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21 May 2008 : Column 338W—continued


Personal Accounts

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has had from the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority on the level of charges on personal accounts. [205496]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The personal accounts scheme will deliver low charges for members and fulfil the Government's intention that the scheme should be self-financing over the long-term. My Department is working closely with the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to develop a funding strategy for the personal accounts scheme, including the level and structure of charges that will be levied on members. A final charge level will only be known once the funding strategy is finalised and the Delivery Authority has undertaken the commercial procurement process, which will establish the detailed costs of delivering the scheme. They can only do this once the Authority's powers have been extended through the current Pensions Bill.

Smoking

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many smoking shelters were built at each of his Department's London buildings in each of the last five years. [205036]

Mrs. McGuire: There are no smoking shelters at any of the Department's London buildings and none have been constructed in the last five years. All DWP buildings are smoke free indoors.

Social Fund

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has commissioned KPMG to undertake a feasibility study to assess options available for the reform of the system of Social Fund loans. [205482]

Mr. Plaskitt: Yes.


21 May 2008 : Column 339W

Social Security Benefits: Overseas Residence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of (a) disability living allowance care component, (b) incapacity benefits, (c) state pension and (d) bereavement benefits claimed outside the United Kingdom was in the last year for which figures are available; and what he expects them to be in the next three financial years. [201689]

Mr. Plaskitt: Benefits claimed outside the United Kingdom excluding disability living allowance are in the following table.

The cost of the disability living allowance (DLA) care component claimed outside the UK was estimated to be below £1 million in 2006-07. From October 2007 the ECJ judgment on exportability of the care component will increase DLA expenditure outside the UK, however the full extent of the UK's responsibilities following this judgment have not yet been determined.

£ million
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

Incapacity benefit

44

44

42

36

Severe disablement allowance

1

State pension

2,175

2,323

2,482

2,651

Bereavement benefits

25

23

21

18

Notes:
1. All figures are consistent with spring 2008 forecasts, as well as expenditure information published on the internet at
www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp.
2. There is no forecast available for severe disablement allowance.
Source:
Departmental Accounting and Statistical data and forecasts.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reservations the Government plans to enter against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prior to its ratification. [206016]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to my written statement of 6 May 2008, O fficial R eport , column 29WS, “UN Convention on Disability Rights” which sets out the current position in respect of our progress towards ratification of the Convention, and the areas where reservations are still under consideration.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to streamline the delivery of Pillar 2 monies under the Common Agricultural Policy. [206296]


21 May 2008 : Column 340W

Jonathan Shaw: In England, Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy (Rural Development Programme for England 2007-2013) is delivered by Natural England, the Regional Development Agencies, the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency. The new programme was approved by the European Commission in December 2007. At present, there are no immediate plans for changing the delivery arrangements, but DEFRA and the delivery bodies will continue to work together to improve the efficiency and value for money of these arrangements wherever possible.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Rural Payments Agency is making towards its targets of (a) making 96.14 per cent. of payments under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) by 30 June 2008 and (b) making 90 per cent. of the total value of payments for the 2007 SPS by the end of May 2008; and if he will make a statement. [206874]

Jonathan Shaw: As at 19 May 2008 the total value of payments made under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is £1.295 billion, which is 89.3 per cent. of the estimated total fund of £1.45 billion.

The Rural Payments Agency continues to work towards meeting its 2007 SPS targets.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Rural Payments Agency on recent trends in the rates of payments under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme. [206875]

Jonathan Shaw: When the Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency met with my noble Friend, Lord Rooker and industry stakeholders on 6 May 2008 he explained the steps that were being taken to ensure progress on the 2007 Single Payment Scheme in line with the agency’s target to make 90 per cent. of payments by value by the end of May.

As at 19 May 2008, payments totalled £1.295 billion, which is 89.3 per cent. of the estimated total fund of £1.45 billion.

Beekeeping: Research

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned into beekeeping and bee health in each year since 2001; what research he plans to commission in each of the next five years; what the cost of that research (a) was and (b) is expected to be in each year; and if he will make a statement. [206663]

Jonathan Shaw: The following projects have been funded by DEFRA since 2001. The costs of the projects are included:


21 May 2008 : Column 341W

21 May 2008 : Column 342W
Project From To Cost of project (£)

HH0813SHB: Screening pathogens for the biocontrol of Varroa jacobsoni.

