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Departmental Expenditure

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of pension contributions incurred by (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which she is responsible in (A) Scotland, (B) Wales, (C) each of the English regions and (D) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06. [39969]

Jim Knight: The cost of pension contributions incurred by the core Department, the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate are shown in the following table:

(4) Estimate

Figures for 2002–03 are not available.

Figures for the non-departmental public bodies and remainder of the Executive Agencies are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The breakdown of costs by country and English region cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

For 2005–06, employers' contributions are payable to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) at one of four rates in the ranges 16.2 to 24.6 per cent. of pensionable pay, based on salary bands. The Scheme Actuary reviews employer contributions every four years following a full scheme valuation; last carried out as at 31 March 2003. The contribution rates reflect the cost of benefits as they accrue (net of employee contributions), not the costs as they are actually incurred, and reflect past experience of the scheme.

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent in each year since 1997 by her Department on salaries paid to civil servants. [41583]

Jim Knight: Departmental expenditure on salaries and wages paid to permanent staff is shown in note 2.A of the departmental annual resource accounts. Figures for the Department since 2001–02 are shown in the following table.

There are no figures provided for DEFRA's predecessor Departments as this information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
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Expenditure on salaries (£000)Expenditure on salaries as percentage of total spend1

(5) Total spend is defined as total public spending as shown in Table 1 of the DEFRA departmental report 2005 (Cm 6537).

Departmental IT Systems

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent on IT systems in each year since 1997; what the purpose of each system is; what the outturn against planned expenditure of each system was; and what the (a) planned and (b) actual date of completion of each system was. [41317]

Jim Knight: Since the creation of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during the financial year 2001–02, the Department has spent the following amounts on IT systems:

The figures quoted above include the cost of maintaining an in-house IT service, including centralised applications development, prior to the outsourcing of this function on 1 October 2004 to International Business Machines (UK) Ltd, and from that date any payments made under the new arrangements.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the then right hon. Minister of State for Rural Affairs to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) on 21 October 2004, Official Report, column 832W, that provided that the final contract to IBM has a potential cost of £509 million over 10 years.

Specific information as requested for each system is not held centrally and to gather this detail would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Departmental Staff

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff employed by her Department live in Castle Point. [42815]

Jim Knight: The home addresses of staff are not held in a form that would enable the number living within a parliamentary constituency to be determined without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departmental Vehicles

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cars are (a) owned and (b) leased by her Department; what models the cars are; what type of petrol each model requires; and what the fuel efficiency is of each model. [41352]

Jim Knight: The car fleet of DEFRA and associated Executive Agencies comprises of:
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This excludes HGV's, vans, 4x4's, and people carriers in the fleet.

Of these 372 are diesel, 21 are petrol, 18 dual fuel petrol/LPG and eight petrol/electric hybrids.

A spreadsheet made available in the Library of the House provides owned and leased vehicles detailing make, model and fuel type.

We are unable to provide information on fuel efficiency of each car, as this would be at disproportionate cost.

Eggs (Sensitive Product Status)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to seek sensitive product status for eggs in shells in the forthcoming World Trade Organisation talks. [37673]

Jim Knight: In October, in the run-up to the 6th Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, the EU made an offer on improved market access for agricultural products. Others, such as the US, did so too. An agreed feature of the market access negotiations is that all countries will be permitted to protect sensitive products, by applying less than the agreed reduction rates to the tariffs on these products. The EU suggested that up to 8 per cent. of a country's tariff lines on agricultural products should be deemed sensitive products. The US suggested 1 per cent., so there is a considerable divide here that, because the matter was not discussed or decided at Hong Kong, still needs bridging.

The Commission has not made any list of sensitive products available as yet; nor is it likely to do so before the figure for sensitive products is agreed. The EU may yet have to offer a lower figure than 8 per cent. in order to secure a Doha deal. In addition, agreeing the treatment of sensitive products is, of course, as important as agreeing the number.

The UK Government are not endorsing any product as sensitive until the number and treatment of sensitive products is agreed. In general, you will be aware that the UK Government wishes to see only a minimal number of sensitive products as we believe a large number would undermine the potential benefits of the Doha Round.

The representatives for the Egg Industry can lobby the Commission direct. The UK Government will review its own position when we know the parameters we have to work to.

Fallen Goats

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she (a) takes and (b) plans to take to monitor the extent to which her Department's approved agents collecting fallen goats under the compulsory Scrapie Monitoring Scheme operate in accordance with biosecurity regulations. [45701]

Mr. Bradshaw: A key objective of the Government's Animal Health and Welfare Strategy is to raise biosecurity standards on farms and hauliers involved in the collection of fallen goats from farms should adhere
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to biosecurity protocols issued by DEFRA. This includes making sure that vehicles and equipment are maintained in good working order at all times, and, in particular, that surfaces liable to contamination are thoroughly cleansed and disinfected.

Action will be taken against any haulier involved in the collection of fallen goats from farms who fails to adhere to these biosecurity protocols.

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