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Iron and Steel Industry Employees

Mr. Milligan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the transitional arrangements to apply to the termination of the iron and steel employees readaptation benefit scheme-- ISERBS.

Mr. Sainsbury : A statutory instrument was laid today and comes into force tomorrow.

When I announced the termination of the scheme on 29 October 1993 I said that permanent closures, capacity cuts or changes in activities at steel companies which were imminent would be considered under transitional arrangements. The proposals for those arrangements, that closures and capacity cuts occurring on or after 1 January 1994 should not be eligible for consideration, were issued in a consultation paper and all the comments received have been considered.

The regulations provide that, subject to the other provisions of the scheme, benefits may still be paid where such events have occurred before 28 January 1994 and the transfer or redundancy relating to those events, including any period of notice, occurs on or before 1 May 1994 ; providing that the European Commission approves the provision of aid in respect of those events and the individual concerned.

Where such events have already been accepted by the Commission as justifying payments under the ECSC treaty, the regulations provide that, subject to the other provisions of the scheme, payments may be made to any steel employee whose redundancy or transfer--whenever it occurs--relates to those events, provided that the Commission also approves the provision of aid in respect of that individual.

One-stop Shops

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the estimates he has made since 1 July 1992 of the number of first-stop shops, one-stop shops or business links he wished to see established with the dates on which his estimates changed; and if he will give reasons for the changes in the estimates.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 January 1994] : When I announced in July 1992 our intention to run a competition for pilot one- stop shops, I said that in the longer term I wished to see a network of about 200 such shops established across England. My estimate has not changed since then. I expect a national network of over 200 business links to be established over the next two to three years.

Already, approval in principle has been given to 16 business link plans which will lead eventually to the establishment of 54 business link outlets. Four of these outlets are already open, in Birmingham, Congleton, Leicester and Macclesfield. Plans are at an advanced stage of preparation in many other areas and the national assessment panel, which I have appointed to advise me on the quality of proposals, will shortly consider plans from a further five areas involving 18 business link outlets.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what information he has on the number of facilities equivalent to first- stop shops, one-stop shops or business links currently provided in Germany.


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Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 January 1994] : In Germany there is no equivalent to the business link programme.

Business support activities are carried out by a number of different agencies including the Federal Government, the individual landers and municipalities. Policy for smaller firms in relation to education and training is the responsibility of the 83 chambers of industry and commerce- -which have public law status--and the 57 chambers of handwerk. The chambers are responsible for vocational training and organise skill centres and examinations under statutory federal training regulations. The landers are responsible for start-up, investment promotion, company consultancy and apprenticeships.

In England our intention is that the business link will provide one place for companies to obtain access to the full range of available business support services.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the budget provided for the establishing of first- stop shops, one-stop shops or business links in each year for 1992 to 1995 ; how much has actually been spent ; and what proportion this is of the sum allocated.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 January 1994] : There was no DTI expenditure on the business link programme in the financial year 1992-93. The forecast for DTI expenditure on the programme in the financial year 1993-94 is £2.9 million, £496,000 of which has now been spent. This is 14.6 per cent. of the original 1993-94 budget of £3.4 million. In 1994-95 the budget is £17.1 million.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to accelerate the establishing of more first-stop shops, one-stop shops or business links.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 January 1994] : Since the initial one-stop shop competition for pilots in March 1993, we have moved to create a national network through a rolling programme of assessment panels which are scheduled on a quarterly basis : November 1993, February 1994, June 1994 and November 1994. My Department is working closely with local partnerships, to help them put proposals together and to implement them.

I am keen to complete the national network as soon as possible, but we must put quality first. In addition, we have to recognise that it takes time to achieve such a radical step change in the provision of business support services.

Warrants

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects the Director General of Fair Trading to report on the warrants provided to consumers by manufacturers and retailers.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 25 January 1994] : The Office of Fair Trading is gathering information from the suppliers of extended warranties and the director general will make his views known shortly.

Office of Water Services

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish the criteria used by the Director General of the Office of Water Services, in appointing or reappointing to the role of chairman of regional customer service committees.


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Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 24 January 1994] : This is a matter for the director general of Water Services.

Angola

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government on arms shipments and weapons sales to the Government of the Republic of Angola.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 25 January 1994] : Under the Angola (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1993 (SI 1993 No. 2355)--made in pursuance of the United Nation Security Council Resolution No. 864--it is prohibitied to export arms to Angola without licence issued by the Department of Trade and Industry. The Department considers each application for a licence on a case-by-case basis.

