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This support has been complemented, at a regional level, by the regional development agencies (RDAs) for a range of activities linked to the promotion of quality regional and local food culture. RDAs are also responsible for the delivery of part of Defra's Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which was agreed by the European Commission last year. Support is available under this programme for improving the competitiveness of a wide range of rural businesses, which could include farmers' markets.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office has been able to identify only one Freedom of Information request it has received from the Taxpayers Alliance. This was answered within the £600 cost ceiling, laid out by the Act.
What is the estimated cost incurred by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in answering Freedom of Information requests from the Taxpayers' Alliance pressure group, including civil servant time. [HL4074]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not hold information on estimated costs of responding to individual requests. Complying with the Freedom of Information Act does not require compilation of such estimates. Searches of our records indicate we have not dealt with any requests from the Taxpayers Alliance.
Which genetically modified crops have potential for increasing food production if grown in (a) Great Britain or (b) the European Union; what would be the likely increase in production in respect of each crop; and what scientific evidence exists to support their view; and [HL4353]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): At present, genetically modified (GM) maize, soya and oilseed rape crops are being grown in various countries, mainly for animal feed use. These crops have been modified for resistance to certain insect pests or weedkillers. They have not been modified to confer an intrinsic yield benefit, although they may increase production indirectly, by, for example, reducing the level of pest damage relative to that experienced with the equivalent conventional crop. They may also reduce production costs by facilitating lower pesticide usage. The same thinking applies to other GM crops under development with new traits like drought-tolerance and disease-resistance. If successful, these could increase production in areas with difficult growing conditions and therefore be part of the solution to meeting future challenges.
It is not possible to give precise estimates for the likely effect that the cultivation of GM crops would have in the UK or European Union (EU) on the level and cost of food production. The impact would vary depending on the type of crop in question and the specific context in which it was used. Consistent with this, the available evidence on current GM production outside the EU reports variable impacts in different regions and growing seasons.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information is not available in the format requested. Quarterly information for the years under the old contractual arrangements would be available only at disproportionate cost.
Under the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, patients do not have to be registered with a National Health Service dentist to receive NHS care. The closest equivalent measure to registration is the number of patients receiving NHS dental services (patients seen) over a 24-month period. However, this is not directly comparable to the registration data for earlier years.
Information on the numbers of patients seen by an NHS dentist in England, over the previous 24-month period, for each quarter of 2006-07 is available in Table F1 of Annex 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England: Quarter 4: 31 March 2007 report. Information is provided by strategic health authority (SHA) and by primary care trust (PCT). This report, published on 19 June 2007, is available in the Library and is also available on the information centre for health and social care's website at: www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalq4.
This information is based on the old contractual arrangements, which were in place up to and including 31 March 2006. The NHS Dental Activity and Workforce Report : 31 March 2006, published on 23 August 2006, is available in the Library and is also available on the information centre for health and social care's website at: www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/primary -care/dentistry/nhs-dental-activity-and-workforce-report-england-31-march-2006.
Information on the numbers of patients seen by an NHS dentist in England, over the previous 24-month period, for the first three quarters of 2007-08 is available in Table C1 of Annex 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England: Quarter 3: 31 December 2007 report. Information is provided by SHA and by PCT. This report, published on 5 June 2008, is available in the Library and is also available on the information centre for health and social care's website at: www.is.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalstats0708q3.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department is continuing to work closely with strategic health authorities (SHAs), the Royal College of Midwives and other stakeholders to expand capacity in the maternity workforce. The NHS in England: The Operating Framework for 2007-08 (copies of which are available in the Library) required primary care trusts to assess local maternity services and workforce capacity. SHAs shared their interim workforce plans with the department in February 2008 to expand by up to 4,000 midwives by 2012, based on the current rising birth rate trend. Locally driven measures, including supporting midwives to return to work in the National Health Service through return to practice programmes, improved leadership, and mentoring are being supported with targeted funding of £1.5 million in 2008-09.
What is their assessment of the elasticity of demand for assisted voluntary return packages offered to failed asylum seekers by the International Organisation for Migration, and whether they will consider increasing the benefits of these packages as a means of reducing the need for extra detention places. [HL4299]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government want failed asylum seekers who are in the UK illegally to leave voluntarily and, in co-operation with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), it operates the assisted voluntary return (AVR) schemes to help them to do so. This offers failed asylum seekers a means of return which is both dignified and sustainable.
To test elasticity of demand, over the past two years we have piloted different packages of reintegration assistance to promote AVR. We have listened and learnt from the experiences of applicants, the International Organisation for Migration, non-governmental organisations and refugee and community organisations on how reintegration assistance can be improved better to meet the needs of returnees. We keep our approach to AVR under review. In October 2007 we launched a flexible new approach to the provision of reintegration assistance to address needs on an individual basis rather than a one size fits all approach.
What assessment they have made of the effects of the memoranda of understanding they have signed with other countries on arrangements for the return of failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants on the number of nationals of those countries who will need to be accommodated in immigration detention centres over the next five years and the average length of time such persons will spend in immigration detention centres. [HL4350]
The MOUs that we do have are agreements with the governments concerned about the principles and practices of effecting returnsthey are not predominantly about numbers, and would have no impact on detention planning.
Lord West of Spithead: The accompanying table shows the number of principal asylum applicants removed and departing voluntarily from the UK, by destination in each year from 2004 to 2006. Final figures on the total number of principal asylum applicants removed and departing voluntarily from the UK during 2007 will be published in the Asylum Statistics: United Kingdom 2007 bulletin on 21 August 2008.
Further information on asylum removals from the UK is available from the Library of the House and the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
|Principal asylum applicants removed and departing voluntarily(1)(2)(3) from the UK, by destination(4), 2004-06(5)|
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