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Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out in the Official Report the terms in which his Chief Medical Officer stated recently that the outcome for HIV carriers is likely to be the same irrespective of cause ; and what consideration he has given to its relevance to the claim for financial help for people who acquired the virus from blood transfusions equal to
Column 404that given to people with haemophilia who contracted the virus after the injection of contaminated blood products under the National Health Service.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There is no known difference in the proportion of people developing AIDS at any given time interval following infection when comparing the different routes of transmission of sexual intercourse, and receipt of infected blood or blood products. This issue has been explored in a number of scientific articles including the Journal of the American Medical Association(3 February 1989, pp 725-727) and AIDS 1988,2 (supplement 1, S57-63). Apparent differences may be due to the effect of age on the rate of progression to AIDS. The ex-gratia payments given to provide help for haemophiliacs with HIV and their families recognised their wholly exceptional circumstances. Haemophiliacs were already suffering from a disability which affected their employment prospects, insurance and mortgage status. Also the hereditary nature of haemophilia means that more than one member of the family may be infected with HIV.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will be replying to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, of23 December 1989, on people who have acquired AIDS from blood transfusions under the National Health Service.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what projections he has of the total numbers and percentage of the United Kingdom population who will be (a) over 60 years old and (b) over 75 years old in the years 2000, 2010 and 2020 ; and what is the total number and percentage of the United Kingdom population who are currently 50 years of age or older.
Thousands Aged 60 and over Aged 75 and over Year |Number |Per cent.|Number |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------ 1990 |11,884 |20.7 |3,985 |6.9 2000 |12,017 |20.3 |4,369 |7.4 2010 |13,214 |22.1 |4,461 |7.4 2020 |14,400 |23.7 |4,730 |7.8
At mid-1988 the United Kingdom population aged 50 or older was estimated to be 17,878,000 or 31.3 per cent.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will outline current research into the long-term effects of the ingestion of small amounts of lead on children in respect of neurological damage ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what studies are being made of the permanency of effects of the ingestion of small amounts of lead on children ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 405neurobehavioural deficits in teenagers to their markedly elevated exposure to lead during childhood. The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research in the United Kingdom. The MRC receives its grant-in-aid from the Department of Education and Science. It is not currently funding any research into the long-term effects of the ingestion of small amounts of lead on children in respect of neurological damage. However, the council continues to keep this area under review. It is always willing to look at any sound proposals for research. Other research may be in hand elsewhere, but will not be known of until it is published.
Research on the neuropsychological effects of lead in children was reviewed by the Medical Research Council advisory group which reported in June 1988. The group's conclusions were :
"The Group's earlier report in 1983 suggested that any effects of lead at the exposure levels seen in the United Kingdom are very small and cannot be detected with any certainty. This conclusion is still largely applicable, but the evidence for an association between body lead burden and IQ is now stronger.
While observed statistical associations detailed in this review are consistent with the hypothesis that low level lead exposure has a small negative effect on the performance of children in ability and attainment tests, the limitations of epidemiological studies in drawing causal inferences are such that it is not possible to conclude that exposure to lead at current urban levels is definitely harmful. In view of these conclusions, it would be prudent to continue to reduce the environmental lead to which children are exposed."
Since 1974 it has been the policy of successive Governments to contain and reduce exposure to lead wherever practicable. Successful measures have been taken to reduce lead exposure through petrol, water, air, food, industrial emissions, paint, cosmetics, ceramic glazes and toys. Monitoring programmes have shown a continuing fall in blood lead levels in children and adults.
Mr. Freeman : There are currently no such proposals. Regulations already in force limit the levels of lead found in the environment, foodstuffs and consumer products. The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 set a statutory maximum allowable concentration of 50 microgrammes of lead per litre of drinking water. The Lead in Food Regulations provide a maximum permitted general limit of lead content of food of 1.0 milligrammes per kilogramme of food, with individual limits on specified foods.
The Pencils and Graphic Instruments (Safety) Regulations 1974 limit the amount of lead in paint and in the lead or colouring materials of pencils or crayons, although under the terms of a voluntary agreement, the industry has already phased out lead in domestic paints. The Glazed Ceramic Ware (Safety) Regulations 1988 specify leaching limits of heavy metals from crockery, and similar regulations apply to cooking utensils. The lead content of toys is limited under the Toy (Safety) Regulations of 1974 and 1989.
There are also programmes to reduce lead levels in the atmosphere, and to reduce or eliminate lead exposure through industrial emissions, cosmetics and petrol.
Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will be in a position to give the amounts of Government funding to St. Ann's hospices at Heald green, Cheshire, and Little Hulton, Greater Manchester.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We shall shortly be notifying health authorities of the allocations they will receive from the additional £8 million we have made available for 1990-91 to enable them to increase the contributions they already make to voluntary hospices and similar organisations. The funding of individual projects is a matter for discussions between the authorities and the organisations concerned.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he plans to monitor negotiations between the constituent parts of the milk industry with respect to the apportionment between them of costs incurred as a result of current proposals for the welfare milk scheme discount ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Regulations introducing a revised reimbursement price structure for the supply of liquid welfare milk reflect the size and value of the purchase. The regulations assist the milk industry voluntarily to use its well-established price negotiating procedures to share the costs equitably throughout all sectors of the trade. It would not be appropriate to monitor these commercial transactions centrally.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 9 January, Official Report, column 572, if he will make a statement on the nature and scope of his new research programme into the vertical transmissibility of BSE.
Mr. Maclean : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 18 December 1989, Official Report, Col. 30. This is a long-term research project and I have nothing further to add to my previous answer.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what compensation is paid in respect of cattle first identified as bovine spongiform encepha-lopathy sufferers in markets and abbatoirs ; to whom such compensation is paid ; and on how many occasions during each of the last four years such compensation has been paid.
Column 407individual payments are not held centrally. Animals which have been moved for slaughter from a farm before BSE is suspected are valued as barren animals and no allowance is made for any loss of condition due to BSE or other cause. Such valuation is usually lower than if the same animal had been valued as a BSE suspect on the farm.
Mr. Batiste : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any evidence of cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy occurring in animals too young to have been exposed to infected feed.
Mr. Gummer : No. I am not aware of a single case of BSE in an animal too young to have been exposed to feed containing ruminant protein material. Cases can be expected to occur for several years to come ; this is not because the infection is spreading or because of a new source of infection, but because of the long period that can elapse before the symptoms emerge.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is carrying out tests on offal from cattle thought to be free of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to establish whether the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent is present in the tissue ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : Such tests would not be expected to yield a positive result in more than a tiny number of cases. It is a much better approach to ensure that the offal which might carry the BSE agent in apparently healthy animals do not enter the human food chain at all.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he proposes to take in the light of the United States Government's ban on the consumption of British beef by United States forces stationed in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : There is no ban. Legislation has been passed in the United States which would introduce subsidies on American meat supplied to United States bases in the Community. As a result those bases could be exclusively supplied with American meat. The European Commission has taken up this matter with the United States authorities.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place in the Library the letter sent to him by Norway on behalf of the three Nordic signatories calling for an urgent meeting of the scientific and technical working committee on prior justification procedures, following his announcement of three licences for dumping in the North sea.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether his Department intends to support an amendment to the proposed regulation by the European Commission that bans the uplifting of dead
Column 408stock from farms by licensed knackermen, which would allow the United Kingdom to have the authority to determine its own means of disposal of dead and casualty animals and to continue with the existing national sterilising arrangements.
Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the criteria governing approval of applications by local authorities of coastal protection schemes, and the scales of financial grant available ; what changes have been made since 1983 in these criteria and whether further changes are envisaged ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry : The criteria for approval of a proposed coastal protection scheme are that the work will be technically appropriate, cost- effective and environmentally sympathetic, and that any objections to the proposed scheme have been either withdrawn or resolved.
Grant is available at up to 70 per cent. of the costs of individual coastal protection schemes ; until October 1987 the maximum grant rate was 79 per cent. Criteria for approval are unchanged since 1983.
No further changes are envisaged other than minor adjustments arising as a consequence of the new local government finance arrangements.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields of 11 January, Official Report, column 748, whether he will suspend the licences granted to Fisons, Sterling Organics and Orsynthetics pending a reassessment of the basis of the objections raised by the Government of Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, West Germany and Norway ; and if he will make a statement.
International agreements provide for a continuation of sea disposal of our wastes until acceptable means of land disposal are available. Indeed, to replace sea disposal by the use of environmentally unacceptable means of land disposal would break the terms of the North sea declaration.
Information recently received by the Ministry indicates that an acceptable means of disposal other than sea dumping is now available for the Fisons waste. The company has therefore been advised that its licence will not be renewed when it expires in February.
I do not propose to suspend the remaining licences. Either production would have to stop or an environmentally unacceptable means of land disposal used. Cessation of production would not only hit employment, it would damage the interests of those many people who need drugs such as paracetemol.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his answer of 11 January to the hon. Member for South Shields, Official Report, column 738, concerning the Food Safety Bill, if he will list the individual local authorities with which discussions were held with officials from his Ministry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : Pursuant to my reply to the hon. Member for South Shields of 11 January ( Official Report, column 738 ), there were no discussions held between officials and individual local authorities on the resource implications of the Food Safety Bill. The individual officers of local authorities who were present at meetings were representing one or other of the organisations listed in my reply, not their employers.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received concerning alleged illegal fishing by Spanish trawlers following publication of a letter on this subject in Fishing News, 27 October 1989 ; and if he will draw the European Community Commissioner's attention to these allegations.
