Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2010, to Question 572, what timetable she has set for introducing badger control measures; and what scientific evidence she plans to take into account in considering the authorisation of a cull. 
Mr Paice: A timetable for introducing a badger control policy has not yet been set as we are looking at all the evidence including the full range of scientific evidence and considering all the relevant issues to develop a comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle TB in cattle.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the practice of factory farming of dairy cows. 
Mr Paice: The welfare of livestock, including cows, is protected by the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006. There are codes of recommendations published on the DEFRA website which farmers are required by law to have access to, and be familiar with, which encourage high standards of husbandry. Enforcement action can be taken against farmers who do not comply with this legislation.
The Government welcome innovative and entrepreneurial efforts by dairy farmers to improve their global competitiveness, while protecting the environment and meeting animal welfare standards. All dairy cattle, in whatever system they are kept, are protected by comprehensive animal welfare legislation in England. It is important to recognise that poor welfare can occur in both intensive and extensive systems, and the most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which it is reared.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of invoices from suppliers to her Department were paid within 10 days of receipt in (a) March and (b) April 2010. 
Richard Benyon: The information is as follows:
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to promote the use of environmental stewardship schemes to protect biodiversity in upland areas. 
Mr Paice: Environmental stewardship provides funding for farmers to deliver effective environmental land management. From this year, this includes a new strand called Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (Uplands ELS), targeted specifically at the conditions and type of farming in the severely disadvantaged areas of the English uplands. First agreements commence on 1 July 2010. Both Uplands ELS, and Stewardship as a whole, have specific objectives around biodiversity conservation, and Natural England has recently produced information on how to get the greatest biodiversity benefits from land management choices under stewardship as part of their entry level stewardship training and information work.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the forthcoming fisheries negotiating round in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. 
Richard Benyon: My officials met with their Northern Irish counterparts and representatives of the UK fishing industry as recently as 4 June to discuss plans for the forthcoming negotiations, exploring in particular, the consequences of the new format for the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)-based on working towards maximum sustainable yield-the first instalment of which is expected later this month.
In the light of this advice, we will then decide, with colleagues from all the devolved administrations, what the 2011 priority stocks on which we will focus our attention should be for the UK. It is clear that for Northern Ireland, these will include Irish Sea nephrops, a critical stock for their fleet.
Christopher Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what additional resources she intends to allocate for the extension of flood defences following the recommendations of the Pitt Report. 
Richard Benyon: We are currently working through the detail of the policies set out in the coalition agreement and other issues in the DEFRA portfolio, which includes funding for flood defences. We will keep the DEFRA website updated as work progresses.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what options her Department is considering for flood prevention in Pendle. 
Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency is currently producing the Burnley, Nelson and Colne Strategy which will look at managing flood risk in these urban districts.
The strategy will go out for consultation in July.
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether she plans to maintain agreed levels of funding for flood defence schemes in Upton-upon-Severn, Uckinghall, Kempsey, Pershore and Powick; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) if she will visit Tenbury Wells to discuss the provision of flood defences; if she will review the Government's formula for funding flood defences to assist the town to meet the criteria for funding; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: We are currently working through the detail of the policies set out in the coalition agreement and other issues in DEFRA's portfolio, which include flooding risk management. We will keep DEFRA's website updated as work progresses.
In my role as Minister I hope to have the opportunity to visit many parts of the country, including inland areas which have faced, or may in the future face, flooding problems.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the merits of bringing forward proposals to prohibit the provision of seafood produced from endangered species in public sector organisations; and if she will bring forward proposals for a (a) mechanism and (b) timetable for increasing the use of demonstrably sustainable fish. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA and HM Revenue and Customs enforce strict controls on the import and marketing of animals and animal products from species classified as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The Government support moves to ensure that seafood procured by the public sector is from sustainable sources and avoids seafood from endangered species. The public sector must lead by example on this and DEFRA is looking into how this can be achieved.
