "Labour Market Trends", a copy of which can be found in the Library.
Sampling errors have been calculated for both NES and LFS estimates and are available from the National Statistics website (www.statistics.gov.uk). Given the smaller sample size of the LFS, the sampling errors tend to be larger than the equivalent NES sampling errors.
Following an extensive quality review of the NES last year the survey is currently undergoing a significant redevelopment to further improve the quality of the estimates. The action plan for implementing the results of this review are also on the National Statistics website (www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id = 280). This will reduce known biases in the existing survey which arise principally from the fact that the sample only includes employees who are on Pay As You Earn tax schemes, but also because of differential response rates by size of business and region.

Child Benefit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review (a) the procedures for transferring entitlement to child benefit to a surviving patient on the death of the parent with care and (b) the case of Mr. Roger Grey, a constituent. [121447]

Where a child benefit claimant dies and their partner wants to claim child benefit instead, he or she needs to make a new claim. They have up to three months to do this and not suffer a break in their right to payment. The Inland Revenue aims to do all it can, in such cases, to ensure claims are processed as quickly as possible and to maintain continuity of payment.I cannot comment on the specific case you mention but I can assure you that the Inland Revenue is continuing to look at how to improve the service provided to customers in this situation.

Child Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision has been made by the Inland Revenue to deal with (a) changes in payments and (b) written and telephone queries in respect of child tax credit for term-time workers during the summer months. [122880]

A term-time worker who has responsibility for one or more children will be able to claim child tax credit, which is paid direct by the Inland Revenue. Child tax credit is not related to work status.Tax credit awards for 2003–04 are initially based on the family's current circumstances and their income for the 2001–02 tax year. They may be adjusted during the year for changes in income or circumstances. Final entitlement for the year will be based on circumstances during the year and the income for 2003–04, if that is lower than 2001–02 income or more than £,500 higher.

Child Trust Funds

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to make the first payments into child trust funds. [122132]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: As stated in the Budget, entitlement to the child trust fund will be backdated to include children born from September 2002. We expect child trust fund accounts to be available by 2005.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish further details of his proposed child trust funds. [122133]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: Full proposals for the child trust fund will be published later in the summer.

Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 22 May 2003 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms J. Knowles. [122874]

The Inland Revenue replied on behalf of the Chancellor on 20 June 2003. The Tax Credit Office aims to reply to 80 per cent. of complaints within 15 working days and will measure their performance and report against that aim in due course.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff (a) have been and (b) will be transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Treasury as a result of the introductions of the various tax credits. [121219]

There have been no transfers of staff from the DWP to the Treasury (or Inland Revenue) as a direct result of the introduction of the child and working tax credits and none are planned. The Inland Revenue's Annual Report to 31 March 2000 (CM 5029) shows—at page 33—that the equivalent of around 3,700 full time staff were transferred from the Benefits Agency to the Inland Revenue when WFTC/DPTC were introduced in October 1999.Responsibility for administering the child and working tax credits rests with Inland Revenue. The DWP will continue to deliver a one-stop system of support for working age customers, including transacting their tax credits business.

Disabled People

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people (a) in the UK, (b) in the UK workforce and (c) of working age are classified as having a disability; and what percentage of the total this figure represents in each case. [122644]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Jenkins, dated 2 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about people with disabilities.(122644)
The attached table gives information from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), for the three month period ending February 2003, for disabled people of working age in total and for those in employment. Comparable information is not available for people younger or older than the working age group.
The definition of 'disabled' includes those who have a current disability covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, or a work-limiting disability, or both.

Disabled people1 of working age2, United Kingdom

Not seasonally adjusted

December 2002 to February 2003

Total (thousand)

Disabled (thousand)

Disabled as percentage of total

All of working age37,1527,18719.3

of which:

In employment27,6953,51712.7

1 People with a disability covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, or a work-limiting disability, or both.

2 Men aged 16 to 64 and women aged 16 to 59.

Note:

These LFS estimates have not been interim-adjusted to reflect the 2001 Census results.

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey.

Equitable Life

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has had discussions with the office of Lord Penrose since 8 March concerning his report into Equitable Life. [122361]

Lord Penrose's Inquiry was established by and is supported by the Treasury. Therefore, Treasury officials discuss a range of issues with Lord Penrose's office on an on-going basis. However, the conduct of the Inquiry is entirely a matter for Lord Penrose.

European Economic Convergence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the rise in the tax burden necessary to offset inflationary pressures which would otherwise result in (a) a half per cent. rise in inflation, (b) a one per cent. rise inflation, (c) a one and a half per cent. rise in inflation and (d) a two per cent. rise in inflation, assuming that a decision to implement a discretionary fiscal policy was taken, as described in the Treasury document Fiscal stabilisation and EMU, and assuming a neutral monetary policy. [121556]

In the event that a discretionary fiscal policy response was needed within EMU, its likely size would depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the economic shock, the degree of wage and price flexibility within the UK, and which fiscal instrument was being used.

Graduate Earnings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the proportion of those earning over £100,000 a year who are graduates. [121770]

[holding answer 26 June 2003]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Rendel, dated 3 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question about the proportion of those earning over £100,000 a year who are graduates. (121770)
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) provides estimates of the average weekly pay of employees, most recently for the three month period ending in February 2003; estimates are not available of self-employed earnings. Based on an approximate conversion of this information to an annual pay basis, it is estimated that among employees of working age earning more than £100,000 per year, 82% were qualified to degree level or higher.

Housing Market

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the UK housing market of increased use of long-term fixed rate mortgages; and if he will make a statement. [123200]

These issues will be considered as part of the Miles Review announced in Budget 2003.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions his Department has had with mortgage lenders regarding the market share of variable rate mortgages in the UK. [121551]

The Chancellor has asked David Miles, Professor of Finance at Imperial College, to undertake a review of the UK's fixed rate mortgage market to establish why the share of fixed-rate mortgages, particularly long-term fixed rates, is so low compared to the United States and many other EU countries.The Review process will involve consultation with key stakeholders to establish views and inform the analysis.Professor Miles will deliver an interim report by autumn and a comprehensive report and recommendations to the Chancellor by Budget 2004.

Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost would be to the Exchequer if the 22 per cent. income tax rate bracket was increased to include individuals with yearly incomes of (a) £40,000, (b) £45,000, (c) £50,000, (d) £55,000 and (e) £60,000. [121662]

[holding answer 26 June 2003]: The full year cost or yield of extending the basic rate limits in 2003–04 is given in the following table.

Full year cost of increasing the Basic Rate Limit to include individuals with annual gross income of:£billion
(a) 40,0002.5
(b) 45,0004.5
(c) 50,0006.0
(d) 55,0007.2
(e) 60,0008.3
These estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with Budget 2003. They exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the revenue impact would be of increasing the higher income tax rate to 50 per cent. and extending the 22 per cent. income rate bracket to include yearly earnings of up to (a) £40,000, (b) £45,000 and (c) £50,000. [121664]

[holding answer 26 June 2003]: The full year yield of extending the basic rate limits and increasing the higher income tax rate to 50 per cent. in 2003–04 is given in the following table.

Increasing the higher income tax rate to 50 per cent. and Basic Rate Limit to include individuals with annual gross income of:Full year yield (£ billion)
(a) 40,0008.2
(b) 45,0005.2
(c) 50,0002.8
The estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with Budget 2003.They exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of tax payers who would be required to pay a top rate of income tax set for this financial year at (a) £100,000 and above and (b) £150,000 and above of taxable income. [122362]

The information is given in the table.

Number of higher rate taxpayers in 2003–04 with taxable incomes ofNumbers in thousands
(a) £1,00,000 and above327
(b)£1,50,000 and above158
These estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with the Budget 2003.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue that would be raised from income tax rates of (a) 1 per cent., (b) 5 per cent., (c) 9 per cent. and (d) 10 per cent. on gross incomes in excess of £1,000,000 a year. [122624]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The full year revenue yield from making these changes in 2003–04 is set out in the table.

Full year yield of raising the higher rate of income tax in 2003–04 on gross incomes in excess of £1,000,000£billion
(a) by 1 per cent.0.1
(b) by 5 per cent.0.3
(c) by 9 per cent.0.6
(d) by 10 per cent.0.7
These estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with Budget 2003. They exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

Labour Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees are aged (a) 16 and (b) 17. [122879]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Stewart, dated 3 July 2003:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary question about the numbers of employees aged 16 and 17. (122879)
Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), for the three month period ending February 2003, show 255,000 employees aged 16 and 379,000 employees aged 17 in the United Kingdom.

Public Appointments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the appointees to the (a) Private Finance Task Force, (b) Financial Services Authority, (c) Financial Services Tribunal, (d) Board of Banking Supervision, (e) VAT and Duties Tribunal and (f) National Savings; and which of the appointees to each body are from ethnic minorities. [122991]

The Financial Services Tribunal and the Board of Banking Supervision were disbanded following the enactment of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and the Private Finance Task Force no longer exists. Of the remaining three bodies the current appointees are listed below. As information about which appointees are from ethnic minorities is personal, it can be disclosed only with their individual approval, which would entail disproportionate cost.

