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3 Nov 2008 : Column 148W—continued

It is to be noted, however, that a significant number of the powers of entry listed above are in essence powers that already existed elsewhere in legislation which has been updated.

(b) It is not possible to determine which powers of entry have been abolished without incurring disproportionate costs. It has been possible to answer the first part of the question without incurring disproportionate costs because an internal Government review of powers of entry is currently under way. That review, however, does not extend to powers of entry which have been abolished.

Sport England: Internet

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many unique users visited Sport England's Active Places website in each year since its introduction in 2004. [231204]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Sport England advise that they do not record the number of ‘hits’ on the active places website. Instead, they record only the number of visitors using the tools and applications on the site. Figures provided by Sport England for each of the last four calendar years are as follows:

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The Active Places website was launched in July 2004 and therefore the figures for that year are significantly smaller than for the other years.

Tourism: Balance of Payments

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the tourism balance of payments in each year since 1997. [231376]

Barbara Follett [ holding answer 30 October 2008]: The following table indicates the UK tourism balance of payments deficit.

£ billion























International Passenger Survey (ONS)

These figures have been produced using a range of data sources including the UK Tourism Survey and the International Data Survey.

Tourism: Training

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recommendations he has received from the Sector Skills Council on improving the skills of staff working in the tourism industry. [231352]

Barbara Follett: My Department has received detailed recommendations from People 1st on improving the skills of staff working in the tourism industry. These recommendations were outlined in Raising the Bar: the National Skills Strategy for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector in England, which was launched in March 2007. An action plan was produced in November 2007.

The strategy outlines a 10-point plan to improve skills in the priority areas of management and leadership, chefs and customer service, as well as to improve staff retention by supporting and developing employees and making them aware of career development opportunities. It was developed by People 1st following extensive research with 5,000 employers about their skills needs and a review of training and qualifications. This was supported by my Department through four Ministerial
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Skills summits between 2005 and 2007 which received recommendations from four employer working groups.

The 10-point plan includes an online skills and employment resource called the UKSP which provides a wealth of benefits for businesses looking to improve training in their organisations and for individuals looking to develop careers in the industry, by matching skilled applicants to good employers. The plan also includes action to reform qualifications, support for small businesses, establish a new national skills academy for hospitality to raise standards of delivery of training, improve the quality of apprenticeships, develop new 14-19 diplomas in hospitality and in travel and tourism, launch a campaign to promote careers and improve perceptions of jobs in the sector, and develop a pre-employability package aimed at jobseekers. Further details can be found at:

I met People 1st in my first few weeks as Tourism Minister and I will be working closely with them and the new academy to ensure that these recommendations are implemented consistently across England. As part of this, I will be chairing the second meeting of the National Skills Strategy Monitoring and Implementation Group later this year, to review how all partners—public and private—are helping take the recommendations forward, and address any barriers to implementation.

VisitBritain: Finance

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department provided for Visit Britain (a) in 2008-09 and (b) in each of the previous five years. [231623]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 30 October 2008]: The VisitBritain grant in aid settlement for the years in question is set out in the following table.

Total (£ million)














Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Research

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on research on new farming systems in each of the last five years. [229275]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has invested in research activities in several programmes, since 2003-04, that contribute to development of sustainable farming systems. Industry have joint funded some of the work within LINK programmes.

Total spend for each of the last five years is shown in the following table:

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Financial year Spend (£)













These figures are taken from the DEFRA Science Information System database.

Animal Products: Waste Disposal

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what facilities the Government have authorised to (a) render and (b) incinerate animal waste and meat and bone meal in the event of a disease outbreak. [232862]

Jane Kennedy: In the event of an outbreak of notifiable animal disease for which DEFRA is responsible for carcase disposal, the Department would seek to use the nearest rendering plant or large animal incinerator approved under the Animal By Product Regulations and which is suitably permitted under waste management regulations. The facilities used will depend on the number of carcases to be disposed and the species concerned.

A full list of ABPR Approved facilities can be found on the DEFRA website.

The plant operator is responsible for the disposal of any meat and bone meal or tallow that is produced.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations cover the minimum space requirements for (a) poultry, (b) sheep, (c) pigs, (d) cows and (e) other livestock during transportation by (i) rail, (ii) road and (iii) water; and what the minimum requirement is in each case. [232037]

Jane Kennedy: On 5 January 2007, a regulation on the protection of animals during transport came into force across the European Union (EU), with some elements coming into force in 2008 and 2009.

The regulation applies to all those involved with the transport of live vertebrate animals in connection with an economic activity.

Article 3 (general conditions for the means of transport) of regulation 1/2005 states:

In addition point (g) of Article 3 states:

This applies to all animals. This will also cover species that do not have specific space requirements within the regulation.

I have placed details of the minimum requirements for the species named, in the Library.

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Animals: Disease Control

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of cost and responsibility sharing for animal disease on the effectiveness and profitability of British farming. [228378]

Jane Kennedy: The Government intend to consult on specific proposals for sharing responsibilities and costs for animal health in England later this year. These proposals will be fully costed and accompanied by an initial impact assessment.

Bees: Disease Control

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to licensing treatment of the varroa mite. [231406]

Jane Kennedy: There are currently three products authorised for the control of varroa in the UK; Apiguard Gel, Apistan and Bayvarol Strips.

Details of these products are available on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s website.


Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the effect of trends in biofuel production on food prices. [231673]

Jane Kennedy: The Government commissioned Ed Gallagher, chairman of the Renewable Fuels Agency, to lead a study on the indirect effects of biofuel production, including the impact on food prices.

The Gallagher Review, published in July this year, concluded that increasing demand for biofuels contributes to rising prices for some commodities, notably for oil seeds. For most crops however, price rises in the longer term are rarely more than 5 per cent. But the risk of impacts on food prices is one of the reasons why we are calling for a more cautious approach for biofuels.

Biofuels are not the only reason why food prices have increased in recent years. Other factors include smaller harvests in 2007 because of droughts; higher fertiliser and oil prices; rising GDP; and changing diets leading to a higher demand for animal feed.

Bluetongue Disease: Vaccination

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which counties will be prioritised in the roll-out of the bluetongue vaccination strategy from May 2009. [231092]

Jane Kennedy: The 2009 vaccination strategy for Bluetongue serotype 8 is currently being discussed with stakeholders. Further details will be announced following these discussions with the expectation that the vaccination plan will be published by December. This will be made available on the DEFRA website.

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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many bluetongue vaccines have been administered in the last 12 months. [231914]

Jane Kennedy: Vaccination against bluetongue in England and Wales is voluntary, and delivered through existing veterinary medicine supply chains, an approach agreed with the livestock industry to ensure the simple, rapid roll-out of vaccine to protect animals earlier this year. Because the approach to vaccination is voluntary, no definitive figures can be provided on the numbers of livestock actually vaccinated.

However, to date, sales data from the supply chain suggests the overall uptake of vaccine across the whole of England is around 60 per cent. Initial vaccine uptake was high—reaching between 80 per cent. and 90 per cent. in the south east and east of England, but uptake in the counties of northern England and in Wales has been lower.

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