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They concern the provision of information in two main categories: advance notification to neighbours who could be exposed to crop-spraying activity; and making available records of plant protection products used, on request by the competent authority.

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I believe that there should be a high level of transparency and public access to information about the approval system. The Regulation provides an opportunity to consider the introduction of measures that would provide greater transparency of pesticides use post-approval. Despite the precautionary nature of the approval system and the high level of protection that it affords people, animals and the environment, people may wish to know about pesticides that they see being used. This section of the consultation explores the costs and benefits of options for providing access to this information.

Charging arrangements

The Regulation, the Directive and regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels (the MRLs regulation) all provide for member states to recover the costs of work carried out under that legislation. The Regulation introduces new requirements to the regulatory regime that will be charged to pesticide authorisation holders. All three pieces of legislation provide for member states to recover certain costs that are not currently recoverable.

The consultation invites views on how charging arrangements in the UK should operate in future, and our top priority will continue to be the protection of human health and the environment.

The chemicals regulation directorate of the Health and Safety Executive is the delivery body for DEFRA's responsibilities for pesticides and is undertaking this consultation on behalf of DEFRA. The consultation covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each administration will consider its own approach to the outcome of the consultation.

I will be holding meetings with key stakeholder groups during the consultation period to listen to their views. A copy of the consultation has been deposited in the libraries of both Houses and is available on DEFRA's website at:

Leader of the House

Reform of the House of Commons

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): The Government welcome the report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons. The Government fully support 21 of the recommendations and conclusions in the report and has tabled 16 motions which are required to give effect to these recommendations. Some of the report's other recommendations do not require motions to be brought before the House at present.

The House will have an opportunity to debate the report on Monday 22 February, on a general motion. The House will then be asked to approve individual motions. This debate provides a real opportunity for a
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positive decision by the House to ensure that there is immediate progress on many of the measures included in the report.

For any motions which are opposed, we will make time for a further debate and, if necessary, votes. We are considering providing a day to do this no later than the week following the debate, provisionally at the sitting on Thursday 4 March. This will be confirmed during the business statement in the normal way.

The Government support the Committee's recommendation for the election of Select Committee Chairs by secret ballot of the whole House. We have tabled two motions for new Standing Orders, one to provide for the ballot and one to allow elected Chairs either to resign voluntarily, or to be removed if they have lost the confidence of their Committee.

The Government support the election of Select Committee members by each party, and believe that each party should be free to devise its own arrangements, whether by secret ballot or otherwise. To enable this now to go forward, we have tabled a motion to take note of the Committee's recommendation. We have also tabled a motion to approve the Committee's recommendation that Select Committees ought to be appointed within six weeks of the beginning of the new Session following an election.

We have also tabled a motion to approve the recommendations relating to the development of a system of private Members' motions for debate and decision of the House.

The Government accept the recommendation for the establishment of a Back-Bench business committee, to schedule non-Government business. This was one of the central areas that the Prime Minister invited the Committee to look at. We welcome the Committee's proposals and believe that more work is required, both to clarify the scope of Back-Bench business and to give further consideration to the Committee's proposals relating to procedure in the Committee. We have therefore tabled a motion to approve the recommendation in principle, with further consideration in the next Parliament.

We do not believe that the time is right to take forward proposals for a House business committee, particularly in advance of having the benefit of considering how the Back-Bench business committee will work in practice. However, we will listen to the views of Members on this issue during the debate on the 22 February, and will consider further in light of the views expressed.

In addition to these major proposals, we have tabled motions to approve the following recommendations:

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Cabinet Office

Government Olympic Executive

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and for the Olympics, and Paymaster General (Tessa Jowell): I have today published the Government Olympic Executive's Annual Report-"London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Annual Report, February 2010".

The document fulfils the commitment to report to Parliament biannually, on details of progress across the Olympic programme and the funding for the games.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games remain on time and within budget. The current anticipated final cost (AFC) is £7.262 billion, compared to £7.241 billion at the end of the last quarter. This represents an increase since the last quarter of 0.3 per cent. The majority of contingency-well over £l billion-remains unreleased and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) continues to make strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure in the Olympic park.

With more than two and half years to go, all the milestones for the Olympic build have been hit, the construction programme is nearly 50 per cent. completed, the transformation of East London is well under way, and legacy plans are more advanced than for any previous games.

London 2012 is continuing to provide economic and social benefits. More than 1,000 companies-98 per cent. of which are UK-based-have won £5 billion-worth of direct contracts from the ODA, opening up thousands more business opportunities along the supply chain and helping to support employment around the country. During 2010, the workforce on the Olympic park and the Olympic village will peak at 11,000. Of the 6,277 people currently working on the Olympic park, 20 per cent. are resident in the five host boroughs and 11 per cent. were previously unemployed.

Meanwhile, the free swimming scheme launched last year produced more than 10 million free swims in its first six months, our target of offering five hours sport per week to under-16s will be on offer in every school sports partnership in England by September 2010, more than 10,000 schools around the country have registered with the 2012 Get Set education programme, and a total of 5 million people have now participated in London 2012 Games-related projects.

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I have today placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of a memorandum of understanding between the Government and the Olympic Lottery Distributor (OLD). Under this MOU the Government will ensure that the OLD will receive a proportionate share, as laid down in the grant memorandum between OLD and ODA of any income received in relation to the Olympic village or other assets funded by OLD. This includes receipts from the disposal of the Olympic village which should repay the cashflow funding OLD expect to contribute to the village. This commitment applies whether such income is received by the ODA or another public body, or the rights and associated income are retained by the ODA or transferred to another public body.

I would like to commend this report to the Members of both Houses and thank them for their continued interest and support of the London 2012 Olympics.

Copies of the annual report 2010 are available at: and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Women and Equality

Gender in the Labour Market

The Solicitor-General (Vera Baird): The Government's aim is to build a fair and family-friendly labour market where everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and experience.

The action we have taken to improve the position of women in the workplace has provided sound foundations. Women now make up almost 46 per cent. of the economically active population and the difference in average hourly pay between men and women has narrowed significantly from 27.5 per cent. in 1997 to 22 per cent. in 2009. However, as the national equality panel reported last month, our labour market is still failing to make the best use of women's talents. The norm remains full-time work for an adult lifetime, which does not reflect the life experiences of women who still do the majority of caring responsibilities, nor, increasingly, of men who wish to do more.

The document we are publishing today, "Working Towards Equality: A Framework for Action", explains why a fair and family-friendly labour market is necessary to boost economic growth, support families and reduce child poverty. It responds to both the substance and specific recommendations of the 2009 women and work commission report, and sets out an action plan to ensure our labour market offers women genuine choices, equal opportunities and career structures which enable them to progress and to fulfil their potential. This includes commitments to challenge gender stereotyping in education, to investigate the barriers to sustainability in the child care sector and to stimulate the supply of quality part-time work.

We are placing copies of the document in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies will also be available on the Government Equalities Office website at:

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