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12 Feb 2009 : Column 2148W—continued


VAT: Channel Islands

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on value added tax (VAT) revenue of VAT-free goods coming through the Channel Islands into the UK in each of the last three financial years. [256410]

Mr. Timms: We estimate that the cost of the Low Value Consignment Relief on imports from the Channel Islands was around £70 million in 2006-07 and £80 million in 2007-08.

Insufficient data are available to produce comparable estimates for the year 2005-06.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to prevent value added tax-free goods entering the UK from the Channel Islands. [256476]

Mr. Timms: Over the last three years the Government have worked with the authorities in Jersey and Guernsey to address this issue. As a result, and to avoid potential damage to their international reputation, the authorities in Jersey and Guernsey have taken a number of steps to restrain the exploitation of the low value consignment VAT relief by UK companies. These are set out in detail in my speech to the House on 27 January 2009, Official Report, columns 275-76.

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claimants resident in Hemel Hempstead were overpaid tax credits in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [256486]

Mr. Timms: Estimates of the number of families with tax credit awards, including information on overpayments
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by constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes, for the years 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 are available in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments. Geographical Analyses”, for each relevant year. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

Estimates for 2007-08 are not yet available.

Working Tax Credit

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely annual cost to the public purse of extending the working tax credit scheme to 18 to 25-year-olds; and if he will make a statement. [253297]

Mr. Timms: The annual cost of extending working tax credit to 18 to 25-year-olds is estimated to be around £285 million in 2009-10.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Biodiversity: Departmental Coordination

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the January meeting of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Biodiversity was postponed; how often meetings of the group are scheduled to be held; when the group's next meeting will be held; and what matters will be considered at that meeting. [255919]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The January meeting of the Inter Departmental Ministerial Group on biodiversity (IDMGb) was regrettably postponed because of a clash with other parliamentary business. However, the topics for discussion at the IDMGb were addressed over the subsequent week by correspondence between myself and the relevant Ministers from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Gommonweath Office (FCO).

Meetings of the IDMGb were originally intended to take place at intervals of six to nine months, but in practice have occurred less frequently, and more on the basis of clearly identified need. We are aiming to hold the next meeting in the spring, when the Government's proposed strategy for the conservation of biodiversity in the UK overseas territories will be discussed.

Farms: Inspections

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed to conduct farm inspections by each inspection body for which his Department is responsible in each of the last five years. [240666]

Jane Kennedy: The Veterinary Medicine Directorate employs five inspectors. This has been the case for the last five years.

The Plant Health Seed Inspectorate year-end figures for the last five years are:


12 Feb 2009 : Column 2150W
Year end March Number

2003-04

92

2004-05

95

2005-06

94

2006-07

90

2007-08

75


Over the past five years, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has employed between 265 and 278 (full-time equivalent) (FTE) inspectors to conduct a range of farm and trader inspections under Common Agricultural Policy and United Kingdom schemes. Most of these inspectors are multi-skilled, trained to conduct single payment scheme and cross-compliance inspections, including livestock identification inspections, as well as rural development scheme inspections on behalf of Natural England. The number of farm inspectors, on an FTE basis, employed by RPA at the end of each of the last five financial years is as follows:

Number

2004-05

265

2005-06

266

2006-07

277

2007-08

278

December 2008

265


Central Science Laboratory's GM Inspectorate undertakes field inspection where consents for release of genetically modified organisms for research purposes have been granted by the Secretary of State under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the

Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002. Research

trials may be carried out on premises such as private farms and research institutes.

Details of full-time equivalent staff employed in the GM Inspectorate in each of the last five years are given in the table.

Full time equivalents

2004-05

5.01

2005-06

3.40

2006-07

1.94

2007-08

0.11

2008-09

(1)0.33

(1) To 31 November 2008

The number of staff employed by Animal Health who are available to carry-out inspections/visits are as follows:

Number

2006

586

2007

653

2008

616


Please note these are a snap-shot at a given point in the year, figures are not available for 2004 (State Veterinary Service—Animal Health's predecessor—was part of DEFRA) and 2005.


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Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed to conduct farm inspections by each inspection body which is the responsibility of his Department in each of the last five years. [241024]

Jane Kennedy: The Veterinary Medicine Directorate employs five inspectors. This has been the case for the last five years.

The Plant Health Seed Inspectorate year-end figures for the last five years are:

Year end March Number

2003-04

92

2004-05

95

2005-06

94

2006-07

90

2007-08

75


Over the past five years, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has employed between 265 and 278 (full-time equivalent) (FTE) inspectors to conduct a range of farm and trader inspections under common agricultural policy and United Kingdom schemes. Most of these inspectors are multi-skilled, trained to conduct Single Payment Scheme and cross-compliance inspections, including livestock identification inspections, as well as rural development scheme inspections on behalf of Natural England. The number of farm inspectors, on an FTE basis, employed by RPA at the end of each of the last five financial years is as follows:

Number

2004-05

265

2005-06

266

2006-07

277

2007-08

278

December 2008

265


Central Science Laboratory’s GM Inspectorate undertakes field inspection where consents for release of genetically modified organisms for research purposes have been granted by the Secretary of State under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002. Research trials may be carried out on premises such as private farms and research institutes.

Details of full-time equivalent staff employed in the GM Inspectorate in each of the last five years are given as follows.

Full-time equivalents

2004-05

5.01

2005-06

3.40

2006-07

1.94

2007-08

0.11

2008-09

(1)0.33

(1) To 31 November 2008

The number of staff employed by Animal Health who are available to carry-out inspections/visits are as follows:


12 Feb 2009 : Column 2152W

Number

2006

586

2007

653

2008

616

Note:
These are a snap-shot at a given point in the year, figures are not available for 2004 (State Veterinary Service—Animal Health’s predecessor—was part of DEFRA) and 2005.

Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors were considered before deciding not to include waste reduction through home composting in the landfill allowance trading scheme targets. [252727]

Jane Kennedy: A robust mechanism for determining the amount of waste diverted by home composting would be necessary to enable home composting to be included in the landfill allowance trading scheme. When the targets were set this was not available and that remains the case.

Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 24 November 2008, Official Report, columns 853-854W, on waste disposal: fees and charges, which organisations are flagged as having an interest in the new charges for the collection of household waste on his Department's shared stakeholders database. [252203]

Jane Kennedy: The shared stakeholders database indicates the organisations from all interested sectors that responded to DEFRA's incentives for recycling by households consultation in May 2007.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the agreement between the International Security Assistance Force and the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan to be finalised; and what his assessment is of the effect of not having an agreement on on-going military and civilian operations in Afghanistan. [251648]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

While there is no specific agreement between the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), ISAF has procedures in place to provide support to other international organisations including EUPOL if needed.

EUPOL and ISAF continue to co-ordinate closely in theatre. Furthermore, there is much work involved in arranging technical arrangements between the two organisations, especially given that many ISAF members are contributing to EUPOL.


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Nevertheless, the UK continues to emphasise to EU member states and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies the importance of improved EU-NATO co-ordination.


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