(b) Financial Services Authority

  • Sir Howard Davies, Chairman (to be replaced by Callum McCarthy on 22 September 2003)
  • Stewart Boyd, Deputy Chairman,
  • Moira Black, Non-executive director
  • Tom de Swann, Non-executive director
  • Michael Foot, Executive director
  • Kyra Hazou, Non-executive director
  • Deirdre Hutton, Non-executive director
  • Sir Andrew Large, Non-executive director
  • Gillian Nott, Non-executive director
  • Christopher Rodrigues, Non-executive director
  • Dr Shamit Saggar, Non-executive director
  • Carol Sergeant, Executive director
  • John Tiner, Executive director
  • Steve Thieke, Non-executive director
  • Clive Wilkinson, Non-executive director

(e) VAT and Duties Tribunal

  • Mrs. Ann Jennifer Adams (Bureaux de Change)
  • Mrs. Edith Rachel Adams FCA ATII
  • John B Adrain Esq FCA
  • Riaz Ahmad Esq CA
  • Mrs. Mary Christine Ainsworth
  • Mrs. Caroline Susan de Albuquerque
  • Dr. Norma Rhoda Ball AKC, FRGS
  • Mrs. Charlotte M Barbour CA ATII
  • Ray K Battersby Esq
  • John E Bentley Esq
  • Arthur Ernest Brown Esq
  • John N Brown Esq CBE FCA ATII
  • Gordon Burnison Esq QBE
  • Mrs. Brenda May Burrell
  • John Clark Esq FTII
  • Roger Edmund Cockfield Esq
  • lan Condie Esq
  • Bernard J Coode Esq FFA
  • Richard Dudley Corke Esq FCA
  • Robert Laverock Hamilton Crawford Esq
  • James D. Crerar Esq
  • Mrs. Marilyn Crompton
  • Sunil Kumar Das Esq
  • Praful D Davda Esq
  • John E Davison, Esq
  • Mrs. Carol Jean Debell
  • Mrs. Rayna Dean FCA
  • Jon P M Denny Esq
  • Ms Anne Diver
  • Keith Stuart Dugdale Esq FCA
  • Ms Helen M Dunn
  • Mrs. Sheila Edmondson FCA
  • Mohammed Farooq Esq
  • Mrs. C Farquharson (Bureau de Change)
  • Ms Helen Folorunso
  • Mr. John Freeston FRIGS
  • W. Ruthven Gemmell (Bureaux de Change)
  • Miss Heather Gibson
  • Cranstoun Bygott Harold Gill Esq
  • Kenneth Sidney Goddard Esq MBE
  • Miss Patricia Gordon
  • Robert Geoffrey Grice Esq
  • Frank Hazledine Esq
  • Anthony Francis Hennessey Esq
  • Mohammed Modashar Hossain Esq FCA FCIB
  • Ms Claire Elizabeth Howell
  • Michael James Esq
  • Roy Leonard Jennings Esq FCA FTII
  • Mrs. Roberta Scott Johnson
  • Mrs. Penny Jonas
  • Mrs. Heather Kelly
  • John David Kippest Esq
  • Mrs. Marjorie P Kostick FCA ATII
  • John Michael Lapthorne Esq
  • Miss Karen Bruce Lockhart
  • Maurice McCloy Esq
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Mavis MacLeod CIPM
  • Alex McLoughlin Esq
  • Mrs. Rosalind Jean Mackworth CBE
  • Kenneth Charles Manterfield Esq FCA
  • Tymothy R. Marsh
  • George Miles Esq
  • Mrs. Joanna M Neill ACA (Bureaux de Change)
  • Miss Sandra Christine O'Neill (Bureaux de Change)
  • Norman Henry Phillips Esq
  • Mrs. Heidi Poon
  • Mrs. Gilian Pratt
  • Roland Presho Esq FCMA
  • Kenneth W Pritchard Esq OBE
  • Scott Alexander Rae Esq
  • Miss Kathleen Ramm FCA
  • Anthony John Ring Esq FCA FTII ATT
  • Ms Carole A Roberts
  • Mrs. Nancy Joan Roberts
  • Albert Leonard Robinson Esq FHCIMA, FCFA
  • John Gerald Robinson Esq
  • Ms Rosalind Rudd
  • Mrs. Shahwar Sadeque MBCS
  • Mrs. Lynneth Mary Salisbury
  • Peter John Seward Esq
  • Michael Alan Sharp Esq FCA FHCIMA, FBHA
  • Cyril Raymond Shaw Esq FCA
  • Michael Maurice Silbert Esq FRICS
  • Mrs. Janet M Smith
  • Ramniklal Pranial Sodagar, Esq FCA, ATII
  • Professor R G Spector MD PhD FRCP, FRCPath
  • James Thomas Brian Strangward Esq
  • Ranbir Singh Suri Esq JP
  • Neil Francis Townsend Esq
  • Maurice William Trace Esq
  • Anthony Wreford Bothwell Voge Esq
  • Mrs. Ruth Alison Watts Davies AHICMA
  • Ian Ronald Welch Esq
  • David Wenn Esq FRIGS
  • Mrs. Angela West FCA
  • Peter Whitehead Esq
  • Mrs. Joan Whiteside QBE
  • The hon. Mrs. Angela Widdows
  • Leon Guy Wilkinson Esq FCIB
  • Miss Diana M. Wilson
  • Miss Sheila Wong Chong FRICS

(f) National Savings and Investments

  • Alan Cook, Chief Executive
  • Judy Lowe, Non-Executive Director
  • James Turner, Non-Executive Director
  • Richard Wright, Non-Executive Director
  • Maria Stafford, Non-Executive Director

Savings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to alter the tax treatment of tax exempt saving products. [121575]

The Government keep the tax regime under constant review to ensure that it continues to deliver its key objectives. The Government have recently consulted on radical proposals to simplify the taxation of pension savings. We are now considering responses to the consultation from around 380 organisations and individuals. There are no other current plans to alter the tax treatment of tax exempt savings products.

Sixth Vat Directive

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will support a revision of the Sixth VAT Directive which will allow a lower flat rate of VAT for construction work; [122810](2) what plans he has to put forward proposals for changes to the Sixth VAT Directive. [122811]

The Government will carefully consider representations for a reduced rate on all building work in the context of the upcoming European Commission review of the reduced rates provisions. The Government intend to take a full and active part in this review as with all other discussions on changes to EC VAT Law.

Small Business (Tax Collection)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to change the Inland Revenue policy on collection of receivables in arrears from small businesses upon implementation of the Enterprise Act 2002. [123343]

Inland Revenue policy will not change upon implementation of the Enterprise Act 2002. The Inland Revenue will continue to support viable businesses, which experience financial difficulties, with the aim of encouraging enterprise and promoting a 'rescue culture'.For a small business that goes into administration the Inland Revenue must act in accordance with insolvency law and will seek to recover no more and no less than it is legally entitled to, just as it would with any business.

Stamp Duty

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers he has to alter the rate of stamp duty without parliamentary approval. [121443]

Tax Codes

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action his Department takes to ensure that tax codes for those (a) 65 and over and (b) 75 and over are altered in the year in which taxpayers reach (i) 65 and (ii) 75 years; and if he will make a statement. [122695]

For taxpayers reaching pension age who do not complete a tax return, the Inland Revenue will either have their date of birth in their records or find out from the Department of Work and Pensions that they are about to become entitled to their state pension. In these cases, they send the new pensioner a short form to obtain details of their income so that they can give them the full range of allowances to which they are entitled.Once the Revenue has received details of the person's date of birth, they will use this information to give the higher allowance once the person reaches 75.If for any reason the individual does not get the allowances they are entitled to, they should get in contact with their Revenue office.

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 536W, on tax credits, how many tax credit claimants are being paid by girocheque. [114411]

Inland Revenue makes arrangements to pay tax credits via giro cheque when suitable banking facilities are not available. When such facilities become available, and if direct payments are still due to be made, the arrangements are changed to make the payments direct into the recipients' accounts. Such changes are being made continually, and it is not possible to establish for which recipients we are currently expecting to pay their next payment via girocheque, except at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has (a) received from and (b) made to the Scottish Executive concerning recent problems with tax credit payments, broken down by (i) subject, (ii) date and (iii) responsible Scottish minister. [122511]

None. Payments by the Scottish Executive are a devolved responsibility of the Executive.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individual appeals against working tax credit assessments are outstanding. [115805]

Award notices cover child tax credit and working tax credit together, if appropriate. At the end of May 2003, when about 3.7 million claims were already in payment, about 4,600 written appeals against tax credit decisions had been received but not yet settled. These cover disagreements about award notices that have been reported in writing, but exclude those that are effectively reporting changes in circumstances. They include both specific disagreements about elements of the award and more general observations on the level of award or the calculation method.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of people who will (a) gain and (b) lose financially on the basis of their total income in the 2003–04 financial year as a result of the introduction of child tax credit. [119037]

I refer my hon. Friend to Chart 5.1 in the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report (Budget 2003). It illustrates that a small number of families with children in the top 10 per cent. of the income scale will receive a smaller award of child tax credit than of the tax credits it has replaced. However, it also shows that even these families are on average around £5 a week better off due to the extra support this Government have given to families with children since 1997.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 14 April 2003, Official Report, column 542W, on tax credits, how many (a) tax credit application forms have been sent out and (b) completed application forms have been received, in each month since February. [121276]

[holding answer 23 June 2003]:The cumulative monthly figures to the end of May 2003 are as follows.

