|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
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
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.
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 199596. Pensions recalculations and a small
Viscount Ullswater: Clauses 7678 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;
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.
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 199394 to 199596. 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 199495 to 199597 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 199596 to 199798. The cost of each of the proposed changes is estimated as follows:
|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|
(All figures in £ million, rounded to nearest £5 million).