Nora Heeren

Mr. Nicholas Winterton ; To ask the President of the Board of Trade what cargo is being carried by the German registered vessel Nora Heeren; for where that cargo is destined; whether the cargo manifest is in order; whether he is aware of any breach of either United Kingdom or international law in connection with this vessel and its cargo; why the vessel is being held by his Department at Plymouth; when the vessel will be allowed to continue to its destination; if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Needham [holding answer 25 January 1994] : It has been the practice of successive Administrations to control the transhipment of licensable goods in accordance with procedures agreed with COCOM partners; it has also been the practice not to disclose information about such licences. My officials are currently reviewing the basis of United Kingdom transhipment controls with other interested Departments.

Post Office Review

Mr. Hain : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the cost to date of the review of the Post Office conducted by Kleinwort Benson.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 24 January 1994] : The cost of work undertaken by individual contractors is commercially confidential.

Prospects for Coal"

Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list all the consultants commissioned by him to help produce the White Paper, "Prospects for Coal" ; what were their terms of reference ; when each piece of work was commissioned ; and when it was completed.

Mr. Eggar [holding answer 26 January 1994] : Details of the consultants appointed by the Department to assist in production of the White Paper were :


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Consultant                                         |Date                                              |Scope of work                                     |Completion                                                                                           


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


John T. Boyd                                       |20 November 1992                                  |Viability of the 21 pits identified for closure by                                                                                                      


                                                                                                      |British Coal                                      |22 January 1993                                                                                      


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Caminus Energy                                     |20 November 1992                                  |Study of the markets for coal                     |22 January 1993                                                                                      


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Ernst and Young                                    |20 November 1993                                  |Study of British Coal's competitiveness           |22 January 1993                                                                                      


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Ernst and Young                                    | 1 December 1993                                  |Study of the costs of nuclear generation          | 8 February 1993                                                                                     


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


PIMS Associates                                    |20 November 1993                                  |Study of British Coal's cost structure and                                                                                                              


                                                                                                      |productivity in relation to international                                                                                                               


                                                                                                      |comparators                                       |22 January 1993                                                                                      


In addition, the Department commissioned other pieces of analysis that, in the event, were not directly relevant to the conclusions in the White Paper and were pursued no further.

Back to Basics"

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the implications of the Government's "back to basics" policy for his Department during 1994.

Mr. Heseltine : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on Friday 21 January, Official Report , column 849 .


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HEALTH

Disability Information Projects

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what direct contribution her Department makes to disability information projects in the west midlands ; and if she will make a statement on the changes proposed as a result of the plans to abolish the regional health authorities.

Dr. Mawhinney : Since October 1991 the Department of Health has provided funding of over £314,000 to disability information projects in the west midlands as part of the national disability information project.

A rigorous analysis of the functions carried out in the national health service is currently being undertaken to determine how the new structure will operate in practice. Functions provided by regional health authorities and the NHS management executive are being considered to establish what can be more appropriately dealt with at local level.

Decisions on this matter have yet to be reached.


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Mental Health

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) health personnel were attacked by patients and (b) patients were attacked by doctors and other health personnel in each year since 1973.

Mr. Sackville : In line with the recommendations of the Lord Skelmersdale "Advisory Committee on Violence to Staff--Report 1988", copies of which are available in the Library, the collection of data has not been centralised but all health care organisations have been recommended to have a system of reporting and recording of incidents to enable the development of an accurate data base on their cause and nature of the problems which arise. If the hon. Member has an interest in data for a particular locality he may wish to approach the individual national health service unit direct.

London Ambulance Service

Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 30 November, Official Report , columns 457-58 , if she will publish figures showing the percentage of calls to which the London ambulance service failed to respond within its 14-minute call-out standard time in November and December.

Mr. Sackville : The percentage of calls to which the London ambulance service failed to respond within 14 minutes in both November and December was 43 per cent. The information was supplied by the London ambulance service. On 15 December 1993, Official Report , column 721 , we announced the further investment of £14.8 million in the London ambulance service which will be tied to firm targets for improving ambulance performance.


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Portable Oxygen Containers

Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what circumstances a patient is entitled to a portable oxygen container for use in a car ; what arrangements are made to issue the container on prescription ; what is the cost of this service ; and what special regulations apply to this provision.

