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27 Jun 2007 : Column 750W—continued

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens: Finance

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what public funds have been made available to the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens in each of the last five years. [145721]

Mr. Woolas: I have been asked to reply.

Through its Special Grants Programme, the Department for Communities and Local Government has funded the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (the Federation) as follows: 2005-06: £50,000; 2006-07: £70,000; 2007-08: £125,000 to a total amount of £245,000. No funding was provided to the Federation by the Departments in 2003-04 or 2004-05.

The Departments funding allows the Federation to develop networks to support and promote new and existing local community-based gardening and food production groups, supporting delivery of our Cleaner, Safer, Greener Communities programme.

Through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental Action Fund, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens received a three-year grant from 2005-08 as follows:

£

2005-06

84,000

2006-07

116,500

2007-08

114,500


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funding supports the Sustainable Production in Active Neighbourhoods (SPAN) Project. SPAN partners, including the Federation, are being supported to develop resources and working methods that will support community organisations to enable people to be involved in sustainable food production and consumption.


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Noise

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to implement section 84 and Schedule 1 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 relating to noise. [146068]

Mr. Bradshaw: Section 84 and Schedule 1 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 came into force in relation to England on 1 October 2006. We have revised the directions for permitted noise levels and an approval for devices measuring noise levels.

However, these cannot be brought into force until a stand-still period required under the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive 98/34/EC has expired.

A statement will be published on the DEFRA website when we are able to confirm the exact date.

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department’s policy is on neighbourhood noise. [146069]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government take the issue of neighbourhood noise seriously, and has given new powers to local authorities to deal with noise-related problems under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Noise: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many environment protection officers there are responsible for noise in each London borough. [146067]

Mr. Bradshaw: My Department does not hold the information requested. Staffing levels in individual London boroughs are a matter for the relevant local authority.

Noise: Pollution Control

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will provide an update on a proposed National Ambient Noise Strategy. [146066]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government plan to publish a combined national noise strategy for England, covering ambient and neighbourhood noise, by the end of 2007.

Recycling

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps his Department has taken to increase the level of recycling of plastic in the UK; [145620]

(2) what estimate he has made of the proportion of households able to recycle plastic packing through doorstep collection. [145622]


27 Jun 2007 : Column 752W

Mr. Bradshaw: Recycling is strongly promoted by a range of Government policies. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is working to maximise the amount and quality of recyclate used in UK manufacturing operations.

The demand for recycled plastic is very strong, both from UK manufacturers and overseas markets. The UK currently recycles or recovers approximately 19 per cent. of all plastic consumed, and this is set to increase to over 25 per cent. by 2010. WRAP has a number of projects over the next two years which aim to switch manufacturing processes from virgin to recycled materials, including a target to support the recycling of an additional 16 kilo tonnes of plastic bottles—an increase of 30 per cent. from current levels.

The new Waste Strategy for England, which we published in May, focuses action on key waste materials for greater scope for improving environmental and economic outcomes, one of which is plastic. The Strategy recognises that recycling plastics shows significant potential for carbon and energy savings through displacing virgin materials. Actions set out in the Strategy include developing proposals (subject to further analysis) for higher packaging recycling targets beyond the 2008 EC Packaging Directive targets, and supporting WRAP in its work to increase recycling of plastics and the recycled content of certain plastic containers.

We have set demanding targets, both nationally and locally, for household waste recycling and composting and the Waste Strategy sets even higher national targets, to reach at least 40 per cent. by 2010, 45 per cent. by 2015 and 50 per cent. by 2020. These targets are not material-specific, but we expect the range of materials collected by local authorities, including plastics, to increase further as targets become more demanding and as collection and treatment capacity increases.

Treasury

Al-Yamamah Project

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the departmental responsibilities of the Paymaster General since May 1997 have included authorisation of any aspect of the Al-Yamamah defence contract; and if he will make a statement. [146219]

Dawn Primarolo: The responsibilities of the Paymaster General do not include authorisation of any aspect of the Al-Yamamah defence contract.

Capital Gains Tax: Venture Capital

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the memorandum of understanding with the British Venture Capital Association on the application of capital gains tax relief rules to venture capital companies. [146227]

John Healey: The two memoranda of understanding with the British Venture Capital Association can be found at the following links:

I have also placed copies in the Library.


