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Anne Main: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in tax revenue from (a) small and medium-sized and (b) large enterprises arising from the end of the 50 per cent. rate of relief on empty commercial properties; what the evidential basis was for setting the period for 100 per cent. relief at three months; what consideration was given to extending the three month 100 per cent. relief period in taking the decision to remove the subsequent 50 per cent. rate; and what the evidential basis was for setting the period for 100 per cent. tax relief for warehouses and factories at six months. 
John Healey: Yield forecasts for this reform were published in Budget 2007. Further information on the evidence base for the reform and the options that were considered can be found in the regulatory impact assessment, published on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Dawn Primarolo: I understand that the hon. Members constituency office has spoken recently with the Tax Credit Office (TCO) MP Hotline about his constituents case. TCO apologised and explained they are working to resolve the problems affecting Mrs. Youngs case which is among those I referred to in the answer I gave the hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) on 18 June 2007, Official Report, column 1502W.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations there were between (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department and (i) officials and (ii) Ministers of the Department for Work and Pensions in (A) 2005 and (B) 2006 before the decision not to implement fully the recommendations of the Government Actuarial Department on contracted-out rebates for salary-related pension schemes; and if he will make a statement. 
Decisions on the level of contracted-out national insurance rebates are a matter for the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The current contracted-out rebate rates were set out in the Secretary of State's report laid before each House of Parliament on 1 March 2006 and reflected in the rebate Order made on 30 March 2006. This report gave due consideration to the report of the Government Actuary and to other considerations such as the fiscal conditions which prevailed at the time. As with all decisions which have a major impact on public expenditure, including previous rebate reviews, the recommended rates were agreed with HM Treasury.
The Secretary of State has departed from the rebate rates recommended by the Government Actuary on two occasions in the period covered by the question, in addition to the one where the Government Actuary's recommendation for rebate rates from 2007 was not fully implemented. The two occasions were the application of a 9.0 per cent. cap on age-related percentages for contracted-out DC schemes for the period 1999-2000 to 2001-02 tax year, and the application of a 10.5 per cent. cap from 2002-03 to 2006-07.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will ensure that at least 96 per cent. of the 2006 Single Farm Payment will be paid by the end of June payment window; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: As of 13 June, the Rural Payments Agency had paid more than 94 per cent. of the amount due to claimants under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme. The Agency is working hard to meet the EU target of paying 96.14 per cent. of claim value by the end of June.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effects of algal blooms on human health in the coastal areas covered by the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. 
I am advised by the Environment Agency that while some species of potentially toxic algae are found in the north-west area, they are seldom at significant concentrations and therefore do not pose any risk to human health.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which agricultural nitrates are contributing to algal blooms in the area covered by the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. 
The eutrophication status (of which algal blooms are a consideration) of the waters around the UK coastline is reviewed on a regular basis by the Environment Agency (England and Wales) for the purposes of the nitrate and urban waste water treatment directives. It is also reviewed by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), for the Convention on the Prevention of Pollution of the Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention. The latest review under the directives was 2005-06 and under OSPAR was 2002, with a further OSPAR review being completed in the spring of 2007.
Algal blooms in coastal waters are a natural phenomenon. They can be exacerbated by nutrient pollution from human activities e.g. agricultural practices and from sewage. The links between nutrient enrichment and the occurrence of marine algal blooms are complex and an area of continuing research.
The Environment Agency inform me that none of the north-west coastal and marine waters in this Sea Fisheries Committee area are identified as at risk from nutrients in water framework directive risk assessments carried out between 2003-05. These will be reviewed as part of ongoing work on the water framework directive.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward plans (a) to promote training in apiculture and (b) to extend the role of his Department's Bee Unit. 
Barry Gardiner: The National Bee Unit organises a large number of training courses for beekeepers and assists with beekeeper associations' training and examination programme. 600 to 700 training events are held each year. The NBU is currently developing the reach of its training to increase awareness and control of pests and diseases among all beekeepers.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he plans to take to ensure that those biodiversity objectives that can only be delivered through targeted initiatives are the subject of the transfer of existing agri-environmental agreements into the Higher Level Scheme. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Inquiry, chaired by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, cost approximately £30 million. This includes the cost of the inquiry itself, together with the costs of liaison units and legal support for witnesses from all the main Departments involved.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many central heating systems have been installed for (a) pensioners on pension credit and (b) all other pensioners under the Warm Front and Home Heat programmes since January 2006. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of cetaceans killed or injured in the sea which are washed ashore. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The exact number of cetaceans killed or injured at sea every year is unknown, as it is not feasible to monitor all cetacean deaths. As such, I am unable to estimate the proportion of cetaceans killed or injured at sea that are washed ashore. In any event, this will be influenced by several factors, including distance from shore and the prevailing weather and sea conditions over a period of time.
