Mr. Cousins : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the United Kingdom contribution to common agricultural policy expenditure on tobacco subsidies in the last three years.
Mr. Jack : The United Kingdom contributes to the EC budget as a whole, not to particular parts of it such as CAP expenditure on tobacco. We do not produce or store tobacco and therefore have no receipts. Our contributions would benefit in full from the abatement agreed at Fontainebleau and in effect, our net contribution to the tobacco regime could be estimated to be at around six per cent. of EC expenditure. Community expenditure on tobacco amounted to 1,330 mecu (£931 million) in 1991, 1,223 mecu (£873 million) in 1992 and 1,165 mecu (£917 million) in 1993. Budgetary ecu rates : 1991 £1 = 1.4291 ecu ; 1992 £1 = 1.4131 ecu ; 1993 £1 = 1.2700 ecu.
The effect on expenditure on tobacco resulting from the reform of the regime agreed in 1992 will not begin to show in expenditure figures until at least 1994 and the regime is to be reviewed again in 1996. Nevertheless, tobacco is still the most heavily subsidised CAP crop per hectare and we will continue to press for greater reforms.
Mr. Soames : The principles of subsidiarity apply to this area, as in all Community activity. Moreover, the Government do not consider that animal health measures fall within the Community's exclusive competence. We accept, however, that the harmonisation of animal health controls on the movement of animals between member states, which are designed to further the single market, is appropriate. I am satisfied that the current harmonised EC animal health trade rules provide adequate safeguards against the introduction of disease and that post-import quarantine of farm livestock imported from other member states is not necessary.
Mr. Soames : Scrapie was made a notifiable disease on 1 January 1993 to meet the requirements of EC directive 91/68 on animal health conditions governing intra-community trade in sheep and goats. The following cases of scrapie in Great Britain have been confirmed by laboratory analysis in the period requested (to 31 January 1994) :
|Sheep|Goats -------------------------- 1985 |143 |N/R 1986 |153 |N/R 1987 |176 |N/R 1988 |211 |N/R 1989 |246 |6 1990 |334 |15 <1>1991 |896 |12 <1>1992 |589 |6 <2>1993 |282 |3 <2>1994 |22 |0 N/R = not recorded. <1> In 1991 and 1992 voluntary reporting of cases of scrapie in sheep was encouraged to obtain material for spongiform encephalopathy research. <2> Further laboratory analysis of suspect cases of scrapie is not usually carried out for two years after the disease has been confirmed in a flock. These figures therefore indicate the number of flocks confirmed to be infected, but give no indication of the number of cases of scrapie in those flocks.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what representations she has made to the French Government and the European Commission on the subject of financial assistance given to Danish, Belgian and German pig farmers ;
(2) what action she is taking to determine the legality of French Government aid to their pig producers ;
(3) what consideration has been given by her Ministry to the introduction of a scheme to compensate British pig producers who are disadvantaged by unfair competition from European Union pig producers ;
(4) what measures she is considering introducing to improve the economic prospects for British pig producers ;
Column 273(5) if she will summarise the evidence she has prepared for the European Commission on state aids given to pig producers in other EU states.
Aid programmes paid for by national governments are only permitted with the approval of the European Commission. Rumours of aids to pig producers in other member states are widespread, but we have firm evidence only in respect of a scheme in France. My right hon. Friend has already pressed the Commission to determine the legal status of the aids in accordance with article 93 of the treaty and to take whatever action is necessary. She has also raised the matter on numerous occasions in the Council of Agriculture Ministers. The Government legitimately help the pig industry through the funding of research and development. Spending by the Agriculture Departments on the pig sector in the current year amounts to £14 million. A further sum is spent by the Agriculture and Food Development Council on animal science, some of which is of direct benefit to the pig industry.
Mr. Tyler : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she expects to be able to announce the names and past relevant experience of all the members of the panel to evaluate research into reports of long-term effects arising from exposure to
organophosphorous sheep dips ; and whether they have past or present declarable interests in the manufacture of such sheep dips.