Advice and guidance in sustainable sourcing of food, including fish, for the public sector, for example by reference to the Marine Stewardship Council's Eco-label scheme and equivalent certification schemes that meet the UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, is already available in the PSFPI catering service and food procurement toolkit, which is available on the DEFRA website. Public sector procurement guidance also refers to the IUCN red list as being definitive on endangered species.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to set standards of animal welfare for the procurement of food and meals by the public sector; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The Government support moves to raise animal welfare standards both domestically and internationally, and our livestock industry already has some of the highest standards for farm animal welfare in the world.
The public sector must lead by example on this and DEFRA is taking forward the commitment in the coalition agreement to ensure that, food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the Forestry Commission. 
Mr Paice: The Queen's Speech announced the Government's intention to bring forward a Bill to reform public bodies. DEFRA, along with other sponsor departments, is carrying out a critical examination of the number and cost of its arm's length bodies. The role of the Forestry Commission is being considered as part of that review.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will hold a public inquiry into the alleged role of UK-based (a) firms and (b) nationals in the dumping of toxic waste off Côte d'Ivoire in 2006. 
Richard Benyon: We have no plans for a public inquiry.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in her Department and its agencies. 
Mrs Gillan: Nil. It is envisaged that any reductions could be achieved through a process of natural wastage.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to her Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. 
Mrs Gillan: My department has not made any redundancy payments.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans she has to consult trade unions in her Department concerning deficit reduction plans. 
Mrs Gillan: Should the need arise, we will apply the principles set out in the Ministry of Justice's managing organisational change framework.
Mr Buckland: To ask the Attorney-General if he will undertake a review of the effects on the civil justice system of the operation of conditional fee agreements. 
Mr Djanogly: I have been asked to reply.
Conditional fee agreements or CFAs have played a role in giving people access to justice. However, the Government are aware of some concerns around their operation. Lord Justice Jackson conducted a comprehensive review of civil litigation costs which also covered the operation of CFAs. His report: "Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Final Report," published on 14 January 2010, has recommended significant changes to the operation of CFAs. We are considering Lord Justice Jackson's proposals carefully to assess their impact before determining what reforms might be necessary to the operation of CFAs to ensure proportionate access to justice.
Helen Goodman: To ask the Attorney-General how many special advisers (a) he and (b) the Solicitor-General (i) has appointed to date and (ii) plans to appoint. 
The Attorney-General: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by the Prime Minister on 3 June 2010, Official Report, column 99W.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his most recent estimate is of the number of pensioners living in poverty in (a) the UK and (b) Coventry; 
(2) what steps he plans to take to reduce the numbers of pensioners living in poverty in (a) the UK and (b) Coventry. 
Steve Webb: The most commonly used measure of poverty relates to those with incomes below 60% of contemporary median income, after housing costs.
The latest figures for the UK are published in the Households Below Average Income series, and show that in 2008-09 there were 1.8 million pensioners in poverty (16% of all pensioners). Figures are quoted to the nearest 100,000 and percentages are quoted to the nearest whole percentage point.
Estimates of poverty only allow a breakdown of the overall numbers in poverty at Government Office Region level. Therefore, information is available for the West Midlands Government Office Region, but not available for the city of Coventry.
Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility. The latest information relates to the period 2006-07 to 2008-09 in which there were around 200,000 pensioners in poverty (16 per cent) in the West Midlands Government Office
Region (again, figures are quoted to the nearest 100,000 and percentages are quoted to the nearest whole percentage point).
This Government will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011, with a 'triple guarantee' that pensions are raised by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5%.
We will help prevent people from falling into poverty in later life by simplifying the rules and regulations relating to pensions to help reinvigorate occupational pensions. We will encourage companies to offer high-quality pensions to all employees and will work with businesses and the industry to support auto enrolment.
Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Minister for Defence Procurement has examined the break clauses on the aircraft carrier contract. 
Peter Luff: Work has been conducted across the Department to understand the MOD's commitments and liabilities for equipment programmes, including the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. Ministers have been briefed on the outcome of this work as part of normal briefing.
We are now in the process of carrying out a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), within which all aspects of the defence programme will be examined. This will ensure that the armed forces have what they need in order to do what we ask of them and that the defence budget is spent as efficiently, effectively and economically as possible.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|