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Flood Defences

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much Government funding is available to match local authority funding in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall for flood defences; how much has been available in each of the last three years; and how much has been taken up by each local authority in Devon. [115772]

Mr. Morley: Government funding is provided by way of Revenue Support Grant and MAFF grants on capital works.

The flood defence Standing Spending Assessments (for Revenue Support Grant) reflect a range of flood defence

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costs falling on different classes of local authority, ie levies paid to the Environment Agency, special levies to internal drainage boards and local authorities own expenditure as a flood defence operating authority.

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The flood defence SSAs for all of those authorities which contribute to the South West Regional Flood Defence Committee and/or the Somerset Local Flood Defence Committee, are as follows:

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£000
Local authority(12)1996-971997-981998-991999-2000
Cornwall CC2,2752,2522,2282,278
Devon CC (13)4,9734,9553,3883,447
Plymouth----953960
Torbay----577586
Dorset CC (14)2,7111,6721,7061,773
Somerset CC3,2003,5633,6173,646
Bath and North East Somerset412388602415
North Somerset1,4141,5471,5951,627

(12) Some of the above local authorities pay levies to Flood Defence Committees other than Somerset and South West.

(13) Devon's SSA was reduced following creation of Plymouth and Torbay Unitary Authorities in 1998-99.

(14) Dorset's SSA was reduced following creation of Bournemouth and Poole Unitary Authorities in 1997-98.


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MAFF grant is allocated to the Environment Agency by means of Grant Earnings Ceilings (GECs), which represent the total of approved capital expenditure in respect of which grant can be claimed, and not in terms of the grant available. The amount of grant paid is dependent on the mix of (a) fluvial and (b) tidal/sea defence expenditure, for which different grant rates apply. Information is therefore unavailable in the form requested but a comparison of (i) the original GECs (which can be revised in-year) and (ii) the actual outturn of approved capital expenditure is as follows:

£ million

Somerset South West (Devon and Cornwall)
(i)(ii)(i)(ii)
1996-974.04.04.55.1
1997-983.24.83.02.9
1998-992.74.52.22.1

MAFF grants to local authorities are available for schemes on the forward capital programme that meet certain criteria and achieve an appropriate priority score. The timing of expenditure is largely a matter for the authorities. Information is therefore unavailable in the form requested, but the amount of grant paid to local authorities, including a more detailed breakdown for Devon, is as follows:

£000

Devon
SomersetCornwallSouth HamsTorbayNorth Devon
1996-9746----51--
1997-9827--51----
1998-9969----23

HOUSE OF COMMONS

HoC Commission Meeting

Angela Smith: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what matters were discussed at the meeting

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of the House of Commons Commission on 6 March; and how long the meeting lasted. [115925]

Mr. Kirkwood: It is not the practice of the Commission to report on its deliberative sessions which are held in private, but the Commission is considering ways of improving the distribution of information about relevant decisions to Members.

The Commission reports on all matters that come before it in its Annual Report, published during July. The hon. Member may wish to consult the last Annual Report, the Twenty First, for 1998-99 (HC721) for details of the Commission activities during that financial year.

TREASURY

IR35

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what ways the fashion modelling industry will benefit from the changes proposed under IR35. [115640]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 22 March 2000]: All sectors of industry will benefit from the changes we propose. IR35 will ensure that measures designed to support small businesses are properly targeted, and do not go to people who are really the same as employees.

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the impact of IR35 proposals on the avoidance of tax and national insurance payments in the fashion modelling industry. [115641]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 22 March 2000]: The legislation will stop the use of personal service companies and similar intermediaries to avoid PAYE tax and National Insurance Contributions in all industries.

House Prices

Mr. Austin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what action he is taking to slow the rise in house prices; and if he will make a statement; [115840]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer my hon. Friend to Box B4 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 2000", published on Tuesday 21 March.

Average Wage

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what, for each of the three most recent financial years, was the average wage of male workers in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Wales. [115366]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Denzil Davies, dated 23 March 2000:



    The New Earnings Survey (NES) is based on a one per cent sample of employees in the PAYE system and is therefore likely to under-represent relatively low paid staff earning below the tax threshold and in particular those who work part-time. Listed below is information from the NES for the years 1997-1999.

New Earnings Survey, April of each year--male employees on adult rates, whose pay for the survey period was unaffected by absence
£

Average gross weekly earnings
199719981999
United Kingdom
Full-time407.3425.6440.7
Part-time132.7150.8154.3
All388.5405.1418.7
Wales
Full-time363.5376.4384.0
Part-time(15)--(15)--(15)--
All347.3360.1366.5

(15) Reliable estimate unavailable


Aviation Fuel Taxation

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of administering the taxing of aviation fuel. [115301]

Mr. Timms: No such estimate has been made.

Manufacturing (Wales)

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons were employed in the manufacturing sector in Wales in each of the years to 31 December 1999, 1998 and 1997, respectively. [115586]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger to Mr. Denzil Davies, dated 23 March 2000:



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All jobs (16) in manufacturing, Wales

At AutumnThousand
1997255
1998251
1999246

(16) Total of people whose main job is in the manufacturing sector, and those with second jobs in manufacturing (whose main job is elsewhere), government-supported trainees and unpaid family workers. The 'second jobs' definition includes employees, self- employed and those people who did not specify their status.

Source:

Labour Force Survey, ONS


Employee jobs in manufacturing, Wales

At SeptemberThousand
1997214
1998219
1999208

Source:

Short-term Turnover and Employment Survey, ONS



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