Mr. Soames : I announced the appointment of Dr. D. N. Bateman, medical director of the Northern region drug and therapeutic centre, as chairman of the Veterinary Products Committee's medical panel, in my reply to the hon. Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Mr. Butler) on 3 February at column 817-18 . Prospective members of the panel are currently being approached with a view to establishing their willingness to serve. A further announcement about the membership of the panel, and any declarable interests which members may have, will be made as soon as possible.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the extent to which the Government are fulfilling their obligations under EU legislation with respect to the safe disposal of organophosphate sheep dips.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Government's obligations with respect to the disposal of sheep dip under EU legislation are implemented through the Water Resources Act 1991 in England and Wales and the Control of Pollution Act 1974, as amended by schedule 23 of the Water Act 1989, in Scotland. These controls are further supplemented by detailed guidance in the Codes of Good Agricultural Practice published by the Ministry and the Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department.
The Government are also undertaking a review to assess whether any further measures might be necessary to ensure the safe disposal of sheep dips.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether English Nature has given its approval for the issuing of licences to kill goosanders on the river Wharfe on the Bolton Abbey estate, north Yorkshire ; how many goosanders have been approved to be shot ; what evidence has been submitted to her Department in support of this application ; and if she will place a copy in the Library.
Mr. Soames : As a licensing authority under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Ministry is responsible for the issue of these licences and they must not be unreasonably withheld. On receipt of the applications from the Bolton Abbey estate, ADAS, the Ministry's wildlife advisers followed their usual practice and notified English Nature of the applications and invited them to comment. The views of English Nature were made known in its press release of 14 January 1994, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Those views were given full weight in making the licensing decision.
The applicant must provide sufficient evidence of serious damage being caused to the fishery and show that other methods of non-lethal scaring are ineffective or impractical and not just difficult to implement. The Ministry cannot disclose to third parties information provided in support of a licence application which is commercial in nature, such as the extent of any financial loss being suffered by the fishery.
Two licences have been issued for the Bolton Abbey estate to shoot goosanders as an aid to scaring ; one licence, covering a 7.5 mile stretch of the River Wharfe, is to shoot up to 10 birds between 1 October 1993 and 28 February 1994 ; the other is to shoot up to four birds on the Bolton Abbey trout hatchery between 1 January to 28 February 1994.
Mr. Soames : The Ministry has not conducted any formal research studies on the river Wharfe. However, on receipt of the applications from the Bolton Abbey estate, an officer of ADAS, the Ministry's wildlife advisers, visited the applicants to assess their case. English Nature was advised of the applications and were invited to comment. The Ministry's own fisheries experts at Lowestoft were also asked for their comments. ADAS then provided a report on the visit with recommendations to the Ministry.
Once the licences were issued, ADAS began making monitoring visits and have been providing reports to the Ministry. They will continue to do this during the period of validity of the licence. The licensees are also required to provide a report to the Ministry of the action taken under their licence and, where possible, to retain the carcases of birds shot. These will be collected by ADAS and sent to our fisheries laboratory at Lowestoft where the contents of the gut will be examined. All of this information collected as part of the licensing arrangements will enable the Ministry to keep under review its policy on the issue of such licences.
Mrs. Shephard : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have made an order under section 1(3) of the Agriculture Act 1993. The order extends the deadline for the revocation of the England and Wales milk marketing scheme from 1 October 1994 to 1 January 1995. This will enable the Milk Marketing Board to proceed with its intention to propose a new vesting date of 1 November 1994.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list those topics on which it is not her practice to answer parliamentary questions ; and if she will list any recent changes in the practice of her Department.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answers of 17 December, Official Report, column 1068 and 11 January, Official Report, column 63, what is the average number of (a) hill cows and (b) hill sheep eligible for hill livestock compensatory allowances she considers necessary for a less-favoured area farm to be considered a full-time commercial business for the purposes of the farm business survey ; and what hectarage and acreage she considers to be a very small farm.
Mrs. Shephard [holding answer 7 February 1994] : To be classified as a full-time commercial farm in the less-favoured areas of England, a farm must have at least a minimum level of agricultural activity. On the assumption that, apart from grass, there are no other crops or livestock on the farm, this minimum is currently equivalent to either 30 hill cows, or between 200 and 250 hill ewes.
In practice, almost all farms have other crops or livestock so that many with fewer than 30 hill cows or fewer than 200 to 250 hill ewes will exceed the minimum and will therefore be classified as full time.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee what action he plans to take to ensure that car parking spaces associated with the House of Commons and parliamentary buildings which are reserved for orange badge holders are not misused by other drivers.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : Although there are no places specifically set aside for orange badge scheme holders, there are 12 parking spaces in Star Chamber Court and three in the Norman Shaw car park reserved for vehicles driven or used by photo-identity pass holders who have disabilities and have registered with the Serjeant at Arms.