For nearly 15 years the Government have funded studies by the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) on causes of death and trends in numbers of stranded cetaceans around the UK coastline. Post-mortems are carried out on a selected number of the stranded carcases each year.
The two species that are more commonly reported as stranded along the UK coastline are the harbour porpoise and the common dolphin. The annual proportion of UK-stranded harbour porpoises diagnosed as by-catches varied between 11 per cent. and 25 per cent. in the 2002-06 period. The proportion of UK-stranded common dolphins diagnosed as by-catch varied between 57-77 per cent. for the same period. The majority of these by-catches (for both species) occurred in SW England during the winter months. Although the annual numbers of harbour porpoises and common dolphin strandings reported in SW England has increased since the 1990s, a number of factors (particularly increased observer effort and possible changes in abundance and distribution of these species) are suspected to have played a role in this increase.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of bottle nose and common dolphins and harbour porpoises which will be killed or injured by foreign pair trawlers fishing within the UK 12 mile limit in the next 12 months. 
Results for the 2004-05 pair trawl fishery for bass show a marked decrease from the preceding year for the total numbers of dolphins observed as by-catch and the number of dolphins stranding in the south west coast has similarly decreased this year. It is, however, too early, on the basis of one years data alone, to link these reductions to the 12 mile ban. Further analysis of the effectiveness of the 12 mile ban on sea bass pair trawling will be undertaken as more data become available. The funding for cetacean by-catch and strandings monitoring has been extended to 2010. 2005-06 survey data are being analysed and the results will be published in the near future.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has the power to close UK fisheries to foreign-registered pair trawlers to protect dolphins and porpoises. 
These can be used at the request of a Member State where there is a serious threat to the conservation of stocks or the marine environment from the impact of fishing requiring immediate action. The Commission has emergency powers to put in place measures for 6 months applicable to all Member States. Measures are also renewable for a further 6 months. Member states have a right to submit written comments on the request to the Commission. The Commission must decide upon the Member States request for action within 15 days of receipt. If the Commission decides to take emergency action any Member State can refer the decision to the Council. The Council, acting under qualified majority voting procedures, may take a different decision within one month of the referral.
These measures can be used by a Member State to take action, subject to confirmation, cancellation or amendment by the Commission, where there is a serious and unforeseen threat to stocks or to the marine environment. Measures would apply to other Member States vessels but, again, as under Article 7, other Member States have the right to comment and refer the Commission decision on the Member State request to the Council of Ministers. Measures last for 3 months and are non-renewable.
This article provides for Member States to take measures for the conservation of stocks and to minimise the impact of fishing on the marine environment within 12 nautical miles of baselines. Where such measures are liable to affect vessels of other Member States (that is, in practice, those that have historic rights of access under the CFP to the 6-12 nautical mile zone), as with Articles 7 and 8, they are subject to approval by the Commission, open to comment from other Member States and any Commission decision can be referred to the Council of Ministers.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in which months dolphins and porpoises are most likely to be found washed up on British beaches having been killed or injured by foreign-registered pair trawlers. 
From 1 November 2004 to 4 March 2005, a total of 90 cetaceans were reported as stranded along the south coast. Not all of these strandings can be solely attributed to the pair trawling sea bass fishery, and the figures include stranded dead cetaceans, live strandings and carcases seen floating at sea. Only 12 of the 90 cetaceans that were stranded were definitely confirmed as by-catch. These data were obtained under the DEFRA-funded Cetacean and Turtle Strandings Scheme, carried out by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Institute of Zoology, Marine Environmental Monitoring and Scottish Agricultural College.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much revenue his Department received from advertisements on his Department's (a) public information leaflets and (b) public websites in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff funded by the public purse in the Central Science Laboratory are classified as people without posts. 
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