Child tax credit and working tax credit: claim forms issued and claims received— cumulative monthly figures
Thousands
Month1(a) Claim forms issued(b) Claims received2
February 20035,5003,200
March 20036,5003,9003
April 20037,00040004
May 20037,2004,2505
1 Final Friday in month.
2 Including received on-line.
3 At 9 April 2003
4 At 28 April 2003
5 At 3 June 2003. Excludes claims assessed as being duplicates.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to (a) the tax credits figures in the third row of Table C8 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500, (b) the tax credits figures in the thirty-third row of Table C8 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500, (c) the social security benefits figures in the fifth row of Table C11 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500 and (d) the tax credits figures in the sixth row the Table C11 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500, if he will list of the types of tax credit, benefits payment and other components which comprise the quoted figures; for each type of tax credit, benefit payment and other component, whether, according to the accounting methods employed in the 2003 Budget, they are classified as negative tax revenues, Government spending or a combination of the two; and for each tax credit, benefit payment and other component, what amount the tax was refunded and Government spending was incurred in each year since 2001–02 to the latest year for which figures are projected. [121327]

The treatment of personal tax credits in Budget reports was explained in Box C2 on page 216 of Budget 2002 (HC592). The Government have adopted best international practice as set out in OECD guidelines for the purposes of calculating net taxes and social security contributions as included in Table C8 of Budget 2003. However there are some differences between the OECD guidelines and National Accounts basis used for calculation of other fiscal aggregates.

(a) Row 3 of Table C8 (tax credits scoring as negative tax under OECD guidelines) includes:

  • Children's Tax Credit;
  • Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC)—part;
  • Disabled Person's Tax Credit (DPTC)—part;
  • Child Tax Credit—part;
  • Working tax credit—part;
  • Life assurance premium relief at source (LAPRAS)—part; and Enhanced company tax credits for research and development and contaminated land clearance that reduce corporation tax liability.

(b) Row 33 of Table C8 (OECD negative tax but public expenditure in national accounts) includes parts of WFTC, DPTC and LAPRAS, and all reduced liability corporation tax credits for research and development and contaminated land clearance.

(c) Row 5 of Table C11 (Social Security benefit expenditure) includes II social security benefits except child allowances in Income Support and Jobseekers' Allowance, and all child benefit and war pensions.

(d) Row 6 of Table C 11 includes:

Parts of Child Tax Credit, Working tax credit, WFTC, DPTC and Child allowances in Income Support and Jobseekers' Allowance, (paid as part of the Child Tax Credit from 2003–04 and included here to give consistent figures over the period of table);

LAPRAS;

  • Charities transitional relief; and
  • Tax relief on contributions to personal and stakeholder pensions made by non-taxpayers.

The following table shows the available figures on tax credits. More detailed information on outturn for individual tax credits available on www.inlandrevenue. gov.uk/stats. Details of social security benefit expenditure are available on www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure. htm.

£ billion

Category

2001–02

2002–03

2003–04

(a) C8 row 3, negative tax (OECD)

-2.3-3.4-4.5

Of which:

Personal tax credits1-2.2-3.1-3.9
Corporation tax credits-0.1-0.2-0.5
Other-0.1-0.1-0.1

(b) C8 row 33, negative tax (OECD)

but spending in National Accounts0.91.10.6

Of which:

Personal tax credits10.70.80.0
Corporation tax credits0.10.20.5
Other0.10.10.1

(d) C11 line 6, public expenditure

8.79.811.7

Of which:

Personal tax credits14.85.68.0
IS/JSA child allowances3.64.03.5
Other0.20.20.2

1 Includes the relevant elements of WPTC, DPTC, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and Children's Tax Credit.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people who were receiving working families tax credit in March 2003 (a) received payments of child tax credit by the end of April 2003 and (b) had not received their child tax credit by the end of April 2003. [121970]

[holding answer 3 July 2003]: Not all recipients of working families tax credit (WFTC) in March 2003 qualify for a child tax credit (CTC) award. Their circumstances or incomes may have changed since the beginning of their WFTC awards.Of former WFTC recipients who by 31 March had submitted claims for CTC, were eligible for CTC, and for whom no further information was required to process the claim, the vast majority were in award by the end of April 2003.It is not yet known how many recipients of WFTC at March 2003 have made later claims for CTC, or made claims which have required further information to process.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how applications for tax credits received after the 5 July deadline will be treated; and if he will make a statement. [122226]

This year, the Inland Revenue will treat tax credits claims received before midnight on the first full working day after the deadline as qualifying for full backdating. This is to make sure that claims received by different routes are treated alike and recognises that the deadline falls at the weekend. So claims the Inland Revenue receive by midnight on Monday 7 July will be backdated to 6 April 2003, where appropriate.People can, of course, still claim tax credits for 2003–04 after that date. Claims received after 7 July can still be backdated for up to three months. (People should therefore make their claims as soon as possible.)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the effects of administering the new tax credits on the processing by the Inland Revenue of income tax returns, with particular reference to the Inland Revenue at Bootle. [122691]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The rate at which the Inland Revenue processes income tax returns varies throughout the year and from year to year. New tax credits work has had no material effect on the processing of income tax returns this year.

Tax Rates

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what additional revenue would be generated if the top rate of tax were (a) 45 per cent., (b) 50 per cent. and (c) 60 per cent. for those with incomes over £100,000. [121995]

The full year yield of introducing an additional higher rate of tax in 2003–04 is given in table.

Income tax yield in 2003–04£ billion
(a) 45 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0002.7
(b) 50 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0005.0
(c) 60 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0009.5

These estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with Budget 2003. They exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much additional revenue would be generated if the top rate of tax were (a) 45 per cent., (b) 50 per cent. and (c) 60 per cent. for those with incomes over £100,000 and the threshold for paying higher rates were raised to (i) £35,000 and (ii) £40,000. [121996]

The full year revenue yield or loss from making these changes in 2003–04 is set out in the table.

New basic rate limit (£ billion)
The full year yield or loss (±) of increasing the basic rate limit and introducing an additional higher rate of tax in 2003–04(i)£35,000(ii)£40,000
(a) 45 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0000.3-1.7
(b) 50 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0002.60.6
(c) 60 per cent. on gross incomes over £100,0007.25.2
These estimates are based upon the 2000–01 Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with Budget 2003. They exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

Tax Rises

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the tax rises he has introduced since 1997. [123554]

All changes to taxation since 1997 are set out in the relevant Financial Statement and Budget Reports, which are available in the Library of the House.

Taxes (Accruals Adjustments)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will list the accruals adjustment on taxes for each year since 1996–97 or the earliest year for which data are available, whichever is the later, with reference to the accruals adjustments on taxes figures in Table C8 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500; [121324](2) if he will list the reasons for the projected rise in accruals adjustments on taxes between 2002–03 and 2003–04, with reference to the accruals adjustments on taxes figures in Table C8 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500; and if he will make a statement; [121325](3) with reference to the accruals adjustments on taxes figures in Table C8 of the 2003 Budget, HC 500, if he will list for each tax for which the accrued receipts

(a) differed from the cash receipts in 2001–02, (b) are estimated to have differed from the cash receipts in 2002–03 and (c) or are projected to differ from the cash receipts in 2003–04, the difference between the cash receipts and the accrued receipts for (i) 2001–02, (ii) 2002–03 and (iii) 2003–04. [121326]

The following table summarises the accruals adjustments on taxes and national insurance contributions from 1996–97, consistent with the figures given in Table C8 of Budget 2003 (HC 500).

Accruals adjustments on taxes and national insurance contributions
£billion
YearCustoms and ExciseIncome TaxSocial security contributionsOther taxesTotal
1996–97-0.10.60.30.51.3
1997–98-0.40.30.60.30.9
1998–990.10.60.00.61.3
1999–20002.81.10.8-0.14.7
2000–010.60.91.70.53.6
2001–020.9-0.10.0-0.10.6
2002–030.30.2-0.7-0.1-0.3
2003–040.61.31.8-0.13.6
These accruals adjustments are defined as the difference between taxes accruing for the year and actual cash receipts in that year. They can vary considerably from year to year and from tax to tax reflecting changes to the timing of cash payments, changes to the tax system, behavioural changes by taxpayers and the rate of growth of the tax base. A combination of these factors explains the increase between 2002–03 and 2003–04. As explained in paragraph C85 of Budget 2003, this is partly because of the effect of the national insurance contributions measures announced in Budget 2002.

Tied Financial Advisers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) tied financial advisers operate in the United Kingdom and (b) tied financial advisers had confirmed that they have obtained professional indemnity insurance cover by 30 May. [122902]

I am advised by the Financial Services Authority that figures are not available for the number of tied advisers in the UK.Tied advisers, that is to say advisers who can only advise on the products of marketing group associates of large banking or insurance firms, tend to be either appointed representatives of or employed by such firms. Typically those firms, which have substantial capital resources to meet the claims of consumers, do not have a requirement to carry professional indemnity insurance.

