Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 March 2008

Leader of the House

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Leader of the House how many and what percentage of staff in her office were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. (193574)

Owing to a machinery of Government change in May 2007, the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons now forms part of the Cabinet Office. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be answering this question shortly on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

Pension scheme members receive an annual benefit statement showing the pension built up to date, and also a projection of pension on retirement if the member continues in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement provides details of the civil service pensions website where staff can obtain further information, including on options for making additional voluntary contributions to boost their pension.

Women and Equality

Age Discrimination

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with other Government Departments on discrimination in the supply of goods and services to people on the basis of age. (190505)

Since the Discrimination Law Review was launched in February 2005 we have consulted widely across Whitehall on this matter. In particular we have had detailed discussions with the domestic affairs (communities and equality) committee departments.

Departmental Older Workers

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many people over the age of 55 have been recruited to the Government Equalities Office in each of the last three years. (191503)

The Prime Minister announced the establishment of the GEO on 26 July 2007, and since then we have not recruited anyone over the age of 55.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what arrangements (a) have been and (b) are to be put in place by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to develop and consolidate relationships with (i) the Mayor's office and (ii) the Greater London Assembly. (192854)

[holding answer 10 March 2008]: In November 2007. the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s chief executive met the Mayor’s director of equalities and Policing and other key GLA staff to discuss how the new Commission could work with the Greater London Authority (GLA) on promoting equality and tackling discrimination across London. Since then, Commission staff have met GLA officers regularly to progress these issues.

The Commission is currently drawing up its business plan for 2008-09 and its stakeholder strategy to promote that work. This will include further arrangements to strengthen links between the Commission and the GLA. The Commission will also be engaging with the London Assembly to ensure that its members are informed and, where appropriate, involved in its work on behalf of Londoners.

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many staff are employed in London by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, broken down by (a) grade and (b) specialism; and what consultative stakeholder committees the Commission (i) has established and (ii) plans to establish. (192855)

[holding answer 10 March 2008]: On (a) and (b), the Commission has 79 permanent staff in London and is currently undergoing a job matching process which means staff who have come from the previous commissions (Commission for Racial Equality, Equal Opportunities Commission and Disability Rights Commission) are still on the same grading as they were before joining. Staff will be offered the opportunity to join the Commission’s new grading structure when the job matching process is completed. That exercise is still in progress.

On (i) and (ii), the Commission has statutory committees advising on issues relating to Scotland and Wales and also on matters related to disabled people. The Commission is currently developing a stakeholder strategy, including consideration of what further consultative stakeholder mechanisms it may require. As part of the development of this strategy, the Commission has held an initial scoping event with stakeholders on religion and belief issues and has further events on age and sexual orientation planned.

Television Screens

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many plasma television screens have been purchased by the Government Equalities Office, and at what cost, since its creation. (191123)

Since its establishment, the Government Equalities Office has purchased two plasma television screens for ministerial use. The total cost of the purchase and installation of the televisions was £2,578.84.

Scotland

Departmental Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters his Department received in each of the last five years. (187063)

The total number of mail items that the Scotland Office receives is not recorded. The number of items received for ministerial and official reply in the last four years is recorded, as follows:

Number of items for ministerial or official reply

2004-05

1,338

2005-06

1,249

2006-07

1,273

2007-08

1,489

In addition, over 3,000 other pieces of correspondence have been received in the ministerial private office in each of the last two years.

Departmental Plants

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on pot plants in each of the last five years. (192065)

The Scotland Office spent the following on pot plants:

Cost (£)

2002-03

2,011

2003-04

2,013

2004-05

1,264

2005-06

30

2006-07

0

All expenditure was incurred in accordance with the principles of managing public money and the Treasury handbook on regularity and propriety.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether consideration has been given to applying gender- responsive budgeting to his Department's budget. (192106)

The UK Government are supportive of efforts to achieve gender equality and continue to work very closely with both the Women's National Commission and the Women's Budget Group on promoting gender equality within the UK.

In 2004, HM Treasury undertook a pilot project on gender analysis of expenditure with the Women's Budget Group. The project demonstrated the value of gender analysis in some areas and identified what tools and expertise were necessary within Government to carry out gender analysis, but concluded that further work was needed before gender-responsive budgeting could be implemented.

In 2008, HM Treasury will be conducting further work that will determine whether it is prudent and feasible to disaggregate departmental expenditure statistics by gender.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department and its agencies spent on first-class travel in the last 12 months for which figures are available, broken down by staff grade. (187661)

The Scotland Office does not separately record expenditure on first-class travel. All travel is undertaken by the most efficient and costs effective way, in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis; the 2006-07 edition was published on 25 July 2007, and is also available in the Library of the House.

Eurostar

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on (a) first and (b) other class travel by Eurostar in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (187743)

The Scotland Office does not separately record expenditure on Eurostar journeys. All travel is undertaken by the most efficient and cost-effective way, in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis; the 2006-07 edition was published on 25 July 2007, and is also available in the Library of the House.

Transport

Bus Services: Pensioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners have claimed free bus travel in (a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north-east and (d) the UK in each year since its inception. (186668)

The Department does not hold information about the number of pensioners who have claimed free travel at the level requested. Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) administers the concessionary travel scheme that covers (a) Jarrow, and (b) South Tyneside. Tyne and Wear PTE reported to the Department that it had 219,703 concessionary travel passes in circulation. For the (c) north-east region, it reported 466,445 passes in circulation.

As (d), it is not known how many people in the UK have claimed free bus travel. Concessionary travel is a devolved issue, so Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements.

In England, around 11 million older and eligible disabled people may benefit from the improved geographic coverage of the statutory minimum bus travel concession from 1 April this year. To date, around 7.5 million people have taken up passes. In the constituency of Jarrow, over 16,000 people are eligible for concessionary travel.

Dartford Tunnel: Queen Elizabeth II Brige

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate she has made of the number of residents of the (a) Bexley Havering, (c) Gravesham and (d) Sevenoaks local authority areas who made fewer than 10 single journeys per annum over the Dartford River Crossing in each of the last three years; (193047)

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of residents of the (a) Bexley, (b) Havering, (c) Gravesham and (d) Sevenoaks local authority areas who made more than 50 single journeys per annum over the Dartford River Crossing in each of the last three years;

(3) how many people in the (a) Bexley, (b) Havering, (c) Gravesham and (d) Sevenoaks local authority areas live within (i) six miles and (ii) 10 miles of the Dartford River Crossing.

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department spent on bottled water in the latest year for which figures are available. (189791)

The Department spent £102,834 on bottled water during the latest year for which figures are available. This includes spend on associated items such as cooler units and water provided for members of the public by the Highways Agency Traffic Officer service during major incidents and driving test candidates at Driving Standards Agency driving test centres.

At our main London HQ buildings we will be ending the provision of bottled water for meetings as a priority and providing tap water instead. This will take a short time to arrange, as we use up existing stocks and purchase carafes.

The data exclude spend by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and regional offices of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency where spend is not centrally recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Heathrow Airport: Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration was given to the noise costs indicated by the attitudes to noise from aviation sources in England study in drawing up the financial estimates in the adding capacity at Heathrow consultation. (193689)

The Government said at the time of publication of the study “Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England” that study they would take the findings into account in developing air transport policy. However, as the independent peer reviewers made clear, the study could not provide a reliable way of attaching a monetary figure to the impact of aircraft noise.

Consequently, and pending the availability of a better alternative, we applied existing valuations for road and rail noise in the cost benefit analysis for the adding capacity at Heathrow consultation.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were employed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at the most recent date for which figures are available. (194439)

Metronet: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what Metronet's weekly cost to the public purse has been since it went into administration; and from what budget the costs are met. (189304)

On 6 February 2008, Official Report, columns 74-76WS, the Secretary of State made a written statement on the spending review settlement reached with Transport for London. This statement includes cover for costs arising from Metronet's administration.

It is now for Transport for London to manage its costs and priorities within its overall financial envelope.