Mr. Curry : I have received no representations about illegal fishing by Spanish trawlers following publication of the letter in the Fishing News of 27 October 1989. Enforcement of Community legislation is for the member state concerned. But if I receive information about alleged illegal activities by other fishermen, I will of course pass this on to the EC Commission.
Dr. Michael Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the current average prices per tonne for (i) milling wheat and (ii) feed wheat prices in (a) France, Denmark and Holland, (b) Germany, (c) Spain and (d) the United Kingdom ; and what steps are being taken to ensure that efficient British cereal growers obtain similar prices to their Continental counterparts.
Mr. Curry : The national average of market prices provided by the Commission of the European Communities for the week ending Saturday 6 January 1990, converted to £ sterling using spot rate values for 5 January, are set out in the table :
Breadmaking Wheat Feedwheat Country |National |£ per |£ per | currency |tonne |currency |tonne | per tonne |per tonne ---------------------------------------------------------------------- France |1,275 |135 |1,296 |137 Denmark |1,437 |134 |n/a |n/a Netherlands |434 |139 |434 |139 Germany |392 |142 |384 |139 Spain |26,170 |146 |n/a |n/a United Kingdom |121 |121 |118 |118
I am considering the Commission's proposals for the 1990 price review, which include provision for devaluation of the green pound.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what effect he estimates the import of soft fruits in bulk will have on the Scottish and United Kingdom soft fruit industries.
Mr. Curry : The United Kingdom food industry has for a number of years drawn on both home and imported sources for its supplies of semi- processed soft fruit. I am confident that growers of soft fruit both north and south of the border can face fair competition. In this context my noble Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office, and I met growers' representatives on 16 January and agreed with them the steps to be taken to ensure that the EC Commission implements its recent commitment given within the framework of the extension of the generalised system of preference to Poland and Hungary. The Commission undertook to ensure that the prices agreed annually with our suppliers in eastern Europe are respected by those suppliers in their trade with the Community.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many animals have been kept in quarantine for rabies in each of the last five years ; and how many have developed the disease.
|Number --------------------- 1985 |7,628 1986 |7,547 1987 |8,829 1988 |9,091 1989 |10,010
No animals developed rabies in quarantine in this period.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he takes to ensure the humane handling of end-of-lay hens being removed from battery cages ; if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : My Department is currently spending £0.8 million each year in research related to the development of more humane handling systems, including studies on broken bones. Additional work is being planned in this subject. We have proposed amendments to the Battery Hens Regulations 1987 and enouraged the industry in the production of its guide to handling end-of-lay hens which has now been sent to producers. Systems for keeping egg-laying hens are similar within Europe and we have therefore asked the Commission to ensure that the problem is tackled in the review of the battery hens directive.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many cochlear implants were carried out in Scotland in the last year or for the latest period for which figures are available ; and how many centres provided by the National Health Service in Scotland are offering cochlear implants for the profoundly deaf apart from the unit at Ayr county hospital ;
(2) if he will consult voluntary organisations representing the profoundly deaf about the cochlear implant programme and its availability in Scotland ;
(3) what information he has about the number of patients presently on waiting lists for a cochlear implant ; and how many people there are in Scotland who might benefit from such treatment ;
(4) what representations he has had from the Ayrshire and Arran health board about the funding of a centre for cochlear implants ; (5) what sums he has made available for a cochlear implant programme for 1990-91 and the two succeeding years ; whether he has any plans to ask health boards in Scotland to submit bids for funding to develop a cochlear implant programme locally ; and if he will make a statement ;
(6) whether his Department will be represented at the seminar arranged in March by the Department of Health to discuss the development and provision of cochlear implants.
Mr. Rifkind : My hon. Friend the Minister for Health in Scotland announced on 11 January that funding would be made available for a cochlear implant programme in Scotland. Decisions as to the level of funding and location of the programme are currently being considered. I would be glad to have the benefit of any views which voluntary organisations representing the profoundly deaf may wish to offer. To date four cochlear implants have been carried out in Scotland, all at Crosshouse hospital, Kilmarnock, the first one in March 1989. A request for funding of a centre there was received from Ayrshire and Arran health board earlier this week. No other centre in Scotland offers a service, as
Column 412far as I am aware. Information is not centrally available on the numbers on the waiting list for an implant, nor on the numbers who might benefit.