Column 276Those who use the other parking spaces in Star Chamber Court have recently been reminded not to use the spaces reserved for disabled people. The area is checked on a random basis and the Serjeant at Arms has been requested to draw any case of continuing misuse to the attention of the Administration Committee.
Mr. Waller : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the parliamentary data and video network to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 14 March to Friday 18 March.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he will name the consultants engaged to carry out the survey into child care needs in the House ; and what has been the total cost incurred to date.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee when he expects to announce the results of the questionnaire on child care facilities sent out last year ; what was the total number of hon. Members, Members' staff and staff of the House who were sent a questionnaire, listed by (a) females and (b) males ; how they were selected ; and what proportion of those sent a questionnaire returned it.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : The Administration Committee expects to receive the consultants' report on the survey of potential demand for child care facilities in the very near future. It intends to examine the results and will then consider what recommendations to make in respect of future policy.
The questionnaire was sent to 4,105 Members, Members' staff, staff of the House and other support staff who work for both Houses. It is not possible to determine how many of that number were male or female.
Results of the survey itself will be made known once they have been considered by the Committee and the Commission.
Mr. Lidington : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the Plain English Campaign to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 21 March to Friday 25 March.
Mrs. Currie : To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what was the turnover of the kiosk run by the Refreshment Department for the most recent financial year ; and what was the turnover for the months of November and December in (a) 1992 and (b) 1993.
Mr. Colin Shepherd [holding answer 31 January 1994] : The turnover from all sources for souvenirs in financial year 1992-93 was £652,087 excluding VAT. On the same basis the other information requested is as follows :
|1992 |1993 |£ |£ --------------------------------- November |95,642 |80,445 December |175,735|212,260 |-------|------- Total |271,377|292,705
Mr. McAllion : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will publish for each service that has been market tested in his Department in 1993 (a) the cost 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. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many names there were on the list of potential appointees to non-departmental public bodies in Wales in (a) 1992 and (b) 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 278frequently added. Information is not available on a calendar year basis. Currently there are 4,421 names on the register.
Mr. Hanson : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to raise with the Masters of Foxhounds Association the practice of feeding of uncooked meat and offal from fallen and casualty stock to hunt hounds.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the subjects on which his Department formerly answered parliamentary questions but which are now referred by him to an executive agency.
Mr. Redwood : Next steps agency chief executives are usually asked to reply to parliamentary questions about the day-to-day operational matters of their agency and on subjects for which they have delegated responsibility, as set out in their agency's framework document.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people were in temporary employment at the latest available date ; and what is the proportion of those in temporary employment as a percentage of the total number registered for employment for each employment travel-to-work area and for Wales as a whole.
Mr. Redwood : According to latest estimates from the summer 1993 Labour Force Survey there were 84,000 employees in temporary employment in Wales. This represents 8.5 per cent. of all employees in employment. Comprehensive data are not available on numbers registered for employment. Estimates are not available for travel-to-work areas.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the proposed notional rent for 1994-95 for each district council in Wales, together with the average for Wales ; and what is the percentage difference for each council and for Wales, between these notional rents and the corresponding actual rents in 1993-94.
