Previous Section Home Page

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information requested is a matter for Scottish Homes. I have asked its chairman, Sir James Mellon, to write to the hon. Member.

Community Nursing

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if any health board or trust within any board area has plans to put community nursing out to compulsory competitive tender, or privatise this service by any other means.


Column 378

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 8 March 1994] : My right hon. Friend is not aware of any plans by health boards or NHS trusts to market test or privatise community nursing services. No proposals have been made to him or officials.

NHS Privatisation

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for further privatising within the NHS.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 8 March 1994] : The Government are committed to a publicly funded health service with national health service units, both trusts and directly managed units, firmly within the public sector. However, our policy is to encourage the health service to concentrate its management skills on the core activities of the NHS and to use its expertise, where possible, to seek best value for money and improved quality in the provision of non-care services. I would expect such services to be competed for by both in-house and commercial contractors.

Parole Board

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to increase the number of persons appointed to the Parole Board ; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 9 March 1994] : The size of the board will be kept under review in the light of the volume of cases, and the board's responsibilities under the Parole Board (Scotland) Rules 1993, which include interviewing prisoners.

School Boards

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has regarding (a) the number of schools without a constituted school board and (b) unfilled school board vacancies in each local education authority area in Scotland as at 28 February.

Mr. Lang : Statistics are currently being collected on the number of schools with and without a school board, following the 1993-94 round of biennial parental elections. The information will be published in a statistical bulletin in late spring. The most up-to-date figures available, relating to May 1992 and based on the 1991-92 round of elections, show that 657 schools in Scotland did not have school boards.

Information on the number of unfilled school board vacancies is not held centrally.

Schools Inspectors

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools in Scotland have had teaching experience in primary schools of (a) 10 years or more and (b) less than 10 years ; and what proportion of the total number of school inspectors have had any teaching experience in primary schools.

Mr. Lang : Nineteen of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools have qualifications to teach in primary schools which represents 18 per cent. of the total number of inspectors whose duties include inspection in primary, secondary and special schools, further education, teacher education and community education. Of these, six have


Column 379

more than 10 years' teaching experience in primary schools ; seven have less than 10 years' teaching experience in primary schools ; and six, although qualified to teach in primary schools, pursued teaching careers in other sectors of education for which they are also qualified. Nine have been head teachers of Scottish primary schools.

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools in Scotland were appointed (a) after 1990, (b) between 1985 and 1989, (c) between 1980 and 1984 and (d) before 1980.

Mr. Lang : Of the 107 members of the schools inspectorate (a) 30 were appointed after 1990, (b) 27 between 1985 and 1989, (c) 19 between 1980 and 1984 and (d) 31 before 1980.

Milk Marketing Schemes

Mr. Kynock : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the provisions in the Agriculture Act 1993 for the revocation of the north of Scotland milk marketing scheme, the Aberdeen and district milk marketing scheme and the Scottish milk marketing scheme.

Sir Hector Monro : My right hon. Friend has made an order under section 1(3) of the Agriculture Act 1993 to extend the deadline for the revocation of the three Scottish milk marketing schemes from 1 April 1994 to 1 January 1995. This is in recognition of the fact that a vesting day of 1 April 1994 is not achievable but does not preclude a vesting day earlier than 1 January 1995, provided the reorganisation schemes have been approved.

Health Service Contracts

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of Ayrshire and Arran health board's evaluation committee tendered their resignations


Column 380

from the committee over the wording of the recent urology contract and subsequently withdrew them ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 3 March 1994] : No members tendered resignations from the evaluation committee.

Cottage Hospital Closures

Mr. Bill Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice his Department gave to Tayside health board in the years 1989 to 1990 regarding the board's plans for the future of Meigle cottage hospital.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 March 1994] : At the accountability review meeting in 1990 the board's proposal for service developments throughout Tayside were discussed and the health board was advised that these might best be considered together as a package of changes.

Dentistry

Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate (i) the average annual income of salaried dental officers employed by health boards in Scotland and (ii) the average annual income of general dental practitioners within the national health service in Scotland ; and if he will provide the average practitioner profiles for each category.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 3 March 1994] : The current salary scale for full-time salaried dentists employed by health boards in Scotland runs from £19,036 to £27,714. The current salary for salaried plus bonus dentists is £18,176 plus bonuses in proportion to the amount of work carried out. The dental fee scale is currently set to pay to independent general dental practitioners as a whole a target average net income. For 1992-93 this is £36,352. The practitioner profiles for 1992-93 for salaried dentists in Scotland and for general dental practitioners in Scotland are shown in the table.


