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Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to implement the policies under the consultation draft of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy in order to satisfy the requirements of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, with particular reference to section 2 (1) of that Act. [158993]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 April 2001]: The draft UK Fuel Poverty Strategy will be reviewed in the light of responses to the current consultation, and the final version published in summer 2001. The policies set out in the draft strategy have either been, or are in the process of being, implemented. A Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, consisting of representatives of a range of organisations with experience in this area, will be set up to advise Ministers on practical implementation issues. We intend to monitor progress carefully and remain ready to review and revise policies in the light of practical experience.

As this is a devolved matter, it is the responsibility of the respective Parliament and Assemblies to comment on the situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

27 Apr 2001 : Column: 426W

Waste Recycling

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures his Department is taking to promote the recycling of waste. [159368]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The Government's policy on recycling is set out in Waste Strategy 2000, published last May. We have now set statutory performance standards for each local authority under the best value regime which will triple the recycling of household waste to 25 per cent. in 2005-06 and announced in last year's spending review significant extra funding for local authorities to help meet those targets. In Waste Strategy 2000, the Government also set a target of reducing the amount of industrial and commercial waste sent to landfill by 2005, to 85 per cent. of that landfilled in 1998.

We continue to implement EC legislation and voluntary agreements on producer responsibility on a range of materials including packaging. The landfill tax will continue to rise and the aggregates levy will come into force in April 2002, both of which provide incentives to find alternative uses for materials.

In November, the Government established the new Waste and Resources Action Programme with a budget of £40 million over three years to tackle the market obstacles to recycling. Most recently, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport consulted on proposals for the next round of lottery funding (the New Opportunities Fund), including a programme to expand community sector waste reuse, recycling and composting.

Road Accidents

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people have died in road accidents in each of the last four months. [158875]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 April 2001]: National statistics for deaths in road accidents in the last four months are not yet available.


Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will reply to the hon. Member for Ludlow's letter of 4 April on the Rural Task Force. [159385]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: I replied to the hon. Member's letter on Tuesday 24 April.

Kirkham and Wesham Station

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on his Department's role in considering Railtrack's decisions to cancel its contributions towards the building of a passenger lift at Kirkham and Wesham station. [159237]

Mr. Hill: Such decisions are matters for Railtrack. However, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) will consider better access to the network, particularly for those with disabilities, when assessing bids for replacement franchises.

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Housing Developments

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers are available to local authorities to use their planning powers to specify the tenure of housing in a new development; what plans he has to review those powers; and if he will make a statement. [159430]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government's policy on planning for affordable housing is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 3: "Housing" and Circular 6/98, "Planning and Affordable Housing". This states that planning policy should not be expressed in favour of any particular form of tenure and that the term "affordable housing" encompasses both low-cost market and subsidised social housing. Based on their own assessments of need in their area, and development plan policies which state their intention to seek an element of affordable housing in suitable developments, local planning authorities may negotiate with developers for the types of affordable housing that will best meet local housing needs. We have no plans at present to revise the guidance.


Porton Down

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will place in the Library copies of the sections of each version of the War Pensions Manual produced since 1993 by the War Pensions Agency which relate to former service personnel claiming disablement as a result of experiments at the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down. [157302]

Mr. Bayley: It is not current practise to place individual items from the departmental guidance manuals in the Library, however we have arranged to place the complete manuals in the Library today.

Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims have been made to the Vaccine Damage Payment scheme in each of the last five years; and how much compensation has been paid by the scheme since June 2000. [158459]

Mr. Bayley: The Vaccine Damage Payment (VDP) scheme, which has been in place since 1979, provides a one-off payment to people severely disabled as a result of vaccination against certain diseases. The scheme is not intended as compensation but is designed to ease the burdens of those suffering from vaccine damage and their families.

The number of claims to the scheme in each of the last five years is in the table. On 27 June 2000 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced an increase in the VDP for new cases from £40,000 to £100,000 as well as other enhancements to the scheme. This included top-up payments to all existing cases so that they are put on an equal footing in real terms with new claimants. 825 such payments have been made totalling £55.7 million. Since June 2000, one new award has been approved and is awaiting payment of £100,000.

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YearNumber of claims made

Personal Pensions

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out his Department's policy in relation to the application of a cap on rebates to appropriate personal pensions from 2002 onwards. [159396]

Mr. Rooker: Age-related rebates to appropriate personal pensions are capped for two reasons. First, the cap restricts the cost to public funds. Secondly, the cap also discourages those approaching pensionable age from making what could be inappropriate pension arrangements, given the short amount of time they would have to benefit from investment growth in a money purchase scheme.

We have increased the cap which will apply to age-related rebates in respect of earnings from April 2002, so that all those who are currently unaffected by the cap (that is those who will be up to age 50 in April 2002) will remain unaffected by it.

Rachel Akuary

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the Benefits Agency to reach a decision on the claim for Income Support from Ms Rachel Akuary. [158942]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of Income Support is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Hilary Benn, dated 26 April 2001:



Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (1) pursuant to his answer of 19 March 2001, Official Report, column 29W, on CCTA, what the total income and expenditure of the CCTA in the last five financial years for which information is available was; [155828]

27 Apr 2001 : Column: 429W

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Office of Government Commerce, whom I have asked to reply.

Letter from Bob Assirati to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 26 April 2001:

Total value of GCat and S-CAT orders over £200,000
£ million



1. The GCat and S-CAT schemes were established in April 1996 and October 1997 respectively.

2. Unfortunately, the figures for GCat prior to 1998 are not available through the current computer systems and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The total value of orders placed, in each of the past five years, through the catalogue services are shown below:

27 Apr 2001 : Column: 430W

Total value of all GCat and S-CAT orders

£ million

At times of contract procurement and subsequent re-competition, it was CCTA's practice to issue as much information as possible to potential bidders about the actual or potential users of the schemes, the nature of the goods and services which may be procured through them and the total annual value of orders that are likely to be placed. Neither the existing procurement directives nor the EC's draft proposals on framework contracts specifically require individual users of such contracts to place information about their orders through the OJEC procedure (though some may do so voluntarily). However, CCTA expected individual users of GCat and S-CAT to comply with the obligations placed on them by open government policies/legislation (e.g. the Code of Practice on Access to Official Information and the Freedom of Information Act 2000) as appropriate.
Details of the rationale for using framework contracts and catalogues for routine purchases are contained in the Comprehensive Spending Review of Efficiency in Civil Government Procurement Expenditure issued in April 1998, and the case for greater co-ordination and aggregation of Government spending is contained in the Gershon Review of Civil Procurement in Central Government issued in April 1999. I assume that copies of these reports are already available through the H of C Library.
The total income and expenditure, in the last five financial years for CCTA, was as follows:


CCTA total


1. There are no figures available prior to CCTA becoming an agency in April 1996.

2. These figures are published in CCTA's Annual Report and Accounts for 1998-99 and 1999-2000 House of Commons references numbers 370(98/99) and 740(99/00).

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