Mr. Ryder : The encouragement of rural employment is one of the main features of the Government's strategy for the countryside. Within that strategy, the aim of our agricultural policies is to assist the farming industry to adapt to changing market forces, while encouraging farmers to develop new initiatives which should provide opportunities for rural employment.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department's programmes of research are kept under continuous review and this includes the need for research into bovine somatotropin, particularly in respect of public interest issues such as animal welfare.
Most research into bovine somatotropin is undertaken or commissioned by the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. My Department has been funding a small study on dairy cow nutrition in which bovine somatotropin has featured and this is part of the work offered for industry funding following the review of near market R and D.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My right hon. Friend has no plans to visit Torrey research station in the near future. I visited it in August with the hon. Members for Aberdeen South (Mr. Doran) and for South Shields (Dr. Clark).
Column 3261987-88, is under review at present. The research consultative committee's report on invertebrate pests, diseases and weeds in growing crops was published in May 1987 and a report on the protection of stored and growing crops is expected to be published around the end of this year. Much of the work is of a public good nature and thus unlikely to be significantly affected by the current review of near market research.
Mr. McGregor : The Council and Commission have now agreed that monetary gaps should be phased out as part of the completion of the internal market, an objective that United Kingdom Ministers have persistently pressed for. The next step in this process is likely to be decided in the 1989 price fixing.
60. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is in a position to assess the reduction of concentrations of tributyltin in fish in inshore waters following the ban of the sale and use of this anti-foulant in 1987.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Over the last year, levels of tributyltin in shellfish have fallen by more than two-thirds in the Crouch estuary and by over half in other estuaries monitored in England. Juvenile oysters are already showing good growth in these waters and new growth is also clearly detectable in oysters previously affected in the Crouch.
Mr. MacGregor : The Autumn Statement shows savings over previous plans for agriculture of £1,080 million during the three years 1988- 89, 1989-90 and 1990-91. These stem partly from external factors, such as the United States drought which reduced the cost of export subsidies, and partly from internal economies following recent wide-ranging reforms to the common agricultural policy.
I have always said that a common agricultural policy that was running the risk of being out of control was not in the interest of farmers and was no balance for future stability in agriculture. These reforms have brought the European Community budget under control and led to a significant reduction in the level of intervened stocks which were overhanging Community and world markets and depressing prices. Therefore farmers now have a firmer and more stable base for planning their future.
Taxpayers--including farmers--will benefit from these savings because they have improved the value for money of Government spending and have helped the Government to increase the provision for priority programmes while keeping public expenditure as a proportion of national income on a declining trend. They also enhance the scope for reducing taxation when it is prudent to do so.
These savings in themselves will not have any marked impact on consumers.
63. Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will indicate the level by which the seas around Britain could rise if nothing is done about the greenhouse effect ; and what effect this would have on the adequacy of the United Kingdom's sea defences.
Mr. Ryder : There are a wide range of predictions about the rise in mean sea level that could take place, but given the many uncertainties it is not realistic to make firm assessments of the implications for our sea defences.
We are monitoring the position carefully and will take account of the results of current research programmes as they become available.
70. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the United States Secretary of State for Agriculture to discuss the general agreement on tariffs and trade mid- term review.
71. Mr. Amos : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to attend the general agreement on tariffs and trade mid-term review in Montreal, in view of agriculture featuring in the negotiations.
Mr. Ryder : Economic Community stocks of most commodities have fallen significantly. Butter stocks are down 80 per cent. over last year and skimmed milk powder stocks virtually eliminated. Wheat stocks have fallen by two thirds since 1985 while beef stocks have fallen by 25 per cent. over the last year.
Mr. Chapman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many consultations with local planning authorities for non-agricultural development on agricultural land not in accordance with the development plan were received in the first six months of 1988 ; what was the Ministry's response to these consultations and what area they covered for each grade and subgrade of land, as defined by the agricultural land classification.
Latest figures for the first six months of 1988 indicate that MAFF/WOAD responded to some 690 consultations from local planning authorities in England and Wales relating to individual planning applications for non- agricultural development. Those responses involved 17 objections, six conditional objections, 100 conditional acceptances, 284 appraisals, 231 no objections and 52 cases which were either withdrawn or the referral was inappropriate. The grades of agricultural land and areas
Column 329involved were 232 hectares of grade 1, 999 hectares of grade 2, 1, 514 hectares of grade 3 (not subdivided), 2,097 hectares of grade 3a, 2,423 hectares of grade 3b, 1,247 hectares of grade 3c, 779 hectares of grade 4 and 147 hectares of grade 5.
Mr. Chapman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries of Food what proportion of consultations with local planning authorities for non- agricultural development on agricultural land not in accordance with the development plan are (a) in respect of an area of agricultural land in excess of 20 hectares and (b) in respect of agricultural land of grades 1, 2 or 3a, as defined by the agricultural land classification.
