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Organic Imports

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what checks are made on imported foods labelled as organic to ensure that they do not include residues which would not be allowed in UK-produced organic foods. [135673]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 31 October 2000]: The authentication of organic foods is achieved on the basis of production standards rather than residues checks. Under Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 all food produced within the EU for sale as organic must comply with the production requirements of the Regulation and be produced by an operator certified by a recognised organic certification body and subject to annual inspection by them.

In the case of imports from outside the EU, the European Commission has listed six countries which have demonstrated to the Commission that they have equivalent standards and controls: Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel and Switzerland. Imports may take place freely, although the imports must be registered with an organic certification body. For other countries

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outside the EU, registered EU importers may make application to the authorities in their member state providing full details of the standards and control procedures to be used. An authorisation to import will be issued only if it can be shown that these are equivalent to the EC Regulation. The UK Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) is the body that undertakes the issue of such authorisations in the UK.

Civil Servants (Relocation)

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 17 May 2000, Official Report, column 176W, on relocating civil servants, which relocation companies hold contracts with his Department for the relocation of civil servants; when these contracts were last renewed; where the contracts were advertised; and what the length and value is of each contract. [137095]

Mr. Morley: No relocation companies hold contracts with my Department. Contractors are invited to tender on an ad-hoc basis when the need arises.

Flooding (Insurance)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make funds available to local authorities to compensate individuals whose homes have been flooded but who were not insured. [138687]

Mr. Morley: On 4 November the Government announced significant improvements to the Bellwin Scheme to assist local authorities in dealing with the current flooding. However, such help does not extend to individuals or businesses affected by flooding as it is an insurable risk.


Compensation Recovery Unit

Mr. Rowlands: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many certificates issued by the Compensation Recovery Unit have resulted in payments received; and what is the total of those payments; [136432]

Mr. Bayley: Since the current compensation recovery scheme came into effect during the 1996-97 financial year, 3,898,582 certificates have been issued, and £684,430,905 has been recovered.

The total amount recovered to date by the Compensation Recovery Unit from damages awarded to miners by the Department of Trade and Industry is £14,868,340.07.

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The breakdown of the certificates issued and amounts recovered

Financial yearCertificates issuedBenefits recovered (£)
1 April 2000 to 31 August 2000680,628113,951,003

It should be noted that, first, more than one certificate may be issued in relation to a given recovery, and, second, because payments may be received some time after the Compensation Recovery Unit issues a certificate, payments received during a given financial year may relate to certificates issued during the previous financial year. The figures for certificates issued and benefits recovered are therefore not necessarily coterminous. In respect of the five cases brought by my hon. Friend to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Department in February of this year, both the original estimated amount and the latest estimated amount are shown in the following table. For reasons of confidentiality, the identity of particular cases has to remain anonymous.

Original certificate Latest certificate
Cases(£)Date of issue(£)Date of issue
121,787.598 January 2000027 October 1999
221,707.5416 November 19996.3818 October 2000
324,238.7524 July 199722.022 October 2000
414,302.0121 December 1999413.086 June 2000
55,858.3527 October 1999674.468 August 2000

Ministerial Directions

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the answer from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 October 2000, Official Report, columns 73-76W, on ministerial directions, if he will place in the Library the text and supporting documentation of the directions made by Ministers in his Department in 1998 and 1999; and if he will make a statement. [137295]

Mr. Rooker: In accordance with the rules of Government accounting, the Comptroller and Auditor General has been notified of all ministerial directions.

We have considered this request under the terms of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and concluded that providing this information would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion within Government. The request therefore falls within the terms of exemption 2 of the Code of Practice.

Benefit Fraud Inspectorate

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the local authorities in Scotland which have been inspected by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, together with the dates when (a) these inspections began and (b) reports were issued. [137775]

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Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

Local authorityStart datePublication date
East Dunbartonshire19 January 199818 March 1999
Inverclyde4 May 199812 February 1999
East Lothian18 May 199818 March 1999
South Ayrshire6 July 199818 March 1999
Dundee2 November 19981 July 1999
Angus28 June 199916 May 2000
Borders5 July 199922 June 2000
Stirling30 August 199922 June 2000
Edinburgh30 November 19992 November 2000


1. The start date shown is when the local authority is contacted with a request for information to assist with future planning of the inspection. The inspection start dates for inspections begun earlier than 1999 have been calculated as records did not hold actual start dates.

2. The current Benefit Fraud Inspectorate programme includes another two Scottish local authorities which are currently being inspected and a further four inspections of Scottish authorities that are due to be carried out by autumn 2001.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list those reports by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate which have had sections completely blanked out. [137726]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 10 November 2000]: The information is in the list, which gives all the reports that have been published so far by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, where a paragraph or more has been blanked out.

It should be noted that when the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate publishes reports it blanks out material which would be of assistance to fraudsters, unnecessarily identifies individuals, or is confidential. All reports so far have had some material blanked out, except the Securing Child Support (Child Support Agency) report published in July 1999.

Local Authority Reports Blackpool East Dunbartonshire Eastbourne Broxbourne Teesdale Burnley Leicester Croydon East Lothian Elmbridge Oldham Thanet Tower Hamlets South Ayrshire Telford and Wrekin Trafford Gateshead East Devon Stoke on Trent Kirklees Dundee Richmond upon Thames Swansea Oxford Bournemouth Lichfield Macclesfield

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Angus Borders Epsom Berwick Windsor and Maidenhead Braintree Camden Tower Hamlets Croydon Sandwell West Wiltshire Powys Wigan Shrewsbury Norwich York Calderdale Rotherham Ellesmere Port St. Helens South Lakes Babergh Barnet Northampton Sunderland Gloucester Rochford Derbyshire Dales Swale Hart Blyth Valley Allerdale Southwark Congleton Neath and Port Talbot Brighton and Hove Stirling Eden Lancaster Harrow Nottingham Rochford Bristol Westminster
Agency Reports
BA: Area Directorate 3 (London South) Contributions Agency

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