Night Flying: East Midlands

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many night flights there were from (a) East Midlands Airport and (b) designated London airports in each of the last 10 years. (192417)

[holding answer 10 March 2008]: Night flights at the three London designated airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) are subject to restriction. With some exemptions, a movements and noise quota limit applies during the night quota period (11.30 pm to 6.00 am). The following table sets out the number of movements of aircraft subject to these controls. While there are restrictions on the type of aircraft that can be operated during the shoulder periods (11.00 pm to 11.30 pm and 6 am to 7 am), there are no limits on movements or quota during these periods.

Total number of movements in night quota period (11.30 pm to 6 am)

Heathrow

Gatwick

Stansted

Summer 1997

3007

8,095

2,821

1997-981

5,506

11,472

7,899

1998-99

6,194

12,467

5,451

1999-00

5,752

12,822

6,291

2000-01

5,886

14,324

7,260

2001-02

5,952

12,226

7,786

2002-03

5,977

11,954

7,695

2003-04

5,831

12,979

7,934

2004-05

5,843

13,939

8,958

2005-06

5,973

14,193

9,755

2006-07

6,238

12,909

11,067

1 i.e. Winter/summer. Note: The totals relate to movements covered by the Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted noise restrictions. They include some movements which were disregarded from movements limits because of delays to aircraft which were likely to lead to serious congestion at the aerodrome or serious hardship or suffering to passengers or animals; or because of delays to aircraft resulting from widespread and prolonged disruption of air traffic.

No similar regime involving a night quota period is in place at East Midlands. Flights are recorded on a calendar year basis and on a night period basis (11.00 pm to 7 pm). Accordingly, these data are not compatible with that provided.

Total number of movements in night period (11.00 pm to 7 am)

East Midlands

1997

16,071

1998

14,651

1999

14,731

2000

16,565

2001

15,418

2002

17,158

2003

17,468

2004

17,079

2005

16,544

2006

17,998

2007

19,888

Railways: Brighton

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average loading is of the diesel train service between Brighton and Ashford (a) in peak hours and (b) across the working day. (193910)

Road Traffic: Peterborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will (a) review and (b) estimate the likely traffic capacity of the (i) A47, (ii) A1139, (iii) A605 and (iv) A15 roads within the Peterborough city council area in the period up to 2020 consequent upon planned large-scale residential development; and if she will make a statement. (193682)

Reviewing and estimating traffic capacity at this local level is a matter for Peterborough city council in its development of local transport plans.

Southern: Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2008, Official Report, columns 9-10W, on rolling stock: Brighton, what assessment (a) she and (b) Southern have made of the capacity of diesel rolling stock available to that company to accommodate passenger demand on the (i) Brighton-Ashford and (ii) other railway lines; and if she will make a statement. (193909)

Train operating companies make decisions about the deployment of rolling stock to match customer demand.

The Department for Transport will continue to review train counts and train plans to check that resources are being deployed effectively.

The rail White Paper was published in July 2007. It sets out the resources that we intend to make available to the rail industry and the increases in capacity, as well as safety and performance that we expect the industry to deliver in return.

Transport: Bournemouth

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2757-58W, on housing: infrastructure, what work programmes have been evaluated for the infrastructure improvements needed to meet new housing developments recommended for the Bournemouth area. (193926)

The recommendations on housing developments for Bournemouth are those of an independent panel that examined the draft regional spatial strategy for the south-west. As part of the Government’s consideration of the report of the panel published in January 2008, the Departments for Transport and for Communities and Local Government are considering the transport implications of the proposed levels of growth. No conclusions have been reached by the Government on any of the panel’s recommendations.

Bournemouth borough council has not put forward proposals to the Government for new housing growth in its area. However, in relation to proposals for growth from Poole council, the Department is working with Poole and its neighbouring authorities including Bournemouth to examine the transport impact of the planned growth in the area.

The Departments for Transport and for Communities and Local Government have provided £200,000 towards the cost of studies by Poole and its neighbouring authorities to assess the need for transport infrastructure improvements and to ensure that the proposed housing growth is sustainable and acceptable environmentally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 2766W, on transport: finance, how much of (a) the £87 million regional transport budget and (b) the £173.7 million capital funding for the South West was allocated to Bournemouth. (193927)

The information is as follows:

(a) None of the regional transport budget for 2006-07 was allocated to Bournemouth borough council because the authority did not have any approved major schemes in construction during that year.

(b) Of the £173.3 million block capital funding for local authorities in the South West region for 2006-07, £2.691 million was allocated to Bournemouth borough council, consisting of an integrated transport allocation of £1.652 million and a highways capital maintenance allocation of £1.039 million.

Transport: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 3 March 2008, Official Report, columns 97-8WS, on rail and road capacity (east of England), what estimate she has made of the cost of the proposed (a) rail and (b) road improvements; and what contribution she expects to be forthcoming from BAA to each. (192367)

[holding answer 7 March 2008]: The proposed work to look into capacity improvements on the M11 and the West Anglia Main Line will examine a range of potential options. At this stage, it is too early to provide any clear indications of scheme costs.

In line with the provisions in the 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper, BAA will contribute to the costs to the extent that improvements are required to cater for airport-related traffic, subject to the necessary referral to the economic regulator and the planning process.

Transport: Kent

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which integrated transport projects undertaken by Kent county council in north Kent have been financed by the proceeds of the Dartford River Crossing tolls; and in which constituencies those projects are located. (193046)

The Department has made available £1 million per year extra since 2003 to Kent county council to help deliver local transport projects. This is in recognition of the impact of the crossing on local residents.

This funding is provided as an addition to the local transport block capital allocation for Kent county council, which in 2007-08 totalled £36.737 million. Responsibility for allocating these funds is a matter for Kent county council, and the Department does not require the authority to provide detailed returns on its decisions.

Travel Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that local authorities receive funding from central Government to fully cover the costs of implementing the national concessionary fares scheme. (193111)

The Government are confident that the overall level of funding for the statutory minimum provision of concessionary travel is sufficient to cover the full cost.

Following the introduction of the free off-peak local bus travel concession within local authority areas in April 2006, central Government provided an extra £350 million in 2006-07 and £367.5 million in 2007-08 for statutory concessionary fares through the revenue support grant. The Department is now paying an additional special grant of £212 million in 2008-09 (rising thereafter) just to cover the cost of extending the statutory minimum bus concession to provide free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England. This additional amount of £212 million is based on our assessment of the likely cost impact of the new concession which is based on generous assumptions about pass take-up, fares and increased patronage.

The proposed distribution of this grant was published by the Department for Transport in the Special Grant Report (No. 129) on 19 February. The final distribution will be subject to parliamentary debate and a copy of the report is in the Library of the House.

In addition, the Government paid a grant of over £31 million in total to travel concession authorities (TCAs) in England outside London in this financial year (2007-08) to cover the cost of issuing concessionary travel passes. The passes grant to each TCA is based on an allowance of £4 for each pass currently in circulation, uplifted by 20 per cent. to recognise that the new concession is likely to be more attractive than the existing one.

Treasury

Car Allowances

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will publish the results of the review of the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments Scheme. (193748)

The Chancellor announced in Budget 2008 that the Government would maintain the tax-free mileage allowance (AMAPs) rates and thresholds at current levels.

Charities: Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government plan to take in relation to the potential effects on charities in receipt of gift aid of the new basic rate of income tax to be introduced in April 2008. (193342)

[holding answer 12 March 2008]: HM Treasury has recently consulted on ways to drive up charitable giving from individuals through gift aid.

The Government published their response to the consultation at Budget.

Child Tax Credit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2008, Official Report, column 2800W, on welfare tax credits, how many of the households with positive entitlement to child tax credit did not claim it in 2005-06. (193701)

HMRC tax credit statistics show that take-up of the child tax credit was 82 per cent. by case load in 2005-06, rising to 96 per cent. for those families with children on the lowest incomes. Consistent take-up estimates for families classified as being in poverty according to the definition used in “Households Below Average Income” are not available.

Departmental Recruitment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what civil service grade his Department's director in public services is; how the position was advertised; which search consultants were involved; what references were taken up for the successful candidate; at what level the decision to appoint was taken; and whether Ministers were involved in the decision. (192739)

[holding answer 10 March 2008]: The director of public services is graded as senior civil service payband 2.