Widow's Bereavement Allowance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Parliamentary Commission for Admissions' observations in Equality Under the Law, Command Paper HC122, paragraph 23, on the Inland Revenue's policy towards widowers who have sought the widow's bereavement allowance. [122380]

I refer the hon. Gentleman to paragraph 65 of the Court of Appeal judgment in The Queen on the application of Adrian John Wilkinson and The Commissioners of Inland Revenue [2003] EWCA Civ 814, 18 June 2003, which can be found on the Court Service website at: www.courtservice.gov.uk

Working Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to encourage the take-up of working tax credit. [121823]

I refer the hon. Lady to my answer to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 604W, regarding child tax credit. Since that date further publicity has included television, press, radio and on-line advertising as well as direct mail.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to check that information lines for related benefits listed in working tax credit award notices are operational; and what systems he has in place to correct inaccuracies. [121992]

Working tax credit award notices do not contain the details of information lines for related benefits attached to the new tax credits.However, the Inland Revenue has published a leaflet, "WT6? Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit? Other types of help you may be able to get" which explains how the tax credits can help families receive other benefits. The leaflet is available from Inland Revenue Offices and Enquiry Centres and on-line at the Inland Revenue website. The details in the leaflet are regularly reviewed.

Cabinet Office

Council Of Ministers

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department's vote in the Council of Ministers against a legislative proposal (a) was sufficient and (b) was not sufficient to achieve with other member states a blocking minority. [117216]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office has not voted in the Council of Ministers against a legislative proposal since May 1997. The Minister for the Cabinet Office does not attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, as the Department does not have the policy lead on any issues debated there.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department abstained in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal which was passed by qualified majority voting. [117234]

The Department has not abstained in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal passed by qualified majority voting since May 1997. The Minister for the Cabinet Office does not attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, as the Department does not have the policy lead on any issues debated there.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department has been outvoted by qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers; and if he will list the legislation by year. [117252]

The Department has not been outvoted by qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers since May 1997. The Minister for the Cabinet Office does not attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, as the Department does not have the policy lead on any issues debated there.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department indicated dissent from a proposal in the Council of Ministers but did not register a vote or abstention. [117263]

The Department has not indicated dissent without registering a vote or abstention from a proposal in the Council of Ministers since May 1997. The Minister for the Cabinet Office does not attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, as the Department does not have the policy lead on any issues debated there.

Transport

Council Of Ministers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department's vote in the Council of Ministers against a legislative proposal (a) was sufficient and (b) was not sufficient to achieve with other member states a blocking minority. [117210]

Since March 1999, (a) none, and (b) on one occasion. Information for the earlier years is available only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department abstained in the Council of Ministers on a legislative proposal which was passed by qualified majority voting. [117228]

Since March 1999, twice. Information for the earlier years is available only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department has been outvoted by qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers; and if he will list the legislation by year. [117244]

In 2001:

Common Position adopted by the Council with a view to adoption of a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities. (Written procedure completed 23 March 2001, UK abstaining.)

In 2002:

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of the level of pollutant emissions from two and three-wheel motor vehicles and amending Directive 97/24/EC. (Fisheries Council, 11 June 2002, UK abstaining.)

Common Position adopted by the Council with a view to adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 92/6/EEC on installation and use of speed limitation devices for certain categories of motor vehicles in the Community. (Environment Council, 25 June 2002, UK voting against.)

Information for the earlier years is available only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since May 1997 the Department indicated dissent from a proposal in the Council of Ministers but did not register a vote or abstention. [117258]

Since March 1999, none. Information for the earlier years is only available at disproportionate cost.

Cycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cyclists died on the road in (a) the UK and (b) Sefton in (i) 2001 and (ii) 2002. [122276]

The table below shows the numbers of fatalities suffered by cyclists on the road in the UK and Sefton in 2001 and in 2002:

YearUKSefton
20011400
20021331

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of changes in the (a) rate and (b) severity of cyclist casualties in areas where cycling with helmets is legally required. [122277]

The Department commissioned an independent review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets which was published in 2002. This report included an assessment of the evidence of the impact of bicycle helmet legislation on helmet wearing rates, injuries and levels of bicycling. The report concludes that bicycle helmet legislation has been associated with head injury reductions. A case study of Victoria in Australia found evidence that post legislation there was a marked decrease in casualty rates per head of population. Reductions in levels of cycling arid other road safety activities were recorded which may account for some of the casualty reductions.Results of this review are available on the Department for Transport website.

Eu Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many regulations originating from the EU have been implemented by his Department over each of the last five years. [120757]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 30 June 2003, Official Report, columns 64–65 W.

Freight Companies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason traffic commissioners are referring to public inquiry those freight companies who contract their transport manager function to Trans Consult Ltd. [122292]

Traffic Commissioners are independent of the Secretary of State and decisions to refer cases to public inquiry are for them.

Graffiti

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the statutory undertakers about graffiti on their street furniture or other property; and if he will make a statement. [118088]

My Department has not held any discussions with statutory undertakers about graffiti on their street furniture or other property. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Home Department (Ms Blears) on 1 July 2003, Official Report, columns 248W—49W].

Green Car Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the promotion of (a) bioethanol, (b) liquefied petroleum gas and (c) hydrogen as automotive fuels. [122337]

The Government supports the development and use of transport fuels which offer proven environmental benefits. We do this primarily by means of fuel duty incentives, and, as appropriate, grants to offset the additional cost of alternatively fuelled vehicles. Many alternatively fuelled vehicles also qualify for reduced rates of Vehicle Excise Duty and company car tax.The Chancellor of the Exchequer takes decisions on fuel duty levels and other transport tax issues on a Budget by Budget basis. In doing so, he takes account of a range of environmental, economic and social considerations, building on the principles set out in the HM Treasury publication "Tax and the environment: using economic instruments" (November 2002).Budget 2003 announced that a duty incentive of 20 pence per litre for bioethanol would be introduced from 1 January 2005. It also said that the Government was considering how best to give further support to bioethanol produced from ligno-cellulosic feedstocks, and would welcome views on how any such support might be structured.Budget 2003 also announced that the Government would consult on how best to ensure that future support for road fuel gases (including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)) continued to reflect environmental and other policy objectives. This consultation was launched on 18 June 2003, and copies of the consultation document have been placed in the House Library. In the light of this, decisions on future duty rates and other forms of support for LPG are due to be announced in the 2003 Pre-Budget Report.

The Government has granted a duty exemption for hydrogen for the purposes of a Green Fuels Challenge pilot project, due to commence later this year. Subject to the outcome of this pilot project, the Government intends to exempt hydrogen from fuel duty for a limited period in the future to encourage further development and early take-up. The taxation of hydrogen as a road fuel raises some complex issues, however, and the Government intends to discuss these issues with stakeholders with a view to taking decisions on the fiscal framework for hydrogen in the future.

Rail Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the levels of freight carried by rail since 1997; what plans he has to increase it; and if he will make a statement. [123052]

The amount of freight moved by rail has grown by 24 per cent. since 1997. The Strategic Rail Authority published in May 2003 its first "Freight Progress Report", explaining the achievements to date in increasing rail's share of freight traffic and the Authority's plans for achieving the growth envisaged by the Government's 10 Year Plan for Transport. Copies of the SRA report are available in the Library of the House.

Road Haulage

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure that foreign operators in the road haulage industry in the UK are abiding by the relevant rules and regulations. [122885]

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) check foreign road haulage operators, using UK roads, in the same manner as they do domestic hauliers to ensure compliance with traffic and roadworthiness regulations. VOSA use intelligence data to target those operators, whether foreign or domestic, who consistently breach regulations. They also carry out occasional random checks. Those operators and drivers who are caught offending are treated to the same sanctions, whatever their country of origin.VOSA report all offences, committed by foreign operators and drivers, to the licensing authorities in the countries of origin of the offenders.

Trunk Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent by his Department and its predecessors in each of the last 20 years on trunk roads in the East of England, broken down by (a) year and (b) county; and how many miles of trunk road have existed in the East of England in each of the last 20 years. [121797]

The information cannot be provided as requested, as detailed records are not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, I am able to provide information regarding the length of trunk road in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk). Records for the period 1983–1997 and for the year 2001 are shown in the attached table; there are no detailed recorded statistics available for 1998–2000. Statistics for 2002 have not yet been published.

YearKilometres
19831,195.3
19841,188.5
19851,190.0
19861,167.9
19871,187.7
19881,195.4
19891,194.6
19901,237.9
19911,245.0
19921,245.3
19931,246.2
19941,246.2
19951,242.3
19961
19971,272.6
19981
19991
20001
20011,139.0

Vehicle Excise Duty

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate how long it takes on average to (a) complete and (b) process the application form for the Vehicle Excise Duty Exemption Certificate; and whether his Department has a target for the number of applications to be processed. [121576]

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Veterans Agency (VA) are responsible for issuing certificates of exemption from VED for disabled people. There are no figures available on the length of time it takes an individual to complete the application form for an exemption certificate. There are no targets for the issuing of exemption certificates by DWP while VA's target is two working days from the date of receipt of a valid application.

Home Department

Baljit Kaur/Jaspal Singh

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to determine the application made by (a) Baljit Kaur (S1025374/3) and (b) Jaspal Singh (S1160262) for indefinite leave. [122997]

Mrs. Baljit Kaur and Mr. Jaspal Singh were both granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom on 30 June 2003.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will respond to the letter of 6 May 2003 from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan, regarding Mr. R. Edgar of Peterhead, a constituent. [119584]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: I will be replying to the hon. Member shortly. I apologise for the delay.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston will respond to the letter of 25 March 2003 from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding a constituent, reference number: PO 6649/3. [119585]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: The letter from the hon. Member dated 25 March 2003 was received in the Home Office on 1 April 2003 and the reply was sent to his office at the House of Commons on 25 June 2003.

