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Territories |Numbers and Year ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitcairn |56 (1989) Ascension |No indigenous population (Like Tristan Da Cunha, a dependency of St. Helena)
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest information on defence budget reductions (a) proposed and (b) implemented by (i) the United States of America, (ii) Hungary, (iii) NATO as a whole and (iv) the Warsaw pact as a whole.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Member states of NATO report their budgetary plans each summer in their response to the NATO defence planning questionnaire. The plans reported in 1989 generally provided for budget increases. We expect the plans reported by the United States in 1990 to reflect the Administration's proposals now before Congress for reductions in defence spending over the next five years. With the exception of Romania, all Warsaw pact countries have announced reductions in defence spending and there is evidence that these reductions are being implemented. Hungary, whose contribution to total Warsaw pact defence expenditure is very small, announced a reduction of about one quarter in its defence budget for 1989.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has made any estimate of the likely increase or decrease in expenditure of (a) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and (b) Warsaw pact countries over the next five years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The plans reported last year to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by member states generally provided for modest real increases in defence expenditure in the years immediately ahead. All Warsaw pact countries, with the exception of Romania, announced cuts in defence expenditure in 1989 to take effect in that and subsequent years. We are monitoring the implementation of these announcements.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : We have no current plans to reduce the number of men in the British Army of the Rhine, and it is not our practice to speculate on hypothetical possibilities concerning future force levels.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Up to 31 December 1989 extra costs in the region of £1.9 million have been reported for recovery by the Ministry of Defence from the Department of Health, the Scottish Home and Health Department and the Welsh Office.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My Department has askedthat the bridge should have a minimum height clearance of 34 m above mean high water springs, or 36 m if a tidal gauge is installed. This is to ensure that the channel can be used by ships of up to and including destroyer or frigate size as well as by the vessels of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, which regularly use the channel en route to the range at Raasay.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from Govan Initiative arising out of its secure communities project which referred to excessive noise levels from the Territorial Army depot adjacent to the Teucharhill housing scheme ; and what action has been taken.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the organisational and financial differences between defence support agencies run on next steps lines and next steps executive agencies such as the Defence Research Agency and the Meteorological Office.
Mr. Neubert : Organisationally the main difference will lie in the relationship between the chief executive and the Minister. In the case of next steps executive agencies, the chief executive is personally and directly accountable to the Minister, for his or her performance. This is the relationship which will apply in the cases of, for instance, the Meteorological Office and the Defence Research Agency.
Other defence support organisations must, however, remain fully embedded within the defence chain of command, for the reasons that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence gave in the House of Commons on 18 October, column 155. In these cases, the chief executive will be accountable to Ministers, through the chain of command.
In most other respects it will not be possible to differentiate the characteristics of defence support agencies from the normal next step agencies. The aim of both is to secure improved management and better results. Each agency will have different requirements and the policy and resources framework in each case will be tailored to the individual circumstances of the organisation concerned.
(1) Defence Cash Limits
£'000s Class and Vote |Current Cash |Increase/ |Revised Cash |Limit |Decrease |Limit --------------------------------------------------------------------------- I, 1 |8,349,433 |+130,282 |8,479,715 I, 2 |8,339,159 |+260,841 |8,600,000 I, 3 |1,202,721 |+9,606 |1,212,327 I, 4 |1,816,030 |+52,518 |1,868,548 I, 5 |441,372 |+43,858 |485,230
These changes, totalling £497,105,000, reflect the take-up of part of the entitlement to carry-forward of capital underspending under the end- year flexibility scheme (announced by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 20 July 1989, Official Report, columns 258-62) and the additional arrangements for defence procurement (announced on 16 January 1990 by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King), Official Report, columns 135 and 136 ). These increases will be charged to the reserve. The changes also take account of a transfer of £800,000 from the Department of Transport (class VIII, vote 2) to class I, vote 1, reflecting the transfer of responsibility for the costs of royal flights in civil aircraft (announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) Official Report, 18 May 1989, column 280 ), and a further transfer of £34,000 from the Cabinet Office :
Column 407Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (class XX, vote 1) in respect of the challenge funding scheme for senior management development training. These changes will not add to the planned total of public expenditure.
(2) Running Costs Limit
The running costs limit for the Department will be increased by £2, 034,000 from £5,149,347,000 to £5,151,381,000 reflecting both the transfer of £34,000 in respect of challenge funding and an increase of £2,000,000 for the running costs element of the additional expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Defence in providing assistance in the ambulance dispute.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the use of those bovine offals currently banned for use in products for human consumption is permitted for use in pet foods ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state (a) when the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was positively identified, (b) when bovine spongiform encephalopathy was made a notifiable disease, (c) when offals from cattle were banned for use for human consumption, (d) when compensation for farmers for bovine spongiform encephalopathy-infected cattle was introduced, (e) when research into the possibility of transmission of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy infective agent from generation to generation was begun ; and (f) if he will make a statement about the sequence of events, and their respective timings.
