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Column 412Letter from D. W. Gallagher to Mr. William Ross, dated 26 January 1994 :
You recently asked a Parliamentary Question about the locations and rateable values of eel fisheries in Northern Ireland. As I am responsible for the Rate Collection Agency (RCA), the body to which the rates are paid, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has asked me to reply.
There are three entries in the Valuation List relating to eel fisheries, all of which refer to Toome Eel Fishery (NI) Ltd., but which fall into three separate districts.
Under Article 17 of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, Eel and Salmon Fisheries are currently derated by 60 per cent. which in effect means that rates are chargeable on only 40 per cent. of the Net Annual Value. This is outlined in the table below
Address |Net annual |RV on which |District |value |rates are |council area |chargeable |£ |£ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Toome Eel Fishery (NI) Ltd. Toome Eel Fishery (PT) |4,800 |1,920 |Ballymoney Portna & Movanagher Toome Eel Fishery (NI) Ltd. Toome Eel Fishery (PT) |12,500 |5,000 |Magherafelt Portna & Toome Toome Eel Fishery (NI) Ltd. |500 |200 |Coleraine Toome Eel Fishery (PT) Movanagher
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the total value of all assistance to agriculture in the upland areas of England in each year since 1987, including environmental assistance, capital grants and sheep and livestock subsidies.
Assistance paid to farmers in upland areas of England (Uplands defined as less-favoured areas) |1987 |1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Environmentally sensitive areas<6> |1,146 |2,470 |2,615 |2,653 |2,716 |4,120 |8,194 Capital grants<4> |9,900 |9,500 |11,100 |10,900 |10,700 |8,500 |4,100 Hill livestock compensatory allowance scheme (HCLAs) |28,439 |29,007 |30,045 |32,503 |37,237 |38,374 |<2>33,126 Sheep annual premium scheme (SAPs)<3> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |57,491 |92,724 |92,049 Farm woodland scheme<1> |n/a |n/a |14 |20 |32 |38 |45 Farm woodland premium scheme<1> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |34 Five year set aside<5> |n/a |n/a |255 |350 |600 |700 |460 Pilot beef and sheep extensification scheme<5> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |100 |100 |100 Beef special premium scheme<8> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a Beef variable premium scheme<8> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a Suckler cow premium scheme<7> |n/a |n/a |n/a |12,040 |14,487 |15,612 |n/a Sheep variable premium scheme<8> |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a <1> Farm woodland premium scheme succeeded farm woodland scheme on 1 April 1992. <2> January to October. <3> Under the sheep annual premium scheme, SAPs, premium is payable to farmers in both uplands and lowlands areas. It is not possible to ascertain how much of the premium expenditure for years prior to 1991 went to farmers in upland areas, as the less-favoured area-LFA supplement was not introduced until the 1991 scheme. The figures for the sheep annual premium scheme relate to payments for that year's scheme. Payments are staged and extend into the following year. <4> The various schemes under which grant has been paid are: agriculture and horticulture development scheme, farm and horticulture development scheme, agriculture and horticulture development scheme, agriculture improvement scheme, farm diversification scheme, farm and conservation grant scheme. <5> Estimated expenditure <6> Includes, Pennine Dales, Clun, North Peak, Exmoor, Lake District, Southwest Peak, West Penwith ESAs. Payments relate to the cost of agreements made on the basis of applications submitted in the year shown. <7> For 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1993 assistance given to upland areas is not separately identifiable. <8> No differentiation is made under these schemes between upland/lowland producers. n/a = Not available.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on which occasions since 1979 her Department has employed the services of external consultants ; and if she will give details of the purposes for which they were employed and the cost of employing them.
Mr. Jack : The annual costs of external consultants employed by the Department--excluding agencies--since 1984-85 are set out. The precise number of contracts, details of the purposes for which they were employed and data for earlier years can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Financial year |Expenditure |(£) --------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |<1>27,110 1985-86 |<1>174,724 1986-87 |<1>135,279 1987-88 |<1>44,015 1988-89 |1,174,114 1989-90 |2,972,150 1990-91 |4,495,793 1991-92 |5,374,284 1992-93 |7,010,814 <1> Excludes computer consultants.
Mr. Jack : The Government believe that the British wool marketing scheme continues to operate in the interests of producers, consumers and the industry and consequently are not planning to abolish it. The British Wool Marketing Board is currently considering amendments to the operation of scheme following the ending of the wool guarantee. These amendments will have to be approved by producers before the Government can arrange for their enactment in secondary legislation.
Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the numbers of applications and the area applied for under the arable area payments scheme in England in 1993 ; how the total area applied for compares with the regional base area ; and whether there are any plans for changes in the regional base area for 1994.
We are asking the Commission to establish a separate base area for maize, excluding sweetcorn, in England in 1994. This would mean that arable producers would not be penalised by the recent and continuing expansion in production of forage maize for silage by livestock producers. Should maize production exceed the base area, maize producers would be subject to an in- year reduction in arable area payments and additional uncompensated set- aside the following year, if they wished to continue to claim under the main scheme. The changes to the rules on base area I negotiated at the December Agriculture Council mean that maize producers would be penalised only if both the regional maize base area and the total of the regional base areas for both maize and for other crops were exceeded. Arable area payments are, of course intended to compensate farmers for the reductions in cereal prices agreed as part of common agricultural policy reform. Producers of forage maize for silage have not suffered from the reductions. Indeed, as livestock producers, they have benefited as cereals are a major input into feed. Many will also be in receipt of livestock subsidies.
Further changes to the base area will need to include linseed, which comes fully into the arable area payments scheme in 1994, and to exclude vining peas, which are no longer eligible for aid. The expected base area figures are shown in the table :
|Number ------------------------------------------------------- Numbers of applications Main scheme |27,248 Simplified scheme |19,006 |--- Total |46,254 Area applied for-ha Main Scheme: |3,361,589 Cereals and sweetcorn |2,173,529 of which: maize |34,804 Oilseeds |316,170 Proteins |220,853 of which: vining peas |29,782 Linseed |152,990 Set-aside |498,046 of which: growing non-food crops |49,870 Simplified scheme: |225,857 Cereals |220,565 of which: maize |19,553 Oilseeds |1,844 Proteins |3,449 of which: Vining peas |214 |---- Grand Total |3,587,446
Comparison with Base Area (ha) |Number ----------------------------------------------------------------------- (excluding vining peas and linseed) |3,404,460 Area in five-year set-aside |106,897 Eligible crops claimed as forage area |91,159 of which: maize |15,026 |---- Total |3,602,516 Base area |3,742,422 Base area less total |139,906
Proposed Revised Base Area ( hectares) (Subject to Commission approval) |Number -------------------------------- Maize |33,226 Other crops |3,761,366 |---- Total |3,794,592
The code provides practical guidance to help farmers and growers avoid causing long-term damage to the soil and specifically deals with techniques to combat soil erosion caused by water.
Copies of the soil code have been placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. Moonie : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many technology foresight panels he expects to appoint ; what industrial or technological sectors they will cover ; what their timetable is for reporting to the technology foresight steering group ; and when he expects their final report to be published.
Mr. Waldegrave : The foresight steering group, chaired by the chief scientific adviser, is meeting on 11 February to decide its advice to me on these issues. I will make an announcement soon after that about how the technology foresight programme will be taken forward during 1994.
Dr. Moonie : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the timetable for the completion and publication of the 1994 forward look and annual review of Government-funded research and development.
Mr. Waldegrave : The 1994 forward look of Government-funded science and technology will be published in April. Statistical tables previously produced in the annual review of Government-funded research and development will continue to be published in the form of a statistical supplement to the new forward look.
Mr. Forth : The 1993-94 grants for education support and training GEST programme supports local education authority expenditure of £320.2 million. Central Government grant is in most cases paid at the rate of 60 per cent. of this expenditure.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of grants for education support and training, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what amount and percentage of underspending or overspending has occurred on capital grants to voluntary-aided schools for building work in each of the last three completed financial years ; whether his Department has reviewed the reasons for any marked or persistent underspending ; and whether there are reasons to expect either underspending or overspending to be reported for 1993-94 ; (2) what amount and percentage of underspending or overspending has occurred on capital grants to voluntary-aided schools for repair work in each of the last three completed financial years ; whether his Department has reviewed the reasons for any marked or persistent underspending ; and whether there are reasons to expect either underspending or overspending to be reported for 1993-94.
