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Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Following the 1993 IACS exercise, I have consulted closely with the industry to ensure that the IACS requirements for 1994 are kept as simple as possible in line with the Government's policy to
Column 675keep any necessary regulation to a minimum. The arrangements to apply this year reflect the conclusion of those consultations. A guidance note to enable applicants to prepare the necessary mapping and field information is being sent out ; copies should be received next week. The main explanatory booklets should be issued in March. The documentation is designed to be as helpful and easy to follow as possible given the complex nature of the system. The mapping booklet makes it clear that no maps will be required where applications relate only to forage area and that they will not be required for arable area as long as the land was registered as eligible for future arable payments in 1993 and has not changed significantly since then.
Applicants will need to supply the national grid reference number of each field and the Ordnance Survey map sheet reference in order to comply with the basic area requirements of the EC regulation. Estimates will continue to be accepted, but if areas are over-declared, we are required to apply strict penalties. I strongly urge all farmers to begin obtaining any necessary maps, field numbers and area measurements as soon as possible so as not to risk missing the application deadline.
MAFF argued strongly in Brussels for a United Kingdom deadline later than 31 March 1994 for submitting IACS applications ; and will be applying the latest possible date of 15 May.
Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the total payment made under suckler cow premium to United Kingdom farmers up to the last available date in the current financial year ; and if she will express this as a percentage of the full payment available in the current financial year.
Mr. Jack : The total payment made to United Kingdom farmers under the 1993 suckler cow premium scheme up to Friday 14 January was £11.66 million. This is about 17 per cent. of the amount to be paid in the current financial year.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make arrangements for the Data Protection Registrar to inspect relevant contracts with suppliers of information technology services that involve the use of personal data held by his Department in order to check whether all appropriate arrangements in relation to the Data Protection Act 1984 have been made, and whether such contracts make provisions for the registrar to make random inspections in order to check the suppliers' compliance with the eighth data protection principle.
Mr. Jack : The Data Protection Registrar has a wide range of powers, under the Data Protection Act 1984, to ensure that all individuals and organisations holding personal data on computer systems are registered and observe the data protection principles as required by the Act. When IT services are contracted out by a data user, the contractor and the user will be subject to the application of the data protection principles, and to the registrar's powers to promote compliance with them, as provided for in the Act. It is for the registrar to decide how he will use his
Column 676powers under the Act, and I do not consider that any further arrangements are in fact necessary for him to discharge his duties effectively.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average percentage mortality figure for (a) upland lambs, (b) lowland lambs and (c) all ewes during the lambing season ; and what are the main reasons for mortality.
Mr. Soames : Mortality figures for sheep are not collected. Mortality of young lambs varies considerably depending on the weather and other factors but is likely normally to be about 10 per cent. Hypothermia in the first two days of life is likely to be the main cause. For adult ewes, annual mortality is estimated at about 4 per cent. for which there is no single predominant cause.
Mr. Soames : Research into the incidence of subclinically infected BSE cattle would require the development of a practical test to identify the presence of the infective agent in live cattle and this Ministry is already supporting a substantial volume of research aimed at developing such a test.
Mr. Soames : Fruit which has been waxed or sprayed with fungicide may be sold in the United Kingdom only if it complies with the relevant legislation. Such treatments are carefully evaluated by independent expert committees to ensure they are safe, and the evaluations are subject to review as approriate.
Mr. Jack : Under the Agriculture Act 1993 it is for the Milk Marketing Board to decide what date to propose for the ending of the milk marketing scheme in its reorganisation scheme. The board has agreed that a 1 April date, as it originally proposed, is not now possible. It is considering what later date now to propose. My right hon. Friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Wales will decide on its eventual proposal along with the rest of its reorganisation scheme in accordance with the terms of the Act.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list by county the number of badgers shot and gassed in each year since 1988 ; and what percentage of those badgers were subsequently shown to have tuberculosis.
Mr. Soames : The number of badgers shot in each year since 1988 in England, and the numbers of badgers that were subsequently shown to be positive for tuberculosis--M.bovis--are listed by county. Gassing has not been used as an official means of controlling badgers since 1982.
