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Mr. Major : Inflation is the greatest threat to corporate prosperity. British industry will greatly benefit from the Government's firm anti-inflationary policy.

EC Finance

Dr. Hampson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out Britain's net payment to the European Community for each of the financial years 1980, 1984 and 1988, with the equivalent figures for France and Germany in constant money terms.

Mr. Brooke [holding answer 7 April 1989] : The information requested for the United Kingdom is set out below. Equivalent figures for other member states are not available.


|c|Net contributions to the EC budget|c|                            

(£ million)                                                         

Year             |Cash Value      |At constant 1988                 

                                  |prices<1>                        

--------------------------------------------------------------------

1980             |706             |1,138                            

1984             |656             |802                              

<2>1988          |1,362           |1,362                            

<1> Constant prices have been constructed using the GDP deflator at 

market prices.                                                      

<2> Provisional figure.                                             


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PRIME MINISTER

Right of Silence

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Prime Minister whether the speech made by the Lord Chancellor in Washington, United States of America, to members of the United States legal profession represented Her Majesty's Government's policy in respect of the right of silence.

The Prime Minister : Government policy continues to be that there is a strong case for substantial changes in the law of England and Wales, but that their precise nature will be decided in the light of the recommendations made by the Home Secretary's working group, whose report is due shortly.

Ministers (House of Lords)

Ms. Quin : To ask the Prime Minister how many government Ministers were members of the House of Lords ; and what percentage of the total those ministers represented in (a) 1959, (b) 1964, (c) 1966, (d) 1970, (e) 1974, (f) 1979, (g) 1985, (h) 1986 and (i) 1987.

The Prime Minister : The figures are as follows :


|c|Number of Ministers who were Members of the House of Lords|c|                                                                  

Year<1>                   |Total number of Ministers|Ministers in the House of|Percentage                                         

                                                    |Lords                                                                        

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1959                      |89                       |19                       |21                                                 

1964                      |97                       |24                       |25                                                 

1966                      |110                      |20                       |18                                                 

1970                      |99                       |17                       |17                                                 

1974                      |99                       |21                       |21                                                 

1979                      |108                      |16                       |15                                                 

1985                      |106                      |20                       |19                                                 

1986                      |107                      |21                       |20                                                 

1987                      |107                      |21                       |20                                                 

<1> Figures relate to 1 January in each year.                                                                                     

Mr. Charles Powell

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list the duties and responsibility of Mr. Charles Powell in January 1986 and the position he has since occupied in her office.

The Prime Minister : Mr. Powell was appointed to my office in June 1984 as my private secretary responsible for foreign affairs.

Sir Leon Brittan

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister whether, in the light of Sir Leon Brittan's recent remarks, she will make a further statement on the approval which was given by her office for the leaking of the then Solicitor-General's letter regarding the Westland affair.

The Prime Minister : I have nothing to add to the many answers given in statements and in reply to questions on this subject.

Mr. B. Ingham

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will now transfer Mr. B. Ingham from her office.

The Prime Minister : No.

Namibia

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Prime Minister when the Secretary General of the United Nations informed her that his report to the United Nations Security Council on Namibia should be kept confidential.

The Prime Minister : As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said during business questions on 6 April 1989, I was not aware that the document in question was confidential until after I referred to it in the House on 4 April 1989.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Turkey (Human Rights)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Turkish authorities about the persistent abuse of human rights in Turkey ;

(2) if Her Majesty's Government will urge the Turkish Government to take specific measures against the use of torture in their country, including limiting the length of incommunicado detention, rejecting as evidence in court confessions extracted under torture and reforming the Turkish penal code to allow full freedom of expression and association ;

(3) when he will next meet representatives of the Turkish Government to discuss the concern raised by hon. and right hon. Members about the human rights situation in Turkey.


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Mrs. Chalker : As I informed the House on 7 and 8 February, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State discussed human rights with the Turkish ambassador on 1 February, as I did the following day. We urged him that his Government should respect and abide by the terms of the international human rights conventions to which Turkey is a party. The Turkish ambassador readily accepted this point, and reaffirmed the determination of his Government to secure further improvements. We also expect Turkey to live up to internationally accepted standards concerning the treatment of prisoners. We have no immediate plans to meet any other representative of the Turkish Government.

