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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has undertaken into live tests for bovine spongiform encephalopathy; and whether this included studies of prion proteins. [79812]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 26 June 2006]: Scientific investigation of a live animal test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been a priority part of the research programmes funded by DEFRA and other Departments for several years. Information on these projects can be found on the DEFRA and Medical Research Council websites: data

A wide range of possible diagnostic markers of the disease have been studied, with a particular focus on prion proteins.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance he has issued on whether cattle suspected of being infected with a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy must be culled within a specified period under EC Regulation 999/2001. [79813]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 26 June 2006]: State Veterinary Service (SVS) staff are instructed to slaughter cattle suspected of being affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) at the time of their examination. In a minority of cases, the SVS arrange for live suspects to be transported to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) in Weybridge, subject to an assessment of fitness to travel and journey time considerations. BSE suspects received at the VLA are slaughtered within 72 hours of arrival. However, most BSE suspects are slaughtered on-farm.

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Waste and Resources Action Programme

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s total annual expenditure was for (a) projects, (b) salaries and (c) office premises in each of the last five years. [78532]

Mr. Bradshaw: The information requested is set out in the following table:

Project Salary Premises





















Waste Exports

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to tackle the illegal export of waste televisions and computer monitors containing cathode ray tubes. [78439]

Mr. Bradshaw: Waste electrical electronic equipment, such as television sets and computer monitors containing cathode ray tubes, are classified as hazardous waste for the purposes of shipment out of the UK. Under the Waste Shipment Regulation, the export of hazardous waste to non-Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries is prohibited. Exports of this waste to other OECD countries is permitted for recovery operations but such shipments would be subject to prior informed consent procedures.

The illegal shipment of waste abroad for disposal under the guise of recycling is totally unacceptable and the UK Government and competent authorities, such as the Environment Agency, take such matters extremely seriously. The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the scale and destination of waste at major UK ports through ongoing inspections, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where evidence of illegal activity is found.

Trade and Industry

Clear Skies Scheme

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of the total funding pot under the Clear Skies scheme. [80772]

Malcolm Wicks: The Clear Skies programme had a £13.25 million budget over three years beginning January 2003.

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Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what value the current total funding pot has under Stream 1 of the low carbon buildings programme for householders. [80771]

Malcolm Wicks: The current funding for Stream 1 household applications under the low carbon buildings programme is £6.5 million over three years for the financial years 2006-07 to 2008-09.

Landlords (Retained Deposits)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many actions have been initiated by trading standards officers against companies which have unfairly retained deposits paid on student accommodation; [75887]

(2) what estimate he has made of the amount of money unlawfully retained by companies from deposits on student accommodation in the past 12 months; [75888]

(3) what steps he is taking to encourage action against companies which unlawfully retain deposits paid by students who have rented student accommodation. [75889]

Angela E. Smith: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are committed to ensuring that where tenants pay a deposit to their landlord in good faith it will be returned at the end of the tenancy, providing the tenant does not cause any damage or theft to the property. Provisions contained in Part 6 of the Housing Act 2004 will make it a requirement that any landlord who offers assured shorthold tenancies and wishes to take a monetary deposit must safeguard that deposit with a tenancy deposit scheme (TDS).

The Department does not hold information on the actions of trading standards officers or the level of deposits that may have been withheld by landlords.


Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his policy is on investment by UK companies in Zimbabwe; and what steps he is taking to improve standards of corporate behaviour in Zimbabwe. [78630]

Mr. McCartney: The EU does not have economic or trade sanctions with Zimbabwe, and therefore we do not place any barriers on investment in Zimbabwe. UK companies will take decisions on investing in Zimbabwe on the basis of their commercial assessment of those investments.

There are no specific initiatives to improve corporate behaviour in Zimbabwe. HMG are however committed to promoting responsible business practice by British companies wherever they operate. We do this through a combination of sector-specific activities, such as;

HMG also support international organisations active on corporate responsibility such as the UN global compact, which seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalisation.

International Development

Burmese Refugees

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what help he has made available to support relief groups in Thailand assisting those people displaced from their homes in Burma. [76022]

Mr. Thomas: There are three types of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma. These are (with the latest available numbers, from October 2005):

The recent military offensive against the Karen people has swelled the number of civilians hiding in conflict areas by at least 15,000. DFID’s approach to providing emergency assistance to these IDPs has been to use our comparative advantage (the fact that we have a small presence inside the country and a strong network of relationships with ethnic minority and other groups) to reach the IDPs using local community groups inside Burma. This is a complementary approach to the use of relief teams operating cross border from Thailand, and it enables access to IDPs who would not be reached by any other means, and through a mechanism which is much less well supported by other donors. The development of civil society within the country is also a fundamental step in a successful transition to democracy.