County |Number shot |Number positive |for M.bovis -------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988 Avon |110 |38 Cornwall |100 |20 Devon |193 |36 Dorset |77 |15 Gloucestershire |242 |102 Somerset |23 |1 Wiltshire |6 |- Total |751 |212 |(28.2 per cent.) 1989 Avon |129 |35 Cornwall |176 |27 Devon |180 |18 Dorset |13 |4 Gloucestershire |206 |37 Somerset |- |- Wiltshire |18 |1 Total |722 |122 |(16.9 per cent.) 1990 Avon |55 |13 Cornwall |385 |63 Devon |188 |45 Dorset |7 |2 Gloucestershire |109 |27 Somerset |17 |- Wiltshire |3 |- Total |764 |150 |(19.6 per cent.) 1991 Avon |55 |17 Cornwall |422 |75 Devon |159 |20 Dorset |49 |2 Gloucestershire |75 |12 Somerset |- |- Wiltshire |178 |34 Total |938 |160 |(17 per cent.) 1992 Avon |159 |38 Cornwall |470 |68 Devon |162 |35 Dorset |- |- Gloucestershire |96 |38 Somerset |- |- Wiltshire |141 |30 Total |1,028 |209 |(20.3 per cent.)
County |Number shot |Number positive|Number of re- |for M.bovis |sults awaited -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1993 Avon |123 |24 |6 Cornwall |360 |67 |38 Devon |127 |37 |13 Dorset |49 |8 |- Gloucestershire |161 |38 |43 Somerset |130 |48 |5 Wiltshire |131 |50 |6 Total |1,081 |272 |111 |(28 per cent.)
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 3 December, Official Report , column 852 , if she will define the operational role of her Department at Royal Air Force station Aston Down ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will publish the figures in hectares for (a) set-aside, (b) pulses, (c) oilseed rape and (d) cereals for each year since 1988 which were used to calculate the base area in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Mr. Jack : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 3 December 1993 to the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh), regarding the calculation of the base area in England, Official Report , column 850 . There is no separate base area for Yorkshire and Humberside.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what system of permanent identification will be used for cats and dogs transported between member states under the provisions of the Balai directive from 1 July.
Mr. Soames : The Standing Veterinary Committee of the European Commission is currently discussing what system will be used to identify traded dogs and cats moving between member states under the provisions of the Balai directive after 1 July this year.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will provide details of the terms and conditions of the licences issued by the Forestry Commission to the Badsworth hunt allowing it to hunt on its lands ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the names of the hunts which have been given licences to hunt on Forestry Commission land in the county of Essex ; and if she will make a statement.
East Essex hunt
The hon. Member may wish to contact the City of London corporation which acts as conservators of Epping forest.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 1 December, Official Report, columns 589- 90, when the hon. Member for Don Valley can expect to receive the fourth report of the marine pollution monitoring management group's co-ordinating group on monitoring of sewage sludge disposal sites.
Mr. Jack : Our records show that a copy of the report was sent to the hon. Member in early December last. A further copy has now been sent to the hon. Member, together with a copy of the recently published fifth report of the co-ordinating group. Copies of both publications have been placed in the Library of the House.
Column 680cost of the testing process, including consultancy costs, (b) the result of the test, (c) the name of the successful contractor, (d) the value and duration of the contract, (e) the number of staff involved, (f) estimated annual cost reductions and (g) whether the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 were deemed to apply.
Mr. Jack : The Department is currently analysing the outcome of the 1992-93 competing for quality programme with the efficiency unit in the Cabinet Office. Much of the information requested in the question will, once it has been finalised, be published in aggregate form in the "Citizen's Charter Second Report". On an individual contract basis, much of the information is commercially confidential.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether she will set up a tribunal to consider applications for sheep quotas from the national reserve which do not easily fit into the categories defined by the Government but merit consideration ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Jack [holding answer 17 January 1994] : The categories of producers eligible to claim on the national reserves reflect the requirements of Community legislation. They were drawn up extremely carefully following extensive consultation, bearing in mind that availability of reserve quota will be restricted. The fullest consideration was given to defining hardship cases. There are no plans to set up tribunals to consider claims of producers falling outside these categories.
Expenditure on HLCAs (£ million) Financial |Current |1980 |1992-93 years |prices |prices (a)|prices (a) ------------------------------------------------------- 1980-81 |95.0 |96.0 |192.1 1981-82 |84.5 |76.2 |153.0 1982-83 |88.3 |72.8 |149.4 1983-84 |91.5 |72.5 |148.0 1984-85 |93.8 |70.7 |144.3 1985-86 |104.9 |73.9 |152.5 1986-87 |121.7 |83.2 |171.3 1987-88 |121.0 |79.4 |163.9 1988-89 |112.6 |71.1 |143.8 1989-90 |122.4 |71.5 |145.0 1990-91 |130.4 |69.7 |140.9 1991-92 |160.9 |80.8 |166.0 1992-93 |139.4 |67.1 |139.4 (a) Deflated by the retail prices index-all items.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will set out the reasons why the judicial review on livestock premium quotas is being carried out by the European Court of Justice ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Jack [holding answer 18 January 1994] : This case turns on the interpretation of Community legal provisions relating to ewe premium and suckler cow quotas. Article 177 of the Community treaty provides that, where a national court considers that a decision on such a question is necessary to enable it to give judgment in a case before it, it may request a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice ; and must do so if the court is one from which there is no appeal. In this case, both parties to the case agreed with the court that a reference was necessary and the terms of the reference were also agreed. The national court will determine the issue when it has the European Court's response.