Mr. Sackville : Consultants may prescribe portable oxygen cylinders to patients which can be topped up from standard 1,360 litre cylinders supplied against a general practitioner's prescription. Information on the cost of this service is not separately identifiable. If a portable oxygen container was for use in a motor vehicle the driver would be required to be fit at all times to drive the vehicle safely. The safety aspect would fall to the police to enforce. A driver using oxygen in a motor vehicle must not have a relevant disability within the meaning of section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Such a disability might include obstructive airways disease causing sleep apnoea. Drivers suffering such disabilities are required by law to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Nurses

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses were employed in NHS hospitals by region in each of the last five years for which figures are available ; and what are the corresponding figures for nurses employed in the community alongside family doctors.

Mr. Sackville : The number of nurses and midwives employed within NHS hospitals are shown in the table :


Column 375



Nursing and midwifery staff in NHS hospitals by regional health   


authority at 30 September                                         


Whole-time equivalents                                            


                  |1988   |1989   |1990   |1991   |1992           


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


England           |352,160|352,560|348,810|346,720|333,400        


Northern          |24,640 |24,720 |24,250 |24,320 |22,040         


Yorkshire         |26,660 |26,610 |26,560 |26,060 |24,290         


Trent             |33,760 |33,630 |33,750 |33,470 |31,310         


East Anglia       |14,230 |14,440 |14,490 |14,030 |13,720         


North West Thames |22,970 |23,210 |22,920 |23,140 |21,630         


North East Thames |29,130 |29,130 |29,210 |29,110 |27,620         


South East Thames |26,820 |27,090 |25,620 |25,130 |25,290         


South West Thames |20,160 |20,040 |19,180 |18,950 |19,710         


Wessex            |21,110 |20,830 |21,140 |21,000 |19,520         


Oxford            |14,660 |14,650 |14,770 |14,460 |14,090         


South Western     |24,240 |24,120 |24,290 |23,930 |23,050         


West Midlands     |36,940 |37,160 |37,170 |36,390 |36,330         


Mersey            |19,620 |19,450 |18,630 |17,670 |17,020         


North Western     |32,680 |32,700 |32,210 |31,740 |30,610         


SHAs              |4,550  |4,780  |4,610  |7,330  |7,170          



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The number of community nurses, from within the hospital and community health service, and practice nurses, who are employed by general practitioners are shown in the following tables.


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Nursing and midwifery staff in the community by Regional    


Health Authority                                            


(excluding agency) at 30 September - Whole-time equivalents 


                  |1988  |1989  |1990  |1991  |1992         


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


England           |42,660|42,270|43,160|42,220|42,040       


Northern          |2,940 |2,900 |2,870 |2,770 |2,890        


Yorkshire         |3,260 |3,270 |3,200 |3,130 |2,990        


Trent             |4,270 |4,230 |4,210 |4,190 |4,160        


East Anglia       |1,610 |1,590 |1,540 |1,580 |1,530        


North West Thames |3,320 |3,230 |3,200 |3,140 |2,990        


North East Thames |3,400 |3,450 |3,450 |3,320 |3,320        


South East Thames |2,340 |2,090 |3,360 |3,020 |3,130        


South West Thames |2,610 |2,610 |2,580 |2,270 |2,300        


Wessex            |2,450 |2,390 |2,410 |2,430 |2,490        


Oxford            |2,120 |2,130 |2,120 |2,190 |2,110        


South Western     |2,820 |2,870 |2,880 |2,900 |2,920        


West Midlands     |4,660 |4,680 |4,600 |4,610 |4,660        


Mersey            |2,310 |2,330 |2,270 |2,220 |2,160        


North Western     |4,530 |4,480 |4,450 |4,420 |4,370        


SHAs              |20    |20    |20    |20    |20           



Column 377



Practice Nurses by Regional Health Authority at 30    


September                                             


Whole-time Equivalents                                


                  |1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992       


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


England           |3,480|4,630|7,740|8,780|9,120      


Northern          |220  |280  |430  |500  |550        


Yorkshire         |210  |280  |570  |610  |650        


Trent             |320  |460  |770  |850  |930        


East Anglia       |240  |270  |440  |550  |510        


North West Thames |320  |390  |610  |680  |700        


North East Thames |230  |280  |540  |730  |700        


South East Thames |230  |360  |660  |630  |650        


South West Thames |200  |280  |490  |550  |560        


Wessex            |280  |330  |530  |680  |590        


Oxford            |230  |340  |450  |490  |540        


South Western     |330  |460  |680  |710  |760        


West Midlands     |410  |490  |750  |830  |910        


Mersey            |100  |170  |330  |340  |440        


North Western     |170  |250  |490  |640  |640        


Notes:                                                


1. Figures are rounded to nearest 10 whole-time       


equivalents.                                          


