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25 Mar 2010 : Column WA311



25 Mar 2010 : Column WA311

Written Answers

Thursday 25 March 2010

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The following table gives the information requested from 2003-04, based on the number of Defra staff working full-time on GM policy issues. Other Defra staff contribute some of their time to work on GM issues, but it would be difficult to apportion this accurately. Information for earlier years is not available.

YearNumber of staff working full time on GM issues at the beginning of each financial yearPay costs for staff working full time on GM issues (salary, ERNIC and employer's pension contribution)

2003-04

22

830,000

2004-05

20

626,000

2005-06

15

649,000

2006-07

13

646,000

2007-08

10

387,000

2008-09

9

361,000

2009-10

8

372,000

Asked by The Countess of Mar

Lord Davies of Oldham: Since the beginning of 2007, Defra Ministers have had five meetings with representatives of the biotechnology industry and three meetings with non-governmental organisations specifically about matters relating to genetically modified crops and foods. Information for earlier years is not available.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office prepares its accounts in accordance with UK GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) adapted for the public sector in accordance with guidance issued by HM Treasury.

The information is not collated in the way requested.

Bangladesh

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Brett: We are concerned by the recent reports by Medecins Sans Frontieres and Physicians for Human Rights on the situation facing displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh. We have raised the plight of the Rohingyas and their status with the Government of Bangladesh, both bilaterally and in concert with EU partners. Most recently, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Mike Foster, raised the importance of meeting the basic needs of the displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh with the Bangladeshi State Minister for Environment and Forests on 17 March.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. To qualify for incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work which is called the personal capability assessment. Therefore, the medical condition recorded on the incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claim form does not itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits, so for example, the decision for a customer claiming benefit on the grounds of a mental and behavioural disorder would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities in the personal capability assessment.



25 Mar 2010 : Column WA313

The number of incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claimants with a main disabling condition as a mental or behavioural disorder as at August in each year since 2005-Great Britain and abroad.
DateAll casesMental and Behavioural disorders

August 2005

2,767,740

1,089,150

August 2006

2,724,980

1,097,480

August 2007

2,683,160

1,109,290

August 2008

2,632,000

1,105,170

August 2009

2,299,580

989,610

Broadcasting: Irish and Ulster Scots Languages

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: On 1 February, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Irish Government that, among other things, ensures the widespread availability of the Irish language channel TG4 in Northern Ireland following the digital switchover. The Government see no inconsistency with obligations in respect of equality and parity of esteem.

Burma

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Brett: Since 2007, approximately £660,000 of funding from the Department for International Development (DfID) has been used by non-governmental

25 Mar 2010 : Column WA314

organisations, based in Thailand, to provide humanitarian assistance in Burma. This assistance includes the provision of health, education and other services, and financial support to enable particularly vulnerable people displaced by conflict to buy food. About £18,000 of this funding has been used to build classrooms and water and sanitation facilities for people displaced by conflict.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Brett: Election laws published by the Burmese regime in early March compound the iniquities of the 2008 constitution. The laws appear to force the National League for Democracy to expel Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners from the party, or disband and withdraw from the political process. The laws also require political parties to endorse a constitution imposed through a sham referendum and place severe restrictions on their ability to campaign. In view of these and other restrictions, planned elections cannot be free and fair. The military government appear intent on further marginalising the democratic opposition and Burma's many ethnic groups, when only a fully inclusive political process stands any chance of delivering stability and solving Burma's many problems.

Businesses: Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): The City of London's report provides a good summary of the financing landscape affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including the funding escalator required for different stages of business growth. Government acknowledge the conclusions in the report and will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders and partners, including the City of London, to support the financial needs of UK SMEs and to help address the issues that the report identifies.

Buying Solutions

Question

Asked by Lord Newby



25 Mar 2010 : Column WA316

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) contracts database shows that payments have been made over the past five complete financial years to the companies listed in the following table. The amounts shown have been rounded to the nearest £1 million.

Company2004-05 (£m)2005-06 (£m)2006-07 (£m)2007-08 (£m)2008-09 (£m)

Ernst Young

1

1

4

Deloitte

3

3

8

9

Grant Thorton

0

0

0

KPMG

3

2

3

9

7

Accenture

0

0

PricewaterhouseCoopers

5

5

5

4

5

BDO Stoy Hayward

0

0

0

0

Mckinsey & Co

13

19

2

0

Smith & Williamsons

0

0

0

0


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