Mr. John D.Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to provide a Union flag for the hospital at Tower Hill, Armagh ; what arrangements have been made to fly the Union flag at these premises on the designated dates ; why it was not flown on 1 January ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : The Union flag is normally flown at Tower Hill hospital on the designated dates. A breakdown in the local arrangements for flying the flag resulted in the flag not being flown on 1 January.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will make payments of the beef special premium and the suckler cow premium ; why these payments have been delayed ; and if he will make a statement.
Agriculture--Northern Ireland--which sets
Column 682out the current position on payment of claims under these and other livestock premium schemes. A copy has been sent to the press notice desk in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will quantify the cost of the factors which led to an increase in the cost of cars for Ministers in his Department since 1990-91.
Sir John Wheeler : The increase in the cost of providing cars for Ministers in 1990-91 and 1992-93 was around £177,000. Some £72,000 was in respect of cars provided by the RUC for Ministers in Northern Ireland and the remainder in respect of cars provided by the Government car service--GCS.
There are two main factors that have led to an increase in the cost per GCS car. The first is the effect of inflation on GCS costs, particularly pay, vehicles and fuel. The second is that, during this period, the GCS restructured its charges to reflect the fact that it had been under- recovering its full costs in 1990-91.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list by date of change of status the various areas and locations of those parts of Northern Ireland which came under Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) Orders as a result of the Chernobyl incident ; what were the highest levels of contamination measured in each of those areas in (a) vegetation, (b) peat and (c) mineral oils ; what are the levels in each area now ; when he expects, at the present rate of decline of radioactivity in each area, to be able to lift the remaining restrictions ; and if he will make a statement.
|Glenshane |Belraugh |Glenwherry |Co Londonderry|Co Londonderry|Co Antrim -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Acreage restricted in September 1987 |10,744 |2,248 |8,620 Acreage derestricted 14 January 1991 |247 |943 |- Acreage derestricted 11 December 1991 |568 |- |- Acreage derestricted 14 January 1993 |- |- |1,112 Acreage to be derestricted 19 January 1994 |- |- |618 Approximate acreage still under restriction |9,929 |1,305 |6,890
The highest levels of contamination measured in the restricted areas in vegetation, peat and mineral soils were 2367,1566 and 651 becquerels radiocaesium per kilogramme, respectively. The levels of contamination in peat and mineral soils have reduced by approximately 15 to 20per cent. Variable changes have been seen in herbage with reductions of up to 50 per cent. depending on location and species. The soil--plant--animal transfer of radioactivity is complex and is influenced by many factors. Hence, it is not possible to predict when the remaining restrictions will be removed.
Measurements of caesium levels in sheep are the best way of monitoring the change in caesium status of the soils and vegetation.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the radioactive substances found in (a) peat, (b) mineral soils and (c) vegetation in Northern Ireland as a result of the Chernobyl incident ; for what period of time the various plants found in hill forage retained such substances with particular reference to heather ; and what has been the uptake of such substances by deer in the affected areas.
Mr. Ancram : The radioactive substances found in peat, mineral soils and vegetation in Northern Ireland as a result of the Chernobyl incident are isotopes of caesium--caesium-137 and caesium-134. Hill forage, including heather, in the restricted areas in Northern Ireland still contains these substances. The uptake of these isotopes measured in deer in the affected areas has been very low.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make arrangements for the Data Protection Registrar to inspect relevant contracts with suppliers of IT services that involve the use of personal data held by his Department in order to check whether all appropriate arrangements in relation to the Data Protection Act 1984 have been made, and whether such contracts make provisions for the registrar to make random inspections in order to check the suppliers' compliance in with the eighth data protection principle.
Sir John Wheeler : The Data Protection Registrar has a wide range of powers under the Data Protection Act 1984, to ensure that the individuals and organisations holding personal data on computer systems are registered and observe the data protection principles as required by the Act, unless the data are exempt. When IT services are contracted out, the data protection principles and the registrar's powers to promote compliance with them, apply to both the owner of personal data and the service provider. It is for the registrar to decide how he will use his powers under the Act, and I do not consider that any further arrangements are necessary for him to discharge his duties effectively.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary for Northern Ireland what recent studies he has made into the number of (a) badgers, (b) foxes, (c) hares, (d) rabbits, (e) grey crows, (f) magpies, (g) otters and (h) feral mink in Northern Ireland ; what information he has as to whether each species is increasing, diminishing or stable in population ; and what is the impact of each species on farm animals and fish stocks in Northern Ireland.