Criminal Justice Bill

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultation was held with members of the judiciary before, amendments were tabled to the Criminal Justice Bill in relation to sentencing for murder. [121965]

The Home Office has taken care to ensure that consultation with the judiciary has been an important part of the development of the proposals in relation to sentencing for murder, although the Government's final conclusions differed from views expressed by the judiciary. Prior to the tabling of amendments this consultation included:

A seminar with senior judicary and the Lord Chief Justice on 20 January 2003 providing an opportunity to comment on the developing proposals for sentencing in murder cases.
An informal meeting between the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Falconer on 13 March.
The development of the proposals for setting minimum terms for murder was also discussed during a meeting between the Lord Chief Justice and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 13 March.

Criminal Records Bureau

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) (a) how many and (b) what percentage of registered bodies did not have their registration with the Criminal Records Bureau completed within the previous three week service standard in 2002–03; and how long an average it took to process applications from organisations which took longer than three weeks; [122480](2) how many potential registered bodies are having their applications processed by the Criminal Records Bureau; and how many of these organisations have been waiting longer than three weeks. [122481]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: There are 4,742 registered bodies that did not have their registration with the Criminal Records Bureau completed within the previous three-week service standard in 2002–03, the percentage being 90.72 per cent.The average length of time to process applications from organisations which took longer than three weeks was 13 weeks. This includes time often required to seek further information from applicant organisations and for them to respond to such requests.There are 315 potential registered bodies having their applications processed by the Criminal Records Bureau and 191 have been waiting longer than three weeks.

Deportations

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Chechens have been deported in the past six months; to which destinations they were sent; what arrangements were made to ensure their safe passage through Russia to Chechnya; and if he will make a statement. [122358]

Information on the number of people of Chechen origin removed from the UK and on the destinations to which they were removed, is not available except by examination of individual case files which would incur disproportionate cost.There are no arrangements in place to ensure the safe passage to Chechnya of Chechens who are removed from the UK to the Russian Federation. Whether or not such an individual chooses to return to Chechnya following his removal to the Russian Federation is the decision of that individual.

Drug Treatment

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of people who have completed a Drug Treatment and Testing Order are no longer taking drugs (a) one month, (b) three months and (c) six months after completion. [122122]

This information is not held centrally for the period since national roll-out of the order in October 2000. An evaluation of three pilot projects found that the average amount spent on drugs by offenders subject to Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) fell from £400 per week in the four weeks before arrest to £25 per week in the first four to six weeks of the Order. These reductions were largely maintained over time, with 87 per cent. of those who had completed the Order by the end of the pilot phase reporting that, except for their use of cannabis, they were drug free.

Eu Constitution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on those sections of the draft EU constitution relating to (a) internal border controls and (b) people-trafficking. [122709]

Reference to an area without internal borders is made in the existing Treaty establishing the European Community and the draft EU Constitutional Treaty. The existing Treaty is subject to the UK and Ireland's "frontiers' protocol" which gives the UK the right under the Treaties to exercise at its frontiers with other member states such controls on persons seeking to enter the United Kingdom as it considers necessary. The Protocols will remain an integral part of the new Treaty. The Government's position on this issue has not changed: we will maintain controls at the UK's frontiers.As a consequence of this position on frontiers, the United Kingdom has not participated in certain measures relating to external borders. However, the UK has co-operated with European Union partners in tackling illegal immigration and people trafficking. These are international problems that require international solutions. The new Constitutional Treaty will continue to provide a legal base for the Union to take appropriate action in these areas.For further information about the Government's position on the articles in the draft Constitutional Treaty dealing with the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, as presented to the Convention by the Praesidium on 14 March, I refer the hon. Member to the Explanatory Memorandum deposited by my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (Denis MacShane) on 2 June.

Identity Cards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate has been made of the costs of the introduction of identity cards to (a) the Government and (b) the individual holder of the card. [122360]

The consultation paper on entitlement cards and identity fraud provided a section on indicative cost assumptions. During the consultation period we have benefited from observations and comments received which have been helpful in contributing to further assessments of costs and the overall response to the consultation exercise.There are a number of different ways in which a scheme could be devised. Further, more detailed, work is needed on contractual delivery arrangements as well as the level of benefits for different services and the charges needed to cover the costs.The precise type of scheme would ultimately be a matter for Parliament to decide.

Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau in Croydon; how many applications where the applicant clearly falls under the immigration rules have been delayed beyond the expected minimum over the last year; and if he will make a statement. [121844]

The performance of the Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau (INEB) has improved significantly in recent months. It is now answering between 24,000 and 25,000 calls a week compared to 17,000 a week at the beginning of this year. Callers now regularly get through to the Bureau in one or two attempts and average time in a queue has reduced from six minutes to two minutes. In a recent customer survey over 85 per cent. of those questioned described their experience of INEB as satisfactory or better.We normally aim to screen all postal applications within three weeks and decide at least 70 per cent. at that point. Because of the high number of applications in the latter part of 2002, it was taking up to 10 weeks on average at the end of last year and the earlier part of this one to take decisions on these cases. As a result of measures to improve this situation, the processing time for straightforward applications has reduced to four weeks on average and continued progress is being made towards our three-week target. At present where further inquiries are required, most cases are being decided within six months but because of the very high intake a small minority have taken up to 12 months to decide.

Memorials

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 1 June 2003, Official Report, column 1053W, on memorials, if he will take advice from the National Association of Funeral Directors on the matters being considered by the working group on guidance to local authorities on memorial safety. [123444]

The National Association of Funeral Directors has recently accepted membership of the Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group. As a member, the Association is welcome to comment on any of the work being undertaken by the Advisory Group, including that of the memorial safety sub-group.

Mr Rezart Elmarzi

To Ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received in support of the wish of Mr. Rezart Elmarzi, a constituent, to remain in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [122138]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]:I wrote to the hon. Member on 1 July 2003.

Prison Incidents

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many serious incidents there have been in prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 12 months involving (a) riots, (b) peaceful protests, including sit-down protests, (c) assaults and (d) other disturbances. [118791]

The information requested is detailed in the table. The Prison Service's incident reporting system records the number of acts of concerted indiscipline rather than "riots". Similarly, acts of passive concerted indiscipline are recorded rather than the number of protests or sit down protests. In the course of the 12 months from June 2002 to May 2003, the number of assaults recorded was 11,462. The figures in the table are of those assaults which resulted in an injury to either staff or prisoners. The Prison Service does not have a category for "disturbances".

Number of acts of concerted indisciplineNumber of acts of passive indisciplineNumber of assaults
June 20025247
July 20026959
August 2002101661
September 20021667
October 2002101158
November 20023356
December 20026544
January 20036550
February 20035544
March 20036466
April 20032960
May 200321090
Total6285702

Prisoner Transfers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment in England and Wales were transferred under (a) the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners and (b) the Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders in each year since 1997; [121952](2) if he will set out the process by which a prisoner can apply for transfer under

(a) the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners and (b) the Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders; [121953]

(3) if he will list the countries with which the UK has bilateral prisoner transfer agreements. [121954]

The following table records how many prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment in England and Wales who were transferred under (a) the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners and (b) on the Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders in each year since 1997.

Council of Europe ConventionCommonwealth Scheme
199717
199842
199922
200035
200139
200250
The process by which a prisoner can apply for transfer under the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and the Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders is the same. An application for transfer can only be made by either the sentencing state or the receiving state. The prisoner can initiate the process by a written indication to either state of his/her wish to transfer. In the case of a prisoner in England and Wales, this is made by completing a request/complaint form, which is freely available within prisons.Both the sentencing state and the receiving state will consider the request. If both states approve the transfer then the prisoner will be asked to give his formal consent. Once all three parties have given their consent, arrangements will be made for the transfer of the prisoner.The United Kingdom has bilateral prisoner transfer agreements with the following countries:

  • Egypt
  • Thailand
  • The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong
  • Brazil
  • Morocco
  • Barbados
  • Venezuela

The following agreements have been concluded but are not yet in force:

  • Cuba
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Peru
  • Sri Lanka
  • Dominican Republic
  • Antigua and Barbuda

Retired Police Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the position of retired police officers who have their pension reduced to pay for an increased widows pension, where their wives pre-deceased them before or after retirement; and if he will make a statement. [115067]

In the period since 8 June 2001, hon. and right hon. Members have tabled one Early Day Motion, asked six questions and written 14 letters to Ministers on the general issue of widows' pensions. Five of these 14 letters were specifically concerned with officers whose pension has been reduced to pay for an increased widows' pension.We have sympathy for those who elected to have their pension reduced to pay for an increased widow's pension but whose wives pre-deceased them. However, such an election was an alternative option to paying increased pensions contributions while still serving. It would run counter to the principle of a contributory occupational pension scheme, in which benefits are guaranteed only in specified circumstances, to return contributions in any case where those circumstances did not apply.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Gm Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK-based companies are involved in the development of genetically modified crops. [121749]

The Department does not have details of every UK-based company involved in the development of genetically modified crops. However, the following companies are members of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the industry body for companies involved in the development of agricultural biotechnology in the UK, including GM crops: Bayer CropScience, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, Dupont, Monsanto UK, and Syngenta.Further details of those companies granted consent to release GM crops for trial or research purposes under Part B of EC Directive 2001/18 are available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/exper.htm

Biotechnology

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent in each year since 1995 (a) as a Department and (b) through grants to external bodies on (i) the promotion of and (ii) research into biotechnology. [121653]

[holding answer 25 June 2003]: In the years since 1995 my department has spent the following on biotechnology research:

Financial year12 Total R&D spend on Biotechnology (£ million)
1995–9620.5
1996–9723.2
1997–9825.6
1998–9929.3
1999–200025.3
2000–0129.4
2001–0229.7
2002–0333.2
2003–0426.23
1 Defra was created during the 2001–02 FY. Figures for previous years cover old MAFF and DETR biotechnology research programmes
2 Defined as research into the application of biological organisms, systems and processes to manufacturing and service industries. This covers genetic modification research, but goes much wider to include, among other techniques, fused cell techniques, protein engineering, fermentation and cell culture techniques, the production of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.
3 Figures for the current year are provisional. A number of contracts may be in the process of being let and not yet included in year total.
This money has all been spent through contracts with external bodies. No money has been spent by my department on the direct promotion of biotechnology.

