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17. Jessica Morden (Newport, East) (Lab): What progress is being made on reaching the 30 per cent. target for recycling household waste by 2010. [19618]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr. Ben Bradshaw): Provisional figures show that about 23 per cent. of household waste in England was recycled in 2004–05. That puts England on course to achieve its 25 per cent. recycling and composting target in 2005–06, and to achieve its 30 per cent. target by 2010. Waste is a devolved matter and, in Wales, it is dealt with by the National Assembly.

Jessica Morden: Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating Newport council and the charity Newport Wastesavers, which recently won a national
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award for their recycling partnership and aim to recycle 50 per cent. of household waste by 2007? Newport council pays just £40 per tonne of waste. Does he know why other schemes in the UK cost up to £600 per tonne and has the Department done a cost analysis of such schemes?

Mr. Bradshaw: Not, I confess, that I am aware of, but it does sound as though we should have a look at the scheme that my hon. Friend's local authority has been running if it has been that successful and cheap. I congratulate it, through her, on that achievement; it appears to be setting a very good example. Generally, there is huge variation in performance across the country and I wish that some of the authorities that are not doing nearly as well would learn from Newport's experience.


19. Mr. Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con): How much public funding has been allocated to the elimination of the ruddy duck in (a) England and (b) Northamptonshire to protect Spanish white-headed ducks. [19620]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jim Knight): The programme to eradicate the ruddy duck from the UK is an EU LIFE programme to conserve the white-headed duck population in Spain. It is co-funded by DEFRA and the European Commission, with DEFRA contributing £2.03 million towards the total cost of £3.34 million over five years. Given the movement of birds between sites, it is not possible to determine in advance how that funding will be allocated between regions.

Mr. Hollobone: If avian flu does not get the ducks first, the EU-funded programme probably will. Is the Minister aware of the huge local concern in Northamptonshire about the culling of US ruddy ducks and is it appropriate for the British Government to support an EU scheme against our US neighbours?

Jim Knight: It is important that the hon. Gentleman's constituents understand that the programme is crucial to deal with a major threat to the long-term survival of the white-headed duck. In essence, the ruddy ducks are over-sexed and over here, they are going on holiday to Spain and they are causing all sorts of trouble, so we have to do something about them.

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Business of the House

11.31 am

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell) (Con): Will the Leader of the House give us the business for next week?

The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): I will do my best to follow the last answer in Question Time.

The business for next week will be as follows:

Monday 24 October—Opposition Day [8th Allotted Day]. There will be a debate entitled "Government Handling of the Decision Relating to Railtrack", followed by a debate entitled "Licensing Laws Chaos". Both debates inevitably arise on an Opposition motion.

Tuesday 25 October—Second Reading of the Electoral Administration Bill.

Wednesday 26 October—Second Reading of the Terrorism Bill.

Thursday 27 October—Second Reading of the National Insurance Contributions Bill.

Friday 28 October—Private Members Bills.

The provisional business for the following week will be:

Monday 31 October—Second Reading of the Terrorism (Northern Ireland) Bill.

Tuesday 1 November—Second Reading of European Union (Accessions) Bill.

Wednesday 2 November—Consideration in Committee of the Terrorism Bill.

Thursday 3 November—Continuation of Consideration in Committee of the Terrorism Bill.

Friday 4 November—The House will not be sitting.

Chris Grayling: The Leader of the House will be aware of the strength of feeling engendered by the Make Poverty History campaign and the expectations raised during the summer relating to the G8 summit and other international meetings. He will also be aware that the campaign is conducting a major lobby of Parliament in early November. Will he ensure that, prior to that lobby, we have a ministerial statement on progress made since the summer, and will he schedule a debate in Government time to coincide with that lobby to ensure that Members have a chance to challenge the Government over what is being done?

Now that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted that he got his growth forecasts wrong, can we have an early debate on the public finances? It seems that tax rises are inevitable. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is important for the House to have an opportunity to hear how the Treasury's forecasting went wrong and what lessons can be learned for the future so that it does not happen again?

Can we also have an urgent and long-overdue debate on energy supply? The Leader of the House will be aware of the concerns being expressed about the problem, but is he aware of comments by Sir Digby Jones today? He said:

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Can we have an urgent debate on energy supply before—not when—we face that reality?

Hon. Members on both sides of the House use ten-minute Bills as a means of introducing legislation on matters important to them and their constituents. However, the allocation of slots for next year has run into difficulties because we do not yet have dates for the recesses. When will the right hon. Gentleman publish the dates of next year's recesses so that the scheduling of ten-minute Bills can get back on track?

Finally, press reports last weekend suggested that one of the Leader of the House's senior colleagues may have offered to sub-let part of his official ministerial residence to a girlfriend. Those reports followed the earlier controversy about whether Ministers should be allowed to continue to occupy official residences after they have left Government. Could we have a statement on what exactly are the rules that apply to the occupation of those residences?

Mr. Hoon: The Government strongly support the Make Poverty History campaign. We have put more money into international development to assist the poorest people in the world than any other Government in history—and certainly more than any recent Conservative Government. I shall therefore take no lectures from the hon. Gentleman on the support that we have given to help the poorest people in the world.

Last year, in the lead-up to the Make Poverty History campaign, we found time for a debate in Government time on these matters, and I anticipate that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development will want to keep the House fully informed about the excellent progress made by the Government. I shall make sure that he is aware of the hon. Gentleman's request.

As for the public finances, on a number of occasions economic pundits—usually enthusiastically endorsed by Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen—have suggested that lack of growth has caused difficulties in the economy. None of those forecasts has so far proved to be true. I am much more willing to rely on the economic success brought to this country by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer than I am on attempts by Opposition Front-Bench Members to talk down our excellent economic results since 1997. The contrast between this country's economic performance since 1997 and its lamentable showing under the previous Conservative Government is remarkable. Again, I am not in the mood for lectures on that subject.

The same applies to the question of energy supply. The shadow Leader of the House is not as old as I am, and it is interesting that he remarked on the three-day week. My limited recollection of the events of that period suggests that they took place under a Conservative Government.

The shadow Leader of the House asked about Bills presented under the ten-minute rule. We have only just returned after what has been described as a very long recess, so I am afraid that he will have to be a little patient while we decide the dates of the next recesses. After eight days back, I hope that he is not already anxious for another break. I realise that Conservative Members are probably preoccupied with other matters
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at the moment so I shall not distract them from the internal entertainment from which they are suffering today.

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