(a) Badgers --The Department of Agriculture(NI) is currently funding a study, by Queen's university Belfast, of the distribution and abundance of the badger in Northern Ireland. The results of the investigation are not expected to produce any conclusive evidence about the impact of badgers on farm animals but should provide useful information on badger numbers and habitat.
(b) Foxes --I am not aware of any recent studies into the number of foxes in Northern Ireland.
(c) Hares --I am not aware of any recent studies into the number of hares in Northern Ireland. However, the Department of the Environment(NI) is part -funding a postgraduate student at Queen's university Belfast to undertake a three-year study into the distribution of hares, commencing January 1994.
(d) Rabbits --I have no information on any recent studies into the number of rabbits in Northern Ireland.
(e) and (f) Grey Crows and magpies --The only information the Department of the Environment(NI) has on the numbers of these birds is from the British Trust for Ornithology's common bird census. In the UK as a whole these species increased in numbers by 168 per cent.--magpies--and 164 per cent.-- grey crows--during the period 1968-91. The only data for Northern Ireland specifically relate to magpies during the period 1983-92. This revealed an increase in numbers of 27 per cent.
I am not aware of any studies on the impact of each species on farm animals and fish stocks in Northern Ireland.
(g) Otters --Studies completed on an all-Ireland basis in 1981 and 1991 showed that this species is widespread in Northern Ireland, but recorded the presence of otters and made no attempt to assess their abundance.
I am not aware of any studies into the impact of otters on farm animals and fish stocks.
(h) Feral Mink --I am not aware of any recent studies into the number of feral mink in Northern Ireland or the impact of
Column 684feral mink in Northern Ireland or the impact of feral mink on farm animals and fish stocks. It is, however, generally believed that mink are now present throughout Northern Ireland wherever there is suitable habitat.
Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his best estimate of the number of people who leave the work force each year; and if he will differentiate between those who leave due to retirement, ill health, unemployment and other reasons.
Miss Widdecombe : Of those people classified as economically inactive--not employed or International Labour Organisation unemployed--in the spring 1993 labour force survey for Great Britain, 1,050,000 said that they had been in employment a year earlier. Reasons given for leaving their last job were : retirement--23 per cent.; ill health--14 per cent.; redundancy, dismissal or temporary job ending--17 per cent.; other reasons- -45 per cent. Further, of those people classified as ILO unemployed in spring 1993, 950,000 said that they had been in employment a year earlier. The reasons given for leaving employment were redundancy or dismissal--39 per cent.; temporary job ending--16 per cent.; other reasons--45 per cent.
Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of (a) men and (b) women are economically active at age (i) 55, (ii) 56, (iii) 57, (iv) 58, (v) 59, (vi) 60, (vii) 61, (viii) 62, (ix) 63, (x) 64, (xi) 65 years and (xii) over 65.
Economic activity rates by age Summer 1993 (not seasonally adjusted) Great Britain Per cent. Age (years) |Males |Females ------------------------------------------------ 55 |81 |61 56 |79 |58 57 |79 |56 58 |70 |47 59 |68 |45 60 |66 |34 61 |56 |30 62 |53 |21 63 |46 |21 64 |40 |17 65 |17 |8 over 65 |6 |3
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled people in the Doncaster area currently benefit from the special aids to employment scheme ; and how many disabled people he expects to lose their jobs once employers have to pay 50 per cent. of the cost of special aids in the workplace.
In reaching final decisions about the details of the access to work scheme, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my noble Friend Lord Henley are considering carefully a range of representations made by disability and employer groups including representations about the proposed employer contribution. My right hon. Friend hopes to announce decisions soon.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) 16-year-olds and (b) 17-year-olds in the Doncaster area were in receipt of a bridging allowance at the latest available date, and on that date in each year since 1988.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 19 January 1994 :
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your Question about bridging allowance.
The information you have requested, taking 16 and 17 year olds together, is provided in the attached table. Unfortunately, separate figures for each age group are not available, nor are the December 1988 and 1989 figures for Doncaster. However, the table provides figures for Yorkshire and Humberside for these dates, together with comparable figures for following years.
Bridging allowance can be paid to young people as long as they are registered at a Careers Office for Youth Training (YT) and have left or lost a job or YT place. Youth Training Bridging Allowance was introduced at the same time as YT to allow a young person to find another YT place if their existing one proved unsuitable. Bridging Allowance is available to young people outside the child benefit extension period.
It is a short term allowance paid for up to 40 days in any 52 week period while a young person finds another job or YT place. I hope this is helpful.