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Two contractors are currently responsible for the maintenance (Brogdale Horticultural Trust) and scientific curation (Imperial College) of the Collections. However,
in line with current guidelines on procurement of research, we are obliged to ensure best value for Defra by issuing an open call for bids to carry out both the maintenance, either at the current site or elsewhere, and curation under a single contract. Defras intention to issue this contract was announced in an Information Bulletin, issued on 8 December 2006. The new contract for maintenance and curation will commence on 1 April 2008.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were not answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation, or similar wording. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were not answered wholly or in part on grounds of disproportionate cost. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specified date. 
(a) 4,882 were ordinary written. Of these 4,483 or 92 per cent. were answered within 10 working days.
(b) 934 were named day. Of these 315 or 34 per cent. were answered on the specified date.
We aim to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these time scales.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will place in the Library copies of reports by the Central Scientific Laboratory on rodents in domestic dwellings; 
Barry Gardiner: The most recent report Rodent infestations in domestic properties in England, 2001 was published in July 2005. The report was compiled from data collected during the 2001 English House Condition Survey.
The next report will be published in the autumn of next year when the three-year dataset for the period 2002-03 to 2004-05 has been received and analysed. However, a short report on temporal trends based on data for 2002-03 and 2003-04 will be available this summer.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 960W, on the Rural Payments Agency, what the longest processing time was for processing an application for a payment to (a) farmers and (b) agricultural businesses in each year since 2001. 
Of the estimated 550 claimants who have yet to receive a payment, 23 are now in the priority one category (having a claim value of more than 1,000 or 682), all of which are complex cases involving probate (18), or executor, business partnership disputes and issues such complications over entitlements (5). RPA managers are in contact with these priority one customers to resolve their claim issues. In addition, there are 932 claimants who are awaiting a top-up to a previous partial payment.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 960W, on the Rural Payments Agency, how many of the follow-up calls made since 5 June 2006 on behalf of the Rural Payment Agency, involved outstanding payments; and how many calls have resulted in outstanding payments successfully being paid in full. 
Barry Gardiner: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is unable to identify how many calls involved outstanding Single Payment scheme (SPS) payments. RPAs call monitoring system includes a category defined as SPS queries. Although such queries may have included an aspect relating to an outstanding payment, data on this sub category is not recorded.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of the ECR71 software system being installed at the Rural Payments Agency; and what the cost was of the system it replaces. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 16 January 2007]: The ECR71 development was installed as part of a wider software release that incorporated changes resulting from additional EU regulatory obligations. It is not possible to allocate accurately the precise costs of ECR71 within that development but the software system costs were just under £4.1 million, of which the ECR71 element accounted for a large majority. The functionality provided by ECR71 is an enhancement of the existing system rather than a replacement of anything.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken within its budget to plan for the possibility that the European Commission disallows any or all of the £131 million reimbursment potentially affected by the delays in processing of single farm payments at the Rural Payments Agency. 
Barry Gardiner: Discussions with the European Commission on disallowance in the context of the EU regulatory clearance of accounts procedure are at an early stage in respect of the 2005 scheme year payments. Until the European Commission is in a position to make any formal proposals, the current position is as set out in DEFRA's resource accounts for 2005-06 as laid before Parliament on 30 October 2006.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in Cumbria have yet to receive any payment for the single farm payment for 2005; and how many are still to receive the full payment. 
[holding answer 16 January 2007]: DEFRA continues to support British Waterways, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority in their important work of maintaining and improving canals
and waterways. The Government have made substantial investment in British Waterways waterways since 2000, spending £524 million. It has safeguarded British Waterways budget of £55 million for 2007-08 and is working with its management on longer term funding arrangements.
The Environment Agency is developing long term funding and investment strategies to enable it to run its waterways in a sustainable way in the future. It is allocating £12.5 million of the DEFRA grant in aid towards a total navigation budget for 2007-08 of £18.1 million. DEFRA has provided £30 million over three years for funding infrastructure improvements. The Agency spent 9m in 2005-06 and is on course to spend £10.6 million in 2006-07.
Most of the funding for navigation in the Broads Authority is raised locally through tolls. In 2005-06, DEFRA allocated the Authority an extra £1.5 million over three years to help meet its priorities in the Broads Plan.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent to which changes in air passenger duty rates have influenced the environmental performance of the aviation industry; and on what evidence his assessment is based. 
John Healey: The Chancellor's 2006 pre-Budget report announced that increases in air passenger duty would deliver carbon savings of O.3MtC a year by 2010-11. When the effect of non-carbon dioxide emissions are taken into account this has a climate change impact equivalent to saving around 0.75MtC per year by 2010-11.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the nominal expenditure on child benefit in the UK has been in each year since 2001; and what estimate he has made of expenditure in each year from 2006-07 to 2009-10. 
|Expenditure (£ million)|
These projections are based on indexation of the current first and subsequent child rates of child benefit in line with prices, and projections of the number of children in the UK from the Government Actuarys Department (GAD). Retail price index assumptions may be found in Table C3: Economic assumptions for the public finance projections in Budget 2006 (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget/budget_06/budget_report/bud_bud06_repindex.cfm) and GAD population projections may be found at:
The projections are not a statement of Government policy in relation to financial support for children, and the Government remains committed to meeting its targets to halve child poverty by 2010-11 and eradicate it by 2020-21.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what costs are included in the cost of delivery of (a) tax credits, (b) child benefit and (c) child trust funds in Annex C of the HM Revenue and Customs annual report 2005-06. 
Ed Balls: The costs included in the cost of delivery for tax credits, child benefit and child trust fund in the 2005-06 HM Revenue and Customs annual report are paybill costs, staff related costs, IT costs, other operating expenditure, central accommodation costs, other non cash costs, stock losses and departmental overheads.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1729W, on City of London competitiveness, how much non-EU businesses in the financial services and insurance sectors contributed to the UK economy in each of the last five years. 
|Share of total gross domestic product (Percentage)|
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1729W, on City of London competitiveness, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution to the UK economy of non-EU businesses in the (a) financial services and (b) insurance sectors. 
Ed Balls: The UK financial services sector, including insurance, is contributing an increasing share of UK economic output, accounting for 8.6 per cent. of UK Gross Domestic Product in 2005 and supporting over 1 million British jobs. The UKs trade surplus in financial services was £19.1 billion in 2005.
London is the worlds leading international financial centre, with unparalleled scale, scope and internationalism. 70 per cent. of global secondary bond market trading takes place in London, along with over 40 per cent. of over-the-counter derivatives trading, over 30 per cent. of world foreign exchange business, over 40 per cent. of global trade in foreign-listed equities, and 20 per cent. of cross-border bank lending. Over 250 foreign banks are based in the UKmore than in any other financial centre.
The success of the UKs financial sector depends on a number of factors, including our tradition of openness, innovation, high-level skills, world-class regulation and a competitive business environment. London has proved an attractive location for both EU and non-EU financial services providers, with non-EU providers benefiting not just from Londons large pools of liquidity and broad international investor base but also from Londons position as a gateway to European financial markets. The Government are working with the financial sector, including through the Chancellors high-level group on financial services, to ensure its continued success.
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