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A sustained, three year, Government-led campaign to raise vulnerable workers' awareness of basic employment rights and encourage the reporting of workplace abuses.
The establishment of the new Pay and Work Rights line, through which vulnerable workers (and employers) will be able to report abuses and access information and advice about the rights enforced by Government.
The establishment of a Fair Employment Enforcement Board bringing together enforcement bodies and external stakeholders to drive forward improvements in support for vulnerable workers.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority; and if the Minister will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The extension of gangmaster licensing to other sectors of the economy was considered by the Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum in 2008. However, the Government concluded that the way forward was to prioritise effective enforcement of the existing law, not to introduce new regulation. We are doing this through a campaign to raise workers' awareness of employment rights, including the establishment of the new Pay and Work Rights Helpline, which provides workers with a single point of contact covering five different enforcement agencies, and by strengthening the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate which regulates agencies in sectors not covered by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.
Huw Irranca-Davies: Under the Gangmasters Licensing Act it is an offence to operate as an unlicensed gangmaster, which, upon conviction, can result in punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine or both. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) is responsible for enforcing the Act on behalf of Government, and now that it has moved on from its initial set up phase, the GLA is concentrating its resources on tackling those who operate outside the law. Operation Ajax was launched by the GLA in May 2008. This is a UK wide initiative to stamp out worker abuse by labour providers operating in the GLA sectors. Operation Ajax provides the brand under which the GLA undertakes individual enforcement and compliance operations against illegal and non-compliant labour providers. This type of approach is already used by other enforcement agencies to tackle criminality.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the likely effects of the recession on the number of unlicensed gangmasters. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: There has not been any specific assessment of the impact of the recession on the number of unlicensed gangmasters, but the Government recognise that difficult trading conditions might tempt employers to cut corners by operating without a licence, or otherwise maximise profits at the expense of their work force. With this in mind, the Government have recently reviewed the funding available to the GLA and have agreed additional amounts for this year and next, specifically to cover enforcement and operational activities. This will enable the GLA to recruit additional enforcement officers to target the areas where vulnerable workers are most at risk from unlicensed labour providers.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many gangmasters have been prosecuted by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority since its establishment. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has carried out three successful prosecutions all for operating as a gangmaster without a licence. In May 2008, a labour provider from Perth in Scotland was sentenced to 18 months probation and 140 hours community service. In May 2009, an Edinburgh recruitment firm was given a fine of £200(1). On 1 September 2009, a Gangmaster based in the Morecambe Bay area, operating in shellfish gathering, was ordered to pay a fine of £600 and costs of £4,000.
one in relation to operating as an unlicensed gangmaster;
two in relation to using the services of an unlicensed gangmaster; and
one in relation to obstruction of GLA officers.
(1) Figures provided by the GLA
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Geomatics Group undertakes commercial contracts for a range of external clients including local authorities. The names of contracting organisations are commercially confidential.
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Geomatics Group is a specialist business unit within the Environment Agency that supplies high quality, geospatial data and customised services to the Environment Agency, Government agencies, non-governmental organisations and the commercial market.
Environmental management (flood risk modelling, coastal erosion, risk assessment, vegetation monitoring);
Local planning applications;
Risk and crisis management (emergency flood response);
Infrastructure site selection (wind farm, utilities);
Archaeology and national heritage;
Thermal heat loss surveying;
Forestry and farming.
The group is reinforcing the work the Environment Agency is currently undertaking to identify and evaluate areas at risk from flooding across England and Wales. By identifying drainage patterns and water flow, it will help predict which areas and structures are most at risk from flooding in different weather conditions.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) turnover and (b) profit of the Environment Agency's Geomatics Group in 2009-2010. 
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the level of risk to the health and safety of swimmers and boaters from the discharge of sewage into the Thames in the area of Mogden, Isleworth on 3 July 2009. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency manages the chemical environmental quality of the upper Thames estuary; there are no stipulated microbiological standards that are applied in the upper reaches.
As part of the Environment Agency's protocol for managing pollution incidents on the Thames estuary, the London Port Health Authority is routinely informed of significant sewage-related incidents. This is to ensure that any necessary precautionary information can be made available to the public and this was the case in this incident.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects a decision to be made on the application of protected geographic indicator status to the Colchester oyster; and if he will make a statement. 
Officials subsequently met with representatives of the applicant group in May 2007 to discuss the objections and outstanding points relating to the product specification for the application. Further information relating to the geographical area and other aspects of the application was sought from the applicant group which, despite numerous and regular reminders from officials, has not been forthcoming.
As a result, it has not been possible to complete our assessment of the validity of the application for protected geographical indication status for the Colchester Native Oyster. Although the scheme is a voluntary one, we will continue to pursue this with the applicant group.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to assist voluntary groups, churches and charities affected by introduction of charges for surface water drainage. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: I attended the meeting of the All Party Scout Group on 15 July and promised the cubs and scouts that this issue will be resolved. We are currently waiting to see revised proposals from United Utilities on what it is proposing for 2010-11 and beyond. I expect companies and the regulator to settle this in a way that is fair and reasonable and reflects Government guidance to Ofwat.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) representatives of Dow AgroScience Ltd. and (b) the Chemical Regulations Directorate on the relicensing of the herbicide aminopyralid; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: There have been no discussions with Dow Agrosciences Ltd. on this matter that have involved DEFRA Ministers. We have frequent discussions with the HSE's Chemicals Regulation Directorate, which is the part of central Government responsible for the regulation of pesticides, detergents, chemicals, on behalf of DEFRA Ministers.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1566W, on departmental electronic equipment, how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have spent on (i) flat screen televisions, (ii) DVD players and (iii) stereo equipment since November 2008. 
Mr. Woodward: The following table shows expenditure by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), including the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland and its agencies but excluding its NDPBs, on (i) flat screen televisions, (ii) DVD players and (iii) stereo equipment since November 2008:
|Flat Screen Televisions||DVD Players||Stereo Equipment|
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on branded stationery and gifts for (a) internal and (b) external promotional use in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Woodward: The costs requested for the Northern Ireland Office, including the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland but excluding its Agencies and Executive NDPBs, in each of the last five years, are shown in the following table.
Mr. Woodward: The following table shows how much the Northern Ireland Office, including the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland, but excluding its Agencies and Executive NDPBs, spent using Royal Mail in each of the last two years.
These figures exclude companies who operate franking machines and may make payments to Royal Mail. The £95,000 increase from 2007-08 to 2008-09 relates to an increase from £32,000 in 2007-08 to £81,000 in 2008-09 by the Chief Electoral Office due to the European elections and an increase from £371,000 in 2007-08 to £49,000 in 2008-09 by Access NI resulting from their first full operating year.
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