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Corporation Tax

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what projections were made of non-North Sea corporation tax receipts in (a) the preceding Budget and (b) the Pre Budget report in each financial year from 2000-01 to 2006-07; and what the outturn receipts were in each year. [145038]

John Healey: Projections and outturns of on-shore corporation tax receipts can be derived from the current receipts tables in the public finances chapters of the Financial Statement and Budget report and pre-Budget reports.

An analysis of the difference between forecast and outturn for the year-ahead forecasts from the previous two Budgets is published in the End of Year Fiscal Report. This is published annually alongside the pre-Budget report.

Departments: Correspondence

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1879W, on Departments: correspondence, whether the 15 day target for responding to correspondence from hon. Members includes holding replies; what percentage of letters received holding replies only within 15 days in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what percentage of letters from hon. Members received a substantive response within 15 working days. [145988]

John Healey: During the financial year ending March 2007 HM Treasury sent 85 per cent. substantive replies to hon. Members within target. Performances do not normally include holding replies but, exceptionally, where an issue may be subject to forthcoming policy or announcement changes such replies may be included if hon. Members are updated with the latest position and then further updated once those changes have been made. Holding replies account for around 2 per cent. of replies to hon. Members.

Departments: Credit Cards

David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent by staff in his Department via departmental (a) credit, (b) procurement and (c) fuel cards in each of the last three years. [145302]

John Healey: HM Treasury issues cards for the purchase of official travel and subsistence services and the procurement of low value goods and services, in line with government rules on procurement. Total spending on these cards in the past three years was as follows:

£

2004-05

1,941,911

2005-06

2,637,234

2006-07

2,712,465


27 Jun 2007 : Column 754W

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of sick leave taken by staff in his Department was stress-related in each of the last three years. [145984]

John Healey: The average working days lost per staff year in HM Treasury in the last three years is as follows:

Direct Payments

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he has had with the British Bankers’ Association on the Direct Payments scheme since 2003; and if he will make a statement; [142506]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Building Societies’ Association on the Direct Payments scheme since 2003; and if he will make a statement. [142521]

Mr. Timms: The Chancellor has not met with either of these groups since 2003 to discuss the Direct Payments scheme.

HM Revenue and Customs: Pay

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average bonus payment made to HM Revenue and Customs staff in senior grades was in the last year for which figures are available. [144714]

Dawn Primarolo: The average bonus payment made to HM Revenue and Customs senior civil servants was £5,130.

Migrant Workers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many migrant workers from the EU (a) arrived in the UK and (b) were in the UK in each month from April 2003 to April 2007; and if he will make a statement. [141094]

Mr. Byrne: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not available.

VAT: Exemptions

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discretion there is in applying exemptions from VAT for work carried out on a disabled person's home after the work has been completed. [146000]

Dawn Primarolo: The VAT reliefs for alterations to a disabled person's private residence include a zero rate for the provision, extension or adaptation of a bathroom, washroom or lavatory, and for the construction of rampsand the widening of doorways or passages to facilitate entry into, and movement within, the building. However, zero-rating is not available for all building work carried out on the homes of disabled people and EU VAT
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agreements, signed by successive Governments, do not allow us to extend the scope of our existing zero rates or introduce new ones.

If a customer has been charged the standard rate of VAT on a supply that was correctly liable to the zero rate, he or she should contact their supplier to obtain a refund of the amount they consider the supplier has overcharged. In turn, the supplier can recover from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the VAT for which he has over-accounted to them, subject to certain time limits. In cases of doubt the supplier should contact HMRC's Charities and Disabled Reliefs Helpline on 0845 302 0203.

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the percentage of tax credits paid out for 2003-04 which is accounted for by fraud, error and overpayment; and if he will make a statement. [144876]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates for the level of error and fraud in 2003-04 are available in the publication ‘Child and Working Tax Credits. Error and fraud statistics 2003-04’. This is available on the HMRC website at:

Estimates of the amount of entitlement for claimants in 2003-04 are available in the publication ‘Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised awards 2003-04. Supplement on payments in 2003-04.’ This publication is available on the HMRC website at:

Estimates for the value of overpayments in 2003-04 are available in the publication ‘Child and Working Tax Credit Statistics. Finalised annual awards 2005-06. Supplement on payments in 2005-06’. This is available on the HMRC website at:

Welfare Tax Credits: Correspondence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place to ensure that letters notifying clients of the cessation of tax credits are not sent in error; and how many such letters have been sent in error since the system was established. [145209]

Dawn Primarolo: Procedural guidance for HM Revenue and Customs staff dealing with tax credits can be found at:

Information about the number of letters is not available in the format requested.


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