The number of IDPs that we can reach from inside the country is limited. Access is difficult, and the small local groups with whom we are working do not currently have the capacity to deliver greater volumes of emergency relief, although we are working to strengthen their ability to do more. Those delivering assistance to IDPs cross border from Thailand face similar challenges. Therefore we recognise the importance of maintaining co-ordination with all donors (both those delivering assistance cross border, and those working inside the country) to ensure that together we manage to reach as many IDPs as possible.

DFID also provides support to IDPs in temporary settlements in ceasefire areas in eastern Burma through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
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to which we provide £500,000 a year, of which approximately 75 per cent. is attributable to work with displaced people in this area.

In addition, our health, education and rural livelihood projects provide assistance in eastern Burma, and support internally displaced people in temporary settlements and designated relocation sites there, as well as other vulnerable people. For example, in Karen State, our Fund for HIV/AIDS in Burma supports World Vision projects in two townships, Save the Children UK projects in four townships and Care projects in five townships, as well as supporting other national non-governmental organisations (NGOs). DFID-funded rural livelihoods and pre-primary education projects are also about to start in Karen State.

DFID is also providing support to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working among displaced Burmese people in the refugee camps on the Thai side of the Thai-Burma border—as a grant to the Thai Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) of £1.8 million over three years. In addition, the UK contributes approximately the same amount again as its share of the EC’s support to the TBBC. The British embassy in Bangkok advocates on behalf of Burmese refugees living in Thailand through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve the situation in the refugee camps in Thailand and to bring about a relaxation of the regulations prohibiting freedom of movement and employment outside the camps.

Timber (Papua New Guinea)

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has received regarding illegal logging in Papua New Guinea; and if he will make a statement. [78899]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has been informed of the seriousness of illegal logging in Papua New Guinea by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Roger Berry) and by the British high commissioner. DFID has no programmes in Papua New Guinea through which it can offer assistance. However, DFID has raised this matter with the European Commission which will consider assistance.


Abuse of Power Reports

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many persons have been subject to disciplinary or administrative procedures as a result of failure to report an incident of abuse of power in the Army in the past 12 months. [79837]

Mr. Ingram: None. The most recent case concerned Corporal Daniel Kenyon who was convicted in February 2005 of failing to report an incident involving the abuse of Iraqi civilians.

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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long he expects British troops to be based in Afghanistan. [80636]

Des Browne: As announced by the then Secretary of State for Defence my right hon. Friend the Member for Airdrie and Shotts (John Reid) on 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 1529, the Helmand Task Force is planned to be a three year deployment. It is impossible to predict exactly how long there will be a UK military presence of somekind, as part of wider international support to the Government of Afghanistan, beyond that period.

Cluster Munitions

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with British manufacturers on the decision of the Belgian Government to ban cluster munitions. [79688]

Mr. Ingram: None.

Combined Cadet Force

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in implementing the plans announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in February 2006 to create branches of the Combined Cadet Force in state schools. [80692]

Mr. Watson: Since the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in February 2006, the Ministry of Defence has been working with the Department for Education and Skills and the Treasury to develop plans for a pilot scheme that will further extend Combined Cadet Forces in the state school sector. As was announced on the 27 June 2006 we will be establishing six new pilot schemes in schools across England. Funding arrangements have just been put in place by the Treasury and we are now discussing arrangements with schools who have already expressed an interest in establishing a Combined Cadet Force.

Deepcut (Document Disclosure)

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date he wrote to the chief constable of Surrey police regarding the disclosure of documents to the families of (a) Sean Benton, (b) Cheryl James and (c) Geoff Gray; if he will copy the letter to the legal representatives of those families; and if he will place copies in the Library. [79870]

Mr. Ingram: I wrote to the chief constable of the Surrey police regarding Recommendation 33 of the Deepcut Review on 13 June 2006. A copy of the letter will be provided to the legal representatives of the families concerned. A copy of the letter will also be placed in the Library of the House.

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Departmental Bills

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those Government Bills sponsored by his Department that are still to be introduced during the 2005-06 session. [78853]

Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Leader of the House on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1432W.

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