Rockpools was engaged by the Department to assist with the recruitment campaign, and the post was advertised in The Sunday Times on 9 December 2007.

In line with the civil service commissioners' recruitment code, the selection panel was chaired by a civil service commissioner and comprised the Treasury's second permanent secretary, along with an external representative. No Ministers were involved in the decision-making process.

Appropriate references were obtained on the successful candidate in line with the Department's policy on pre-employment checks.

Written Questions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many written questions to his Department had not received an answer as at 25 February 2008 for (a) between two and four, (b) between four and six, (c) between six and eight and (d) more than eight weeks; and how many in each category were tabled for named- day answer. (193397)

The information requested is given in the table:

Weeks

Questions awaiting answer (named day component)

2-4

13 (-)

4-6

14 (2)

6-8

11 (1)

8 +

17 (1)

Treasury Ministers have answered substantively 2,123 House of Commons written questions in the present session. Over the preceding seven sessions since 2000-01, some 78 per cent. of the 26,493 written questions received by the Treasury were answered substantively on or before the due date.

Economic Situation: Cumbria

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to take into account (a) the wider social and economic issues facing West Cumbria, (b) the needs of businesses in the same area, (c) the skills and experience of the Whitehaven workforce and (d) West Cumbria’s roads and public transport infrastructure when making decisions relating to the future of the HM Revenue and Customs office in Whitehaven. (193596)

Factors such as these are taken into account before a decision is made on the future of any office in HMRC’s regional review programme. The overall aim of this programme is to restructure HMRC’s estate and business in the most efficient way possible so as to provide a better service at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

HM Revenue and Customs: Bonuses

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria are used to determine (a) the total amount available for bonus payments to HM Revenue and Customs staff in each pay year and (b) the amounts awarded to individuals as bonuses. (193313)

A common pay framework for the Senior Civil Service (SCS) is determined by the Cabinet Office, and not delegated to individual Departments. This framework includes incentive payments for the highest-performing staff who can demonstrate that they have delivered the outcomes expected of them and service improvements that matter to the public. The Cabinet Office also determines the size of the overall SCS bonus pot each year.

Full details of SCS pay criteria and awards are set out annually by the Senior Salaries Review Body. Its 29th Report on Senior Salaries 2007 (Cm 7030) includes a review of the pay system in 2005-06 and recommendations for 2006-07.

In accordance with this guidance, HMRC paid performance awards in four non-consolidated, non-pensionable tranches for 2006-07: zero, minimum (£3,000), medium (9 per cent. of base salary) and high (15 per cent. of base salary). Payment of these bonuses was made in November 2007.

Pay for other staff is delegated to individual Departments, who are expected to negotiate pay deals with their staff in accordance with pay remit guidance issued by HM Treasury. HMRC agreed a three-year pay remit with the Treasury in 2005, and a three-year pay settlement with staff and unions for pay awards in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. HMRC has made provision for a proportion of the overall funds available to be invested in non-consolidated performance awards.

HMRC’s bonus pot of 0.80 per cent. is currently below the minimum level of 2.5 per cent. recommended in the pay remit guidance. HMRC’s pay settlement provides for a payment for a “top performer” of between 2.5 per cent. and 5 per cent. of salary, and a smaller payment for a “good performer” whose salary has reached the range maximum.

HMRC sets the actual percentage of performance awards paid each year on the basis of affordability, after analysing performance marks received by staff and the resulting cost implications.

HM Revenue and Customs: Data Protection

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions HM Revenue and Customs has transferred more than 50 tax returns between offices in each of the last 12 months. (193295)

HM Revenue and Customs: Training

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training courses were attended by HM Revenue and Customs staff in the last 12 months. (193300)

HM Revenue and Customs: Whitehaven

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how staff from the HM Revenue and Customs office in Whitehaven will be consulted on the future of the office. (193597)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publishes its proposals on its internal staff intranet at the start of any review, and whenever possible business units hold face-to-face meetings with staff to explain and discuss the proposals. Staff are invited to comment on them, either individually or as part of a team, via a dedicated e-mail facility. Staff can also engage with their trade unions to put forward their views.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the consultation on the future of the HM Revenue and Customs office in Whitehaven to (a) begin and (b) conclude; and what criteria he expects to be taken into account in the decision-making process. (193598)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has too much office space and will need even less in the future. It is therefore engaged in a review programme to decide which offices best suit its future business needs. It has already reviewed offices in and around the major urban centres, and is currently working on a timetable, which it hopes to publish shortly, for the review of its remaining offices, including Whitehaven.

The potential impacts of an office closure on staff, customers and the wider local community are taken into account in the decision-making process, and balanced against HMRC’s overall aim of restructuring its estate and business in the most efficient way possible.

Income Tax Rates and Bands

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue that would be raised by a 1 per cent. increase in the higher rate of income tax, based on (a) 2007-08 tax bands and (b) 2008-09 tax bands. (194049)

The cost or yield from a 1p change in the higher rate of income tax is regularly published in the “Tax ready reckoner and tax reliefs”, copies of which are in the Library, and in table 1.6 on the HM Revenue and Customs’ website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_expenditures/menu.htm

An updated version of table 1.6 reflecting changes announced in Budget 2007 which take effect from April 2008 is due to be published at the end of April.

Landfill Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of the landfill levy was allocated as tax foregone in (a) 2004, (b) 2005, (c) 2006 and (d) 2007; (193104)

(2) what income he received from the operation of the landfill levy in (a) 2004, (b) 2005, (c) 2006 and (d) 2007;

(3) what the disbursements from tax foregone on the landfill levy to (a) environmental trusts and other bodies and (b) Business Resource Efficiency and Waste were in (i) 2004, (ii) 2005, (iii) 2006 and (iv) 2007.

Latest landfill tax receipts are published by HM Revenue and Customs at

http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bulllandfill

This also includes estimates of tax forgone as a result of contributions to environmental bodies (EBs) through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF); the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste programme is not funded via tax foregone.

Information submitted to ENTRUST, the regulatory body for the LCF, shows the total contributions received by EBs as follows:

£

2004

46,610,695

2005

52,723,090

2006

56,013,671

2007

64,549,433

Public Buildings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the Public Sector Building Non-housing (PUBSEC) index, rebased to 2000, for each quarter of each financial from since 1990 to 2000. (191683)

I have been asked to reply.

The Public Sector (Non-Housebuilding) index was published in the bulletin “Quarterly Building Price and Cost Indices”. I have arranged for a copy of the index, rebased to the year 2000, to be deposited in the Library.

Regional Development Agencies: Complaints

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints against regional development agencies were (a) received and (b) upheld in each year for which figures are available. (191357)

I have been asked to reply.

RDAs record information relating to formal complaints in different ways. The following tables show the number of complaints against RDAs which were received and upheld.

2002-032003-042004-05

RDAs

Complaints received

Complaints upheld

Complaints received

Complaints upheld

Complaints received

Complaints upheld

AWM1

2

2

EEDA2

3

5

1

4

1

HMD A3

LDA4

17

0

NWDA

0

0

0

0

0

0

ONES

SEEDA6

SWRDA

0

0

0

0

0

0

YF7

10

0

3

0

2005-062006-07

RDAs

Complaints received

Complaints upheld

Complaints received

Complaints upheld

AWM1

3

3

3

3

EEDA2

4

3

6

2

HMD A3

0

0

0

0

LDA

29

0

20

0

NWDA

0

0

7

1

ONES

20

0

24

0

SEEDA6

2

0

1

0

SWRDA

0

0

1

0

YF

9

0

16

0

Notes:

1. AWM only records formal complaints which could not be resolved in the first instance and required further action to resolve them. The AWM figures in the table all relate to formal complaints which required investigation and, in some cases, further action.

2. EEDA's complaints upheld figures for 2002-03 are in archive and are not held centrally and are available only at disproportionate cost. Complaints received figures for 2002-03 are from the annual reports and accounts.

3. EMDA only records complaints which could not be resolved in the first instance and required further action to resolve them.

