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Mr. Nicholls : The current Employment Bill proposes extending my right hon. Friend's powers to make regulations as to industrial tribunal procedure. They will be implemented once the Bill has obtained Royal Assent.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that YTS courses contain sufficient recognised skill training content to be seen by employers as a step towards apprenticeships or equivalent recognised qualifications : and what is his estimate of the proportion of YTS places that currently fall into this category.
Mr. Cope : Every YTS training programme must offer trainees the opportunity of achieving a vocational qualification, or of gaining credit towards one. Increasing numbers of vocational qualifications have been made a specific requirement in YTS. These are approved by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and reflect broad standards of occupational competence defined by industry and commerce. Already such qualifications are available for 75 per cent. of YTS programmes. Managing agents are required to introduce those specified qualifications within a defined timescale.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those international conventions on discrimination in employment on grounds of political beliefs which Her Majesty's Government (a) have and (b) have not ratified ; whether he plans to give further effect to any provisions of those listed under (b) ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 433the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions Nos. 111 (Discrimination : Employment and Occupation), 122 (Employment Policy) and 158 (Termination of Employment) ; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 6 ; the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, article 23 ; the European Social Charter, article 1 and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The United Kingdom has ratified or accepted these instruments with the exception of ILO conventions Nos. 111 and 158. The Government have no plans to ratify ILO convention No. 111, for reasons already explained to the hon. Member on 10 February at column 720 . Regarding convention No. 158, the Government believe that existing United Kingdom legislation, in conjunction with statutory codes of practice, gives employees sufficient protection against unfair dismissal and to be consulted on proposed redundancies, and the Government have no plans for ratification.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs he estimates will be created (a) in shops and (b) as a whole, by the removal of restrictions on hours of work of young people under 18 years of age.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what research he has commissioned on the effect of long hours, shift work, or night work on (a) adults and (b) young workers under the age of 18 years ; and if he will give details of the research projects.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has not directly commissioned such research but the Health and Safety Executive has been reviewing the scientific literature on this subject and finds that it supports the conclusions of Professor Harrington in his review "Shift Work and Health", published by HSE in 1978.
(2) if he will publish a calculation for the retail price index with poll tax payments replacing rates ;
(3) what is his policy on including the poll tax in the retail price index ;
(4) when he expects the report of the Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee.
Mr. Lee : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has asked the Retail Prices Index advisory committee to consider the effect of the abolition of domestic rates on the construction of the index. The report is expected shortly and an announcement will be made in due course.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate for the most recent available date of the proportion of households in Wales and Scotland and in each of the standard regions of England, respectively, whose annual household income is below £4, 000 per annum.
Mr. Lee : The information for 1986, which is the latest year available, as set out as follows, comes from the family expenditure survey and relates to average gross household income in Wales, Scotland and the standard regions of England. The results are subject to sampling errors and should be treated with caution ; percentages are subject to errors of about plus or minus 3 per cent.
|c|Households with gross income below £4,000 per annum (1986)|c| Region |Number in sample |Percentage of all |households ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Total number of households |1,363 |19.3 North |102 |23.7 Yorkshire and Humberside |165 |24.8 North West |173 |20.8 East Midlands |104 |21.2 West Midlands |124 |19.1 East Anglia |39 |15.0 South East-total |327 |15.5 Greater London |146 |18.3 Rest of South East |181 |13.7 South West |85 |15.1 Wales |72 |18.5 Scotland |172 |26.4
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated cost to his Department of the administration of the ESA scheme for each year of its operation ; and whether these costs have been additional or absorbed within his Department's Estimate.
Mr. Ryder : In the two years which ESAs have operated we estimate the full administrative cost of the scheme to have been £0.44 million in 1987-88 and £0.71 million in 1988-89. These figures are included in my Departments published estimates.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) guidance offered to the infant and dietetic food industry about levels of aluminium in infant and dietetic foods, and (b) regulations which exist with regard to infant and dietetic foods ; and who is responsible for the enforcement of such guidance and regulations.
There are currently no specific regulations on infant and diatetic foods. However, these foodstuffs, like all others, are covered by the general provisions of the Food Act 1984 and the food labelling regulations which include specific provisions controlling claims for infant and diatetic foods. The proposed EC directive on foods for particular nutritional uses would provide for specific directives which may control the description, composition, labelling, advertising and presentation of cerain categories of foods, including infant and diatetic foods. Enforcement of food law is carried out by those local authorities which are food and drugs authorities.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the potential of crops or parts of crops for use in industries such as paper making, paint, plastics and phamaceuticals ; and what investment his Department is making to enable the full potential to be realised.
