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Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Henley: The Secretary of State for Defence expects to receive Mr. Bett's report at the end of March. The terms of reference for the review require Mr. Bett to consult widely within MoD and the Services. He very much appreciates the response he has received to his request for ideas and information, both in his visits programme and the extensive questionnaires and surveys which have formed an important part of the review. As part of this continuing dialogue, Mr. Bett and his team are now at the stage of testing elements of their ideas with those concerned in my department and the services. Not all of these ideas will necessarily develop into recommendations, and others may be

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modified. There is bound to be speculation, some of it inaccurate and ill-founded, about what the report will recommend, but we regard Mr. Bett's continuing dialogue with us as important to the success of the review. Final decisions on Mr. Bett's recommendations will of course be taken by Ministers, in a process of consultation involving the Armed Forces and others, following receipt of his report.


Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Secretary of State for Defence is proposing to vacate parts of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich: what advice is available to him in coming to a decision, whether any comprehensive cost benefit analysis (not excluding the long-term solution of problems associated with the presence in the college of a nuclear reactor) was conducted, and if it showed that the taxpayer, and not only the defence budget, would benefit from this decision.

Lord Henley: As the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 8 December last year, we propose to form a tri-Service Command and Staff College at Camberley and that the staff training conducted at present at Greenwich and Bracknell should cease. At the same time it was announced that consideration was being given to ensuring that fitting occupants are found to replace those who would leave the Royal Naval College buildings under this proposal. We are now considering a number of potential candidates and hope to be able to make an announcement in the near future. The background to this proposal, the rationale for it and the supporting investment appraisal are contained in the consultative document on the Joint Service Command and Staff College, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.


Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they propose to take following the meeting between Ministers and the Greater Manchester Police Authority concerning their revenue budget for 1995–96; whether the Standard Spending Assessment final announcement will take account of the further representations from the authority about pension and establishment figures and motorway lengths; and whether they are prepared to accept a substantial shortfall in the authority's no-growth budget.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): All the representations made by the Greater Manchester Police Authority, including those made in the meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, were carefully considered before final decisions were taken on the distribution of Revenue Support Grant and police grant for 1995–96. Pensions recalculations and a small

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correction to the figure used for Greater Manchester's motorway lengths have increased the police authority's 1995–96 total of the Standard Spending Assessment and police grant by another £2.748 million. Details of the revised distribution of Revenue Support Grant and police grant for 1995–96 were laid before the other place on 30 January and have been sent to the authority. The revised distribution means that the total of the Standard Spending Assessment and police grant for the Greater Manchester Police Authority for 1995–96 represents an increase of £12.57 million, or 4.0 per cent. over the equivalent figure for 1994–95. The 1995–96 budget for the Greater Manchester Police Authority is a matter for that authority.


Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What considerations they propose to bear in mind in formulating an approach to legislation to increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

Viscount Ullswater: Clauses 76–78 of the Environment Bill, which is currently before Parliament, empower the Secretary of State, subject to certain conditions, to make regulations placing on particular industry sectors, a producer responsibility obligation in relation to the waste which arises from their products (and the packaging around them). Individual companies may choose to discharge the obligation by acting alone or by joining an "exemption scheme" which will organise recovery and recycling operations on their behalf.

The Government propose to legislate using these powers to provide a framework for an industry-led approach to increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. This is in response to requests from industry to overcome the potential problem of "free-riders " who might seek to avoid their share of the responsibility to act. The legislative framework will serve to deliver our recovery and recycling obligations under the EC Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste. It will build on the work of the former Producer Responsibility Group and the VALPAK Working Representative Advisory Group, which has now been formed with the backing of some 50 major companies.

The proposed powers are wide in scope and allow a variety of different approaches to suit the circumstances of different waste streams, should legislation be necessary or appropriate. In reaching a conclusion on the best approach for packaging waste, we propose to bear in mind the following considerations: (i) the need to be confident that the available options can ensure that the targets set by the packaging directive will be met; (ii) the practicality, cost effectiveness, potential benefits, as against the likely costs (taking account of environmental and economic considerations) and fairness of the available options; (iii) the desirability of minimising regulatory burdens on business;

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(iv) the desirability of business choice in the manner in which the obligation is satisfied (both in terms of the provision of an individual compliance route which is reasonable and practicable, and the potential for multiple exemption schemes to co-exist); (v) the compatibility of the available options with existing EC and domestic law—for example, to ensure that they do not create a barrier to trade with other member states in the Community; (vi) the need to take account of competition policy—for example, to ensure that the regulations do not have the effect of distorting competition unnecessarily; (vii) the desirability of business freedom and flexibility to control and administer collaborative schemes run on its behalf and of minimising the role of the public sector agencies, compatible with effective enforcement; (viii) the desirability of targeting as closely as possible those responsible for determining the content, nature and amount of packaging used for a particular product.

In drawing up the statutory obligation for individual businesses, consistent with these considerations, the main issues concern the coverage and nature of the obligation. On the coverage of the obligation, there are options encompassing all those businesses who are involved in some way with packaging or packaged products; or a narrower obligation, perhaps on those who make use of packaging for products which they manufacture or control; or some combination of the two. In reaching a view, we will take into account market characteristics, the nature of the recovery and recycling operations, and evidence of the willingness of different business sectors to work together, as well as the need to minimise the extent of the legislative burden placed on industry. In the event that the regulations were found not to work there would, however, be scope for changing the obligation.

The second main issue concerns the nature of the legal obligation. Value from packaging waste is recovered in a variety of ways. Detailed involvement by an enforcement agency in monitoring a large number of processes for those businesses involved in packaging would require significant resources and is likely to prove expensive for the businesses concerned. We will therefore seek to define the producer responsibility obligation in a simple and straightforward way which: z (a) is intended to achieve our obligations under the packaging directive; (b) allows wide discretion to industry as to how to respond; (c) is amenable to external auditing. The scope for independent certification is an important objective in minimising the burdens of the regulatory approach.

Officials from the Department of the Environment and the Department of Trade and Industry are

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continuing discussions with a wide range of interested parties in the packaging industry. Once we have formulated a set of proposals, we will bring forward a consultation paper on these issues.


Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the cost of each of the proposed changes to the Child Support Agency referred to in the government statement of 23 January [col.869]; and What they estimate to be the savings if any, to the Treasury, resulting from the establishment of the Child Support Agency (CSA); from amendments to the function of the CSA in February 1994, and what they estimate will be the savings resulting from the proposed changes of 23 February 1995 for the financial year 1995–96, 1996–97 and 1997–98.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The reduction in benefit expenditure, and hence in the burden on the taxpayer, estimated at the time of the launch of the Child Support Agency was £530/665/805 million for the three years 1993–94 to 1995–96. Savings beyond that period were estimated to be of the order of £800 million a year. The changes introduced in February 1994 reduced these figures by £110/85/95 million in the period 1994–95 to 1995–97 and by £95 million a year thereafter. The proposed changes announced on 23 January will result in a further reduction of £40/65/85 million in the period 1995–96 to 1997–98. The cost of each of the proposed changes is estimated as follows:

95/6 96/7 97/8
Formula changes
Property/capital settlements 5 10 10
Travel to work costs 10 15 20
Provision for full housing costs 5 10 10
Deferral of liability by 8 weeks 10 10 10
30 per cent. cap on payments 10 10 10
Changes requiring primary legislation
Departure orders 10 10
Maintenance credit 15
Total 40 65 85

(All figures in £ million, rounded to nearest £5 million).

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