4. LDA's figures for 2002-03 and 2003-04 are archived. This information is not held centrally and is available only at disproportionate cost.

5. Prior to 2005-06, ONE did not record complaints received. After 2005-06, the agency only recorded complaints received. The complaints procedure is not designed to result in a complaint being 'upheld' or not. The complaints ONE receives are rarely of a nature that enables them to record information in this way as the procedure is actually a mediation process. For example, a complaint may relate to failure of a complainant to secure funding - the resolution in this case would be to discuss feedback with the complainant and point them in the direction of alternative funding sources.

6. SEEDA only records complaints which could not be resolved in the first instance and required further action to resolve them.

7 Prior to 2003-04, YF did not record complaints received.

Revenue and Customs: Disclosure of Information

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has authorised the purchase by HM Revenue and Customs of information suspected to be stolen; (192866)

(2) whether he has had discussions with the Principality of Liechtenstein on the return of stolen information to the Bank of Liechtenstein;

(3) what code of ethics applies to the procurement by HM Revenue and Customs of suspected stolen documentation;

(4) whether he has had discussions with the Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs on the purchase by HM Revenue and Customs of suspected stolen documents.

Handling information relating to the administration of taxes is an operational matter for HMRC, which discusses a wide range of taxation issues with international businesses and tax authorities.

The Government have bilateral international treaties which provide for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to work with other countries’ tax administrations to secure and share information to prevent double taxation, to prevent fraud and avoidance, and to implement domestic law.

In relation to other aspects of the handling of this individual case, I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 116W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).

VAT

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much value-added tax was collected in each local authority area in England in each of the last three years for which figures are available. (193510)

VAT: Plastic Bags

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of value-added tax revenue raised on re-usable shopping bags in 2006. (193591)

Working Tax Credit: Morecambe

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency received working tax credit in the latest period for which figures are available. (194033)

In 2005-06, the average number of families receiving working tax credits in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency was 3,400.

This information is from the HMRC publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards 2005-06. Geographical Analysis”, which is available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

Prime Minister

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Prime Minister how many and what percentage of staff in his office were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. (193573)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson).

Fairtrade Initiatives

To ask the Prime Minister what his Office’s policy is on the use of fair trade goods (a) in staff catering facilities and (b) at official departmental functions and meetings; and if he will make a statement. (183884)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him today by the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson).

Northern Ireland

Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of hate crimes were recorded in Northern Ireland in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007. (192353)

The following table records the number of ‘Hate Incidents’ recorded in Northern Ireland by the PSNT in 2006 and 2007.

1 January to 31 December each year

Motivation

2006

20071

Racist

1,069

852

Homophobic

177

136

Faith/Religion

123

152

Sectarian

1,754

1,097

Disability

52

49

Transphobic

28

9

1 The hate motivation figures for 2007 are provisional and should be treated with caution. The PSNI is aware of some under-recording in these incident types during 2007-08 as a result of a change in processes/systems that was introduced on 1 April 2007. Procedures have been put in place to improve the accuracy of these figures by the end of the financial year.

Source:

Central Statistics Unit, PSNI

Culture, Media and Sport

Abbott Mead Vickers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts there were between his Department and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) value and (b) purpose of each was. (192047)

Archaeology: Flag Fen

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he plans to offer financial or other assistance to the Flag Fen bronze age site near Peterborough to (a) continue and (b) expand its (i) exhibition and (ii) excavation work; and if he will make a statement. (192487)

[holding answer 10 March 2008]: Since 1988-89 English Heritage, the Government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment, has given around £356,000 to the Fenland Archaeological Trust (FAT) for surveys, excavation, analysis, detailed publication and public presentation of the Flag Fen site and its surroundings. £300,000 of this was given through the former Archaeology Commissions programme (now Historic Environment Enabling Programme). A further £56,000 was contributed through regional grant aid specifically for the Preservation Hall. In addition to this expenditure a popular account of the site was published in the English Heritage/Batsford series on England’s archaeology. In 2008-09 English Heritage will be providing a further contribution of around £1,500 towards the publication of more recent investigations. Supporting the exhibition is outside the remit of English Heritage’s grant schemes.

FAT is a partner in the Greater Fens Museum Partnership, which is receives £96,200 from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council’s (MLA) “Renaissance in the Regions” regional museums development programme. The trust has received £1,500 for object conservation work from MLA.

FAT also secured £600,000 from the Millennium Commission towards the cost of a new Heritage Centre, as part of the £5.408 million Peterborough Green Wheel project. FAT has received two grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). In March 2006 the trust was awarded £178,000 to support education and outreach activities, and in August 2006, £44,688 was awarded for a project planning grant. HLF is anticipating a larger application as a result of this work.

Arts Council of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will place in the Library a copy of Arts Council England’s most recent edition of its register of interests, gifts, hospitality and other benefits. (192166)

Arts Council of England: Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the process for (a) appointing and (b) removing (i) national and (ii) regional Arts Council England members is. (192164)

The process for appointing national members and regional chairs of Arts Council England is set out in the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice. It includes ministerial agreement to a role specification against which candidates are assessed, advertising in the national press or on the DCMS and Cabinet Office websites and interviews of shortlisted candidates by a selection panel, followed by recommendations to Ministers on whom to appoint. An independent assessor is involved throughout, the final decision and appointment is then made by DCMS Ministers.

Non-chair members of the regional councils are appointed by the national council. The standard process involves advertisement and interviews followed by recommendations to the national council, which takes the final decision. However, for each regional council six of the members (eight on the South East regional council) are nominated by local authorities, regional government or regional development agencies, and then appointed by the national council.

The London regional council chair and four non-chair members are appointed by the Mayor of London (in the case of the chair, Secretary of State approval is also required).

Appointments of national members and regional chairs of Arts Council England may be terminated by the Secretary of State in accordance with article 7 of the Arts Council England Royal Charter and as set out in the terms and conditions of appointment.

National Council can remove non-chair members of any regional council (with the exception of the London regional council) with reasonable cause.

The Mayor of London can remove the London regional council chair and non-chair members with reasonable cause (in the case of the chair, Secretary of State approval is also required).

Casinos: Cash Dispensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether automated teller machines authorised to be placed in casinos licensed under the Gambling Act 2005 will be permitted to dispense cash from credit card accounts. (193866)

A customer may obtain cash from an automated teller machine (ATM) in casinos by means of a credit card. A customer may not use a credit card to gamble at any gaming table, gaming machine or betting machine, or to purchase gaming chips.

The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 attach a condition to all types of casino premises licence that any ATM made available shall be located in a place that requires any customer who wishes to use it to cease gambling at any gaming table, gaming machine or betting machine in order to do so.

Culture Online

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment his Department has made of the impact of Culture Online on reaching new audiences for the arts, with particular reference to hard-to-reach groups. (193371)

The Department commissioned Demos to produce an overview of Culture Online’s work. Its report “Logging On: Culture, Participation and the Web” was published in May 2007. It provides an overview of lessons learned from the Culture Online programme and advice on how web technology can increase public participation in culture. I am arranging for copies of the report to be deposited in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what targets were set for measuring Culture Online’s performance in (a) engaging with hard-to-reach groups, (b) enhancing access to the arts for children and young people and (c) opening up cultural institutions to the wider community. (193372)

Culture Online commissioned a range of innovative projects aimed at different audiences. Each project had targets built into Culture Online’s delivery contract with partner organisations, which included user numbers, costs per user and, where appropriate, engagement with specific audience groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding was set aside for Culture Online; and how much was spent in each year since 2002. (193373)

Funding of £10 million was allocated to Culture Online in 2002, mainly from the Capital Modernisation Fund. In 2005, an additional £3 million was allocated. Expenditure on Culture Online in each year since it was established is set out in the table. Culture Online closed at the end of March 2007.

Financial year

£

2002-03

265,379

2003-04

1,439,034

2004-05

3,893,000

2005-06

2,657,000

2006-07

4,205,000

2007-08 spend to date

72,312

Culture: Coastal Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage cultural regeneration in coastal resorts. (194254)

My Department's £45 million fund (£15 million a year over three years) to regenerate seaside resorts through heritage and cultural projects was announced on 30 November 2007.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will make an announcement on the funding proposals for year 1 of the programme shortly.