Emissions Trading Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure the EU Emissions Trading Directive is implemented in such a way as to encourage energy efficiency downstream. [122218]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The purpose of the EU Emissions Trading Directive is to encourage reductions in direct emissions of carbon dioxide from certain industrial sectors. The Government have introduced other policy measures to encourage energy efficiency downstream, such as the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), which requires electricity and gas suppliers to achieve targets for the promotion of improvements in domestic energy efficiency.Also, direct participants in the UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme, and participants in Climate Change Agreements, have emissions reduction targets, that include indirect emissions of carbon dioxide from reducing electricity use on site.

Endangered Species

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she has taken to ensure that the UK's international policies protect endangered species. [121904]

The UK Government have pressed for action to help protect endangered species in a number of international fora. For example, at last November's Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Chile, I was able to persuade the delegates to list the basking shark on Appendix II. This will mean that the international trade in the fins and other parts of this vulnerable species will be more strictly regulated in future.Similar protection was also afforded to whale sharks, seahorses and big-leaf mahogany. The current high level of protection afforded to minke and bryde's whales was also maintained, despite efforts by Japan to downlist the species. Other successes included measures to conserve Asian big cats such as tigers and snow leopards and the development of strict measures for controlling any future trade in ivory stockpiles.

Fly Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 88W, on fly-tipping, what has been the outcome of her consideration of possible changes to legislation; and if she will make a statement. [122776]

Proposals to help local authorities and the Environment Agency tackle the problem of fly tipping have been included in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, currently before Parliament.The Bill includes measures that if successful will mean that local authorities will have powers to stop, search and seize vehicles suspected of being used for fly tipping. They will be able to investigate incidents to help them track down and prosecute those responsible for dumping the waste. The Bill will also create statutory directions that will formalise the current fly tipping protocol which has been agreed between the Local Government Association and the Environment Agency.The Government are also considering a wide range of other measures, details of which will be published later in 2003 and brought forward at the next legislative opportunity.

Gm Debate Website

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many hits have been recorded by the GM debate website: www.gmnation.org.uk [122211]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: In the first 18 days of June 2003, 1,487,024 hits were recorded by the GM Nation website. The hon. Member may wish to note that this does not represent the number of people that have visited the website, as each individual is likely to be responsible for multiple hits as they move around the website.

Gm/Organic Produce

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many letters on the Government's policy on genetically modified food from (a) hon. Members, (b) private individuals and (c) organisations are waiting to be answered by the Department; how many have been waiting for more than 28 days; and if she will make a statement. [109540]

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for policy on genetically modified food. However, on GM issues for which this Department is responsible, the information is set out in the table as at 2 July 2003:

Total awaiting replyNumber awaiting reply for more than 28 days
Member570
Private individuals and organisations1454
A large number of letters from organisations and private individuals have been inspired by the recent announcement of the GM Public Debate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent in each year since 1995 on the promotion of (a) genetically-modified and (b) organic produce. [121654]

[holding answer 25 June 2003]: No money has been spent by my Department on the promotion of genetically modified produce or on the promotion of organic produce. However, aid has been made available to farmers converting to organic farming (and from 5 June 2003 aid has been made available to existing organic farmers also). The Department also funds a programme of R&D on organic production. And advice for farmers considering organic farming is provided by the Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS) which is funded by Defra. Spending on these since financial year 1994–95 is detailed in the following table but data for spending on OCIS before financial year 1999–2000 are not readily available.

Financial yearAid to organic farmers (£) R&D (£)OCIS (£)
1994–9527,0001,058,0001
1995–95261,000931,0001
1996–97374,0001,116,0001
1997–98571,000908,0001
1998–991,026,0001,491,0001
1999–200012,469,0002,035,000788,000
2000–0111,397,0002,207,000601,000
2001–0210,910,0002,193,000327,000
2002–0312,567,0001,791,000301,000
1 Not readily available

Hazardous Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable there is for producing voluntary agreements on household hazardous waste after June 2004. [121983]

Taking into account the composition of the waste stream, and in particular the low recycling rate and the toxicity of the waste product., we will be looking over the next 12 months at the scope for a voluntary producer responsibility agreement to increase the recycling of waste consumer batteries. We will also review the household waste stream to see what the most hazardous elements are with a view to identifying other possible candidates for a voluntary producer responsibility agreement with industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures her Department takes to ensure that gas emissions from landfill and hazardous waste sites do not pose any risk to public health. [122729]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The Environment Agency regulates gaseous emissions from landfill and hazardous waste sites to minimise the damage to the environment and risk to human health. In particular, the Agency requires that appropriate measures are taken to control the accumulation and migration of landfill gas. Typically this will involve the active collection, treatment and combustion of landfill gas to minimise the potential impacts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what statutory framework regulates the discharge of untreated hazardous liquid waste directly to sewage treatment plants for disposal; and if she will list the permitted chemical and biological components of such waste. [122756]

Sewerage undertakers have powers to control and reduce discharges of substances such as untreated hazardous liquid waste into sewers. If they consider the discharge constitutes trade effluent, their consent is required in accordance with the provisions of the Water Industry Act 1991. The consent may set conditions and require the elimination or diminution of any specified constituent of the trade effluent before it enters the sewer. Such a discharge without the undertaker's agreement is a criminal offence.Applications for any special category effluent have to be referred to the Environment Agency before consent can be given. Where the effluent is produced as part of a prescribed process, it will also require a permit from the Agency under the Environment Act 1995 and the Pollution, Prevention and Control Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1973).Where a sewerage undertaker agrees to accept liquid waste delivered to a sewage works by road tanker, the reception, storage, and pre-treatment of the waste is additionally controlled by waste management law (a waste management licence or Pollution Prevention Control Permit depending upon the activities and their scale). The final effluent produced by the works and released back into the environment must meet the conditions or standards required in a Discharge Consent issued by the Environment Agency under the Water Resources Act 1991.No list of permitted chemical and biological components exists as such. Each case has to be assessed individually and will depend on the capabilities of the specific treatment works and the quality standards to be achieved in the receiving waters.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many litres of untreated hazardous liquid waste were sent directly to sewage treatment plants for disposal in each year since 1999. [122757]

The information requested is not held centrally. However, the Environment Agency is compiling the information and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the hazardous wastes which her Department and the Environment Agency have decided (a) can be adequately treated by dilution and (b) require additional treatment for disposal. [122764]

Dilution is not generally considered to be the best practicable environmental option for disposal of hazardous waste, although technically it would be possible to operate such a process subject to the conditions of an environmental licence or authorisation (permit) to ensure the protection of the environment and human health.Implementation of the Landfill Directive to meet the EU Waste Acceptance Criteria will require all wastes to be treated before they are landfilled. Dilution would not be an acceptable form of treatment.

Hens

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much it would cost to introduce enriched cages for hens by 2012; and if she will make a statement on the implications for production costs of alternative production methods recently researched by her. [122648]

A Regulatory Impact Assessment was carried out for the implementation of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002. Given an industry estimate of £14.86 per bird and assuming that 10.2 million laying hens would transfer from conventional cages to enriched cages, we believe that it would cost around £151.6 million net present value. Further economic assessments of production methods will be made in preparation for the 2005 Review of Directive 1999/74/EC.

Horse Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on horse welfare in the United Kingdom; and what plans she has to improve horse welfare. [122204]

The Department has begun a review of animal welfare legislation relating to captive, domestic and sporting animals. The intention is to update and consolidate the legislation into one Animal Welfare Act. The new legislation would be pro-active and would allow action to be taken before an animal suffers if it is not being given appropriate care. Areas for consideration under the new Bill include licensing of livery yards and a statutory code of practice on tethering. My Department has been in consultation with a number or interested parties about the review and we aim to have a public consultation on a draft Bill early next year.

