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16 May 2006 : Column 828W—continued

Traffic Growth

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assumptions of traffic growth up to 2021 for housing expansion in north Northamptonshire are being used by his Department in discussions with the growth areas directorate in the Department for Communities and Local Government. [70190]

Dr. Ladyman: The review of the East Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy provides the overall framework for assessing and planning for housing and other growth in Northamptonshire.

It is for local authorities to develop detailed forecasts of traffic growth. Northamptonshire have commissioned a series of transportation studies to identify a broader package of transport measures to achieve the modal shift required to enable the scale of growth envisaged in Northamptonshire and surrounding areas to be delivered in a sustainable manner.


Private Office Staff

David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-Generalwhat percentage of his private office staff are (a) male, (b) female and (c) disabled. [68988]

The Solicitor-General: My noble Friend the Attorney-General and I share a private office. As of12 May 2006, expressed as a percentage as requested, the breakdown is 80 per cent. female and 20 per cent. male. None are registered disabled.

David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General how much has been paid in (a) salary, (b) travelling expenses, (c) subsistence allowance and (d) removal expenses to special advisers in his private office in each of the last five years. [69012]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers have no special advisers.

House of Commons Commission

Early-day Motions

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the hon. Member forNorth Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will estimate the cost of tabling an early-day motion, including printing and clerical costs. [71096]

Nick Harvey: Costs of processing early-day motions (EDMs) include the time of Clerks in vetting motions, costs of staff entering the data and costs of printing
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and publishing, which depend on the number of times motions are reprinted. EDMs vary in length and complexity and the number of names to them may be one or many. Processing and printing EDMs is only one of a number of tasks carried out by the staff involved and no realistic disaggregation can be made which can give a cost for all aspects of processing a single EDM. The best estimate available of the overall costs of printing and publishing early-day motions in 2005-06 is £627,000, giving an average printing and publishing cost per EDM of £290.

Line of Route

Mr. Amess: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many visitors have been given conducted tours of the line of route, broken downby tours (a) organised by the Central Tours Office, (b) conducted by an hon. Member, (c) conducted by a Member of the House of Lords, (d) conducted by staff of an hon. Member and (e) conducted by staff of either House in the most recent two years for which figures are available. [70403]

Nick Harvey: The numbers of visitors given conducted tours of the visitor route organised by the Central Tours Office (CTO) during the summer opening to the public in 2004-05 was 93,314 andin 2005-06 was 79,170. The numbers of visitors throughout the year on tours organised on behalf of hon. Members of both Houses by the CTO in 2004-05 was 113,815 and in 2005-06 was 108,089, of which approximately 6 per cent. were estimated to be in respect of Members of the House of Lords. Members of both Houses, their staff and staff of both Houses are able to conduct tours themselves for up to six guests at a time without booking; there are no data on the number of visitors under these arrangements.

Telephone Bill

Mr. Amess: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the telephone bill for the House of Commons was in each year since 1989. [70402]

Nick Harvey: Details of the cash expenditure incurred on telephone services by the House of Commons is not available prior to 2001. The figuresfor the last five financial years are:













Corporation Tax

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the use
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of low profit-making companies incorporated for the purposes of the avoidance of corporation tax. [70796]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 12 May 2006]: The Government are not aware of any self-employed businesses that would incorporate for the purposes of avoiding corporation tax.

The associated companies rules prevent companies that fragment into many lower-profit companies from benefiting from lower rates of corporation tax.

EU (UK Contributions)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury's statement in the debate on future EU finances and own reserves on 8 May 2006, Official Report, columns 134-5WS, what estimate he has made of the difference in the UK abatement in the new EU financial perspective compared with what it would have been if calculated using the mechanism in place prior to December 2005. [71148]

Ed Balls: As agreed in the December Council Conclusions, the cost to the UK compared to the application of the current Own Resources would be limited to €10.5 billion (£6.9 billion) in 2004 prices.

