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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. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
1. All figures are consistent with spring 2008 forecasts, as well as expenditure information published on the internet at
2. There is no forecast available for severe disablement allowance.
Departmental Accounting and Statistical data and forecasts.
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. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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 agencys target to make 90 per cent. of payments by value by the end of May.
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. 
|Project||From||To||Cost of project (£)|
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.
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.
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. 
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). DEFRAs 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.
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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