Household Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress of plans for a study of the potential of deposit refund schemes in the United Kingdom to promote (a) refuse and (b) waste minimisation. [121984]

We believe there may be environmental and commercial benefits in a deposit and return system for some bottles and other containers. A deposits system would involve the public directly in waste collection and this would help to change the culture of waste collection and recycling.We are currently investigating the deposit systems used in other European countries. Some of these countries have reported very high administrative costs, which could make these schemes a more expensive way of recycling products than other collection methods. Some countries have reported benefits from such systems, particularly in terms of higher recycling rates, but sometimes these occur in the countries which have high packaging waste recycling targets and it is not clear that deposit systems on their own would deliver high recycling rates in a cost-effective way.We would therefore need to consider both the costs and benefits of a possible deposit scheme in the United Kingdom. In particular, we would have to examine how deposit systems could complement and add to other means of encouraging waste minimization and recycling, such as the packaging Regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what quantities of (a) paper, (b) glass, (c) cans, (d) oil and (e) bottles are recycled through council-organised recycling schemes in (i) Redcar, (ii) the north-east and (iii) England. [122331]

The information requested is set out in the following table:

Household waste recycling 2001–02
tonnes
MaterialRedcar and Cleveland UANorth-east regionEngland
Paper and card46729,000959,000
Glass35911,000428,000
Cans2671,00026,000
Oil15n/an/a

Source:

Defra Municipal Waste Management Survey 2001–02

We do not hold a figure for bottles. The glass figure will include glass bottles collected for recycling.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of household rubbish is recycled through council-organised recycling schemes in (a) Redcar, (b) the North East and (c) England. [122332]

The household waste recycling rate for 2001–02 was as follows:

Percentage
Household waste recycling rate 2001–02
Redcar and Cleveland2
North East Region5
England12

Source:

Defra Municipal Waste Management Survey 2001–02

Invasive Weeds

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what duties are placed on local authorities to assist with the safe disposal of invasive weeds; who is responsible for monitoring this process to ensure that all waste is safely disposed of to ensure that rhizomes cannot spread; and whether she plans to issue further guidance and assistance to local authorities to ensure these criteria are met. [117800]

Local authorities' responsibilities for the collection and disposal of waste are set out in sections 45, 48 and 51 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. These responsibilities relate to local authorities' functions as waste collection and waste disposal authorities.Section 34 of the 1990 Act imposes a duty of care on everyone with responsibility for waste—including waste collection and disposal authorities. It requires everyone subject to the duty to take all reasonable measures to prevent the escape of waste from their control and to ensure that it is disposed of by someone who is authorised to do so. My right hon. Friend the Secretary

(1 October to 30 September)OrderNumber of prosecutions
2001–02Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199753
2000–01Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199729
1999–2000Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199754
1998–99Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199782
1997–98Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199445
1996–97Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199465
1995–96Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199491
1994–95Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199495
1993–94Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199246
1992–93Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 199211
1991–92Transit of Animals (General) Order 197318
Transit of Animals (Road and Rail) Order 1975 (as amended)189
Welfare of Poultry (Transport) Order 1988 (as amended)5
1990–91Transit of Animals (General) Order 197318
Transit of Animals (Road and Rail) Order 1975 (as amended)1121
Welfare of Poultry (Transport) Order 1988 (as amended)7
1989–90Transit of Animals (General) Order 197361
Transit of Animals (Road and Rail) Order 1975 (as amended)156
Welfare of Poultry (Transport) Order 1988 (as amended)3
1988–89Transit of Animals (General) Order 19736
Transit of Animals (Road and Rail) Order 1975 (as amended)157
Welfare of Poultry (Transport) Order 1988 (as amended)4
1987–88Transit of Animals (General) Order 197312
Transit of Animals (Road and Rail) Order 1975 (as amended)162
1 This figure includes prosecutions which do not relate to the welfare of animals. Separate figures for the welfare of animals are not available.

Notes:

Prior to 1987–88 information on prosecution returns was not kept.

Prosecution figures are not kept by type and country of origin of the vehicle.

Information on convictions is not held centrally.

Live Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with her European counterparts since April 2002 on removing European Union obstacles to the ban on live exports and their of State has issued a Code of Practice under section 34(7) of the 1990 Act, providing practical guidance on how to discharge this duty of care.The provisions of the 1990 Act mentioned above apply to household, industrial and commercial waste—collectively defined as "controlled waste". Material containing Japanese knotweed is treated as controlled waste to help prevent its further spread.No specific obligation is placed on local authorities under these controls to dispose of invasive weeds more generally as waste.

Live Animal Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions and convictions there have been regarding live animal transport by (a) type and (b) country of origin of the vehicle in each of the last 20 years. [122649]

The number of prosecutions under welfare in transport legislation are published in the annual "Return of Expenditure Incurred and Prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981, and Incidences of Disease in Imported Animals" which are available in the Libraries of the House.The number of prosecutions reported were: replacement by meat exports; and if she will make a statement. [121371]

[holding answer 1 July 2003]: Judgments in the European Court of Justice have confirmed that a ban on the live export of animals would be illegal under the Treaty of Rome. Instead of seeking a ban, we have continued to press in the Agriculture Council for the European Commission to bring forward improved controls for the welfare of animals during transport. Commissioner David Byrne has now said that he expects to produce these long overdue proposals in July 2003. Most of our exports are of meat. We are supporting action to improve competitiveness in the red meat food chain with a view to strengthening meat supply chains both at home and in export markets.

Methane

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the quantity of methane which is being released annually by the northward retreat of permafrost and the consequent impact on climate change. [122666]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: Methane concentrations have increased by a factor of 2.5 since pre-industrial times and account for about 20 per cent. of the climate warming due to greenhouse gases. The increase in concentration is mostly due to increases in anthropogenic emissions (from sources such as landfills, energy production and biomass burning). We have no estimates for the current annual release rate from such areas but methane emissions from high-latitude permafrost areas are likely to have made a contribution to climate change due to greenhouse gases of less than 1 per cent.

Modulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the higher rates of modulation on larger farms; and if she will make a statement. [120539]

[holding answer 20 June 2003]: The deal on CAP reform agreed by the Agriculture Council on 26 June 2003 represents a real shift in agricultural policy. It will provide a more sustainable basis for European agriculture and reflect the wider environmental and rural development objectives, which society seeks to achieve.The first €5,000 of every recipient's subsidy is exempt from modulation. However, this means that the effective modulation rate is higher on farms in receipt of higher levels of subsidy. However, this should be viewed in the context of the whole package of reforms. An assessment of the economic impact of the Commission's January proposals on the long-term perspective for sustainable agriculture is available on the Defra website (http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/reports/capreform.pdf), and an assessment of the impact of the outcome of the negotiations will be made available in future.

Ospar Ministerial Meeting

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from non-governmental organisations on the Ospar ministerial meeting in Bremen. [120788]

Defra officials discussed a range of issues on biodiversity with Wildlife and Countryside Link on 29 May 2003. Greenpeace also made representations in relation to radioactive substances. Non-governmental organisations also made representations directly to the Bremen meeting. In addition, I met both Wildlife and Countryside Link and Greenpeace in Bremen prior to the start of the meeting.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will review the assistance the Government gives to charity shops in promoting the reuse of goods; and if she will make a statement. [121985]

The Government do not give assistance specifically for this purpose, although there are many ways in which we support the work of charities in general and in which we promote the reuse and recycling of materials. We are always willing to receive representations and ideas about specific measures that would benefit either or both of these causes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to stop the export of recyclable materials from the UK to other countries for treatment; and if she will make a statement. [119699]

The Government have no plans at present to prevent the export of recyclable materials for treatment. Our priority is to increase the amount of waste that is reused or recycled; to achieve these aims may necessitate the export of recyclate. The Government have taken action to increase recycling markets in the UK by setting up the Waste and Resources Action Programme, which was set up to lead on recycling market development in the United Kingdom.

Rights Of Way

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles of footpaths are in use. [123404]

In England and Wales it is estimated that there are 173,940 km of public rights of way that are footpaths. There are no figures held centrally to show how many miles of footpath are in use, and the information could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. However, the 1998 Day Visits Survey, which surveyed leisure day visits in both urban and rural areas, found that walking was a principal activity on approximately 930 million trips in England and Wales. The 2002 Leisure Day Visits Survey will be published in the autumn this year.

Rural Payments Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many payments to farmers were completed after the target date by the Rural Payments Agency in each month in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02, (c) 2002–03 and (d) 2003–04 to date, broken down by type. [122843]

Since the Rural Payments Agency was established on 16 October 2001 the number of payments made to farmers after the target date is as follows.

2001–02 SchemeOctoberNovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarch
F&V Withdrawal2
OTMS Deadweight3
OTMS Incineration131331
OTMS Mincing432
Main AAPS Payments2114355
SAPS421
BSPS4941115
ERDP Schemes are subject to rolling payment deadlines that are calculated from the date an individual claim is received by the Rural Development Service who administer the schemes on behalf of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The exception being the Hill Farm allowance which is administered by RPA and has a target of 95 per cent. of payments to be made by the end of March.

2002–03 SchemeAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember
OTMS Liveweight
OTMS Incineration
OTMS Mincing
Main MRS Payments16201125511
Non Food Set-Aside15020201035
SAPS
BSPS5485,800
SCPS1,982
SPS5,565
EPS948
2002–03 SchemeOctoberNovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarch
OTMS Liveweight14
OTMS Incineration4
OTMS Mincing33
Main MRS Payments34198
Non Food Set-Aside1
SAPS35222
BSPS4,3961,894954776791550
SCPS2,109982319634883424
SPS7,4333,0263,9251,8325,1283,663
EPS488385117125222166
ERDP Schemes are subject to rolling payment deadlines that are calculated from the date an individual claim is received by the Rural Development Service who administer the schemes on behalf of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The exception being the Hill Farm Allowance which is administered by RPA and has a target of 95 per cent. of payments to be made by the end of March.