Culture: Sponsorship

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington of 3 March 2008, Official Report, column 2124W, on Culture: Sponsorship, how much business spending on the arts was in each year between 1997-98 and 2005-06. (193379)

The figures for business sponsorship of the arts are measured in the annual Private Investment Benchmarking Survey conducted by Arts and Business. The survey methodology was changed in 2002-03, and therefore the figures are not directly comparable.

£ million

199-98

115.1

1998-99

141.2

1999-2000

150.4

2000-01

114.4

2001-02

111.0

New survey method introduced

2002-03

164.2

2003-04

152.1

2004-05

155.0

2005-06

154.2

2006-07

171.5

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether confidential or personal information has been compromised through the loss of property from his Department since 1997. (193430)

My Department has had no reports of confidential or personal information being compromised as a result of the loss of DCMS property since 1997.

Departmental Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants, (b) special advisers and (c) Ministers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in the last 12 months. (193527)

Expenditure on hotel and other privately provided accommodation is not held separately or by the categories requested in the Department’s accounting system. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis. Information for the period 1 May 1997 to 31 March 2007 is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2007-08 will be published after the end of the current financial year.

All travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Travel by Ministers and the Civil Service Management Code.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many and what percentage of staff in his Department were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. (193552)

The number and percentage of staff in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who have been making additional voluntary contributions to their pension in the last two years are as follows:

Staff

Percentage

2006-07

6

1.14

2007-08

6

1.25

Internet Access

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what regulations govern access by minors to adult content on the internet. (192447)

While there are no specific regulations in this area, the Government have taken steps to protect children from harmful content. Examples include the establishment and work of the Internet Watch Foundation, the Home Office task force on child protection and the cyber bullying guidance published by the DCSF in September 2007. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) on 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2038W, which gives more details about these measures.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced a review of the risk to children of exposure to harmful or inappropriate content in video games and online. The review will assess the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to such material and help parents understand and manage the risks of access to inappropriate content.

Dr. Tanya Byron is conducting this review, and will report to Ministers in March 2008.

Religious Buildings: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which places of worship in Bexley have received funding from (a) English Heritage and (b) the Heritage Lottery Fund since 1997. (193349)

Christ Church, Broadway, Bexleyheath received a grant from the Joint Places of Worship grant scheme. This scheme was jointly funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund and ended in 2002.

The Church of All Saints, Foot’s Cray, has received a grant under the successor grant programme, the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme. This scheme is also jointly funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Tourism: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department provided to each of the regional development agencies for the promotion of tourism in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what the (a) purpose and (b) value of each such payment was; and what further such expenditure he plans in the next three years. (191370)

Funding for regional development agencies (RDAs) is not ring-fenced for particular economic sectors such as tourism. In each year since 2003-04, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has contributed £3.6 million to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s (DBERR’s) Single Programme budget (the “Single Pot”) in respect of the tourism responsibilities of the eight regional development agencies (RDAs) outside London. The Single Pot, which will total approximately £2.2 billion, £2.2 billion and £2.1billion in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively, is allocated among the RDAs by DBERR. The DCMS’s contribution will be £3.5 million, £3.4 million and £3.3 million in these years.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is responsible for tourism in London. The DCMS has provided £1.9 million each year since 2001-02 to the GLA to support the Mayor in the delivery of the GLA’s statutory tourism duties. The GLA and the London Development Agency report total spending of around £22 million on tourism support in 2006-07.

Since 2003-04, all the RDAs have developed regional tourism strategies, budgets, and delivery mechanisms, and worked with regional partners and VisitBritain to promote and develop their region’s tourism industry. The RDAs outside London reported total spending on tourism support of £29.8 million in 2006-07.

Tourism: North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had on tourism in (a) the north-west and (b) Cheshire; and if he will make a statement. (193751)

Ministers and officials have had various discussions about tourism in the north-west in recent months, in particular with the North West Regional Development Agency, the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board and the Liverpool Culture Company. I visited Chester on 25 February and met a range of people from the public and private tourism sectors to discuss their plans for the future. I have also had many discussions with VisitBritain about its role in promoting tourism in the whole of Britain, including the north-west.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is due to participate in the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Conference in Liverpool on 14 March. I plan to visit Cumbria on 17 March to meet representatives of Cumbria Tourism.

Wind Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to which wind farm proposals his Department lodged objections in each of the last three years; and for what reasons in each case. (191109)

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments: Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have attended accident and emergency departments in England in each of the last five years in order to receive treatment for minor (a) ailments and (b) injuries. (192878)

The table shows the number of attendances at minor injury and illness accident and emergency (A and E) services, including walk-in centres (WiCs) (type 3 including WiCs). It also shows total attendances for other types of A and E department (types 1 and 2).

It should be noted that reason for attendance at A and E services is not currently centrally available, so it is not possible to ascertain whether all patients attending type 3 services, including WiCs, are in fact doing so with minor ailments or minor injuries. Nor is it possible to ascertain how many of those attending other types of A and E are doing so with minor ailments or minor injuries.

Attendances at A and E departments, minor injury units and WiCs centres, England, 2002-03 to 2006-07

Type 1 and 2

Type 3 (including WiC)

2002-03

12,510,682

1,880,840

2003-04

13,272,055

3,244,790

2004-05

13,885,052

3,952,128

2005-06

14,202,418

4,556,746

2006-07

14,226,176

4,696,099

Note:

WiCs were only included in the collection from Q1 2003-04.

Source:

Department of Health QMAE dataset

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, columns 325-6W, Alcoholic drinks: Misuse, how many (a) females and (b) males were considered to be binge drinkers in each of the last five years. (193928)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) general household survey provides an estimate of the percentage of men and women who drank more eight or six units respectively than on at least one day in the previous week, a measure of binge drinking.

The following table gives figures for the percentage of men and women who were considered to be binge drinkers for the last five years where figures are available. It is important to note that in December 2007, the ONS described improvements in the ONS method for estimating alcohol consumption.

The improved method takes account of increases in the alcoholic strength of wine and the sizes of glass used, and uses better estimates of the alcoholic strength of beers, lagers and ciders. Figures for 2005 and 2006 were re-calculated using this improved methodology. Figures for years prior to 2005 were not re-calculated.

Percentage of men who drank more than 8 units on any 1 day in the previous week

Percentage of women who drank more than 6 units on any 1 day in the previous week

Old method

2002

21

10

2003

23

9

2004

22

9

2005

19

8

2006

18

8

Improved method

2005

23

15

2006

23

15

Care Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many units of accommodation have been provided using funding from the extra care housing grant since it began; how many have been provided by (a) councils, (b) registered social landlords and (c) the private sector; and if he will make a statement on the future use of the grant. (183755)

The development of more than 4,200 units of accommodation is being funded by the Department’s extra care housing grant. All 72 schemes receiving funding from this grant were delivered by a council, and 68 of the schemes were delivered by councils in partnership with a registered social landlord. Records are not held centrally on private-sector involvement in the schemes.

A further £80 million will be made available between 2008 and 2010 to fund further extra care housing developments in England.

Cervical Cancer: Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cervical cancer screenings there were in (a) Tamworth and (b) Staffordshire in each of the last five years. (193626)

The information requested is not available in the format requested. However, data for the cervical screening programme: coverage of the target age group (25-64) for Staffordshire based primary care trusts (PCTs), at 31 March 2003 to 2007 are set out in the following tables.