In 1987 some 17 per cent. of the consultations by planning authorities in England and Wales related to areas of agricultural land in excess of 20 hectares and some 28 per cent. related to grades 1, 2 or 3a agricultural land.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Government have taken the necessary powers in the Petroleum Act 1987 to control the abandonment of oil and gas installations. The fishing industry is being consulted on the measures to be included in abandonment programmes ; it will also be consulted by the operators in the compilation of abandonment programmes for individual installations, and by Government after such programmes have been submitted to them. I shall certainly ensure that the interests of fishermen are taken fully into account before final decisions on each programme are taken.
Mr. Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the fishing industry over proposed air combat training ranges in the North sea ; and when he expects to make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department has consulted the fishing industry over a proposal to construct an air combat training range in the North sea. The industry's views will be taken fully into account when the Government decide whether the construction of the range can be approved.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will outline his reasons for giving information to farmers about the aerial survey into post-Chernobyl radioactivity at a meeting of representatives of the National Farmers Union in Carlisle on 23 November ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 330programme of monitoring and research. The 23 November meeting was arranged so that my officials could provide a further progress report on our 1988 activities, including the aerial survey.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the results of the aerial survey into post- Chernobyl radioactivity levels in Cumbria ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he and his right hon. Friends have completed their review of the economic conditions in the hill and upland areas ; and if he will make a statement on the rates of hill livestock compensatory allowances and associated scheme conditions for 1989.
Mr. MacGregor : My right hon. Friends and I have now completed the annual review of the economic conditions in the hills and uplands. The review has shown that the average net farm incomes of livestock producers in the United Kingdom's less favoured areas have improved over the last two years, in some cases considerably. This situation owes much to the Government's support measures, including hill livestock compensatory allowances which are likely to top £115 million this year. We recognise that the support provided through HLCAs is of fundamental importance in maintaining the hill and upland communities and in providing environmental benefits, and we shall continue to give particular assistance to farmers in the LFAs. However, against the generally improving economic background in the LFAs, my colleagues and I have decided that the rates of hill livestock compensatory allowance for 1989 should remain at the current levels and that there should be no change in the associated conditions.
My colleagues and I know that many LFA producers are concerned about the impact on them of the proposed changes in the EC sheepmeat and beef regimes. We understand these concerns and, while we cannot predict the outcome of the current EC negotiations, we shall certainly have the special interests of the LFA livestock sector very much in mind in these negotiations.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the annual expenditure on the arts by the British Council, showing the art form and regional distribution, for each year since 1978.
Mr. Waldegrave : Reliable figures are not available for the years before 1984-85 and are not broken down by geographical area. Recent figures showing British Council annual expenditure on the arts are as follows :
British Council annual expenditure on the Arts Figures in £'000 at in-year cash prices |1988-89|1987-88|1986-87|1985-86|1984-85 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A. All Arts (global) (including relevant |17,751 |19,491 |16,902 |15,651 |15,687 exchanges, libraries and information activity, arts events, staff and running costs) B. Activities managed by Arts Division |7,513 |9,036 |7,958 |6,838 |7,310 (excluding exchanges etc, but including C) C. Operational funds (excluding staff and overheads etc) Drama and Dance |925 |1,038 |1,058 |1,145 |1,306 Films/TV/Video |873 |850 |848 |704 |673 Fine Arts |694 |793 |554 |537 |551 Music/Opera |917 |751 |783 |799 |763
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with the Hong Kong Government in an effort to help resettle the Vietnamese boat people now being cared for by the Hong Kong Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Council of Ministers.
Mrs. Chalker : The usual forecast was deposited in the House earlier today. At present 14 meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for December. There may also be a Telecomunications Council on 12 December, but this is yet to be confirmed by the Presidency. The European Council, to be held on 2-3 December at Rhodes, will discuss the further development of the Community with particular reference to the Commission's report on progress towards completion of the single market, submitted under article 8b of the treaty of Rome as amended by the Single European Act. It will also discuss the Community's role in the world and the Environment. Political co- operation subjects will also be covered.
The Transport Council is to meet on 8-9 December. Subjects for discussion include transport infrastructure ; vehicle weights and dimensions ; access to the road haulage profession ; international bus and coach transport ; barge shipping on inland waterways ; shipping ; air congestion ; aids for combined transport ; road haulage cabotage ; vehicle taxation ; possibly inter-regional air services ; and third country transit, where it is hoped agreement to the second stage negotiating mandate can be reached.
The Fisheries Council will meet on 9-11 December to discuss the 1989 total allowable catches and quotas ; relations with third countries ; and possibly fish guide prices.
The Economic and Finance Council will meet on 12 December to consider the draft directive on the own funds of credit institutions ; the Commission's annual report on the economic situation in the Community ; and the Commission proposal for a regulation implementing the decision of 24 June 1988 on the system of the
Column 332Communities' own resources. It will also discuss a statement by Lord Cockfield on the Commission's tax approximation proposals ; proposed new regulations on uniform arrangements for the collection of own resources ; possible Danish derogation from article 4(i) of Council directive 69/169 ; and the directive on the prospectus on transferable securities.
