|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Any European Union (EU) or UK ban on the import of primates, dead or alive, not prohibited by the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) would amount to a prima facie breach of World Trade Organisation rules. In order for a ban to be justified, it would have to be capable of falling within the scope of the permitted exceptions listed in Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Those most likely to apply are Article XX(a) (public morals), Article XX(b) (protection of health and life) and/or Article XX(g) (conservation of exhaustible natural resources). Further, any such restriction must also be compliant with the requirement that there is no unjustifiable or arbitrary discrimination nor a disguised restriction on trade.
There are no animal health grounds for imposing a total ban on imports into the UK of all primates, dead or alive. A unilateral UK ban would not be in accordance with Community law, which provides for imports subject to compliance with animal health controls. The Government have no policy in favour of imposing restrictions on the import of non-CITES listed primates on the grounds of conservation.
In addition, any restrictions on imports to the UK from within the European Community would have to be justifiable within Community law and the requirement of free movement of goods. Any departure from an EU-wide position on trade with third countries could be held to be in breach of trade rules under Community law.
The restriction of research using primates to the descendants of animals already resident in the UK is not permissible under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which regulates the use of living animals in research and testing. This is because the 1986 Act gives the Secretary of State a discretion which can be used to authorise regulated procedures to be undertaken on primates which are sourced from overseas.
Section 10(3) of
the 1986 Act provides that the conditions of a project licence issued
under the Act shall, unless the Secretary of State for the Home
Department considers that an exception is justified, include a
condition to the effect that no non-human primates shall be used under
the licence unless it has
25 July 2006 : Column WA242
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The majority of the 42 recommendations made by the biomass task force in October 2005 have been accepted fully or in principle. The remaining recommendations are being considered further, in some cases pending the outcome of ongoing reviews, such as the waste strategy review.
The Government have identified 65 actions to take forward the recommendations of the biomass task force; most of these actions should be implemented by April 2007. A number of actions will, by necessity, continue beyond that date, such as the five-year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers and CHP systems.
The majority of the measures proposed by the biomass task force require no additional funding. Among those actions that do, funding has been announced for the five-year capital grant scheme of £10 million to £15 million over the first two years. This funding will also support an additional round of the bio-energy infrastructure scheme. The level of funding for the continuation of support for the establishment of energy crops under the new rural development programme for England has yet to be finalised; it will be subject to EU and Government decisions on rural development funding.
Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Lord Rooker): I can confirm that an employment
agency would act as a gangmaster, as defined at Section 4 of the
Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, when supplying a
25 July 2006 : Column WA243
Fees charged for a gangmaster licence range from £250 to £4,000. In addition, where the Gangmasters Licensing Authority considers it necessary, an additional fee ranging from £1,600 to £2,500 may be charged for an application inspection. An application inspection will involve a visit to the applicants business lasting one to two days. Fees are banded according to business turnover with the highest fee levels applying to businesses with a turnover in the sector of more than £10 million per annum. Fee rates have been set to reflect a businesss ability to pay and to recover Gangmasters Licensing Authority operating costs. A full consultation was conducted before fee rates were fixed.
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): The fact that the trial concluded without the jurors having commenced their deliberations made it possible lawfully to approach and interview them. The principle of the 1981 Act was observed in the agreed scope of the research and the way it was conducted. The jurors were not asked about opinions they might have been forming about whether they believed the evidence, whether the charges were proved, the likely guilt or otherwise of the defendants, or the content of their discussions with other jurors in the course of the trial.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The new licensing laws have been in place for eight months and it is still too soon to draw any conclusions about their success. What does seem clear is that there has been no discernable increase in alcohol-related crime and disorder, while there have been many reports of an improving situation and better joint working and enforcement by the police, local authorities and other partners.
The Government welcome initiatives to promote the responsible retailing of alcohol, such as the British Institute of Innkeepers responsible alcohol retailing week. We are working closely with industry representatives on the implementation of the principles and standards document which was launched by the industry last year.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The appointment of staff to executive posts is the responsibility of individual National Health Service trusts based on fair and open competition. It is for strategic health authorities to ensure that trusts comply with this. The NHS West Midlands SHA reports that the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust is compliant with the relevant employment codes.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): We anticipate that an increasing range of National Health Service services will be commissioned through payment by results, but there will always be some services for which alternative commissioning arrangements are required.
In the past, services were largely paid for through block (fixed-cost) contracts between purchasers and providers of care. This gave few incentives to purchasers and providers to understand and respond to the needs and preferences of patients.
The patient-led NHS allows huge potential for more responsive services and puts a premium on strong and effective commissioning with clear functions and new skills, which focuses on meeting the specific needs of the local community and groups within it.