North Staffordshire PCT1

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Eligible population2

50,750

50,490

50,391

50,211

50,290

Women screened (less than 3.5 yrs since last adequate test)

40,618

39,863

39,304

38,721

38,289

Women screened (less than 5 yrs since last adequate test)

43,235

42,685

42,359

41,754

41,414

Coverage (less than 3.5 yrs since last adequate test) (percentage)

80.0

79.0

78.0

77.1

76.1

Coverage (less than 5 yrs since last adequate test) (percentage)

85.2

84.5

84.1

83.2

82.4

South Staffordshire PCT1

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Eligible population2

146,059

146,389

146,946

147,939

148,521

Women screened (less than 3.5 yrs since last adequate test)

115,112

114,587

114,159

114,549

113,813

since last adequate test)

123,557

123,036

122,701

122,608

122,416

Coverage (less than 3.5 yrs since last adequate test) (percentage)

78.8

78.3

77.7

77.4

76.6

Coverage (less than 5 yrs since last adequate test) (percentage)

84.6

84.0

83.5

82.9

82.4

1 Data prior to March 2007 have been mapped to the current PCT structure

2 This is the number of women in the resident population less those with recall ceased for clinical reasons.

Note:

National policy for the cervical screening programme is that eligible women aged 25 to 64 should be screened every three or five years (women aged 25 to 49 are screened every three years, those aged 50 to 64 every five years).

Source:

KC53 Parts A2 and A3, the Information Centre for health and social care.

Community Care: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was spent on NHS-funded continuing care for (a) adults with learning disabilities, (b) older people, (c) adults with physical disabilities and (d) adults with mental health problems in each primary care trust area in England in each quarter of 2007. (192340)

Dementia: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on development of a national dementia strategy; and if he will make a statement. (192392)

The Department has so far published two documents in support of the forthcoming national dementia strategy—‘Strengthening the Involvement of People with Dementia: a resource for implementation’ was published in November 2007 and ‘Creative models of short breaks (respite care) for people with dementia’ in February 2008.

The Department is working with stakeholder groups in developinf the national dementia strategy, and a formal consultation on the draft will take place between June and August 2008.

Drugs: Babies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many babies were born with an addiction to a class A drug in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (193636)

We do not hold this information centrally but the following table gives details of babies born with addictions to any substance. The figures are from the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) and are based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ICD-10 codes for identification of conditions. (ICD is the WHO’s system for identifying conditions. ICD-10 is the tenth (and current) version.

Finished consultant episodes for ICD-10 code P96.1

2006-07

1,162

2005-06

1,183

2004-05

1,160

2003-04

1,127

2002-03

1,031

There are no specific codes in ICD-10 that identify babies born with class A drug addiction. ICD-10 code P96.1 (neonatal withdrawal symptoms from maternal use of drugs of addiction) indicates withdrawal symptoms due to maternal use of drugs of addiction. The fact that the neonate is in withdrawal indicates that they were born addicted to a drug. However, it is not limited to class A drug addiction. The P96.1 code includes neonatal addiction as a result of maternal use of class A drugs but also includes maternal addiction to any drug, for example cannabis or analgesics.

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the number of people with chronic health problems arising from illicit drug-taking; and what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the NHS of this. (191383)

The Department has not made any formal estimate of the number of people with chronic health problems arising from illicit drug-taking. Nor has it made an estimate of the annual cost of this to the national health service.

However, there is a strong evidence base which has established the serious harms that drug misuse causes including those that are health-related. This is why we have invested substantially in drug treatment, allocating another £398 million pooled drug treatment budget this year for the treatment of drug misuse.

The Government launched their new national Drug Strategy on 27 February 2008, which, following on from the previous Drug Strategy, again identifies effective treatment as key to tackling these problems.

Hearing Impaired: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the recommended frequency with which people with hearing and balance disorders should be monitored by health care professionals. (190459)

Patients should be advised to return to primary care to be referred for a review on a needs basis. It is suggested that patients are reviewed after a period of time, to check that their hearing aid is delivering optimum benefits. The frequency of such a review should be determined locally in conjunction with audiology providers and based on patient need. If a patient’s hearing deteriorates and/or they feel their hearing aid is no longer fit for purpose, they should be advised to return to primary care where support may be provided. If appropriate, the patient will be referred to an audiology provider for assessment and, if required, treatment.

Macular Degeneration: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research on the relationship between smoking and the long-term incidence of age-related macular degeneration; if he will consider as part of the research the work that has been carried out by (a) Jennifer S. Tan and others for the Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney and the Department of Ophthalmology, Westmead Hospital, New South Wales and (b) U. Chakravarthy and others; and if he will make a statement. (193521)

Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The usual practice of the Department’s National Institute for Health Research and of the Medical Research Council is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. Both organisations welcome applications for support for research on any aspect of human health and these are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to improve the regulation of the activities of the Nursing and Midwifery Council; and if he will make a statement. (191966)

In February 2007 Government published the White Paper “Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century”, which sets out a series of proposals to modernise the system of professional regulation. These proposals include a number of reforms to the governance of the regulatory bodies, such as the introduction of fully appointed, smaller, more board-like councils, where professional members no longer form a majority.

The Health and Social Care Bill will introduce provision to require the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) in its annual report to state how far, in exercising statutory functions, it and each health professions regulatory body has, in the council’s opinion, promoted the health, safety and well-being of patients and other members of the public. It also clarifies that the CHRE is not prevented from investigating particular cases for the purpose of making general reports on the performance of health care regulatory bodies of its functions or making general recommendations to those bodies affecting future cases.

All regulators are currently required to produce annual reports which they send to the Privy Council, which then lays the reports before each House of Parliament. We have introduced further provision on the content of these reports, which includes a description of the arrangements that the council has put in place to ensure that it adheres to good practice in relation to equality and diversity. It will be a requirement that the regulator lay a copy of its annual report and strategic plan before the United Kingdom Parliament, and where appropriate the Scottish Parliament.

Palliative Care: Cambridgeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on supportive and palliative care has been implemented in North West Cambridgeshire. (192669)

It is for individual primary care trusts (PCTs), including Cambridgeshire PCT, within the national health service to commission services for their resident population, including end of life care, based on assessments of local needs and priorities. The NHS has been asked to set out action plans to achieve compliance with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendations on supportive and palliative care. Implementation is being monitored by strategic health authorities (SHAs).

Information on the rate of progress locally can be obtained through East of England SHA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what data are used by commissioners in North West Cambridgeshire to determine the need for specialist palliative and neurological care. (192670)

It is for individual primary care trusts (PCTs), including Cambridgeshire PCT, within the national health service to commission services for their resident population, including end of life care and neurological care, based on an assessment of local needs and priorities. Strategic health authorities are responsible for monitoring PCTs to ensure that they are effective and efficient.

The NHS operating framework for 2007-08 asked PCTs, working with local authorities, to undertake a baseline review of their end of life care services. These will allow local commissioners to assess current services, identify gaps and obtain a much clearer view of local need, which will inform local commissioning.

Regarding neurological care, the information strategy published alongside the “National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions” outlines commissioners’ information requirements and a series of local and national actions designed to meet those needs. A copy of the framework is available in the Library.

Palliative Care: Eastbourne

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what data are used by commissioners to determine the need for specialist palliative and neurological care in Eastbourne. (192019)

It is for individual primary care trusts (PCTs), including East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT, within the national health service to commission services for their resident population, including end of life care and neurological care, based on an assessment of local needs and priorities. Strategic health authorities are responsible for monitoring PCTs to ensure they are effective and efficient.

The NHS operating framework for 2007-08 asked PCTs, working with local authorities, to undertake a baseline review of their end of life care services. These will allow local commissioners to assess current services, identify gaps and obtain a much clearer view of local need, which will inform local commissioning.

Regarding neurological care, the information strategy published alongside the ‘National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions’ outlines commissioners' information requirements and a series of local and national actions designed to meet those needs. A copy of this document is available in the Library.

Patients: Nutrition

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many bed days were occupied by patients with a (a) primary and (b) secondary diagnosis of (i) malnutrition, (ii) nutritional anaemias and (iii) other nutritional deficiencies in each year since 1997-98, broken down by NHS trust; and what estimate he has made of the cost per bed day of treating a patient with a (A) primary and (B) secondary diagnosis of (1) malnutrition, (2) nutritional anaemias and (3) other nutritional deficiencies in the latest period for which figures are available. (189475)

Pharmacies: Opening Hours

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many pharmacies are operating for under 100 hours per week under the Medicines (Pharmacy and General Sale—Exemption) Amendment Order 2005 in the Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement; (193710)

(2) how many pharmacies operate in the Peterborough constituency (a) for under 100 hours a week under the provisions of section 12 of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005 and (b) for over 100 hours a week under the provisions of section 13 of the regulations; and if he will make a statement.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The hon. Member may wish to raise this issue directly with the chief executive of Peterborough primary care trust.

