|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1556Wcontinued
John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in receipt of a pension from the Mineworkers Pension Fund are taxed on it; and what the tax take from fund pensions has been to date. 
Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 30 October 2003, Official Report, column 311W; to the answer given by the Economic Secretary (John Healey) on 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 617W; to the answer given by the Chief Secretary
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1557W
(Mr. Boateng) to the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Bacon) on 10 June 2002, Official Report, column 1037W; the answer given by his predecessor (Mr. Andrew Smith) to the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Bacon) on 8 May 2002, Official Report, column 253W; and to the previous answer he gave to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 73W.
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that measures which will be introduced in the 200405 Finance Bill affecting the taxation of small businesses (a) reflect the regulatory compliance costs small businesses already bear, and (b) are sensitive to the needs of small companies endeavouring to expand; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The implications for business of measures announced at the Budget will be taken into account as part of the normal Budget process. The Government are committed to developing a strong enterprise economy in the UK and promoting productivity as well as encouraging innovation, investment and skills.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money he estimates would be lost in revenue if (a) the 1 per cent. level of stamp duty for properties between £60,001 and £250,000 and (b) the 3 per cent. level of stamp duty for properties between £250,001 and £500,000 was removed. [R] 
Ruth Kelly: The estimated yield from the various stamp duty consideration bands for 200203, the latest year for published data, is given on the Inland Revenue website at http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/stamp duty/03IR153.pdf.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether existing tax credit claimants responding to the Department's request for information needed to finalise 200304 awards and, if appropriate, renew their claim for a 200405 award will be required to supply a P60 for 200304; and by which date employees are expected to receive their P60s. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 20 January 2004]: Claimants will not be required to supply their P60 for 200304 in order to finalise their tax credits award for that year or, if appropriate, renew their claim for 200405.
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1558W
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what advice she has issued to intermediate reception centres on the definition of covered space to receive animal by-products in the Animal By-Products Regulations; 
Mr. Bradshaw: We have received no guidance from the European Commission regarding the definition of "covered space". However, the Animal By-Products Regulation (EC) No. 1774/2002 requires Intermediate Plants to have a "covered space " to receive animal by-products. It also requires the plant to be constructed in such a way that it is easy to clean and disinfect, and that floors must be laid down in such a way as to facilitate the draining of liquids. The plant must also have appropriate arrangements for protection against pests, such as insects, rodents and birds. In our view, the combination of these requirements make it necessary for the plant to have a roof, walls and a floor before we can approve it. The application form for approval of an Intermediate Plant provides guidance on the requirements of the Regulation, and states that
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the effect of the Animal By-Products Regulations on small abattoirs. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Department undertook an extensive consultation process on the Animal By-Products Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003 No.1482). This included discussions with representatives of the abattoir industry. Organisations representing abattoirs that responded to the consultation included the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers.
My noble Friend Lord Whitty met with the Small Business Association to discuss the impact of the Regulation on small abattoirs and the Department also wrote to all abattoir operators with a questionnaire seeking information on the operational, structural and cost implications of the Regulation. Approximately 200 operators responded.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent (a) representations and (b) proposals she has received from the National Assembly for Wales Government regarding the further devolution of provisions relating to animal welfare. 
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1559W
Mr. Bradshaw: Central Science Laboratory studies suggest that body weight in badgers is density dependent, with lower average weights occurring as group size approaches carrying capacity. The association between body weight and badger density suggests that food is a major factor limiting badger numbers.
The notion that badger populations are "over-populated" is erroneous. Badgers display a sophisticated regulatory mechanism, where fecundity and mortality are in equilibrium to maintain the population at a level which the habitat will support.
There is no information linking the health status of badgers to population density. TB is known to occur in low density badger populations, and studies by Central Science Laboratory have demonstrated that there is no linear relationship between badger density and TB prevalence.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether domestic cats are susceptible to infection by M. bovis bacillus; whether any such infections have been recorded; and whether the infection can be transferred to man. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Like most terrestrial mammals, domestic cats are susceptible to infection by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). Cases have been recorded in Great Britain and other countries but current incidence is very sporadic. TB in cats is not notifiable although it is good practice to contact the State Veterinary Service (SVS) if it is suspected. The SVS will undertake to assist with the identification of M. bovis in any clinical or pathological specimens.