Year |Estimate |Outturn |Percentage |£ million |£ million |under/ |overspend ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Repairs 1990-91 |35.0 |41.8 |19 overspend 1991-92 |47.5 |49.1 |3 overspend 1992-93 |55.0 |36.8 |33 underspend |Capital 1990-91 |71.0 |64.0 |10 underspend 1991-92 |84.2 |63.9 |24 underspend 1992-93 |96.6 |81.3 |16 underspend
Column 417The overall outturn for both programmes for 1990-91 and the two previous years was broadly in balance with the estimate. The main reasons for the recent underspend on the capital programme appear to be attributable to the economic recession, in particular the inability of some governing bodies to fund their 15 per cent. contribution, lower than estimated tender costs and delays caused by contractor liquidations.
The Department is revising its approval, monitoring and in-year reallocation procedures. Expenditure in 1993-94 so far suggests a small overspend on the capital progamme balanced by a corresponding underspend on repairs. However, the predictive value of expenditure so far is limited because a very high proportion of claims are usually submitted in the last two months of the financial year.
Mr. Forth : Advice on this matter is available in the 1991 report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, endorsed by this Department and distributed to all local education authorities and schools. We are keeping relevant issues under review, in close collaboration with the Department of Transport, which also has relevant responsibilities, but have no immediate proposals for further action.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his answer of 18 January, Official Report, columns 545-48, if he will publish further details of the preparatory costs incurred in the establishment of the Further Education Funding Council.
|£ million ----------------------------------------------------------------- Running costs |4.0 Consultancies |1.8 Payments to assist colleges' preparation for independence |18.6 |-- Total |24.4
Dr. Mawhinney : Advice on living conditions for junior doctors was issued as part of the new deal guidance in June 1991, copies of which are available in the Library. I have asked the national health service to treat improvements in this area as a priority. We have no plans to issue further guidance.
Dr. Mawhinney : Disciplinary procedures for health service staff employed on national terms and conditions of service are governed by section 40 of the General Whitley Council handbook, a copy of which is available in the Library. This provides a framework within which employing authorities determine local disciplinary procedures. Under the 1990 National Health Service and Community Care Act, NHS trusts have the freedom to establish their own disciplinary procedures. The question of whether or not to take disciplinary action, and its severity, is entirely a matter for each health employer.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidelines are applied to the use of official cars for personal purposes by Department of Health staff or Ministers ; and who originate these guidelines ;
(2) what arrangements exist within her Department for reimbursement by Ministers of the cost of private use of official cars.
Mr. Bowis : All district health authorities are required to have psychiatrists approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983 available and similarly all local authorities are required to have approved social workers. Dedicated crisis intervention services are in place where assessed needs suggest this is a cost-effective way of providing services.
Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of staff in mental health units are trained to provide (a) case management, (b) community crisis intervention, (c) home-based care and (d) normalised day care.
Mr. Bowis : Mental health staff are expected to be able to work in a variety of service settings and to provide a range of services to patients. It is a matter for local health authorities to decide on training strategies.
(2) how many individual NHS/pay bed units there were in each region including special health authorities in each of the last five years ; and how many pay beds there were in these units in each of those regions in each of the last five years ;
(3) how many authorised pay beds there were in 1991-92 in (a) special health authorities, (b) in each region and (c) in England as a whole.
Mr. Sackville : Trusts do not "authorise" pay beds and therefore we no longer collect authorised pay bed numbers. Private patient income is recorded in the summarised accounts of health authorities and trusts. This information is used to monitor the extent of private patient activity.
Dr. Mawhinney : Arrangements for audit are made locally. It is for family health services authorities and the Audit Commission to agree the timetable for completing the audit of general practitioner fundholder accounts.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many non-fund-holding practices operating in the area covered by the Macclesfield constituency have declared an interest in becoming fundholding ;
(2) how many (a) fundholding and (b) non-fundholding general practitioner practices operate in the area covered by the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency.
Dr. Mawhinney : Regional health authorities are responsible for managing the general practitioner fundholding scheme in their areas. Nationally, 25 per cent. of the population is covered by GP fundholders. In Mersey region, this is 35 per cent. Information by constituency is not available and could be determined only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will set up an investigation into the adequacy of current child minding regulations and the competence of Surrey county council's social services department following the verdict in the case of Thomas Harrison v. Surrey county council and Mrs. Christine Walton ; and if she will make a statement.
Column 420October 1991, contains updated and effective provisions which enable local authorities to regulate childminders, so that children are protected from harm. I understand that Surrey county council has now reorganised its registration service, and has asked the area child protection committee to conduct a multi-agency review into all the circumstances surrounding the case to ensure that all the lessons have been learned. The Department's social services inspectorate is monitoring this.
