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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of individuals in his (a) Department, (b) related agencies and (c) related non-departmental public bodies whose annual remuneration including benefits in kind exceeded (i) £100,000 and (ii) £200,000 in each of the last four years. [26314]

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Mr. Blunkett: The annual remuneration costs including benefits in kind cover basic salary, bonuses and any additional allowances payable including recruitment and retention and any allowance's payable as a result of relocation costs.

(a) The number of individuals within the Home Office receiving remuneration costs exceeding (i) £100,000 and (ii) £200,000, was:

(i) £100,000(ii) £200,000
1 April 200170
1 April 200030
1 April 199920
1 April 199810

(b) The number of individual within the related agencies of the Home Office receiving remuneration costs exceeding (i) £100,000 and (ii) £200,000 was:

(i) £100,000(ii) £200,000
1 April 200140
1 April 200020
1 April 199920
1 April 199810

(c) The information requested relating to remuneration levels in related non-departmental public bodies is available in the annual Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies".


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many heroin addicts are on the methadone programme in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; what the financial cost is of the programme in each country; and how many deaths have occurred while addicts are on a methadone programme in each country in each of the last three years. [23878]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

Since the Home Office addicts index closed in 1997, the regional drug misuse databases (RDMDs) have been the main source of information on persons presenting to drug treatment services with a drug problem. During the six month period ending 30 September 2000, around 21,200 people were reported to the RDMDs in England as presenting for treatment, with heroin recorded as their main drug of misuse. Around 6,200 of these people were reported as being prescribed methadone for treatment at the time they presented; other heroin users may subsequently have been prescribed methadone.

In terms of financial costs, in 2001 the net ingredient cost (the basic cost of the drug, excluding dispensing cost, fees or prescription charges income) of methadone for use in substance dependence is £6.87 per preparation.

The number of deaths in England and Wales where methadone was mentioned on death certificates in 1999 were 298.

Information relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved Assemblies.

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Access Land

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to begin consultation on proposals for regulations on the dedication of access land under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [29577]

Alun Michael: I have today published a consultation paper which sets out the Government's proposals for regulations on the dedication of access land under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The regulations, which we expect to lay before Parliament later this year, will enable the owner of any land, or a lessee with a long lease, to irrevocably dedicate that land for public access. The Forestry Commission has already announced its intention in principle to dedicate the national forestry estate under section 16.

I am also writing today to Green Minister colleagues about the considerable scope for dedication of land held by Government Departments and sponsored non- departmental public bodies, where dedication is compatible with the purpose for which the land is held. We will work with other Departments to explore the opportunities for dedication through the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate.

Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to organisations representing local authorities, recreational users and land managers, and others with an interest; the consultation paper is also being published on the DEFRA website. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Foot and Mouth

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from the (a) Youth Hostels Association and (b) the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers about financial losses caused by the foot and mouth crisis; what proposals she has to compensate these organisations; and if she will make a statement. [26230]

Alun Michael: I have corresponded with the Youth Hostels Association and met their Chairman and Chief Executive, as has my hon. Friend the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting I have also received around 200 letters from hon. Members on behalf of constituents concerned about the impact on the YHA's income of foot and mouth disease and the measures taken to control it. The YHA estimate that they lost £5 million 2001 out of an annual income of £30 million.

I have also met representatives from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and discussed the impact of foot and mouth disease on their activities. I understand that the losses they suffered are in the region of £250,000 out of an annual income in the order of £23 million.

I am well aware of the impact that foot and mouth disease had on a range of charities, especially those involved in promoting countryside access. The measures we put in place to help affected businesses were mainly focused on small businesses, and were not well adapted to helping national organisations such as the YHA or BTCV. During later stages we modified the guidelines for the

21 Jan 2002 : Column 605W

Business recovery fund to clarify that charities' individual business units may be treated as separate business entities and may receive assistance in their own right if their applications meet the fund's other criteria. Charities may also benefit from rate relief granted by local authorities (for which we raised the rate of central subsidy from 75 per cent. to 95 or 98 per cent. in rural areas) and from the deferral of tax payments due. We have also put a lot of effort into encouraging local authorities into reopening footpaths as soon as possible to attract visitors back to the countryside, and put extra resources into tourism promotion via the British Tourist Authority and English Tourism Council.

I accept that the help available is modest compared with the losses that organisations such as the YHA have suffered. It is not possible to provide compensation to charities for loss of income, any more than to farming or non-farming businesses affected by the disease and by the measures to control it. As explained in "England's Rural Future" published on 13 December, we are looking urgently and sympathetically at further measures to help charities—especially those involved in promoting countryside access—to recover from the impact of foot and mouth disease.

Rural Development Plan

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what role national park authorities in England will have in delivery of the rural development plan; and what additional resources will be made available by her Department for the authorities concerned. [26897]

Alun Michael: National park authorities make a significant contribution to the operation of the National Rural Development Programme (ERDP), not least through participation in the national and regional consultation groups which advise on the strategic direction of the programme. National park authorities are also encouraged to work with DEFRA's Rural Development Service to ensure that effective delivery of the ERDP contributes to the aims and objectives of national parks. The national park authorities also play a positive role in encouraging uptake of the agri-environment schemes which now form part of the ERDP. In particular they can use their detailed knowledge of the parks to ensure that the Countryside Stewardship Scheme is utilised positively and appropriately within the individual parks.

Birds of Prey

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to increase the number of British birds of prey. [26061]

Mr. Meacher: All wild bird populations (including birds of prey) are included in the wild bird population indicator, which is one of the 15 headline indicators of sustainable development. These indicators are a "quality of life barometer" measuring everyday concerns like health, jobs and air quality.

Populations of birds of prey have increased as a result of better protection from persecution and restrictions on the use of persistent pesticides.

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There are three projects aimed at increasing the population of a bird of prey species:

Although these projects are focused primarily on individual species, their overall objectives are far wider. The work involves tackling problems that affect a range of different birds of prey, and in so doing, contributing to recovery in their populations or at least to maintaining populations.

English Nature are also involved with the Osprey reintroduction project that has been undertaken at Rutland Water in central England.

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