2. The tables show that, in England, during the       


period 1988 to 1992 there was a 5.3 per cent.         


decrease in the numbers of nurses and midwives        


employed within NHS hospitals; this decrease was      


mainly a result of the exclusion of Project 2000      


student nurses from workforce statistics. Project     


2000                                                  


learners are regarded as supernumerary and are not    


included in workforce numbers. In 1992 there were 18, 


300 Project 2000 students. In addition a number       


of senior nurses have transferred to senior           


management grades. During the same period there was   


an insignificant decrease of 1.4 per cent. in nursing 


and midwifery staff in the community and a 162 per    


cent. rise in the number of practice nurses.          


same period there was an insignificant decrease of    


1.4 per cent, in nursing and midwifery staff in the   


community and a 162 per cent, rise in the number of   


practice nurses.                                      


Child Abuse

Sir Jerry Wiggin : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many cases, in the most convenient period for which records are kept, have come to light of abuse or of welfare concerns as a result of the inspection of independent boarding schools under the Children Act 1989 ;

(2) how many cases have come to light of abuse or of welfare concerns as a result of the inspection of independent boarding schools under the Children Act 1989 in the most convenient period for which records are kept.

Mr. Bowis : This information is not available centrally.

Intensive Care

Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions children's intensive care units have had to turn away critically ill patients for the years in which records have been kept.

Dr. Mawhinney : Information on non-admissions may be held on individual patient records, but the Department does not hold confidential personal information of this nature.


Column 378

Press Releases

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press releases were issued for each quarter since she became Secretary of State ; and how many were issued in each of the past 12 years.

Mr. Sackville : Information for the years 1981 to 1988 is not available in the form requested.

The number of press releases issued from 1989 are :



       |Number       


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


1989   |575          


1990   |632          


1991   |638          


1992   |471          


1993   |675          


The number of press releases issued in each quarter from April 1992 are :



                    |Number       


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


1992                              


April to June       |80           


July to September   |99           


October to November |158          


                    |--           


Total               |337          


                                  


1993                              


January to March    |208          


April to June       |151          


July to September   |150          


October to December |166          


                    |--           


Total               |675          


Parents' Visiting Costs

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will issue a guidance circular to general practitioners and health authorities classifying the right of medical practitioners to specify visiting costs incurred by parents in visiting their children in hospital as an integral part of the cost of medical treatment, when that is appropriate and necessary ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Bowis : I have undertaken to keep under review the arrangements for helping parents participate in the treatment of children admitted to hospital.

Day Care (Children)

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she plans to publish the report of the survey on day care services for children carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in 1991.

Mr. Bowis : The preparation of the report is nearing completion and we expect it to be published in the early summer.

Pharmaceutical Product Licences

Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers she or the Medicines Control Agency has to terminate or vary a product licence held by a pharmaceutical manufacturer ; and under what circumstances those powers may be used.

Mr. Sackville : Section 28 of the Medicines Act 1968 sets out the powers of the licensing authority--United Kingdom Health Ministers--to suspend, revoke or vary a medicinal product licence. Section 28 also specifies the grounds on which the powers can be used. The procedures to be followed when the licensing authority proposes such action are contained in section 29 and schedule 2 of the Medicines Act. The licensing authority also complies with the requirements of the European Directive 65/65.

Dentists

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the number of dentists under contract with family health services authorities in each of the last five years.

Dr. Mawhinney : The information is shown in the table.



Numbers of              


dentists<1><2>          


under contract to       


family health services  


authorities             


at 30 September from    


1989 to 1993            


Year    |Numbers        


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


1989    |15,351         


1990    |15,480         


1991    |15,451         


1992    |15,411         


1993    |15,773         


<1>Includes principals, 


assistants and          


vocational trainees.    


<2>Principals counted   


only once: some have    


more than one contract. 


Hepatitis B

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of hepatitis B have been recorded in each of the last five years.

Mr. Sackville : The information is shown in the table.



Number of notifications of hepatitis B in 


England and Wales 1988-1992.              


Year          |Notifications              


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


1988          |390                        


1989          |432                        


1990          |435                        


1991          |488                        


1992          |489                        


Day Nurseries

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time day care places in day nurseries for under-fives are provided in the Durham area.

Mr. Bowis : The latest available information about full-time day nursery places in Durham is contained in the publication "Children's day care facilities at 31 March 1992, England". Copies are available in the Library.

Non-human Somatotropins

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has funded into the possible effects of non-human somatotropins on diabetics and people with liver complaints.