1998

2002

410,231

HH0814SHB: The epidemiology of honey bee viruses transmitted by Varroa destructor.

2000

2001

120,000

HH0815SHB: Effects of chlortetracycline on honeybee brood (Apis mellifera) development and residues in honey following treatment.

2000

2001

17,557

HH0816SHB: Establishing the appropriate treatment method and an MRL for oxytetracycline for honey

2001

2002

21,142

HH0817THB: The control of exotic bee diseases and their likely interactions with UK conditions.

2001

2004

330,000

HH0819SHB: Fungal control of Varroa jacobsoni (destructor)

2002

2006

383,802

HH3126SHB: Evaluation of TaqMan real-time PCR for detection of Aethina tumida (Small Hive Beetle)

2005

2005

14,348

HH3223SHB: Minimisation of oxytetracycline levels in honey after antibiotic treatment

2003

2004

25,000

HH3224SHB: Developing Real-Time PCR TaqMan(TM) instrumentation for Bee Health Diagnostics.

2002

2003

10,000

HH3225SHB: Detection and control techniques for the Small Hive Beetle Aethina tumida (Murray); (Coleoptera, Nitiduluidae)

2002

2003

8,000

HH3234SHB: Optimisation of detection methods for Melissococcus plutonius (European foulbrood, EFB)

2005

2005

10,101

HH3235SHB: Honey bee virus detection and discrimination

2005

2005

25,233

HH3815SHB: A promotional publication summarising the Defra Bee Health Research and Development activity over 10 years

2004

2005

9,920

HL0161LHB: Development of a method of biological control of European foulbrood in honeybees to supersede antibiotic treatments.

2000

2003

103,579

PH0410: The taxonomy of UK and exotic honey bee viruses: a molecular approach (PhD Fellowship).

2007

2010

81,248

PH0502: Assessing the effectiveness of the shook swarm method for controlling European Foul Brood.

2006

2008

185,393

PH0503: Development of a monitoring system for the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Murray).

2006

2008

225,772

PN0936: The effects of endocrine disrupters on honeybee populations.

2001

2004

86,148

PN0944: Use of sub-lethal effects in honeybees in pesticide risk assessment.

2001

2002

31,785

PN0945: Assessing the impact of mixtures of pyrethroids and fungicides on honeybees.

2001

2004

55,718.

PS2322: Assessment of the risk posed to honeybees by systemic pesticides.

2005

2007

46,104

VM02140: Investigation of the fate of veterinary drugs used in apiculture.

2004

2007

180,589

VM02156: Investigation into the experimental protocols required to determine Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in honey: Preliminary study using organic acids as model compounds to propose ways in which withdrawal times might be calculated.

2007

2010

287,083


For the current year, detailed allocations for all of DEFRA's programmes have still to be finalised, including those for research. Commissioned research for honey bee health in 2008-09 is expected to be c. £190,000. Research priorities are addressed in the draft Bee Health strategy which has recently been published for public consultation. Commissioned research in later years will be considered in the light of priorities identified in the agreed strategy and the resources available.

Bees

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the value of the contribution honey bees made to the agricultural economy in the last 12 months. [206784]

Jonathan Shaw [h olding answer 20 May 2008] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 12 May 2008, Official Report, column 1324W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, South (Ben Chapman).

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to monitor and control foul brood diseases in bees. [206785]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 20 May 2008]: The National Bee Unit operates a statutory inspection programme for American foul brood (AFB) and European foul brood (EFB). DEFRA’s bee health R and D programme is assessing the effectiveness of the shook swarm technique for the control of EFB to determine whether this method can be used by beekeepers as part of an Integrated Pest Management scheme. In addition, a PhD studentship is being funded through the DEFRA seedcorn fund to study AFB.

Reports are currently being prepared for two projects carried out during 2007-08 under the Horizon Scanning and Future Proofing Scheme which forms part of the Memorandum of Understanding between DEFRA and the Central Science Laboratory. These projects aimed to develop additional methods for distinguishing the bacteria causing AFB from other bacteria in the same subspecies and to investigate resistance of honey bees to EFB.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he is funding on tropilaelaps; and if he will make a statement. [206789]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 20 May 2008]: No research on tropilaelaps is being carried out. Tropilaelaps is not considered to be present in Europe. However, a contingency plan for exotic pests and diseases of honey bees has been developed with stakeholders.


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