Mr. Sackville : The available information is shown in the table. Prior to April 1991, a count of the number of individual units supplying activity data provided an estimate of the number of hospitals. The creation of trusts and directly managed units means that from 1991-92 this information is no longer held centrally.
Number of providers submitting data for 1991-92 and 1992-93 |1991-92|1992-93 --------------------------------------------------- Directly managed units |389 |278 NHS trusts |53 |141 Special health authorities |8 |8 |--- |--- Total |450 |427 Note: The count includes all providers who submitted data for wards open day and night, 24 hours, and/or wards open in the day only.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information is currently available about the environmental pollution or other causes which might provide an explanation of the incidence of babies being born with deformed or missing hands ;
(2) what resources she has made available to local health authorities or to the Medical Research Council, or both, in their examination of babies born with deformed or missing hands ; (3) if she will order a full Government investigation into the incidence of babies being born with deformed or missing hands in coastal areas ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville : Limb deformities which have occurred in babies born in coastal areas have been the subject of preliminary local investigation. Local inquiries of this kind form part of the public health functions of the health authorities concerned, which are funded as a matter of course. There is no evidence to suggest that the incidence of limb defects in these places is any higher than might occur by chance. Nor is there any information to suggest that environmental pollution might be the cause. Clinicians in Hampshire have been in touch informally with officers of the Medical Research Council's epidemiology unit at Southampton. Any further developments will be monitored closely.
Column 421an investigation into the problems of children with any other generalised deformities of the body ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville : A national system for monitoring and detecting any increase in the prevalence of congenital malformations co-ordinated by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys has been in place for the last 30 years. We are aware of particular local investigations which are taking place into the reasons for limb deformities. It would be inappropriate to speculate further until these have been completed.
Dr. Mawhinney : The Pharmacists Review Panel is chaired by Mr. J. Keir QC, a former joint secretary of Unilever plc. Its members are Mr. W. G. K. Carter CBE, partner, Price Waterhouse and Co. ; Mr. J. F. H. Pease- Watkin, former personnel director, Bowater Corporation ; and Mr. J. R. Sargent CBE, former group economic adviser, Midland bank.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what scientific research is being funded by her Department into possible links between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy ;
(2) whether she will establish an independent inquiry into possible links between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and BSE.
Mr. Sackville : Doctors are asked to report every suspected case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, (CJD), to the national Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease surveillance unit in Edinburgh, funded jointly by the Department and the Scottish Office. The unit is headed by Dr. Robert Will, consultant neurologist at Edinburgh's Western general hospital. The circumstances of each case are recorded fully and in particular all cases are examined for possible sources of transmission and any occupational factor. The
Column 422unit was established in 1990 and provided reports in 1992 and 1993, copies of which are readily available to the medical and scientific community and are available in the Library.
The Government are already advised by the independent spongiform encephalopathy advisory committee, chaired by Dr. David Tyrrell FRS, which considers issues relating to spongiform
encephalopathies--including CJD and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. In the circumstances that every case of the very rare disease, CJD, is being fully monitored, that the medical and scientific community is alert to the need to learn more about the causes of CJD, and that the Government have in place an expert committee to give advice, it is not easy to see what would be added by holding an inquiry. In response to recent media reports, the Chief Medical Officer stated :
"I am concerned about the recent spate of irresponsible scare stories in the press suggesting that people are at risk of contracting the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating beef. These sensational and alarmist reports must inevitably frighten large numbers of ordinary people--and for no good reason.
The facts are clear. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is extremely rare--only one person in a million gets it--and those unfortunate people who do get it have contracted it for a variety of reasons. There is no evidence at all that eating infected meat is one of them.
Newspaper reports have been commenting on the sad case of one 16-year-old girl--yet no one knows what illness she is suffering from.
We do not ignore any suggestions about the causes of diseases of this seriousness, and the Government have invested considerable resources on the research issues in recent years looking at : the incidence of CJD ;
the causes of each individual case ;
any possible links with BSE.
On the basis of the work done so far, there is no evidence whatever that BSE causes CJD and, similarly, not the slightest evidence that eating beef or hamburgers causes CJD.
My position as the Government's Chief Medical Officer means that I must provide the best advice to the public, whatever the consequences. If there was any evidence that suggested a link, then I would regard it as my responsibility to bring it to public attention."
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions she has had with Ministers at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food regarding the possibility of a link between BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance her Department has issued to NHS hospitals about leasing or selling part of their premises to house the facilities of private medical companies.