2002 SchemeTotal number of claimsClaims processed after target date
Countryside Stewardship Scheme19,7903,364
Environmentally Sensitive Areas I-III7,4582,162
Environmentally Sensitive Areas IV3,12062
Farm Woodland Premium Scheme7,683230
Organic Farming Scheme1,489148
Processing and Marketing Grant6111

2001 Scheme

Total number of claims

Claims processed after target date

Countryside Stewardship Scheme9,3592,901
Environmentally Sensitive Areas I-III8,3361,167
Environmentally Sensitive Areas IV3,127187
Farm Woodland Premium Scheme6,4643,813
Organic Farming Scheme1,242322
Energy Crops Scheme152
Processing and Marketing Grant173
Rural Enterprise Scheme22939
Vocational Training Scheme706

2002 Scheme

Total number of claims

Claims processed after target date

Rural Enterprise Scheme898197
Vocational Training Scheme22322
Hill Farm Allowance11,116222

2003–04 Scheme

April

May

June

Main AAPS Payments1725
Non Food Set-Aside24233
SAPS15846
BSPS259193223
SCPS1073
SPS3,083707422
EPS474123

ERDP Schemes are subject to rolling payment deadlines that are calculated from the date an individual claim is received by the Rural Development Service who administer the schemes on behalf of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The exception being the Hill Farm Allowance which is administered by RPA and has a target of 95 per cent. of payments to be made by the end of March.

2003 Scheme

Total number of claims

Claims processed after target date

Organic Farming Scheme694146
Rural Enterprise Scheme25338
Vocational Training Scheme704

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what actions her Department is taking to deal with administrative problems across the border between England and Wales in processing payments by the Rural Payments Agency. [122520]

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and National Assembly for Wales Agriculture and Rural Affairs Department (NAWARAD) are in regular communication in respect of subsidy claims which cover land and animals, in both England and Wales. The majority of such claims which have been validated have received at least interim payments.In addition, automated interfaces are being developed between England and Wales for the bovine schemes.

Waste And Resources Action Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has held in the last year with voluntary organisations on the Waste and Resources Action Programme; and if she will make a statement. [122232]

The Government holds frequent discussions with the voluntary sector on waste management issues and they took part in discussions with the Strategy Unit during their waste study. However we have had no recent discussions with them about the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).WRAP was set up as an independent company by Government, to promote sustainable waste management by working to create stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products. As an independent company we look to WRAP to identify the issues it feels it needs to discuss with the voluntary sector and take action accordingly.We are aware that WRAP holds regular independent discussions with the voluntary sector and, in particular more recently, concerning their intended new work following the announcement of their extended role under the Waste Implementation Programme. WRAP has also recently established an electronic stakeholder dialogue which is open to voluntary organisations.

Waste Incineration

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's assessment that the Waste Incineration Directive does not apply to on-farm drum incinerators and waste oil burners; whether her officials have discussed this interpretation with officials from the European Commission; and whether officials from the European Commission have expressed agreement in writing with this interpretation. [122753]

In draft Guidance on Directive 2000/76/ EC on the incineration of waste, published for consultation in February 2003, the Government expressed the view that the definition of "incineration plant" used in that Directive is not intended to encompass small units or appliances which would be incapable of complying with the requirements of the Directive under any circumstances.The Directive includes provisions in relation to residence time, temperature control, monitoring, and compliance with emission limit values, which only plants of a reasonable size and technical sophistication would be capable of meeting. Small, basic units do not easily fit either the description "technical unit" which is used in the Directive definition or the scope of the incineration site which is evidently envisaged by this definition.The Government consider that units which are not included within the scope of the Directive on this basis include on-farm drum incinerators and small space heaters or other waste oil burners (used for example on garage premises). However, operations of this type will continue to be controlled under the Waste Framework Directive (75/442/EEC as amended) which requires them to be subject to either a permit (Article 9) or the general rules of an exemption registered with the "competent authority" (Article 11). The objective of these controls is to ensure that waste is disposed of in ways which protect the environment and human health (Article 4).This means that, on the proposed repeal of the exclusion for agricultural waste in section 75(7)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the waste management controls of Part II of the 1990 Act and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 will apply to on-farm drum incinerators. Small space heaters and other waste oil burners are prescribed for local authority regulation under Part I of the 1990 Act and the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000.The draft Guidance on Directive 2000/76/EC was issued for a consultation period which closed on 16 May. Officials are currently considering consultation responses with a view to finalising the Guidance later this year, still in plenty of time for the Directive's coming into force for existing installations from 28 December 2005. A copy of the finalised Guidance will be sent to the relevant officials in the European Commission, thus providing them with an opportunity to comment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the environment of excluding (a) on-farm drum incinerators and (b) waste oil burners from the Waste Incineration Directive. [122760]

UK estimates of emissions from a range of sources are contained in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and are published annually. Full NAEI data are available at the NAEI website www.naei.org.uk. However, the NAEI does not contain data at the level of detail requested and so no correspondingly detailed quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of these devices has been made.The Waste Incineration Directive includes provisions which can apply only plant of a reasonable size and thus with potential to cause significant pollution, whereas small units such as these do not easily fit either the description "technical unit" used in the Directive definition or the scope of the incineration site which is evidently envisaged by this definition. However, operations of this type will continue to be controlled under other legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many tonnes of waste oil were sent for recycling in each year since 1999; [122761](2) how many tonnes of waste oil were burned in waste oil burners in each year since 1999. [122762]

Virtually all waste lubricating oil collected in the UK is treated to meet a specification as a recovered fuel oil and is burnt as fuel in coal fired power stations and other large manufacturing units.The last years for which figures for combustion of oil have been collated are 1999 and 2000 during which approximately 380,000 tonnes and 360,000 tonnes respectively of waste lubricating oil were burnt as fuel. 4,000 tonnes of waste oil were recycled into base lubricating oil in 1999. There has been no recycling in subsequent years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the environment of (a) on-farm drum incinerators, (b) waste oil burners and (c) on-farm carcass incinerators. [122763]

UK estimates of emissions from a range of sources are contained in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and are published annually. Full NAEI data are available at the NAEI website www.naei.org.uk. There are no data at the level of (a) and (b). However, the Department commissioned an independent report to measure and review atmospheric emissions from small carcase incinerators, which was published in August 2002. This is available on the Defra website at http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/project_data/Default.asp under Project Code WA0806.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 17 June 2003, Official Report, column 209W, if she will make a statement on the contents of the register used to provide the information in her answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 506W, and distinguish it from the data held as part of the Environment Agency Register of Waste Management Licences, which are kept under part 2 of the Environment Protection Act 1990. [121997]

The Environment Agency's Register of Waste Management Licences is a list of those who hold waste management licences.The information used in reply to the hon. Member's question of 17 March comes from a separate public register, which contain details of breaches to air emissions limit values. Copies of the breaches are sent to local authorities who also place them on public record.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the (a) impact and (b) timing of changes to UK legislation and the National Waste Strategy arising from changes in EU policy on municipal waste incinerators and waste recovery targets. [121999]

[holding answer 1 July 2003]: Recent cases in the European Court of Justice in relation to the incineration and co-incineration of waste have sought to distinguish between waste recovery and waste disposal operations. I am aware that these recent judgments could have a significant impact on the ability of member states to meet certain recycling and recovery targets, most notably those in the packaging and packaging waste directive (94/62/EC).However, the European Commission is currently reviewing the lists of recovery and disposal operations in the waste framework directive (75/442/EEC as amended) and has begun work in this area with the adoption of the Communication "Towards a thematic strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste" (COM(2003)301) and by launching a study on issues relating to the lists in Annexes IIA and IIB of the Directive. The Government consider that it would be premature to implement any changes to UK legislation and the waste strategy whilst this review is ongoing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what measures her Department takes to ensure that independent assessments undertaken on behalf of operators of landfill and hazardous waste sites to ascertain the possible risks to public health from activities conducted at the site in question are credible and independent; [122783](2) what measures the Environment Agency takes to ensure that independent assessments undertaken of possible risks posed to public health from activity conducted at a landfill and hazardous waste site are credible and independent; [122784](3) what measures her Department takes to ensure that when the licence of a landfill and hazardous waste site is being reviewed issues of public health are considered; [122785](4) what measures her Department takes to ensure that companies employed by landfill and hazardous waste site operators to produce independent assessments when examining public health issues are impartial and best qualified to undertake the assessments. [122787]

[holding answer 1 July 2003]: The objective of the Waste Framework Directive (75/442/EEC as amended by 91/156/EEC) is to ensure that waste is disposed of without endangering human health or harming the environment (Article 4). The Directive's controls include the need for a permit (licence) for the disposal of waste and are supplemented by the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC) and the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC). The Environment Agency is prescribed as a "competent authority" for the purposes of each Directive.Paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 imposes a duty on the Agency to discharge its functions relating to the disposal of waste with regard to the objectives of Article 4 of the Waste Framework Directive. These functions include the issuing of licences for landfill sites and the review of those licences. The purpose of licences and their conditions is to ensure that waste is disposed of without endangering human health or harming the environment.Section 35(8) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires the Environment Agency to have regard to guidance issued to it by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, in the discharge of its licensing functions. The main guidance issued to the Agency under section 35(8) of the 1990 Act is set out in Waste Management Paper No.4 (ISBN 0–11–752727–0) and deals with issues such as the operator's management systems and quality assurance (paragraphs 4.21–4.25).Subject to these considerations, it rests with the Environment Agency, in fulfilment of its functions as a "competent authority" and having regard to the facts of each case, to reach decisions on the effectiveness and quality of monitoring assessments undertaken by or on behalf of licence holders.

Sue Doughty