Mr. Maclean : It was made notifiable in June 1988 as soon as research and field investigation had established a clear clinical picture and techniques had been developed to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Without such action it is not possible to deal with any disease, let alone a new disease never previously reported in cattle.
The feeding of ruminant-based rations to ruminants was banned from July 1988 as soon as studies had confirmed this to be the most likely cause of the disease.
In April 1988 the Government set up an independent working party under the chairmanship of Sir Richard Southwood to look at BSE, in particular at any human health implications. An interim recommendation was made in June 1988 that, although there was no evidence of a risk to humans, as a precautionary measure all cattle suspected of having BSE should be slaughtered and
Column 408destroyed to take them out of the food chain. The Government acted promptly on this and the slaughter policy began on 8 August that year.
A research committee under the chairmanship of Dr. David Tyrrell was established to advise on research in relation to BSE and the other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies following another interim recommendation. In January this year the Government announced that over £12 million would be spent over the next three years as part of a comprehensive programme of research which had been started as soon as the disease was first identified. The Southwood report was published in February last year. It welcomed the Government's action to deal with the disease, including the prompt implementation of its interim recommendations, and concluded that the risk of transmission to humans was "remote". All its final recommendations have been implemented.
The Government's commitment to protecting and reassuring the public following the emergence of BSE is clearly shown by the action taken, which includes, in addition, the ban from November 1989 on the use of certain offals which, although not recommended by Southwood, represents a further safeguard to consumers.
(2) whether he was consulted on the European Community Commission's proposal to appoint a mouse care expert to raise the productivity of the European Community market on mice and rats ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : There is no proposal to appoint a European mouse care expert. I assume that the hon. Member must be referring to a proposal for a Council regulation on animal health conditions governing trade in rodents. These proposals are of real concern as they are relevant to Her Majesty's Government's fight against rabies and if adopted will require staff resources to be devoted to ensuring that its requirements are being fulfilled. The Government's assessment of it was set out in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's explanatory memorandum 9715/89 of 27 November 1989 a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the benefits which will accrue to the cereals sector from the current year's grants from the European Community for the improvement of marketing and processing facilities.
Mr. Maclean : Awards made by the Commission under European Community regulation 355/77 to projects aimed at improving the marketing and processing of agricultural products are announced in June and December each year. The first awards for 1990 will be announced in June.
For 1989 the Commission announced awards totalling £1,714,160 to seven projects in the cereals sector in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Moss : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what benefits will accrue to Cambridgeshire from the current year's grants from the European Economic Community for the improvement of marketing and processing facilities.
Mr. Maclean : Awards made by the Commission under European Community regulations 355/77 aimed at improving the marketing and processing of agricultural products are announced in June and December each year. The first awards for 1990 will be announced in June.
For 1989 the Commission announced three awards for projects in Cambridgeshire ; one in the cereals sector for £210,012, one in the horticulture sector for £323,312 and one in the pigmeat sector for £533,658.
Mr. Maclean : I have no plans to do so. The disease, which has been present in the national flock for well over two centuries, is endemic in a sheep population of over 10 million and there is no test in the live animal. Intensive study has shown that there is no epidemiological relationship between scrapie and the human encephalopathies.
Mr. Maclean : There is no scientific evidence to indicate that such action is necessary. Pigs are omnivores, unlike cattle and sheep, which are ruminants. They are in particular likely to have had heavy exposure to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent through the feeding of meat and bone meat derived from ruminants without any ill effect. The Southwood report acknowledged the importance of the feed ban for ruminants but did not recommend it be extended to pigs and poultry.
Mr. Gummer : Following discussions with the industry I have decided to make use of the powers provided by the Dairy Produce Quotas Regulations 1989. Quota transfers notified after 23 April, even if they are notified as having occurred in the previous quota year, will not affect the calculation of supplementary levy liability in respect of that quota year.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what part is played by his Department in identifying the causes of trends in figures in the incidence of food poisoning in the United Kingdom ;
(2) what responsibilities lie with his Department in regard to monitoring trends in figures in the incidence of cases of food poisoning.
Mr. Maclean : My Department co-operates with the Department of Health in identifying areas where action may be needed to minimise the risk of contamination of food at the point of production, for example in relation to salmonella in eggs. The Department also provides any support which may be needed by the Department of Health in monitoring and interpreting trends in the incidence of food poisoning.
Mr. Gummer : Information on the trace metal composition of dredged materials licensed for disposal at sea is held on a public register maintained by my Department. For the Tyne estuary the concentration of mercury in dredged materials is 0.0001 per cent. In the Mersey estuary concentrations in dredged materials range from 0.0001 to 0.0006 per cent. (1 to 6 mg/kg dry weight).