The Agriculture Council meets on 12 December and following days to discuss the reform of the beef and sheepmeat regimes ; access to the Community for New Zealand butter ; milk quotas ; labelling of spirit drinks ; income aids ; beef import quotas ; trade in minced meat and meat products ; and zootechnical breeding standards in pigs. It may also consider tariff concessions on horticultural produce from the Canary Islands.
The Industry Council meets on 13 December. Ministers will consider an Italian proposal to grant 7,670 billion lire of aid to the Italian public sector steel industry to finance its restructuring. Proposals are also likely to be discussed on the renewal of the ECSC steel state aid code and on the funding of social measures for the steel industry.
The Tourism Council, meeting on 14 December, is expected to discuss a proposal that 1990 should be designated European Year of Tourism ; a Commission working paper on priorities for future action in the tourism field ; the draft package travel directive and EC co-ordination on the chairmanship of the OECD Tourism Committee. The Health Council is to meet on 15 December. It will consider a report on Europe against cancer ; tobacco ; AIDS ; drugs ; and health aspects up to 1992.
The Research Council will meet on 15 December. The agenda is likely to include discussion of two research and development programme proposals : JOULE (non-nuclear energy and efficient use of energy) and BRITE/EURAM (research in manufacturing technologies and advanced materials). Aeronautical research and a Commission paper on the state of EC science will also be discussed.
The Social Affairs Council meets on 16 December to discuss the social dimension of the internal market. Other subjects for discussion will be for health and safety proposals (the framework directive on safety in the workplace and the worker protection directives on carcinogens, benzene and limits on exposure to hazards), a directive to change the burden of proof in equal treatment legislation, and a decision on a second COMETT programme for co-operation between universities and industry in new technology training. Other items
Column 333on the agenda include resolutions on the integration of women, racism, xenophobia and decisions on social measures for Greece and for shipbuilding areas.
The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 19-20 December. Subjects for discussion will be : follow-up to the European Council ; structural funds ; the progress of EC/US discussions on hormones ; and financial protocols with Cyprus and Malta. In the margins, there will be a conference of representatives of member states on the Rome convention on contractual obligations and signature of the trade agreement with Czechoslovakia. Ministers will possibly also convene a conference of member states, formally to appoint the new Commission and its vice presidents.
The Internal Market Council on 21 December will discuss a number of measures relevant to the completion of the single market.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Minister of State intends to reply to the letter of 13 October sent to her by Sir Trevor Jones of Liverpool concerning Mr. Robert Heron Blaggogee.
non-governmental visits to the Antarctic and (b) proposed tourist developments within the Antarctic by other nations.
Mr. Waldegrave : The preamble to the Antarctic treaty calls for Antarctica to be used "exclusively for peaceful purposes". In our view, non -governmental visits and tourist developments in Antarctica fall into this category. We therefore do not object to them, as long as they comply with the relevant provisions of the Antarctic treaty, and measures adopted under it.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed change from consensus decision to majority voting in 1991 on the future operation of the Antarctic treaty.
Mr. Waldegrave : Any proposed amendment to the Antarctic treaty approved by majority vote at a conference convened under article XII of the treaty would need to be ratified by all Antarctic treaty consultative parties in order for it to enter into force. We do not, therefore, believe that majority voting at such a conference is likely to have a crucial effect on the future of the treaty.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Guatemala, following an incident involving a Royal Navy ship and a Guatemalan gunboat in Guatemalan waters on 20 November 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 334legitimate hydrographic survey work in the high seas in the Gulf of Honduras. A protest has accordingly been made to the Guatemalan Government. The Royal Navy's survey work in the area will continue.
Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any information about a former lecturer at Cluj university, Romania, Mrs. Doina Cornea ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : Mrs. Cornea was arrested, along with other Romanian dissidents, in a crackdown following a demonstration in the Romanian city of Brasov last December. Those arrests formed the subject of a demarche by the Twelve to the Romanian authorities, in January this year. Her Majesty's ambassador and his staff have since made further representations, most recently on 22 November. We shall continue to speak up on her behalf.
Mrs. Cornea apparently remains under some form of house arrest. Members of the House may have seen the courageous and moving letter that she recently published in the British press, calling on President Ceausescu to abandon his policy of forced urban and rural resettlement.
We deplore arbitrary arrests and confinement of people for expressing their opinions. Romania's record in this respect is among the worst of all the signatories of the Helsinki Final Act and Madrid concluding document. We look to the Romanian Government, as to all participants in the CSCE process, to observe in full their commitments under these documents.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the number of management staff in each area health board in Scotland that have explicit terms in their contracts of employment which increase remunerations when budgetary savings are realised.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Departmental guidance on contracts for NHS general and senior managers does not refer to a condition of service such as described by the hon. Member. Terms of contract are a matter to be agreed between individual staff and their employing health board.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all contracts for domestic services let by competitive tendering to outside operators within each of the regional health authorities in Scotland, together with their costs, for the period 1 October 1985 to 30 September 1988, showing in each case the cost of provision of the same services in the last year before competitive tendering was introduced.
|Number ------------------------------ Fife |1 Grampian |2 Greater Glasgow |3 Lothian |2 Tayside |1