Previous Section Index Home Page

Departmental Expenditure Limits

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proposals there are to amend the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' departmental expenditure limits and administration costs limits for 2001-02. [775]

Mr. Byers: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Departmental Expenditure Limits for 2001-02 will change as follows:

Following the Machinery of Government changes announced following the general election on 7 June, the DETR Main DEL will require restructuring to reflect the new departmental boundaries. The restructuring will be

22 Jun 2001 : Column: 13W

effected later in the year when any necessary Transfers of Functions Orders and other administrative actions are in force.

The net increase in the DETR Main Programme and Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limits will be a charge on the DEL Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.


Sub-post Offices

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made regarding the rural sub-post office start-up capital subsidy scheme; and if she will make a statement. [773]

Mr. Alexander: I have today laid a draft order to bring into effect the rural sub-post office start-up capital subsidy scheme. This scheme, announced earlier this year, reaffirms the Government's commitment to the rural sub-post office network by setting aside £2 million to support initiatives by volunteer or community groups to maintain or reopen post office facilities in areas where the traditional post office is closing or has recently closed. The fund will provide help with the one-off costs of relocating or refurbishing rural post offices.


Financial Services Authority

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the annual report of the Financial Services Authority to be published. [774]

Ruth Kelly: The Financial Services Authority's annual report is being published today. It covers the period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001. During this period the FSA regulated under legislation including the Financial Services Act 1986 and the Banking Act 1987. The report is being presented to Parliament as required under section 117(2) of the Financial Services Act and section 1(3) of the Banking Act. Copies are available in the Library of the House and on the FSA's website


Fisheries Council

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the outcome was of the Fisheries Council held in Brussels on 18 June. [772]

Mr. Morley: I represented the UK at the Fisheries Council on 18 June together with Ms Rhona Brankin, the Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development in the Scottish Executive, and Ms Brid Rogers, Northern Irish Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Council had a full discussion of the Commission's Green Paper on the 2002 Review of the Common Fisheries Policy. There was considerable support for the UK's major concerns: to work towards a policy which is economically and environmentally sustainable; to retain

22 Jun 2001 : Column: 14W

the system of total allowable catches and quotas distributed according to relative stability; to continue with existing restrictions on access, in particular the six and 12-mile limits which we argued should be established permanently; to provide for increased involvement of fishermen in developing fisheries policy, in particular through a regionalised approach; to address more effectively the environmental impacts of fishing, reducing discards, recognising the value of low impact fishing and angling, and minimising the adverse effects of fishing on non-target species such as small cetaceans; to ensure more consistent and effective enforcement across all member states; and to tackle more effectively the imbalance between fishing capacity and stocks, not least by ending the use of subsidies by grant aiding more powerful and efficient vessels.

The work on the Green Paper will continue under the Belgian Presidency and the Commission is expected to produce detailed legislative proposals later this year.

The Council agreed conclusions on the Commission's action plan on biodiversity. We welcomed these, in particular the commitment to give priority for action for the most sensitive species listed in the Habitats Directive.

The Commission introduced a communication setting out their thinking on the longer term multi-annual recovery plans for cod and hake stocks. There was also some discussion of the more immediate measures for North Sea cod which are currently being negotiated with Norway. The Commissioner emphasised the serious state of the stocks and the need to take substantial measures if the stocks are to be able to recover. We supported the development of action plans and the inevitable constraints on fishing which would be required if they were to be effective. But at the same time we stressed the importance of engaging the fishing industry in the development of plans and the need to take sufficient account of their impact on returns from fishing. The Commission is expecting to conclude negotiations on North Sea cod with Norway shortly and to introduce measures applicable in 2002; detailed proposals on longer term measures will be put to the Council for consideration in the autumn.

In view of the failure to establish a new fisheries agreement with Morocco the Council agreed that the existing provision for structural funds to be made available to support the fishing fleets affected would be extended until the end of 2001. The Commission plans to make proposals shortly for a restructuring scheme.

Finally, the Commission presented a proposal to extend the multi-annual guidance programme (MAGP IV) for one year until the end of 2002. This will be considered in detail by the Council in the autumn.


Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to amend the Food Standards Agency departmental expenditure limit/administration costs limit for 2001-02. [776]

22 Jun 2001 : Column: 15W

Yvette Cooper: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) the overall resource Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2001-02 will be increased by £7,803,000 (of which £363,000 is administration costs) from £103,440,000 to £111,243,000.

The increase is the net effect of transfers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) of £7,308,000, to cover the estimated fall in Meat Hygiene Service income resulting from the revised charging methodology recommended in the Maclean report, and transfers of £363,000 administration costs and £132,000 programme costs from MAFF to reflect the cost of additional responsibilities transferred to the FSA. The accruals to cash adjustment figures have also been increased by £11,000 to bring them in line with the SR2000 settlement.

As a result of these changes the gross administration cost limit for the FSA has increased by £363,000 from £41,237,000 to £41,600,000. With the exception of the increase of £11,000 in the cash to accruals adjustment, which will bring the figures into line with those agreed in SR2000, all increases will be offset by transfers from the MAFF Departmental Expenditure Limit (detailed above) and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Next Section Index Home Page