The infection can be transferred to man, therefore, if a confirmed case of M. bovis infection in a cat comes to the attention of the SVS, the Divisional Veterinary Manager will inform the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC) of the local health authority. Investigation of the TB status of any human contacts is the responsibility of the CCDC. If TB is reported in a farm cat the SVS will instigate tuberculin check tests of cattle on that farm, and of potential contacts on neighbouring premises.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are taken by her Department to ensure that guidelines on testing badgers for M. bovis infection before release by animal hospitals are properly observed. 
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1560W
To minimise the risk of animal hospitals accidentally spreading tuberculosis Defra facilitated development of the voluntary protocol for the rehabilitation and release of badgers. This was drawn up by the RSPCA, National Federation of Badgers Groups and Secret World Wildlife Rescue. The protocol provides comprehensive guidance on the precautions necessary to protect the welfare of badgers and critically, to minimise the risk of transmitting bovine tuberculosis. The protocol is promoted by the organisations above and is available via the internet at: http://www.badger.org.uk/action/badger-rehabilitation-protocol-contents.html
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of whether infection of M. bovis bacillus between infectious female badgers and their offspring leads to an increase over time in the incidence of infection within a social group. 
Mr. Bradshaw: From research carried out by the Central Science Laboratory, it is believed that the transmission of infection from mothers to cubs may be important in the maintenance of TB infection in badger populations. There is a correlation between the presence of infectious females in a group and the proportion of TB positive cubs. No information is available as to whether this has influenced the incidence of infection within a social group over time.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the accuracy of the size of the badger population in Great Britain as reported by the National Badger Survey; 
(3) what estimate she has made of the optimum size of the badger population in the United Kingdom; 
(4) what estimate she has made of the maximum size of badger population which can be sustained in the United Kingdom; 
(5) what estimate she has made of the change in the badger population in Great Britain since the last National Badger Survey. 
Mr. Bradshaw: In a 1995 1 report reviewing the status of mammals in the United Kingdom, commissioned by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the badger population estimate provided by the 1980s National Badger Survey was given the highest possible rating for accuracy (one on a scale of one to five, where one is the most accurate). As the 1990s National Badger Survey 2 followed the same methodology as the earlier exercise, its results can be afforded a similar high level of confidence.
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1561W
In the report of the 1990s National Badger Survey 2 , the authors concluded that there was "substantial scope for further badger population expansions" as badger setts were still scarce or absent in many suitable areas (especially in East Anglia and parts of Scotland). However, the authors also said that "in areas with established badger populations, it was unlikely that further significant increases would occur".
As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member's earlier question, 26 January 2004, Official Report, column 1W, my Department has been funding the Winter Mammal Monitoring Project 3 which is being carried out by the Mammal Society and the British Trust for Ornithology. This is a pilot study intended to develop a terrestrial monitoring system for British mammals, including badgers. Early findings confirm the pattern of distribution reported in the National Badger Survey, but it is too early to say whether, and by how much, badger numbers have changed since the 1990s.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the (a) proportion of adult badgers in Great Britain currently infected with M. bovis vacillus and (b) proportion of those that are infective. 
12 Feb 2004 : Column 1562W
Mr. Bradshaw: The badger benefits from legal protection introduced to outlaw cruelty towards animals. For example, the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which among other things, made the baiting of animals illegal, and the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, which made certain specified acts of cruelty illegal.
In addition, there are legal restrictions on the range of methods that can be used to kill or take badgers. This protection was introduced to outlaw inhumane and/or indiscriminate methods of control. The key legislation in this respect is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Some of these restrictions apply to all animals, while others apply only to animals, like the badger, listed on schedule 6 of the Act.
There have also been specific laws to protect badgers. These were introduced as a welfare measure to combat illegal badger baiting, and also as a conservation measure in response to declines in badger numbers in the 1970s and 1980s. The various statutes specifically relating to badgers were consolidated under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the limiting factors are on the size of the badger population in the United Kingdom in the absence of predation and intervention by man. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The abundance of wild animals is ultimately limited by the availability of key resources. In the United Kingdom, food and suitable sites for setts are likely to be the key constraints on the size of the badger population.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|