Palestine Liberation Organisation

Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has raised with the Palestine Liberation Organisation the implications for the peace process in the middle east of the statement in call number 37, broadcast by PLO Central Radio on 31 March, that 5 April was to be a day of violent struggle involving knives, axes and large stones pushed from rooftops and 8 and 9 April were to be devoted to violent militant activities.

Mr. Waldegrave : No. The Palestinians are already aware of our view that the intifada should be pursued with the utmost restraint.

European Parliament

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total amount for each of the last four years spent by the European Parliament on Members of the European Parliament's private expenses, broken down into (a) secretarial, (b) hotel and accommodation, (c) travel and (d) other expenses ; and what was the average amount in each category per Member for the last available year.

Mrs. Chalker : The information requested is not immediately available. A further reply will be given in due course.

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he will make to the European Parliament report containd in document A2-425/88 which calls for the merging of the European Community and Western European Union.

Mrs. Chalker : The report in question is a Committee report which has not been debated at a European Parliament plenary session. There are no plans for such a merger.

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to request the Council of Ministers of the European Community to draw to the attention of the European Parliament and its Committees the exclusion of defence matters from their competence.

Mrs. Chalker : No. The European Parliament is an independent Community institution. It is not for the Council to determine what the Parliament may discuss.

Namibia

Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the United Kingdom


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contribution to the European Community grant to promote democracy in Namibia ; and if he will make a statement on how it is to be distributed to the parties concerned in the forthcoming elections.

Mrs. Chalker : We have checked with the European Commission, which is not aware of any such grant. Provision for measures in preparation for Namibian independence was written into the Community's 1989 budget, but no money has yet been allocated to that budget line. European Community assistance to Namibia to date has consisted of support for non-governmental organisations, food aid and assistance to Namibian refugees.

Sugar

78. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom Government will support proposals to maintain the price of sugar imported under the sugar protocol from African, Caribbean and Pacific states ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Chalker : The guaranteed price paid to the ACP for imports of sugar under the Lome sugar protocol is related to the level of support prices for EC-produced sugar. The latter are set annually as part of the CAP price fixing exercise. Discussions are continuing in Brussels on this year's prices.

European Assembly

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent decisions have been taken by the European Economic Community Council about the attendance of ministers and officials of national Governments at meetings and committees of the European Assembly.

Mrs. Chalker : Apart from normal presidency contacts with the European Parliament, representatives of EC Member states may accept invitations to attend and speak at plenary meetings and committees of the European Parliament.

Immigration

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why Mrs. Shahnaz Akhtar, (ref : IMM/96739), who was born on 5 July 1966 was not given a re-entry visa at the British port at Islamabad to return with her husband to the United Kingdom where they have both lived for some years, after their recent holiday in Pakistan ; why was she told she would have to apply for entry clearance to the United Kingdom and issued with an entry clearance reference number ; why her husband was told to send various documents to the post on his return to the United Kingdom ; and if he will compensate Mrs. Akhtar and her husband for the inconvenience and distress caused by their separation as a result of the refusal of the post to assist Mrs. Akhtar to return to the United Kingdom with her husband.

Mr. Eggar : This information is not immediately available. I will write to the hon. Member when a full report is received from the embassy in Islamabad.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Mrs. Rubina Kausar,


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who was born on 3 March 1968, applied to the British post in Islamabad for entry clearance to join her husband in the United Kingdom ; and when a decision will be taken on her application.

Mr. Eggar : The Embassy in Islamabad is unable to trace an application for entry clearance from Mrs. Kauser. If the hon. Member can supply the immigration section file reference number and date of application I will ask the embassy to make a further search.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Mr. Abdul Sattar (ref : IMM/77322) applied to the British post in Islamabad for entry clearance to join his wife in the United Kingdom ; and when a decision will be taken on his application.

Mr. Eggar : Mr. Sattar re-applied for a settlement entry clearance at the embassy in Islamabad on 13 May 1987 and was refused a visa on 9 August 1988. Mr. Sattar appealed against the refusal and the entry clearance officer's explanatory statement was forwarded to the appellate authority on 8 February 1989.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Mr. Shaukat Ali, ref : IMM/82875, applied to the British post in Islamabad for entry into the United Kingdom for marriage ; when his application was refused ; and when the British post sent a statement to the United Kingdom appellate authorities explaining why his application was refused.