Mr. Sackville : The Department is not at present undertaking research into the possible effects of non-human somatotropins on diabetics and people with liver complaints. The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council which receives its grant-in-aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Tickhill Road Hospital

Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the long-term plans of the Doncaster Healthcare Trust for continuing care of the elderly at the Tickhill Road hospital.

Mr. Sackville : This is a local matter for the Doncaster healthcare national health service trust. The hon. Member may wish to contact the trust chairman, Mr. David Bertram, for details.

Wythenshawe Hospital

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to be able to reply to the representations, under urgent cover, made to her by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, in regard to facilities at Wythenshawe hospital for admission and treatment overnight there in cases of emergency.

Mr. Sackville : Shortly. The right hon. Member's representations of 13 January have been put to South Manchester health authority which is responsible for the management of the facilities at Wythenshawe hospital.


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Speech Therapists

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 14 January, Official Report, columns 317-20, how many whole-time equivalent speech therapists there are in East Cumbria, West Cumbria, South Cumbria and Darlington ; and if she will give the exact number in each case.

Dr. Mawhinney : The information available is shown in the table.



Qualified speech therapists by     


district health authority area as  


at 30                              


September 1992:                    


Whole-time equivalents and numbers 


              |WTE   |Number       


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


East Cumbria  |12.45 |15           


South Cumbria |12.66 |13           


West Cumbria  |4.50  |6            


Darlington    |8.00  |8            


Source: Department of Health       


non-medical work force census.     


Community Residential Places

Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many community residential places have been established within each regional health authority in each of the last five years.

Mr. Bowis [holding answer 20 January 1994] : The figures available by regional health authority, for places in staffed residential care homes catering primarily for people who are mentally ill or have learning disabilities, are shown in the table.


Column 381



Number of places for people with mental health problems in staffed residential care homes by regional health      


authority, at 31 March 1988 to 1992,                                                                              


England                                                                                                           


Regional health   |<1>1988        |<1>1989        |<1>1990        |1991           |1992                           


authority                                                                                                         


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


Northern          |2,300          |2,410          |2,680          |2,940          |2,910                          


Yorkshire         |3,020          |3,590          |3,830          |4,050          |4,360                          


Trent             |3,110          |3,440          |3,770          |4,170          |4,400                          


East Anglian      |1,810          |1,890          |2,070          |2,220          |2,320                          


North West Thames |2,500          |2,590          |2,610          |2,940          |3,030                          


North East Thames |2,680          |2,830          |3,260          |3,530          |3,860                          


South East Thames |4,170          |5,210          |5,460          |5,920          |6,200                          


South West Thames |2,880          |3,040          |3,660          |3,900          |4,330                          


Wessex            |2,430          |2,840          |3,000          |3,150          |3,400                          


Oxford            |1,770          |2,270          |2,340          |2,560          |2,700                          


South Western     |4,120          |4,050          |4,390          |4,700          |5,470                          


West Midlands     |4,740          |4,760          |5,000          |5,250          |5,480                          


Mersey            |2,260          |2,390          |2,460          |2,630          |2,690                          


North Western     |3,210          |3,590          |3,680          |3,670          |3,730                          


                                                                                                                  


England<2>        |41,000         |44,900         |48,200         |51,600         |54,900                         


<1> The figures for 1988 to 1992 include estimates for a minority of records which did not have details of the    


health authority area concerned.                                                                                  


<2> Totals may not agree due to rounding.                                                                         


AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Animals (Transport)

13. Mr. Lidington : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a further statement on efforts to achieve common EC rules on the transport of live food animals.

Mr. Soames : In December the United Kingdom blocked the introduction of a European Community package of further measures on the transport of animals because they did not offer real improvements in standards of protection.

We shall continue to press for the United Kingdom's high standards to become the norm throughout the Community.

Milk Marque

14. Mr. Hunter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations she has received recently about the proposed creation of the Milk Marque.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I received a number of representations on the board's reorganisation scheme in response to our recent consultation on it.


Column 382

Field Drainage

15. Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action she is taking to advise farmers of the need to ensure that run-off water from fields does not inundate property ; and what help is available to farmers to pay for drainage work.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Farmers have access to a range of advice from our regional offices and the Agricultural Development Advisory Service.

Free Trade Agreement

17. Mr. Ward : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the implications for British agricultural exports of the North American free trade agreement ; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The North American free trade agreement principally removes tariffs in trade between the three participating countries.

In so far as it leads to increased economic activity in north America it should benefit all exports to these markets.


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