Previous Section Index Home Page


Research and Development Budget

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what the budget for research and development into organic and other non-intensive farming methods is in the 2000-01 financial year; what the main (a) budget headings and (b) contracts let are; and how much has been spent to date; [153162]

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 712W

Ms Quin: The budget for organic farming research in MAFF for the financial year 2000-01 is £2,139,000. This is not broken down into further budget headings. The level of commitment of this budget is £2,157,000, which funds 39 projects. A list of current projects is available in the Libraries of the House.

MAFF is also funding £2,150,000 of research in 2000-01 on non-intensive livestock production. There is no specific budget heading for this research but a list of the 37 current projects has been placed in the Library of the House.

In addition, the organic farming sector also benefits from much of the other research the Ministry undertakes, for example, its planned spend on research into biological control techniques, plant health, animal welfare and wildlife conservation on farms of over £14.3 million in 2000-01 and over £13.8 million in 2001-02.

With regard to the financial year 2001-02, the budget for organic farming research in MAFF is £2,139,000. This is not broken down into further budget headings. The budget for non-intensive livestock production research in MAFF for financial year 2001-02 is £2,421,000.

Swill Feed

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to ban the use of swill feed. [152833]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 March 2001]: The issue of swill feed will be thoroughly examined as part of our policy review consequential to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Everything but Arms

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent discussions he has had with (a) the European Commissioner for Development and (b) his European counterparts on (i) the recent amendments to proposals for the 'Everything But Arms' initiative and (ii) the implications of these proposals for United Kingdom sugar producers; and if he will make a statement. [153554]

Ms Quin: The Government have had ongoing discussions with the European Commission and other member states on the 'Everything But Arms' proposal, culminating in the adoption of the Presidency compromise on 26 February. On sugar this provides for an eight-year transitional period, comprising a duty-free interim quota for raw sugar for refining, starting at 74,185 tonnes in July 2001 and increasing by 15 per cent. each year, coupled with the phase-out of duties on all LDC sugar between 2006 and 2009. In the short term, the implications of the EBA regulation for United Kingdom sugar beet producers are likely to be minimal. We will press the Commission to include the impact of EBA in the studies it expects to undertake in preparation for the next reform of the sugar regime.

Farmers (Private Insurance)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how Government compensation

15 Mar 2001 : Column: 713W

payments in respect of foot and mouth disease take into account payments under private insurance policies for the same losses. [153732]

Ms Quin [holding answer 14 March 2001]: The Government compensate farmers for the full market value of animals slaughtered as a disease control measure. They do not take account of any private insurance that the farmer may have taken out to cover wider consequential losses caused by movement restrictions. Section 34(5) of the Animal Health Act 1981 states that if the owner of a slaughtered animal has insurance on that animal, the insurers may deduct the statutory compensation from the amount of money payable under the insurance, before they make any payment.

"Agriculture in the United Kingdom"

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects the latest volume of "Agriculture in the United Kingdom" to be published. [154479]

Ms Quin: "Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2000" was published today and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Stakeholder Pensions

Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what further changes he proposes to make to the stakeholder pensions regulations. [154446]

Mr. Rooker: The Government made a commitment to work with the pensions industry to ensure that stakeholder pensions offer a realistic and effective second pension option. We have today laid amending regulations to make changes of a practical and technical nature. The changes make the stakeholder regulations more effective, and include provisions which take account of the views of the pensions industry, including organisations setting up stakeholder pension schemes. For example, schemes will be able to stagger the issue of annual benefit statements over the year, rather than having to issue them all at once.

Winter Fuel Payment

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the Winter Fuel Payment due to Doris Lilian Riblan of Ferndown will be paid. [153508]

Mr. Rooker: The administration of Winter Fuel Payments is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Christopher Chope, dated 13 March 2001:



15 Mar 2001 : Column: 714W

Departmental IT Projects

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 9 March 2001, Official Report, column 404W, on Departmental IT projects, if he will disaggregate by type of expenditure the anticipated costs for each of the modernisation projects. [153920]

Angela Eagle: Further to my answer of 9 March 2001, Official Report, column 404W, modernisation projects have been brigaded under these headings in order to facilitate the management of the Department's modernisation programme.

National Insurance Numbers

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on what grounds the deceased retain national insurance numbers. [153785]

Mr. Rooker: The retention of deceased persons' National Insurance Numbers (NINOs) is necessary to process claims for Widow's Benefit and from 9 April 2001 for Bereavement Benefit claims. Additionally records of the deceased must be kept in order to protect the inheritable rights of the surviving spouse to ensure that they are awarded the correct rate of Retirement Pension when they reach State Pension age or the rate of Retirement Pension which the survivor already receives is increased correctly. The retention is therefore necessary to protect the rights of those making National Insurance contributions.

Retaining NINOs also enables checks to be made for benefit recovery against estates and assists the prevention of a further NINO being fraudulently created under the deceased's identity.

Pensioners (Incomes and Benefits)

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what his most recent estimate is of the number of pensioner units with an income of (a) £200 to £210, (b) £211 to £220 and (c) £221 and above who are in receipt of (i) Housing Benefit, (ii) Council Tax Benefit, (iii) Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit and (iv) one or more of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. [153787]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

Pensioners in Great Britain in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit by amount of income over £200--May 1999

Total incomeHousing BenefitCouncil Tax BenefitHousing Benefit and Council Tax BenefitHousing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit
Over £2008,00012,00010,00010,000
£200-£2105,0006,000(31)--(31)--
£210-£2201,0002,000(31)--(31)--
Over £2202,0004,000(31)--(31)--

(31) Data are nil or negligible (negligible being numbers less than 500)

Notes:

1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.

2. The figures for cases in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit have been rounded to the nearest thousand. However due to the estimation procedure to produce the figures for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, or Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit, these figures need to be rounded to the nearest 10,000 due to the collection procedures in Scotland.

3. Pensioners have been identified by the claimant or the partner being aged 60 and over.

4. The bands of income have been reached by looking at the total income excluding any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit but including income assumed from any savings.

Source:

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System, Annual 1 per cent. sample, taken in May 1999.


15 Mar 2001 : Column: 715W


Next Section Index Home Page