Mr. MacGregor : My Department has considered the potential of crops for use in industry in reports issued on the disposal and utilisation of straw (1984) and on agraforestry (1986). A review of alternative crops and livestock enterprises for United Kingdom agriculture was carried out by the centre of agricultural strategy, under MAFF sponsorship in 1985. A further review, by the MAFF novel crops and livestock enterprises review group, is due to be released this year. Where appropriate, these reviews include recommendations on industrial potential.
My Department is supporting work on the development of dual purpose flax for fibre and for oil production, and is involved in the European Community's ECLAIR programme on agricultural production for industrial use.
It should also be noted that under the common agricultural policy arrangements already exist to encourage the industrial use of starch derived from cereals and potatoes and of sugar. Starch used in the manufacture of specified industrial products, including paper, plastics and pharmaceuticals, and certain sugar products used in the chemical industry, are eligible for a production aid.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many representations he has received on the consultation paper, "Potato Market Policy" in Great Britain after 30 June 1990 ; when he expects to make a decision on future policy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Ninety three representations on the consultation document were received by the deadline of 31 December 1988. I am now considering these. I am not yet able to say when this process will be considered, but a decision will not be unduly delayed.
Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent studies the soil survey and land research centre has carried out of soil erosion in England and Wales ; and if he will publish such reports.
Mr. Ryder : The soil survey and land research centre is currently writing up the results of a five year collaborative study undertaken with my Department's agricultural and development and advisory service. This study, which covered 17 sites in lowland England and Wales, is to be continued in 1989-90 in a modified form. Selected high risk areas will be the subject of a detailed analysis of the factors influencing erosion. Other work for 1989-90 includes the production of maps of areas at risk in England and Wales. Future plans include consideration of erosion in upland areas using existing and fresh aerial photographic data. Reports of these studies will be published in the relevant scientific journals.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Recently we have expressed our serious concerns to the Japanese Government about their current feasibility programme of whaling for scientific purposes both directly and through the relevant forum of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In December the United Kingdom commissioner of the IWC expressed our views to the chairman of the IWC in a letter circulated to all member Governments including Japan. This made clear our firm view that Japan should not implement her plans until the major concerns about these identified by the scientific committee to the IWC had been addressed and resolved. The letter was passed personally by the United Kingdom commissioner to the Japanese embassy in London with a clear explanation of the United Kingdom Government's concern. Further, once the period for consideration of the scientific committee's views by commissioners was complete and learning that the programme was to go ahead I authorised our commission to propose a resolution for consideration by the IWC. This was seconded by Australia and New Zealand. If adopted it will put on a formal and international basis the call to Japan to cease its current programme.
Our embassy in Tokyo is also in close touch with the Japanese Government. Also, similar concerns expressed by the Falkland Islands Executive Council have been passed to the Japanese embassy.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) provides advice in confidence at any stage of an application, if appropriate. The VPC will not make a final recommendation on an application until it has received all pertinent information, including data generated in field trials.
Mr. Ryder : About 63 million. Eggs were also destroyed by the Agriculture Departments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the United Kingdom as a whole about 90 million eggs were destroyed. The destruction of eggs has now ceased.
(2) what information he has concerning the incidence of BSE in EEC countries ;
(3) what information he has concerning the incidence of BSE in the Republic of Ireland.
Mr. Donald Thompson : BSE is a notifiable disease in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A single case has recently been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, where the Minister of Agriculture and Food has announced that the disease will shortly become notifiable. BSE has not yet been reported in any other member state.
Mr. Donald Thompson : All cattle suspected of having BSE are compulsorily slaughtered and the brains subjected to laboratory examination to confirm whether or not the animals were affected by the disease.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Following the recent confirmation of the first case of BSE in the Republic of Ireland, legislation is shortly to be introduced which will require the compulsory slaughter and destruction of all animals affected by the disease. Although there is no evidence of a risk to humans similar measures were introduced in Great Britain last August, purely as a precautionary measure.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what evidence his Department has that the current level of compensation for BSE infected cattle is encouraging owners to submit suspect cattle to slaughter prior to the result of clinical signs of BSE ;
(2) if he will introduce a new compensation scheme in respect of BSE based on payments of 100 per cent. of the value of infected animals.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I believe that 50 per cent. compensation is reasonable, given that the animals are suffering from a terminal illness but are valued as if free from BSE. There is no evidence to suggest that owners are deliberately evading their legal obligation to notify the Ministry of cattle suspected of having BSE. Indeed, the number of cases being reported suggests a high level of co-operation from farmers in tackling this new disease problem.
