Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA135



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA135

Written Answers

Monday 27 October 2008

Afghanistan: Drinking Water

Lord Moonie asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The amount of drinking water imported between January and September 2008, the last complete month for which figures are available, from or via Pakistan for the UK's Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan, is shown in the following table:

Month 2008Nearest Thousand Litres

January

1,973

February

177

March

249

April

76

May

291

June

397

July

668

August

733

September

839

Bottled water is also purchased commercially from a newly commissioned Afghan-run plant. In addition, a water bottling plant at Camp Bastion produces bottled water for UK troops.

Agriculture

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: The reports of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) present findings and a range of options for different stakeholders (governments, private sector, academics and civil society) to consider. We are assessing these in taking forward the Government's international support to developing countries on agricultural knowledge, science and technology. Through our financial contribution to the IAASTD, we are supporting the publication and dissemination of the IAASTD reports to a wide range of international stakeholders.

We are also already taking action in line with IAASTD's findings. In April, the Department for International Development (DfID) announced that it

27 Oct 2008 : Column WA136

planned to increase its investment in agricultural research to £400 million over five years. This investment will include research on environmentally sustainable solutions, focus on the needs of farmers, address gender issues, look to build public-private partnerships, look at the impact of markets on poor farmers, and support traditional and modern technologies. All of these are advocated by IAASTD.

Agriculture: Bluetongue

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Before bluetongue was detected in the UK, Defra worked in partnership with industry to produce the bluetongue control strategy which sought to limit the impact of an incursion of bluetongue in the UK. We are currently working with experts and industry to update the bluetongue control strategy to reflect the latest available information on all bluetongue serotypes and the lessons learnt from this year's roll-out of protection zones and vaccine for BTV-8.

Defra remains vigilant to the threat of BTV-1 incursion. To that end, Defra is closely monitoring the situation in Europe. Post-import testing of cattle and sheep is carried out to detect BTV-1. If BTV-1 is detected in imported livestock, our short-term strategy will be to slaughter affected animals, establish control zones with movement restrictions, and carry out investigations, in the same way as when BTV-8 first entered the UK in September 2007. This will continue to be our policy unless evidence suggests that BTV-1 is circulating in the UK.

However, the longer term strategy for BTV-1 will depend on how the virus spreads in Europe and the movement restrictions imposed in affected member states.

If BTV-1 continues to spread to the point where incursions via midges become more likely, vaccination may become more important as a control strategy.

There are no vaccines currently licensed for use against BTV-1 in the UK. However, Defra is in discussion with potential vaccine providers, the veterinary profession and industry stakeholders about plans for 2009.

Agriculture: Set-aside

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA137

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) recognised the importance of the potential loss of set-aside by commissioning additional environmental monitoring and asking Sir Don Curry to bring together key stakeholders to oversee this work and investigate mitigation options.

Sir Don Curry's high-level set-aside group reported in July 2008 and the Secretary of State agreed that measures were needed as soon as practicable to mitigate the environmental impact of set-aside loss. The Secretary of State issued a statement on the next steps on 25 July. This included commissioning the Rural Payments Agency and Natural England to work up how the preferred option—managing a small percentage of their land primarily for environmental purposes—could be delivered in practice. Their report and the conclusion of the health check are not expected until late in the year when the Secretary of State will assess the next steps.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government support the abolition of set-aside, but the Secretary of State recognised the potential environmental impacts by commissioning additional environmental monitoring and asking Sir Don Curry to bring together key stakeholders to oversee this work and investigate mitigation options.

Sir Don Curry's high-level set-aside group reported in July 2008 and the Secretary of State agreed that measures were needed as soon as practicable to mitigate the environmental impact of set-aside loss. The Secretary of State issued a statement on the next steps on 25 July, which included commissioning the Rural Payments Agency and Natural England to work up how the preferred option could be delivered in practice. That option would involve farmers managing a small percentage (as yet undefined) of their land primarily for environmental purposes. The RPA/NE report and the conclusion of the CAP health check are not expected until late in the year, when the Secretary of State will assess the next steps.

Decisions on the overall approach, and the detailed arrangements which will determine the impacts, for example, on farming or the environment, will need to be taken in the context of the agreement on the CAP health check.

Badgers and Bovine Tuberculosis

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA138

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My department has not attempted to estimate the numbers of cattle likely to be slaughtered under the bovine tuberculosis (TB) control regime in the next three years, or the likely costs.

It is very difficult to make such forecasts due to the chronic, multifactorial and insidious nature of bovine TB. The number of cattle slaughtered as TB reactors and direct contacts largely depends on (i) the underlying prevalence of the infection in the cattle (and badger) population and (ii) the intensity and accuracy of the TB screening programme for cattle herds. The former is subject to cyclical changes in the endemic TB areas that are difficult to predict, whereas the latter is subject to annual changes as TB herd testing frequencies are reviewed every year in response to the incidence of herd breakdowns in the previous years. Furthermore, the enhancements to the TB testing regime introduced over the past two years (such as pre-movement testing and gamma-interferon blood testing) are expected to result in higher numbers of reactors being identified each year, at least in the short to medium term.

In relation to costs, compensation rates and salvage income will vary over time with market prices.

Banking

Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Decisions relating to individual board members are a commercial matter for the banks concerned.

The Government have required that banks participating in the Government's recapitalisation scheme do not pay cash bonuses to board members in 2008.

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in his Statement to the House of Commons on 13 October the details of the support made available to financial institutions participating in the Government's recapitalisation scheme.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA139

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information requested is provided in the table below. The data provided are for England:

YearTotal Number of New TB Herd IncidentsNumber of Cattle Slaughtered Under TB Control MeasuresCompensation 2

2008

2,0091

14,2231

£21,663,1883

2007

3,183

19,794

£14,674,397

2006

2,721

16,007

£16,905,990

2005

2,904

23,135

£32,137,697

2004

2,612

17,306

£21,759,277

2003

2,516

17,551

£23,450,663

Children: Poverty

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Poverty is a complex and multidimensional issue and, as such, there are many possible measures of poverty.

Definitions of low income households are set out in the annual national statistics publication, Households Below Average Income, available on the DWP website and in the Library. This reports numbers of individuals in households below or persistently below 50 per cent, 60 per cent and 70 per cent of median household income before and after deducting housing costs, and the number of children in low-income households and in material deprivation.

Statistics for the years requested are presented below for people and children in households with incomes below 60 per cent of median income in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. Before and after housing costs based on the median income of the year in question. 1998-99 information has been included where available, to give context to more long-term trends.



27 Oct 2008 : Column WA140

Table 1: Numbers of people in households with incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median income, United Kingdom, 1998-99 and 2004-05 to 2006-07 (millions).
YearBefore Housing CostsAfter Housing Costs

1998-99

11.2

14.0

2004-05

10.0

12.1

2005-06

10.4

12.8

2006-07

10.7

13.2

Table 2: Numbers of children in households with incomes below60 per cent of contemporary median income, United Kingdom, 1998-99 and 2004-05 to 2006-07 (millions).
YearBefore Housing CostsAfter Housing Costs

1998-99

3.4

4.4

2004-05

2.7

3.6

2005-06

2.8

3.8

2006-07

2.9

3.9


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page