|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following the release by NIREX on 10 June of the list drawn up by its consultants of 537 sites across the country deemed potentially geologically suitable to locate a nuclear waste disposal repository, if she will make it her policy to postpone for three months the deadline of 27 June set by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management prior to the release of the list, for responses to its current second stage public consultation on radioactive waste management options. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 July 2005]: No. This previous site selection exercise was abandoned in 1997. UK Government and the devolved administrations subsequently established the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), under the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely" programme, to provide recommendation on the best option, or combination of options, for the long-term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste. CoRWM will deliver its recommendation by July 2006, in light of which future policy will be decided. Government have said that once the requirements for any future facility, or facilities, is known, in light of that policy decision, there will be an open and transparent discussion of the process and criteria to be adopted for site selection. The old Nirex list will not be the starting point for any future site selection process. There is no site selection process currently on-going. Hence there is no need or justification for extending the deadline for CoRWM's latest round of consultation.
Jim Knight: We have no record of representations received about the Canadian seal hunt as Defra officials forward any such correspondence or queries to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who deal with this issue.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether compensation payments to sugar beet growers will be paid at the same rate as to other EU growers; and whether the proposed mechanism for payment includes mandatory decoupling. 
Jim Knight: Proposals published by the European Commission on 22 June as part of a package of sugar reform measures include an amendment to Council Regulation 1782/2003 which provides the legal framework for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). That amendment would provide for new decoupled income support for beet growers which would be integrated into the model of the SPS that member state have already adopted. National financial ceilings for the SPS will be raised accordingly, by amounts calculated with reference to member states' sugar production quota levels. It follows that payment rates for sugar beet growers will not be uniform across the EU any more than they are in the SPS at the moment.
Mr. Morley: Information on the number of households with water meters is not available by county. The Office of Water Services (Ofwat) collects the information for each water company. In 200506 there are expected to be 258,000 households that have water meters in Essex and Suffolk Water's supply area.
Mr. Bradshaw: We will continue to press Norway to desist from commercial whaling, which we believe contrary to the spirit of the International Whaling Commission moratorium. We made our objections very clear with regard to Norwegian whaling at the recent annual International Whaling Commission meeting in Korea. I also raised the matter with the Norwegian Fisheries Minister during a visit to Norway in November 2004.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make representations to Yorkshire Water to ensure that regular maintenance is carried out on all pipes, drains and waterways. 
Under section 94 of the Water Industry Act 1991, which is enforced by the Office of Water Services, it is the duty of every sewerage undertaker to provide, improve and extend a system of public sewers and to cleanse and maintain those sewers and lateral
6 Jul 2005 : Column 431W
drains which belong to or are vested in the undertaker to ensure that an area is and continues to be effectually drained.
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had concerning extending eligibility for childcare vouchers to the self-employed; and what estimates he has made of the costs of doing so. 
Dawn Primarolo: It is a general principle of the tax system that relief is not given for private expenditure incurred to enable an employee to go out to work, but only for expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties of employment. This means that the expense must be one that any other employee doing the same job would have to incur whatever his or her personal circumstances.
Allowing a tax deduction for the cost of childcare for all working parents, rather than through a targeted exemption, would be expensive and poorly targeted. We believe that financial help for parents towards childcare costs should be provided through the tax credits system. Self employed people can receive help with the cost of formal childcare through the childcare element of the working tax credit.
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what projections he has made of the take-up of the (a) electronic elements and (b) paper elements of the salary-sacrifice childcare voucher scheme. 
Dawn Primarolo: In the Regulatory Impact Assessment published in April 2004, HMRC estimated that the number of employees using childcare vouchers for under-fives will increase from 30,000 in 2003 to 90,000 by 200910. There is no breakdown between electronic and paper vouchers.
Additionally, other forms of employer-provided childcare were expected to grow over the same period from 30,000 (the number of users of workplace nurseries) to 85,000 (including holiday play schemes and out of school clubs).
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimates he has made of the cost to business of introducing childcare vouchers, with particular reference to small and medium sized companies. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the Treasury of introducing childcare vouchers over the next three years; and from what budget this cost is to be met. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimated Exchequer costs to 2009/-0 were included in paragraph 14 of the Regulatory Impact Assessments which can be accessed at the HMRC'S website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/ria/emp-supp-childcare.pdf
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the merits of allowing self-employed people to present a certificate from an Ofsted-registered child carer at the end of each tax year in order to claim a rebate on their tax return, in lieu of their ability to claim salary-sacrifice childcare vouchers. 
Dawn Primarolo: Allowing a tax rebate for the cost of childcare for all self-employed parents would be expensive and poorly targeted. However, self-employed people can receive help with the cost of formal childcare through the childcare element of the working tax credit.
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which company administers the electronic vouchers element of the salary-sacrifice childcare vouchers scheme; and which computer systems are used for that administration. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government provides a tax and National Insurance contributions exemption on employer-provided childcare vouchers to encourage employers to help their employees with childcare costs.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|