Mr. Donald Thompson : There is no diagnostic testing in live animals. Advice is available to farmers from ADAS on the control of the disease and flock owners may also participate in a monitoring scheme under the Ministry's sheep and goat health scheme.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Scrapie is not a disease which is notifiable under the Animal Health Act 1981. However, the provisional figures for last year show that veterinary investigation centres diagnosed about 190 cases from samples of sheep brain tissue submitted for laboratory analysis.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the proposal of the Directorate- General for Agriculture of the European Commission that rabies, Aujeszky's disease and certain other diseases of animals, poultry and fish should be treated as third category diseases subject only to discretionary controls and voluntary eradication procedures ; and what steps will be taken to protect animal health standards in relation to rabies and other diseases following the implementation of the single European Market in 1992.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 16 February 1989] : The European Commission has yet to make proposals to the Council of Ministers in relation to the Community animal health regime to apply after the completion of the internal market. They have, however, outlined a suggested strategy which would categorise diseases, and the rules which would apply, in relation to the relative seriousness of individual diseases and the prospects of eradicating or controling them.
In its strategy, the Commission envisage that category 1 would include serious diseases such as classical swine fever and foot and mouth disease with controls on movements from affected zones or areas ; category 2 would control movements on the basis of herd freedom from diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis ; category 3 would include Aujeszky's disease and rabies and these would be subject to voluntary health scheme controls.
The Commission has recently said that rabies would now be considered as a special category and we await further proposals. As far as Aujeszky's disease is concerned, we have said that the proposed voluntary health scheme approach (category3) would not provide the necessary safeguards against disease spread and would therefore put Great Britain's hard won achievements at risk. Other member states share our concerns.
In considering the animal health aspects of the single European market, the Government will continue to press for effective veterinary controls, including quarantine where justified, as long as these remain necessary to prevent the introduction of disease.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list in the Official Report the proportions of British farmers that fell into the annual income categories (a) below £8,000, (b) £8,000 to £10,000, (c) £10,000 to £12,000, (d) £12,000 to £14,000 and (e) above £14,000 for each of the last five years, at 1983 prices.
Column 439form requested. The farm business survey does, however, allow estimates to be made of the proportional breakdown of farm businesses according to broad income band at nominal prices. Information relating to the five latest years for which data are available, is set out in the table.
|c|Percentage distribution of farm businesses according to|c| |c|net farm income in Great Britain: 1983-84 to 1987-88|c| |c|All types of farm|c| Level of net farm income (£) Years ending on average |Less than 0 |0 to less than 10,000 |10,000 to less than |20,000 and over in February |20,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1983-84 |20 |46 |18 |16 1984-85 |18 |41 |20 |20 1985-86 |28 |41 |17 |12 1986-87 |23 |39 |21 |18 1987-88 |20 |38 |20 |20 Notes: (a) Figures are derived from data collected in Farm Business Surveys by universities and agricultural colleges in Great Britain. (b) Net farm income represents the return to the farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and on tenant type capital in livestock, crops, machinery etc. but excluding land and buildings. It is calculated before the deduction of interest on any farming loans. All farms are treated as rented in the derivation of net farm income and an imputed rental value for owner-occupied land is charged as an expense in the accounts.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of family farms in the United Kingdom during 1960, 1970 and 1980, together with his estimate for 1990 and 2000.
Mr. Ryder : [holding answer 16 February 1989] : Statistics on family farms are not collected as there is no statistical definition of such farms. However, the following information from a special European Community sample survey of farm work is relevant. Forecasts for future members are not made.
United Kingdom |1985 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------Farm holdings<1> |258.5 thousand Farmed by a person<2> |240.5 thousand As a percentage of holdings |93 per cent. Estimated proportion of holdings with one or more family workers in addition to the farmer |62 per cent. <1> These are main holdings in the annual census of agriculture. They exclude minor holdings below a defined threshold of size. <2> ie Not farmed by a firm or institution.