Self-Mutilation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many recorded self-harm incidents there were in England in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) age group, (b) sex and (c) constituency; and if he will make a statement. (192567)

The data are not available in the requested format.

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) results in about 170,000 attendances at accident and emergency departments in the United Kingdom annually, with more than 140,000 of these being in England and Wales. DSH is one of the top five causes of acute medical admission, and is the most common reason for medical admission of females and the second most common reason for males. Approximately two thirds of DSH patients are under 35 years old.

Hospital episode statistics record the number of finished consultant episodes of people who have been admitted in national health service hospitals with a primary diagnosis of injury and poisoning. Since a high proportion of these records do not record an external cause of injury or poisoning, such as deliberate self-harm, it is not possible to ascertain the total number of self-harm admissions accurately.

Torbay Hospital: Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) revenue income and (b) estimated overhead cost of the parking charges scheme at Torbay hospital was in each of the last 10 years. (192256)

Hospital car parking charges are decided locally by individual trusts to help cover the cost of running and maintaining a car park. All trusts should have exemption and concessionary schemes in place to ensure that patients and carers who visit hospital regularly are not disadvantaged. They should also have sustainable public transport plans in place for staff and visitors.

Data on the gross income that national health service trusts receive from car parking charges paid by staff and visitors have been collected since 2000. These data are provided by the NHS on a voluntary basis and have not been amended following their collection, nor have they been actively checked by the Department. They therefore cannot be confirmed to be accurate or complete.

Information in respect of Torbay hospital, part of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is shown in the following table.

Total gross income from car parking charges

2000-01

1

2001-02

208,081

2002-03

316,896

2003-04

347,413

2004-05

418,319

2005-06

464,327

2006-07

464,213

1 Trust did not submit data

The Department does not collect information about the overhead costs that trusts will incur in providing car parking facilities.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions

7. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions. (193657)

UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 16.4 per cent. since 1990 (20.7 per cent. including EU emmission trading scheme). We remain on course to nearly double our Kyoto Protocol target over the 2008-12 period.

The 2006 UK Climate Change Programme and the 2007 Energy White Paper set out the policies and measures for reducing emissions, and support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. The Climate Change Bill, the first of its kind in any country, introduces legally binding carbon budgets to ensure that progress will continue.

Ramsar Convention

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances it is necessary to conduct (a) an appropriate assessment and (b) an environmental assessment before development on wetlands designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar convention. (193663)

An appropriate assessment needs to be undertaken in respect of any plan or project which would be likely to have a significant effect on a European site. As a matter of policy, Ramsar sites in England and Wales are accorded the same protection as European sites.

In regard to environmental assessments, generally, it will fall to local planning authorities in the first instance to consider whether a proposed development requires an environmental impact assessment.

SSSIs

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to increase the number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in favourable condition by 2010; and if he will make a statement. (193666)

We are working closely with Natural England, and other stakeholders to achieve our public service agreement target of bringing 95 per cent. of England’s SSSI land area into favourable or recovering condition by 2010. Currently, 80.8 per cent. of the SSSI land area is meeting the target and we are confident that the 2010 target, while challenging, remains achievable.

Veterinary Clinical Research

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department is providing for veterinary clinical research in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (193668)

DEFRA funding for animal health and welfare research in 2007-08 amounts to £39.4 million. The research programme involves more than 250 projects and covers a wide range of topics that includes both laboratory and field research. The programme is not divided into clinical and non-clinical work, and many of the projects include components of both.

Great Crested Newts

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the population of great crested newts in England and Leicestershire; and if he will make a statement. (193671)

In 2006, it was estimated that there were approximately 66,000 great crested newt breeding ponds in England. As far as we are aware, there has been no specific estimate of the number of great crested newts in Leicestershire. Estimating the number of great crested newts is problematic because of a lack of detailed baseline survey data, and because existing data are fragmented between many recording centres.

Waste

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he next expects to meet representatives of the Waste and Resources Action Programme to discuss waste and climate change. (193672)

On 9 January 2008 I met with the chief executive of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to discuss its forthcoming programme of work. In addition, officials in my Department regularly meet with colleagues at WRAP to discuss a number of issues.

Warm Front

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will review the effectiveness of the Warm Front. (193673)

The effectiveness of the Warm Front scheme and the performance of Eaga, the Warm Front scheme manager, are regularly and comprehensively audited by my Department and the independent quality assurors, White Young Green. These checks are intended to ensure that the scheme is being delivered in the best interests of both the Government and Warm Front clients.

Domestic Wastes: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the maximum likely annual charge to be levied in respect of domestic waste collection. (192411)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

No maximum charge has been set, although the Government retain a reserved power to create a cap on the level of incentive in the future, should this be necessary.

Since local authorities will not be able to keep any revenue which they collect through pilot schemes, they have no incentive to raise the level of the payments beyond what will encourage positive behaviour. Experience in other countries where incentive schemes are in operation also suggests that payments do not need to be high to be effective. The research report published in May 2007 shows, for example, that variable charges in the region of £30 to £50 were shown to drive behaviour change overseas.

Under a waste incentive scheme, it would be up to local authorities to set the level of charges that they believed would create an incentive. However, we will be looking at what level of charges are being proposed when local authorities come forward to run pilots.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether charges for the collection of household waste will be levied on householders occupying flats with communal bins. (193150)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow up to five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

As with many of the powers that councils have in relation to local services, it will be up to individual authorities, working with their communities, to decide which households a pilot scheme should cover. The decision will include whether or not to cover flats, where householders occupy communal bins.

However, the Government have stressed in our overarching framework that pilot authorities must take account of the needs of potentially disadvantaged groups in devising and running schemes. We will seek to develop and publish guidance in this area to assist authorities in their assessment of these groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to conduct a consultation exercise before issuing guidance on charging for the collection of household waste. (193151)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow up to five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

The Government are committed to producing a range of guidance to assist authorities in implementing household incentive schemes. The final timetable for producing and making guidance publicly available for comment has not been finalised, and to some extent will reflect the Bill’s progress in Parliament. However, this process will certainly take place before the pilots begin.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of charges for household waste collection on families with children under the age of 12 months. (193152)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave him on 17 January 2008, Official Report, columns 1393-94W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) who is responsible for deciding which local authorities charge for domestic waste collection; and whether such decisions will be subject to (a) parliamentary and (b) ministerial approval; (193155)

(2) whether his Department will require those local authorities participating in the pilots for the new charges for the collection of household waste to produce business plans for the pilot.

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. Councils wishing to pilot schemes will be able to come forward with plans to fit local circumstances. These must be approved by the Secretary of State. Decisions about which local authorities will be able to run pilots will not be subject to parliamentary approval. However, all the pilot schemes will have to meet the legislative framework agreed by Parliament.

We will be working with stakeholders to develop a process for local authorities to come forward with proposals to pilot a waste incentive scheme. We have not yet finalised the details of the application procedure, and we will want to discuss this further with stakeholders. However, we would certainly expect to see a good quality plan included in an application process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what provision he has made for those who move out of a waste charging pilot area mid-year to be partially recompensed for annual charge payments. (193159)

It will be up to local authorities, working with their communities, to decide how to administer charges and rebates under a waste incentive scheme. Payments could be made on an annual basis or more frequently. Where residents move out of the area, having already paid a forward-looking charge, local authorities may wish to recompense them. We will be working with stakeholders to produce guidance for local authorities on this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the annual average gross administrative cost in cash terms to local authorities arising from charging for the collection of household rubbish. (193162)

An Impact Assessment, evaluating the potential costs and benefits of running waste incentive pilot schemes, has been published and is available on the DEFRA website.

Research carried out for DEFRA presented in the Impact Assessment estimates annualised costs to local authorities of running a waste incentive scheme of between £236,000 to £532,000 based on the introduction of a revenue neutral scheme affecting 50,000 households.