|Percentage |Estimated average |difference: notional |weekly notional |rent, 1994-95 on |Actual rent |local authority rent|actual rent, |1993-94<1> |in 1994-95<2> |1993-94 Local authority |£. p |£. p ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aberconwy |28.93 |29.07 |0.5 Alyn and Deeside |26.06 |29.46 |13.0 Arfon |29.80 |30.65 |2.8 Blaenau Gwent |32.81 |31.13 |-5.1 Brecknock |28.34 |31.22 |10.2 Cardiff |34.63 |36.13 |4.3 Carmarthen |31.06 |32.03 |3.1 Ceredigion |32.30 |31.70 |-1.9 Colwyn |28.24 |28.57 |1.2 Cynon Valley |29.48 |29.67 |0.7 Delyn |29.05 |30.27 |4.2 Dinefwr |23.78 |28.33 |19.1 Dwyfor |27.35 |28.24 |3.3 Glyndwr |25.40 |29.67 |16.8 Islwyn |33.18 |30.84 |-7.0 Llanelli |34.65 |27.37 |-21.0 Lliw Valley |28.50 |29.67 |4.1 Meirionnydd |30.07 |27.63 |-8.1 Merthyr Tydfil |30.85 |27.40 |-11.2 Monmouth |35.72 |37.82 |5.9 Montgomeryshire |30.69 |33.75 |10.0 Neath |30.95 |28.01 |-9.5 Newport |35.06 |36.31 |3.6 Ogwr |32.12 |31.80 |-1.0 Port Talbot |32.36 |29.43 |-9.1 Preseli Pembrokeshire |28.69 |30.17 |5.2 Radnorshire |33.48 |32.75 |-2.2 Rhondda |32.38 |32.56 |0.5 Rhuddlan |26.55 |29.48 |11.0 Rhymney Valley |34.75 |31.44 |-9.5 South Pembrokeshire |31.00 |34.06 |9.9 Swansea |31.10 |28.75 |-7.6 Taff Ely |33.19 |28.67 |-13.6 Torfaen |39.25 |35.03 |-10.7 Vale of Glamorgan |35.73 |34.86 |-2.4 Wrexham Maelor |26.09 |27.86 |6.8 Ynys Mon |29.44 |28.81 |-2.1 |--- |--- |--- Wales |31.84 |31.30 |-1.7 Source: Local authority subsidy claims. <2>Welsh Office estimates.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has of the number of graduates with professional science and engineering qualifications employed in industry in Wales at the latest available date.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many houses for renting (a) Tai Cymru and (b) other housing associations in Wales have developed on mainly private estates in each year since 1991-92 ;
(2) what are the figures for underspending by housing associations in Wales for each year since 1991-92 ;
(3) how many houses from the private sector have been bought by housing associations in Wales for renting in each year since 1991-92 and 1993-94.
Column 280made as to whether they are sufficiently flexible to ensure that there is a balance of rented accommodation and privately owned houses provided in communities.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : Purchases from the private sector need the approval of Housing for Wales. In determining a particular application Housing for Wales will take into account both the economic and the social implications.
Mr. Jonathan Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received concerning the housing allocation policies of Welsh local housing authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : I have received 31 responses to the Department's consultation exercise on allocation of council housing, policies and procedure. I have asked the housing management advisory panel for Wales to prepare a good practice guide for local authorities taking account of those responses. Responses to the Department's consultation paper, "Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies", have been invited by 18 March.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how the Government will determine the share which the new police authorities proposed for Wales in the White Paper on police reforms--Cm 2281--will have of non-domestic rate revenues.
Column 281to the new police authorities. I will discuss my proposals with the Home Secretary and the Welsh local authority associations through the forum of the Welsh Consultative Council on Local Government Finance. Currently non-domestic rates are distributed amongst local authorities on the basis of resident population.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of redundancies among national health service hospital staff (a) by grade and (b) by reason for each year since 1988-89.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many units of sheltered accommodation have been provided by (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) health trusts for people with mental and physical disabilities in Wales ; and if he will give these statistics for each local authority for each year since 1991-92.
Mr. Jonathan Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what circulars or other guidance have been published by his Department to assist local planning authorities when considering applications for wind power installations.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : Guidance is contained in the annex to Planning Policy Guidance Note 22, "Renewable Energy", which was published jointly by the Welsh Office and the Department of the Environment in February 1993.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much additional finance has been provided to teach Welsh as a second language to students of constituent colleges of the university of Wales for each year since 1988.
Sir Wyn Roberts : The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has made £314,500 available to colleges of the University of Wales in 1993 -94 for the provision of Welsh courses for adults. Information for earlier years, when the University of Wales was funded by the Universities Funding Council, is not held centrally.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress he is making within the Welsh Office to submit a Welsh language scheme as required by the Welsh Language Act 1993 ; on what date he will submit the scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : It is too early to indicate on what date a scheme might be submitted to the Welsh Language Board. The Department's scheme will need to take into account the statutory guidelines which the board will be preparing. A comprehensive internal review of the Department's policy and practice regarding the use of Welsh is currently being conducted. This will be of considerable benefit in formulating our language scheme.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those topics on which it is not his practice to answer parliamentary questions ; and if he will list any recent changes in the practice of his Department.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what criteria are used for allocating NHS resources to areas of high deprivation in Wales ; and what resources are available to those areas which meet the criteria.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The current formula for assessing the distribution of revenue resources to health authorities in Wales was introduced in 1991. This takes into account the higher levels of sickness that are associated with socially deprived areas by the morbidity weighting within the formula.