Mr. Eggar : Mr. Ali applied for an entry clearance at the embassy in Islamabad on 17 September 1986. His application was refused on 25 April 1988 and the entry clearance officer's explanatory statement was sent to the appellate authorities on 12 January 1989.

Semtex

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has received to requests made to the Czechoslovak Government to ensure that future production of Semtex is given a readily readable signature to assist in the fight against air terrorism.

Mr. Waldegrave : As part of a wider initiative for an international convention on the subject the Czechoslovak Government have expressed willingness to mark Semtex. We are currently discussing with them how to take this forward. Both we and the Czechoslovak Government were represented at an expert meeting under ICAO auspices from 6 to 10 March. The Czechoslovak Government have informed us that they have never knowingly supplied explosives to terrorists and ceased all exports of Semtex in 1982.

European Court of Human Rights

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent by the Government since 1979 in fighting cases before the European Court of Human Rights up to and including the hearing of 28 March ; how much has been paid for the instruction of lawyers ; what are the estimated costs in employees' time, travelling and accommodation costs of officials involved in these cases ; how much has been paid out in costs or expenses and compensation by the


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Government following rulings by the court ; and if he will list the sums involved in each case which has reached a ruling stage.

Mrs. Chalker : This information is not immediately available. I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Sheep Dip

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce an amnesty scheme whereby farmers can return to his Department's offices partly used or unused containers of sheep dip of a lindane base.

Mr. MacGregor : I have no plans to do so. Farmers wishing to dispose of such chemicals are advised to consult a reputable waste disposal company.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will revise his booklet, "Guidelines for the Disposal of Unwanted Pesticides and Containers on Farms and Holdings", especially in regard to sheep dip.

Mr. MacGregor : In consultation with the working group on the disposal of pesticides, my Department is reviewing and revising the guidance available to farmers. A revised code of practice on pesticide use should be available at the end of the year. Sheep dips are veterinary medicines and are being considered separately. Any changes in the guidance offered to farmers will be reflected in the labelling of sheep dips, in the code of conduct for the safe use of veterinary medicines on farms and in my Department's leaflets and booklets on sheep dipping.

Farm Incomes

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers in (a) England and (b) Wales received annual incomes from farming of (i) less than £4,999, (ii) £5,000 to £7,499, (iii) £7,500 to £9,999, (iv) £10,000 to £14,999, (v) £15,000 to £19,999 and (vi) £20,000, respectively, for the latest convenient year.

Mr. Ryder : I regret that this information is not available in the precise form requested. The farm business survey does, however, allow estimates to be made of the proportional breakdown of full-time farm businesses by income band. Information relating to the latest available year, 1987-88, is shown in the table.


|c|Percentage distribution of full-time farm businesses in England and|c|                           

|c|Wales by net farm income:<1><2>|c|                                                               

|c|All types of farm-1987-88|c|                                                                     

Level of net farm income |England                 |Wales<3>                                         

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Below £5,000             |40                      |38                                               

£5,000 to £7,499         |8                       |13                                               

£7,500 to £9,999         |9                       |6                                                

£10,000 to £14,999       |11                      |14                                               

£15,000 to £19,999       |9                       |9                                                

£20,000 and above        |21                      |19                                               

All income bands         |100                     |100                                              

<1> Figures are derived from data collected in the farm business survey by universities and         

agricultural colleges in England and Wales.                                                         

<2> 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.                                       

<3> Figures for Wales relate to all dairy and livestock farms only.                                 

Tropical Timber

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from local authorities concerning their powers to accept other than the lowest tenders for sea defence schemes constructed of tropical timber, in order that the timber can be obtained from sources that can be guaranteed to be sustainable and non- destructive of tropical rain forests ; and what advice has been given to any such authorities.

Mr. Ryder : There has been one occasion when a local authority has wished to accept a tender, which was other than the lowest submitted, utilising timber obtained from a sustainable source. On this occasion, it was possible for the purposes of Ministry grant aid to the scheme to agree to the council's wishes, as this was justified on both the longer-term durability and economic advantage of the preferred timber, and also on the grounds of ensuring, where possible, that timber is obtained from sustainable sources.

Potatoes

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what recent representations he has received regarding the advisability of abolishing the Potato Marketing Board ;

(2) what plans he has to meet members of the Potato Marketing Board to discuss its future ;

(3) when he expects to announce the action to be taken by his Department as a result of the recent review of the Potato Marketing Board ;

(4) if he will make a statement on the future of the Potato Marketing Board.