My Department will be represented at the seminar being held in March by the Department of Health to discuss cochlear implants.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : At 12 January 1990, 2,750 applications had been approved. About 100 applications are still under consideration and more may be submitted before the closing date for applications of 28 February 1990. One hundred and sixty-five applications have been refused or were withdrawn prior to approval. A number of the applications which were refused or withdrawn because they failed to meet ADP criteria--mainly the requirement that breeding stock numbers should not increase during the period of the plan--were revised by the applicants, resubmitted and subsequently approved.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The ADP submission to the European Commission envisaged public expenditure on the programme of about £38 million. It is not possible to indicate the precise level of expenditure over the programme period to March 1993 since the programme is still open for applications and eventual grant payments do not necessarily match exactly the level of expenditure envisaged when applications are approved.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many individual schemes are now operational under the agriculture development programme ; how many have subsequently had their total grant allocation cut by his Department ; and if he will detail this by geographical area.
|Farm |Livestock |Fish Farming |Infrastructure |Crofter Housing|Total |Development |Development |Scheme |Scheme ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shetland |189 |274 |3 |6 |9 |481 Orkney |520 |496 |5 |2 |2 |1,025 Argyll and Inverness |236 |263 |3 |4 |- |506 Skye |170 |337 |10 |2 |1 |520 Clyde Islands |127 |89 |2 |- |- |218 |----- |----- |----- |----- |----- |----- |1,242 |1,459 |23 |14 |12 |2,750
Grant is normally paid on approved cost or actual cost, whichever is the lower, provided that the Department is satisfied after inspection that the cost incurred is not excessive in relation to the works actually undertaken. Details of claims which have had to be restricted are not held centrally.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland grants were made for croft houses by year over the past 10 years ; what was the expenditure in total ; and what was the average grant on individual croft houses.
Column 413Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information is set out in the table :
Number of grants made<1> Expenditure<2> |New |Improved |Total |New |Improved |Total |house | house |house |house |£ |£ |£ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |148 |47 |195 |<4>590,000 |<5>25,000 |615,000 1980 |192 |63 |255 |698,000 |35,000 |733,000 1981 |147 |54 |201 |558,000 |28,000 |586,000 1982 |133 |43 |176 |522,000 |24,000 |546,000 1983 |77 |36 |113 |314,000 |20,000 |334,000 1984 |132 |67 |199 |665,000 |58,000 |723,000 1985 |143 |66 |209 |836,000 |82,000 |918,000 1986 |113 |53 |166 |709,000 |45,000 |754,000 1987 |119 |59 |178 |882,000 |81,000 |963,000 1988 |95 |113 |208 |- |- |<3>3,316,000 <1>Number of grants made for new houses or improvements completed. <2>Actual expenditure in year. <3>No split available for grant only. Total includes loans for houses. <4>The maximum grant available for new houses was £4,000 from 1979, £6,500 from 1982 and £8,700 from 1986. <5>The maximum grant available for house improvements was £750 from 1979 and £1,500 from 1986.
In general new house construction attracted the maximum grant. The average grant for house improvement was £700.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : There have been no referrals made to the advisory committee to date. Representatives from the relevant statutory bodies have been invited to serve on the committee. The necessary arrangements for referral of applications for a sea bed licence where a statutory consultee maintains its objection are now operational.
Financial |Expenditure year |£ million | (Cash) ------------------------------------ 1979-80 |7.9 1980-81 |9.8 1981-82 |11.2 1982-83 |12.9 1983-84 |16.7 1984-85 |18.5 1985-86 |18.0 1986-87 |21.5 1987-88 |17.3 1988-89 |18.7 Notes: 1. The figures are in respect of expenditure on the promotion of tourism by the Scottish Tourist Board, the Highlands and Islands Development Board and the Scottish Development Agency. 2. The figures include expenditure by the Scottish Development Agency for the period 1984-85 to 1988-89 covering loan and equity finance for tourism projects which meet its normal investment criteria and tourist projects under schemes for urban and rural development. Expenditure details for earlier years are not readily available. In addition, a number of feasibility studies, land engineering and property development projects funded by the agency may have tourism benefits. 3. Provision by the Highlands and Islands Development Board is through its marketing and projects programmes and under its section 8 assistance scheme; the figures do not include salary and administration costs incurred by the board. 4. Total expenditure by the Scottish Tourist Board is provided, including salary and administration costs, in performing its statutory functions of promoting Scotland as a tourist destination, both within the United Kingdom and overseas, and encouraging investment in tourism infrastructure.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the Scottish tourist board's review of training within the industry ; and whether he plans to publish the findings.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the areas of the Highlands and Islands which will be eligible for the rural enterprise programme ; what are the funding arrangements underpinning the programme ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The whole of the Highlands and Islands Development Board area is eligible for support under the rural enterprise programme. The intention is to target assistance on the areas in greatest need and to concentrate action on a limited number of localities at any one time to ensure that the resources available are applied to best effect.
Subject to the European Commission making a contribution as part of its funding of the rural development programme for the Highlands and Islands, the Government have agreed in principle to provide £8.5 million over the period 1990-91 to 1992-93. Funding in the years beyond 1992-93 will be decided in the annual public expenditure negotiations.
The programme is intended to boost the rural economy by helping farmers and crofters in the selected areas embark on new economic ventures in addition to their