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Mrs. McGuire: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. Since that date, no expenditure has been incurred on in-house magazines, staff surveys or employing consultants to undertake staff surveys.
Mr. Morley: There are existing targets for recycling commercial waste under the Packaging Directive. The implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive will set additional targets.
Margaret Beckett: As I have already reported to the House, the November 2004 Agricultural Council broadly accepted that the existing EU sugar regime is unsustainable. We now await detailed legislative proposals from the European Commission to take forward the approach set out in its July 2004 Communication.
21. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she next expects to meet sugar-beet growers from East Anglia to discuss changes to the EU sugar regime. 
Alun Michael: Sugar beet growers from East Anglia will be well represented at the National Farmers Union Annual General Meeting, which my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State will address on 21 February.
14. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2005, Official Report, column 209W, on coral reefs, if she will make a statement on the implementation of the emergency European Commission measures to restrict bottom trawling for the protection of reefs. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK asked the Commission to use the emergency powers available under the Common Fisheries Policy framework regulation (Article 7 of Council Regulation 2371/2002) to prohibit the use of types of fishing gear which are known to damage the Darwin Mounds deep water coral reefs. These measures came into place in 2003 and were made permanent in 2004.
15. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to extend the Energy Efficiency Commitment to the commercial sector. 
Mr. Morley: There are no plans at present to extend the Energy Efficiency Commitment to the commercial sector. The ongoing review of the Climate Change Programme will examine the scope for ways to realise further energy efficiency improvements in the commercial sector.
Alun Michael: The Government are keen to ensure that supply chains between producers and retailers operate efficiently to the benefit of all parties and have been supporting various initiatives in support of this aim.
DEFRA is fully committed to tackling illegal imports. We are spending £25 million over three years to address this problem. However, the risk of importing disease can never be reduced to zero. There is also a requirement for high standards of biosecurity inland.
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The Department co-ordinates the activity of the border enforcement agencies; provides information to assist in deploying their resources according to risk; and undertakes joint publicity campaigns to raise public awareness.
Mr. Bradshaw: Latest provisional TB statistics indicate that there are 175 cattle herds in the West Midlands, predominantly a metropolitan area. In 2004, none of these herds suffered a bovine tuberculosis incident.
Mr. Morley: We have announced in the DEFRA Five Year Strategy that we will bring forward a Marine Bill some time in the next Parliament to deliver our vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. We are also introducing regulations later this year to extend the conservation requirements of the EU Habitats Directive beyond Territorial Waters.
Mr. Bradshaw: In the long term it is our aim to rationalise compensation arrangements for all notifiable animal diseases. As a first stage, we hope to rationalise the compensation arrangements for four cattle diseases, namely bovine TB, brucellosis, enzootic bovine leucosis and BSE, later this year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions
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she has had with the National Farmers Union on setting minimum prices for sourcing of agricultural produce in the UK. 
Alun Michael: No discussions have taken place between the National Farmers Union and the Secretary of State, or other Defra ministers, on setting minimum prices for UK sourced agricultural produce. There has been some correspondence between the National Beef Association and Ministers on beef prices.
The Government take the view that the prices negotiated between farmers and purchasers are largely a private, commercial matter between the parties concerned. In 19992000, the Competition Commission carried out an extensive investigation into supermarkets which concluded that, taking all matters into consideration, the industry was broadly competitive and that, overall, excessive prices were not being charged nor excessive profits earned.
However, it identified a number of practices engaged in by the larger supermarkets which, because of their buyer power, adversely affected the competitiveness of some of their suppliers. The recommendation of a Code of Practice was accepted and came into force in March 2002. The Office of Fair Trading have reviewed the effectiveness of the code and are currently carrying out an audit of supermarket practice. They hope to complete this shortly.
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