EU Agriculture Budget

Michael Gove: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the EU budget will be spent on agriculture in each of the years from 2007 to 2013; and if he will break down the spending between pillar 1 and pillar 2 spending in each year. [70971]

Ed Balls: In its information fiche, dated 11 April, the EU Commission gives an indicative breakdown of expenditure (2004 prices) for 2007 to 2013 in respect of agriculture, as follows:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total

Agriculture: direct aids and market support (Pillar 1)

€ billion









Share of total EU budget (percentage)









Rural Development (Pillar 2)

€ billion









Share of total EU budget (percentage)









Home Computer Initiative

Peter Luff: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 3 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1718-21W, on the Home Computer Initiative, what criteria were used in deciding to group questions from hon. Members on the Home Computer Initiative;
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and what account was taken of the relevant provisions of the ministerial code in reaching this decision. [69902]

Dawn Primarolo: The questions concerned were grouped to enable a full, substantive statement to be made to the House.

Inheritance Tax

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many written representations he has received since January protesting about inheritance tax; and if he will make a statement; [66657]

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the treatment of (a) accumulation and maintenance trusts and (b) interest in possession trusts for the purposes of inheritance tax; [70202]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have received a number of written representations about the tax system, including inheritance tax and the lax treatment of trusts.


Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision has been made for pension fund deficits in privatised utilities where the pension scheme is guaranteed by the Government. [69892]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Eastbourne(Mr. Waterson) on 3 May 2006, Official Report, column 1723W.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the changein the number of pensioners paying income taxsince 1997. [69901]

John Healey: Information on the estimated number people paying income tax who are of state pension age can be found in table 2.1 ‘Number of individual taxpayers’ on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:

International Development


Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial support his Department has provided to pro-democracy groups related to Burma in the last three financial periods. [67609]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not provided any support directly to pro-democracy groups related to Burma in the last three financial periods. One of our four objectives in Burma is “increased prospects for
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successful transition to a democratic society”. DFID is aiming to achieve this through support to participatory decision-making, constructive dialogue, innovation and other work to build capacity and institutions that will assist Burma's transition by, for example, integrating such approaches into our activities focused on livelihoods, health and education.

Millennium Development Goals

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. [70171]

Hilary Benn: DFID's public service agreements are based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Progress was reported in DFID's Departmental Report which was presented to Parliament on 9 May 2006. It is available in the Library of the House of Commons and on the DFID website (

There has been some progress towards the MDGs but not enough. In Africa there has been a reduction in the numbers of people living in poverty and in child deaths, increasing economic growth, and more children getting into school. HIV is also falling or stabilising in some African countries. Much more needs to be done, however, particularly on maternal mortality, girls' education and HIV. In Asia there has been progress in reducing income poverty. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday is decreasing and the number of children being cured of tuberculosis is increasing in many Asian countries. More progress is needed, however, if all the MDGs are to be achieved in Asia, particularly on gender equity.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Avian Influenza

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how long it took from the confirmation of the recent outbreak of avian influenza among poultry to dispose of the carcases; how the carcases were disposed of; and what measures were taken to ensure that the carcases did not enter the food chain. [69754]

Mr. Bradshaw: Poultry on the three premises involved in the recent outbreak of H7N3 avian influenza were slaughtered on suspicion of infection, based on preliminary laboratory results. Killing commenced on all three sites before disease was confirmed and the carcases were transported to off-site disposal facilities in biosecure, leakproof lorries within 24 hours of the culling operation. Disposal was by rendering and incineration. Each load was escorted by the state veterinary service to the disposal facility and destruction was confirmed by an official.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what arrangements are in place for the mass disposal of carcases in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza;
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and what estimate the Government have made of (a) the number of birds which would need to be disposed of and (b) the maximum disposal capacity available. [69755]

Mr. Bradshaw: The arrangements for mass disposal of carcases in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza are laid out in our Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan. Commercial fixed plant incineration or rendering will be the first options for mass disposal of carcases. If incineration and rendering capacity has been exhausted, it may be necessary to consider the use of approved commercial landfill or on-farm burial. Mass pyres will not be used. My Department has already put in place arrangements with animal incinerator and rendering companies to ensure the minimum delay should there be an outbreak of the disease.

The disease control policies are set out in the Contingency Plan and it is our policy to cull birds only where this is justified and on the basis of sound veterinary, epidemiological and scientific advice. Any estimate of the number of birds which would need to be culled depends on these factors and the nature of this advice at the time. Key factors will include the virus strain, its pathogenicity, the location of the 'disease outbreak and international developments.

The available incineration and rendering capacity at any time will depend on the location of the outbreak, the time of year, breakdowns and other demands. Some 2,500 tonnes per week (equivalent to approximately 1.25 million chickens) would be available very quickly and a further 10-15,000 tonnes per week could be brought on stream within about two weeks.

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