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21 Jan 2008 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday 21 January 2008

Agriculture: Bluetongue

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): On 19 December, following a rigorous tender process, Defra announced that it has placed a firm order with pharmaceutical company Intervet to supply 22.5 million doses of bluetongue vaccine for use in England and Wales. This order will ensure that vaccine will be available as soon as possible in early summer.

Agriculture: Climate Change

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): We are working with the Rural Climate Change Forum and the Farming Futures communication project to raise awareness among farmers and land managers and encourage them to change their behaviour. We are working to drive faster growth in anaerobic digestion by farmers, businesses and local authorities in a way that is both cost effective and beneficial to the environment. We are exploring the feasibility of market mechanisms to enable the trading of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and land management. We are looking at how measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be included in agri-environment schemes in future. We also plan to publish shortly a critical review of the potential for organic matter returns and reduced tillage practices to influence soil carbon.



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Armed Forces: Pay

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The number of over and underpayments made to Armed Forces personnel in each month between January and November 2007 is provided in the table below. During this period 2.4 million payments (including supplementary payments) were made via the joint personnel administration system. The notes to the table detail the range of identified over and underpayments, the remedial actions taken, and the associated timescales involved in correcting the errors.

Delays or errors in individual payments can also occur as the result of late or incorrect inputs by individuals or unit human resources staff . We do not hold data on this.

All pay errors are rectified as soon as possible with no difference in priority between over and underpayments. Where an overpayment has occurred the Ministry of Defence will seek to recover the moneys owed in accordance with the Department Managing Public Funds (formerly Government Accounting) regulations. Armed Forces personnel who have been underpaid can request cash supplements equivalent to the underpayments from their units.



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MonthOverpaidUnderpaidTotalNotes

January

161

1,383

1,544

See Note 1

February

70

0

70

March

229

54

283

April

13,908

252

14,160

See Note 2

May

0

1,181

4,521

See Note 3

June

0

90

90

July

2,978

416

3,394

See Note 4

August

0

46,305

46,305

See Note 5

September

0

722

4,971

See Note 6

October

213

50

263

November

1,987

311

2,298

See Note 7

Total

19,546

50,764

77,899

See Notes 3 and 6

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Taylor of Bolton: Senior civil servants in the Ministry of Defence are paid through the People, Pay and Pensions Agency's payroll service to Civil Service staff. There are no plans to change that arrangement.

Arts: Funding

Lord Denham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Arts Council operates at arm's length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for it. In October 2006 the Arts Council published guidance on how it assesses artistic quality. A copy of the guidelines will be placed in the Library of the House. This is also available on Arts Council England's website at www.artscounciI.org.uk/publications/information_detail.php?rid=0&;sid=&browse=recent&id=92. Arts Council England is reviewing these guidelines this year following the publication of the McMaster Review.

Banking: Sterling and Euro

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government regularly liaise with the financial services industry on a wide number of issues. The Payment Services Directive, which was adopted by the EU Parliament on 13 November 2007, aims to achieve a single market in retail payment services in order to create enhanced competition between national retail payment markets. The Government are currently consulting on policy options within the directive ahead of the 1 November 2009 implementation date.

Bicycles

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Figures provided in Table 1 are for all road traffic offences where the definition of the offence includes a reference to a cycle, cyclist, cycling or bicycle. While other offences may involve a bicycle these are included in crime statistics such as theft, criminal damage etc.

Table 1 shows the number of persons reported for prosecution in each year. Figures relating to the numbers of persons charged are not available.



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Table 1
Year1998199920002001200220032004200520062007

Number of Persons Reported

8

4

4

15

8

22

15

15

44

57


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