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Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 9 July 2001]: In its October 2000 report on the supply of groceries, the Competition Commission recommended that a code of practice be established governing the way leading supermarkets treated their suppliers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry asked the Director General of Fair Trading to agree a code with the relevant supermarkets. He has recently submitted his advice to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received about extortionate credit; and if she will make a statement on her policy in this area. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 11 July 2001]: My Department has received many representations on this issue, mainly from consumer groups. I recognise that it is vital that consumers are protected against exploitative lending practices and I am now considering what action the Government can take to ensure this.
12 Jul 2001 : Column: 624W
Malcolm Wicks: Details of the number of people claiming the Working Families Tax Credit who also receive Housing Benefit will be included in the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Annual Summary Statistics May 2000. These will be published on 26 July 2001 and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Estimates of the change in numbers of Housing Benefit recipients also in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit caused by hypothetical changes to the Working Families Tax Credit threshold can be derived from the Department's Policy Simulation Model (200102). This information is in the table.
|Working Families Tax Credit threshold||Number|
1. The estimated number of Housing Benefit and Working Families Tax Credit recipients is rounded to the nearest 10,000.
2. The estimates calibrate survey totals using the numbers of non-Income Support working age families [with earnings] receiving Housing Benefit picked up on the Policy Simulation Model compared to administrative data, as a proxy for the Working Families Tax Credit and Housing Benefit group.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the estimates of Housing Benefit fraud detected, expressed as a proportion of Housing Benefit expenditure for each local authority for 19992000, will be released. 
Malcolm Wicks: The weekly benefit savings scheme provides a measure of benefit fraud detected by local authorities. A table providing the information requested expressed in terms of weekly benefit savings for the year 19992000 has been placed in the Library.
We have announced that the weekly benefit savings scheme is to be replaced by a new, more comprehensive anti-fraud incentive scheme which aims to provide greater financial rewards to authorities which uncover more fraud and prosecute fraudsters. The new incentive scheme will also make extra provision for those local authorities who operate the Department's Verification Framework. 63 local authorities have adopted the new scheme from April 2001 with the remaining local authorities switching to the new scheme from April 2002.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of those aged over 50 years in each region and nation of the UK have returned to work with the support of the New Deal for the over-50s programme. 
12 Jul 2001 : Column: 625W
|Region||Number returning to work|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||4,300|
|East Midlands and Eastern||4,300|
|London and the South East||7,700|
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred
2. The Department for Work and Pensions is not responsible for the operation of the New Deal 50+ in Northern Ireland
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage and how many Incapacity Benefit claimants were re-tested after (a) six months, (b) 12 months, (c) 18 months, (d) two years and (e) three years in the period April 1995 to June 2001. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the assets and financial surpluses that were transferred from ELTEC to the Learning and Skills Council for Lancashire. 
East Lancashire TEC (ELTEC) has transferred £7,000 worth of its computers and other equipment to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for Lancashire as well as providing similar support to the new Business Link in Lancashire. The transfer of any cash surpluses will be finalised after the TEC has completed its statutory accounts for the year ended March 2001 and appointed a liquidator to wind up the company.
Current estimates suggest that some £1.4 million will be made available to the Lancashire LSC to take forward local initiatives in east Lancashire and a further £1.3 million will go to support Individual Learning Accounts for local people.
Mr. Morley: We have had no discussions with the Commission on buying up sheep quotas. We will be discussing more generally with the Commission the problems of the sheep market as a result of foot and mouth disease.
12 Jul 2001 : Column: 626W
Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter of 9 April on behalf of his constituent Ms Halford. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 July 2001]: The Government anticipate that the commencement order setting the date of the ban on fur farming under the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 will be made at the same time as the order setting out the details of the compensation scheme. This is expected to be later this year, following consultation on the compensation scheme during the summer.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many fur farms are (a) licensed and (b) currently operating in England and Wales; and if he will list their locations by county. 
|County||Number of licensed mink farms||Number of licensed mink farms currently operating|
|Isle of Wight||1|||
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