Mr. Ryder : The Government's consultation paper on future potato market policy was issued on 6 September 1988 and invited comments by 31 December 1988. By the closing date, 93 individuals and organisations (including the Potato Marketing Board) had commented, and I have received numerous representations since then. In addition, I met the chairman, vice chairman and chief executive of the Potato Marketing Board on 8 March. We are now considering what conclusions to draw from this exercise, and an announcement will not be unduly delayed.

Food Irradiation

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy concerning the irradiation of food ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health on 21 February at column 600.


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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the number of cattle currently incubating bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Mr. MacGregor : Any estimate must be tentative. However, the report of the Southwood working party on BSE estimates that by 1993, the cumulative total of confirmed BSE cases may be about 17,000 to 20, 000.

Edible Dormice

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions during each of the last three years he has issued licences to trap edible dormice ; to whom those licences were issued ; and what information he records about the number of animals so taken.

Mr. Ryder : Licences to trap glis glis (edible dormouse) were issued under section 16(3) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on four occasions in the last three years. The licences were issued to occupiers of commercial forests where this non-indigenous animal was causing serious damage. It was a condition of each licence that the numbers of glis glis taken should be reported to the Ministry. Details are as follows :


Year             |Number taken             

-------------------------------------------

1986 1 Licence   |4                        

1987 1st Licence |43                       

     2nd Licence |14                       

1988 1 Licence   |6                        

Committee on Food Safety

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he intends to appoint some independent consumers to his committee on food safety ;

(2) when he intends to announce the membership of the committee on food safety ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health to my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, Moorlands (Mr. Knox) on 23 March at column 771.

Organic Farming

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he is currently funding into organic farming.

Mr. Ryder : The following projects are currently being funded by my Department :

1. Winter wheat : disease control in crops grown to organic standards (ADAS).

2. Winter wheat varieties and seed rates for organic systems (ADAS).

3. The nitrogen cycle on organic farms.

(University College of Wales--Aberystwyth).

4. The use of under sown forage legumes in cereals for nitrogen accumulation in organic arable systems.

(Elm Farm Research Centre).

5. The availability of water insoluble phosphate and potash sources in organic farming systems.

(Elm Farm Research Centre).


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6. Mixed cropping of cereals and grain legumes (in organic farming).

(Reading University/Elm Farm Research Centre).

In addition, other research funded by my Department is relevant because it is directed at reducing the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, or improving the use of organic wastes from animals and crops.

Farming Industry

Mr. Alexander : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will outline the Government's long-term intentions for the British farming industry, separately for each sector ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor : The Government continue to provide substantial direct and indirect financial support to the agriculture industry. The Government's intention is that the United Kingdom agriculture industry should be soundly based and competitive in marketing its products. In particular, the industry needs to prepare itself to take full advantage of the opportunities and challenges which the completion of the single European market of 320 million consumers will bring.

In EC negotiations and domestically the Government will continue to :

promote the role of the market as the key determinant of farmers' choice of action ;

press for measures which bring supply and demand into better balance ;

seek to reduce further the role of institutional support ; demand fair competition with no discrimination between member states.

The Government also advocate policies aimed at helping to achieve a better balance between agricultural production and the needs of the rural economy and environment as a whole.

A number of new initiatives have been introduced to encourage farmers to consider ways of utilising their assets to augument their income in ways which reduce surplus production. These include set aside, and the farm woodlands and diversification schemes.

Grain Supplies

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many days' supply of grain are currently in store in the United Kingdom (a) in intervention storage and (b) in all storage.

Mr. Ryder : Current United Kingdom intervention stocks of wheat and barley represent around 21.5 days' supply of grain. Information on the quantity of grain currently in commercial storage is not available.

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is the latest estimate of the stocks of grain which will be in store in July 1989 (a) in Britain, (b) in the European Economic Community and (c) in the world, expressed in tonnes and days' supply ;

(2) what is the latest estimate of the stocks of grain at the present time (a) in Britain, (b) in the European Economic Community and (c) in the world, expressed in tonnes and days' supply.

Mr. Ryder : Estimates of stocks of grain in store are only available for the end of the cereals marketing year. For the Community, the marketing year ends on 30 June


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and the latest estimates for the United Kingdom and the European Community as a whole at the end of June are as follows :


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