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Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims for work-related illness were settled by her Department in the last year for which records are available; and what the cost was in compensation. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The most recent statistics available are for the year 2000 and relate to the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and its agencies; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was not created until June 2001.
Records show that in the core Department, there was one case where compensation was awarded for work- related illness, at a cost of £2,000. There were no cases in the Central Science Laboratory (CSL) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) agencies. There was one case in the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA).
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Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days of sick leave were taken by employees in her Department in the last year for which records are available; what proportion of those were due to work-related illness or injury; and what the cost was to the Department. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 May 2002]: In 2000, the latest year for which records are available, an average of nine days per staff year were taken by employees in what was then the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, including its agencies. These figures are published in the Cabinet Office annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service", copies of which are placed in House Libraries.
The Department does not hold figures on the proportion of these absences that were due to work-related illness or injury, or the cost of these absences, and these could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Department is committed to meeting its targets for reducing the number of working days lost due to sickness absence, which are contained in the published Service Delivery Agreement. The Department is also committed to reducing the number of working days lost from work-related injury and ill health, in response to the Government's Revitalising Health and Safety initiative.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees of her Department retired through work-related ill-health in the last year for which records are available; and what the cost was to the Department. 
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 May 2002]: Records are not maintained by the Department which enable ill health retirements to be separately identified as work-related. The number of staff retired with a medical retirement certificate issued by the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) medical adviser for the period 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2001, was 20. Benefits provided on medical retirement are as set out in the rules of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme and laid before Parliament, and provide for an immediate payment of an enhanced pension and lump sum. Ill-health retirement expenditure is met centrally from the Civil Superannuation Vote. For the year ending March 2002, provisional expenditure from the vote was £310 million in respect of all civil service cases for which an ill-health pension has been awarded. These cases number approximately 67,000 and include those who have formerly been ill-health retired but who have now reached and exceeded the normal retirement age.
This reply covers staff of the Intervention Board and the former MAFF and its agencies who joined DEFRA in June last year following Machinery of Government changes, but does not include the former DETR staff who are now part of DEFRA.
Margaret Beckett: Under schedule 1 to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, an inquiry must be held into the Designation Order if a local authority has objected and the objection has not been withdrawn. Several local authorities have lodged objections, which are being maintained. A letter is being sent to all those who have made objections or representations, advising them that a local inquiry is to be held and what the scope of the inquiry will be. A copy of the letter is in the Library of the House. The inquiry is expected to start in October.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to clarify the powers which local authorities have to act in respect of smell nuisance from sewage treatment works. 
Mr. Meacher: Pursuant to the answer given to my hon. Friend on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 749W, the information provided should be properly clarified. Local authorities are not able to use their powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as previous case law has deemed that public sewers and sewage treatment works cannot be considered "premises" within the context of that Act. My officials are exploring the available legislation and existing controls as a possible means to deal with odour nuisance from sewage treatment works in the future.
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), representing the House of Commons Commission, how many specialist advisers have been employed since 1997 by each select committee; what was the duration of their contract and scale of remuneration; in each case, whether the post was openly advertised; what the total cost of special advisers was, broken down by committee; and if he will break down the numbers of special advisers by (a) sex and (b) ethnic origin. 
Mr. Kirkwood: Lists of specialist advisers appointed by each select committee in the last Parliament and their cost are contained in the Sessional Returns ordered to be printed by the House on 25 January 1999 (HC142), 16 December 1999 (HC1), 5 February 2001 (HC100) and 20 July 2001 (HC1). The equivalent information so far in the current Session is being assembled and will be placed in the Library.
The arrangements for the selection of candidates are the responsibility of individual select committees, not of the House of Commons Commission. Committees normally appoint specialist advisers for a particular subject or a particular inquiry. Typically, an appointment remains valid until the end of a Parliament in case a committee returns to a subject. Specialist advisers are not House employees but are paid as contractors. Details of duration of their appointment and scale of remuneration are collated by each committee separately. Daily rates, which are currently under review, range up to £150. As specialist advisers are not employees of the House, we have no separate record by gender and ethnic origin.
Clare Short: My officials in Lilongwe are in regular contact with the two other member states represented in Malawi (Denmark and Germany) as well as the EC delegation. The Danes are withdrawing from Malawi and have not therefore been active in helping to provide food. Neither have the Germans (who argue that their contribution is through the EC).
The EC have now agreed to purchase 40,000 tonnes of maize from the local market to replenish National Food Reserve Agency stocks. This will be held until the lean season (starting October) and then released for distribution to those in need. A further 10,000 tonnes will be purchased internationally. The EC are preparing a proposal seeking financial contributions from all member states to finance another 30,000 tonnes of maize to be procured internationally.
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