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the contamination of heavy metals of dredge spoil in (a) the Tyne estuary and (b) Liverpool bay ; what monitoring of release of heavy metals in dredge spoil in these areas is being or has been carried out ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : Licences for the disposal of dredged material at sea are granted for one year and details of trace metal concentrations and other information are placed on a public register held in my Department. For recurrent dredging operations, these data are reviewed annually and locations are resampled at least every three years in accordance with guidelines set down by the Oslo commission. There are currently four licences for the disposal of material in Liverpool bay and three licences for disposal at a site three and a half miles off the mouth of the Tyne estuary.
Column 411The Ministry has conducted a programme of both laboratory and field investigations on the fate of heavy metals in dredged materials. The Ministry has also conducted a survey of trace metal contamination in the Tyne estuary and has identified areas where, in the event of dredging, the sediments are not suitable for disposal at sea. Results of the field monitoring surveys have been published in the fisheries research technical report series and are in the Library of the House.
Further work on the quality of fish and shellfish in these and other coastal areas is published in "Aquatic Environment Monitoring Report No. 16", a copy of which is also in the Library of the House. These investigations have shown that, in the case of mercury in Liverpool bay which has been subject to historical industrial inputs, the concentration of mercury in a range of fish satisfies the EC environmental quality standard of 0.3 mg/kg wet weight. For other heavy metals in both locations, concentrations are well below national standards for food quality.
Mr. Forth : The Post Office and Alliance and Leicester building society are engaged in detailed negotiations with a view to completing the sale as soon as practicable. The sale is a complex matter and it was invevitable that it would take some time to complete.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on the extent of the potential liability of banks to recompense members of the public as a result of frauds being perpetrated by agents tied to life assurance subsidiaries of banks.
Mr. Redwood : The statutory responsibility of the principal of a tied agent under the Financial Services Act is limited to the latter's actions in carrying on investment business for which the principal has accepted responsibility in writing. The liability of the principal's parent company depends on the nature of the parent-subsidiary relationship. If both are limited companies, the liability of the parent, whether or not a bank, is that of any limited liability company to a limited liability subsidiary.
Mr. Redwood : There is no company currently registered under the name Garston Amhurst Associates Holdings Limited. There are, however, five similarly named companies on the register which are listed in the table, together with details of their current filing position in relation to annual returns and accounts.
Outstanding documents |Annual |Annual Company name |accounts |returns ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Garston Amhurst Associates (Bristol) Limited |1988 |1987-88 Garston Amhurst Associates (Financial Management) Limited |1988 |1986-88 Garston Amhurst Associated (Financial Services) Limited |1988 |1988 Garston Amhurst Associates (General Limited |1988 |1986-88 Garston Amhurst Associates (London) Limited |1988 |1987-88
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will commence an inquiry under the Companies Act into Garston Amhurst Associates Holdings Limited, its directors and its auditors ;
(2) what information he has about the auditors of Garston Amhurst Associates Holdings Limited ;
(3) what information he has on the corporate entity called Garston Amhurst or Garston Amhurst Associates Group Holdings Limited and its directors.
On 25 January 1990 the Securities and Investments Board presented petitions for the winding up of the following group companies of which the Official Receiver was appointed provisional liquidator on the same day :
GAA Group Holdings Limited
Garston Amhurst Associates (London) Limited
Garston Amhurst Associates (Bristol) Limited
Garston Amhurst Associates (Financial Services) Limited Garston Amhurst Associates (Financial Management) Limited These companies have been drawn to the attention of the Serious Fraud Office by the Securities and Investments Board and the Serious Fraud Office has confirmed that an inquiry into them is in progress. In the circumstances I have no plans to exercise investigatory powers in relation to those companies and I cannot comment further.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about the need for property rights and a coherent law of contract for individuals within Comecon countries engaging in joint ventures with western countries.
Mr. Redwood : My Department has received many and various comments to this effect. The lack of property rights and a coherent law of contract is of course a primary feature of the Communist system and a great disincentive to investment as well as to personal initiative. Measures to reduce or remove this disincentive have already been implemented in Hungary and are under active consideration in Poland and Czechoslovakia as well as in other Comecon countries. I welcome all such measures and on my visits to the USSR and Poland in March will emphasise the relevance of a proper legal framework to successful inward investment.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has any proposals to improve the clearing banks' arrangements for monitoring the use of client bank accounts under the Financial Services Act.
Mr. Redwood : The extent of the responsibility of institutions at which client money accounts under the Financial Services Act are lodged is set out in section 55(4) of that Act, and I have no plans to review this legislation.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he has to strengthen the present arrangements of the Securities and Investments Board for monitoring the rule book of LAUTRO.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to ensure that the rules of the self- regulatory body known as LAUTRO are adequate to protect the public against fraud.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to amend the Financial Services Act to make it clear that the liability for monitoring tied agents rests with the life insurance company which has entered into the contractual arrangements which result in the tied arrangement.
Mr. Redwood : The Financial Services Act already makes the principal of a tied agent responsible for the latter's actions in carrying on investment business for which the principal has accepted responsibility in writing. The Securities and Investments Board and the various self- regulatory bodies established under the Act are responsible for making and enforcing rules to ensure compliance with this requirement.