However, we would expect local authorities to make overall savings from running a waste incentive scheme. This is due to the savings from having less waste to collect, treat and dispose of, which are estimated in the Impact Assessment to be between £0.3 million to £1.4 million per annum, which should be sufficient to outweigh costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to counter the use of fake bin bags in areas where local authorities operate charges for the collection of domestic waste on the basis of payment by sack. (193163)

Where authorities are operating a sack-based waste incentive scheme they may, for example, need to consider the risk of residents purchasing and placing their waste in sacks other than those specified under the scheme.

Where this happens, local authorities may, if necessary, issue fines or fixed penalty notices to residents. However, effective communications with residents will be a more important way to avoid the use of counterfeit sacks. We will be working with local authorities to provide guidance on effective local communications.

The Climate Change Bill includes the requirement that local authorities have a fly-tipping prevention strategy for preventing, minimising or otherwise dealing with the unauthorised deposit or disposal of waste.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether plans for pilots for charging for the collection of household waste include (a) the use of radio-frequency identification microchips and (b) charging according to frequency of collection; (193182)

(2) if he will conduct a privacy impact assessment on plans to introduce charges for the collection of household waste.

We have no plans to favour one type of collection method over another. It is up to each local authority, working with its community, to decide how its waste incentive scheme should operate. However, we have created powers in the Climate Change Bill to allow pilots to operate in a variety of ways, including but not limited to weight-based schemes using microchips or schemes based on frequency of collection. Authorities will also be able to operate schemes based on bin size or numbers of sacks used to contain waste.

DEFRA has no plans to conduct a privacy impact assessment on the powers in the Climate Change Bill for up to five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what exemptions are planned to operate in schemes to apply charges to the collection of household waste within pilot areas; (192313)

(2) what steps he plans to take to take account of (a) benefit recipients, (b) low-income groups and (c) other vulnerable people in (i) setting a charging regime for the collection of household waste and (ii) the design of pilot schemes on household waste collection.

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

The exact details of how a scheme operates would be up to the local authorities coming forward to run pilots to decide. However, the Climate Change Bill requires authorities piloting waste incentives schemes to take account of groups which may potentially be disadvantaged unduly by the scheme. Authorities would also have the flexibility to decide which households in their area should be covered by the scheme. Where charges are part of a pilot scheme, only those producing the most non-recycled waste would pay more.

We will be developing and consulting widely on guidance for local authorities on how they might take account of disadvantaged groups in designing and running a waste incentive scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with local authorities on the implementation of charges for the collection of household waste. (193143)

As is to be expected with any policy development, my officials and I have rightly had a range of meetings with a variety of stakeholders on the powers provided in the Climate Change Bill for up to five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effects of charges for the collection of household waste on the amount of waste placed in waste receptacles other than those associated with the property where the waste was generated. (193279)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill will allow up to five local authorities to pilot non-revenue raising incentive schemes, which are designed to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

We do not consider that the introduction of pilot schemes should lead to increases in fly-tipping or waste crime. There is a range of powers available to local authorities to ensure that waste is dealt with legitimately, and we would expect them to continue to do so should they pilot a waste incentive scheme. The Government encourage authorities to make good use of the powers available to them, taking account of local circumstances and priorities.

Also, as can be seen in the Climate Change Bill, local authorities will be required to have a fly-tipping prevention strategy. We will be working with stakeholders to develop guidance on what the strategy might include.

If residents are concerned about neighbours’ placing waste in their bins, the local authority may wish to consider offering lockable bins. Evidence from Flanders, which operates a weight-based scheme, suggests that residents do not regard this type of behaviour as a problem; and take-up of lockable bins is very low. However, the pilots will give us the opportunity to monitor this kind of behaviour and assess what strategies are effective in preventing it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how long he expects the charging for collecting household waste pilots to last; and whether a (a) minimum and (b) maximum duration will be set for each pilot. (193286)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill will allow up to five local authorities to pilot non-revenue raising incentive schemes, which are designed to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

There is no general minimum or maximum duration for the pilots. Schemes will need to be in place for as long as needed in order to gather a solid evidence base to report back to Parliament. Ultimately it will be up to local authorities to come forward with proposals for pilot schemes, and my Department does not want to pre-empt that by specifying now how long each should last. When the Secretary of State designates pilot areas, each designation order will specify a time at which that pilot will end.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account he has taken of the conclusions of the research commissioned from Eunomia on variable waste-charging in respect of the consideration by his Department of non-charging options in the guidance issued to the waste authorities running the related pilot schemes; and if he will make a statement. (193296)

My Department carried out a pilot study in England in 2005-06 for reward-only local authority incentives for household waste management. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive range of reward schemes in encouraging householders to reduce, recycle and compost their waste. More information is available on the DEFRA website.

DEFRA later commissioned research from Eunomia on variable waste charging, which therefore did not have any impact on the earlier reward-only pilot study.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to take account of the availability of civic amenity sites in (a) local authorities running household waste reduction pilots and (b) neighbouring local authorities not running such pilots for the disposal of household waste by residents potentially affected by pilot schemes; and if he will make a statement. (193301)

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. Residents will remain able to use their civic amenity site in exactly the same way as now. The pilots will allow us to test any impacts of waste incentives on civic amenity sites within the local authority area and in neighbouring local authority areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) strategy and (b) timetable is for the (i) start and conclusion, (ii) contiguity, (iii) number, (iv) duration and (v) cross-fertilisation of the pilot schemes for charging for the collection of household waste; and if he will make a statement. (193302)

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. Councils wishing to pilot schemes will be able to come forward with plans to fit local circumstances which must be approved by the Secretary of State and follow clear guidelines which have been set out in the legislation.

There is no timetable for the introduction of the five pilot household waste incentive schemes (including those which have a charging element) announced last year. However, as stated during the Communities and Local Government Committee's hearing on waste on 17 December 2007, the earliest the pilots are likely to start (including those which have a charging element) is April 2009. The exact timing will be subject to the parliamentary process as well as the implementation timetable for each pilot.

There is no general minimum or maximum duration for the pilots—schemes will need to be in place for as long as needed in order to gather a solid evidence base to report back to Parliament. Ultimately it will be up to local authorities to come forward with proposals for pilot schemes, and my Department does not want to pre-empt that by specifying now how long each should last. When the Secretary of State designates pilot areas, each designation order will specify a time at which that pilot will end. Each of the five pilots could start at different times and run for different lengths of time, according to what is feasible and appropriate for the individual schemes and areas in question.

The pilots will give us the opportunity to learn about the impacts of waste incentive schemes in an English context, and to gather and share best practice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for the (a) timing and (b) number of further local authorities operating new arrangements for the collection of household waste following the commencement of the initial pilot schemes. (193303)

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling.

As can be seen in the Climate Change Bill, after reporting the pilots and if Parliament agrees, the Government will be able to roll out the powers to all waste collection authorities in England to allow them to introduce a waste incentive scheme if they wish.

We have not set a time for making a decision about rolling out the powers. However, we would only do this once we had gathered sufficiently high quality evidence from the pilots.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much he has allocated to budgetary provision for waste collection authorities to introduce new arrangements for the collection of household waste after the conclusion of the pilot schemes. (193304)

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling.

As I said in my written statement to Parliament on 15 November 2007, Official Report, columns 72-73WS, we will be providing funding of up to £1.5 million per year for three years to support the pilots, including funding for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

The Government have not allocated any funding at this stage for waste collection authorities to introduce waste incentive schemes, if and when the powers to do so were rolled out to all local authorities in England.

Research commissioned for DEFRA shows that authorities could make overall savings by introducing waste incentive schemes, as a result of having less waste to dispose of. In any case, it would be up to authorities themselves to decide whether or not they wanted to implement a scheme. Therefore, we would not expect them to need funding from Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how new arrangements for the collection of household waste will be applied to domestic properties where occupation is forbidden by law. (193308)

The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling.

Ultimately, it is up to local authorities to decide which domestic premises would be covered by a waste incentive scheme. However, where domestic properties cannot be occupied, one would not expect household waste to be generated or collected, and it is therefore unlikely that waste incentives would apply.