On 13 July 2006 Health Reform in England: Update and commissioning framework was published. Within this document is a consultation to inform the further development of a national model contract which will be used to procure services from NHS trusts, foundation trusts, independent and third sector providers.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Payment by results is a national policy, and there is a mandatory tariff, which applies across the whole of the National Health Service. The NHS in England: The operating framework for 2006/07, published in January 2006, set out the ability for strategic health authorities to agree specific local additional rules for a fixed period of time under special circumstances. Discussions on where these might be are ongoing with the NHS.
We have a range of formal and informal evaluation tools to assist the analysis of payment by results. For example, we announced on 18 July 2006 the findings of the South Yorkshire laboratory, which tracked the progress of a health economy in which payment by results has been implemented to a faster timescale than elsewhere.
We provide a range of guidance and work with all NHS organisations and Monitor (the regulator of NHS foundation trusts) to progress the implementation of payment by results. Detailed guidance on payment by results and full copies of evaluation material are available on the departments website www.dh.gov.uk/pbr.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Estimates of the total non-UK duty-paid consumption are available, and are reported in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses: 2005, which is published alongside the PBR and can be found in the Library of the House.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The costs of the Olympics are under review. The Olympic Delivery Authority is currently procuring the delivery partner that will help it to deliver the Olympic and legacy construction. One element of the delivery partners role will be to examine the Olympic programme and direct costs associated with it. We expect this assessment to be completed within six to nine months of the appointment. This assessment will need to be seen in the context of the legacy and wider regeneration benefits of the Olympics.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: No payments were made to Philip Gould Associates by HM Treasury or any of its agencies since 2002-03. The cost of providing details of payments in the earlier years would be disproportionate as a result of a change in accounting system in 2002-03.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement made to the House on Thursday 20 July 2006 [Official Report, cols. WS 103-04] about the outcome of the review of the British Transport Police. Copies of the Statement are also available in the Libraries of both Houses.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The terms of a commercial contract are a matter for the parties concerned, not HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC would only seek to recalculate the trading profits included by an individual taxpayer in his income tax self-assessment returnor by a company in its corporation tax self-assessment returnif it considered that: (i) the trading profits had been derived from accounts not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice; (ii) any adjustments in computing taxable profits required or authorised by tax law had been incorrectly made; or (iii) if the contracts concerned were with a connected party, they had not been priced on an arms-length basis.
Lord Davies of Oldham: No. Some exemptions are statutory, such as those for disabled blue badge holders, and others are invariably written into local authority traffic regulation orders, which local traffic authorities are empowered to make to create parking restrictions under powers in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, such as for vehicles used by the fire brigade, ambulance service and police, or vehicles being used to remove an obstruction. Also, there is a general exemption in no waiting areas for loading and unloading.
In areas covered by decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE), local authorities issue waiver permits to allow vehicles to park, where parking restrictions apply, on specified stretches of road for specified periods. Where DPE powers do not apply, the police and traffic wardens carry out this task.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Once the relevant legislation is introduced, a local authority wishing to operate a permit scheme will be entitled to prepare and submit a scheme for approval. Any such application must be dealt with objectively and treated on its merits. The department has always committed to reviewing the permit operations after a year of operation. This will form part of our overall monitoring of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The department will seek to ensure that only authorities that demonstrate the ability to operate an effective permit scheme will be granted approval and aims to ensure that as much as possible is learnt from early schemes.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) reports annually on its overall progress in meeting targets, including work under the Real Nappy Programme. It is scheduled to report on its achievements for the business plan period up to 2006 shortly.
At the outset of the programme, 91 per cent of expectant parents said they intended to use disposable nappies. Work done for the Environment Agency suggested the figure may be higher, at 94 per cent. WRAP intends to survey parents again at the end of the programme to establish the actual change in behaviour. An estimate of the diversion will be made and published by WRAP when the survey is complete, taking account of other quantitative evidence.
The revised waste strategy for England, due to be published later this year, will identify what further steps need to be taken to tackle domestic waste, including whether any additional targets need to be set.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Departmental performance against government sustainable operations targets, including water consumption, has been published in annual sustainable development in government reports (STiG). The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the independent watchdog, published its latest SDiG report in December 2005. It covered the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005 and is available at: www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.
According to the SDCs report, seven government departments met the 2004 water consumption target. These departments were: the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Department for Constitutional Affairs; the Department of Health; the Inland Revenue; Her Majestys Customs and Excise; the Department for International Development; and the Office for National Statistics.
On 12 June 2006, the Prime Minister launched a set of intentionally challenging sustainable operational targets for the government estate. They set an example to the rest of the public sector, businesses and consumers and will catalyse efforts to improve the way the Government manage their land and buildings sustainably. The new targets relevant to water consumption are as follows. Departments are to:
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|