Column 379


Practitioner profiles for salaried dentists and general dental practitioners in Scotland:1992-93                      

Fees authorised                                                                                                       

                                                                 Percentage                                           

                                                                |Salaried dentists|General dental                     

                                                                                  |practitioners                      

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

Total gross fees                              |-                |100.00           |100.00                             

                                                                                                                      

Item of service fees                                                                                                  

Pre 1990 scale                                                                                                        

Fees                                          |-                |0.21             |0.12                               

                                                                                                                      

1990, 1991 and 1992 scales                                                                                            

Fees                                          |-                |72.75            |75.12                              

                                                                                                                      

Registration fees                                                                                                     

Continuing care (current rate)                |-                |8.57             |7.67                               

Continuing care (oldrate)                     |-                |0.50             |0.26                               

                                                                                                                      

Referral fees                                 |-                |0.03             |0.01                               

                                                                                                                      

Capitation (current rate)                                                                                             

Item 41(a) ages of patients                   |0-2              |0.09             |0.13                               

                                              |3-5              |1.10             |0.99                               

                                              |6-9              |3.53             |3.03                               

                                              |10-14            |5.20             |4.65                               

                                              |15-17            |4.18             |3.98                               

                                                                |---              |---                                

                                              |All              |14.09            |12.79                              

                                                                                                                      

Item 41(b) ages of patients                   |0-2              |0.00             |0.00                               

                                              |3-5              |0.00             |0.00                               

                                              |6-9              |0.00             |0.00                               

                                              |10-14            |0.00             |0.01                               

                                              |15-17            |0.00             |0.01                               

                                                                |---              |---                                

                                              |All              |0.00             |0.02                               

                                                                                                                      

Capitation (old rate)                         |-                |0.29             |0.08                               

                                                                                                                      

Weighted entry fees                                                                                                   

Weighted entry (current rate)                                                                                         

Item 42(a) No. of decayed teeth               |2-3              |0.32             |0.24                               

                                              |4-5              |0.43             |0.46                               

                                              |6-7              |0.37             |0.43                               

                                              |8 or more        |0.69             |1.19                               

                                                                |---              |---                                

                                              |Total            |1.82             |2.31                               

                                                                                                                      

Item 42(b) No. of decayed teeth               |2-3              |0.10             |0.06                               

                                              |4-5              |0.20             |0.10                               

                                              |6-7              |0.18             |0.12                               

                                              |8 or more        |0.53             |0.51                               

                                                                |---              |---                                

                                              |Total            |1.02             |0.78                               

                                                                                                                      

Item 42(c) ages of patients                   |0-2              |0.00             |0.00                               

                                              |3-5              |0.00             |0.01                               

                                              |6-9              |0.00             |0.02                               

                                              |10-14            |0.02             |0.03                               

                                              |15-17            |0.06             |0.06                               

                                                                |---              |---                                

                                              |All              |0.09             |0.12                               

                                                                                                                      

Weighted entry (old rate)                     |-                |0.68             |0.55                               

                                                                                                                      

DSS and prior approval fees                                                                                           

DSS remissions                                |-                |17.50            |14.82                              

Item of Service fees for DSS remission cases  |-                |24.48            |21.98                              

Item of Service fees for prior approval cases |-                |1.39             |4.66                               


Capitation and Continuing Care Patients                          

                                       Percentage                

                                      |Salaried|General          

                                               |practi-          

                                               |tioners          

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

Continuing care                       |75.30   |75.30            

                                                                 

Capitation                                                       

Item 41 (a) ages of patients |0-2     |0.75    |1.28             

                             |3-5     |4.71    |4.39             

                             |6-9     |6.91    |6.64             

                             |10-14   |8.33    |8.19             

                             |15-17   |4.01    |4.20             

                                      |---     |---              

                             |Total   |24.70   |24.70            

                                                                 

Item 41 (b) ages of patients |0-2     |0.00    |0.00             

                             |3-5     |0.00    |0.00             

                             |6-9     |0.00    |0.01             

                             |10-14   |0.00    |0.01             

                             |15-17   |0.00    |0.01             

                                      |---     |---              

                             |Total   |0.01    |0.03             

                                                                 

Item 42 (c) ages of patients |0-2     |0.00    |0.00             

                             |3-5     |0.01    |0.05             

                             |6-9     |0.01    |0.07             

                             |10-14   |0.07    |0.09             

                             |15-17   |0.07    |0.11             

                                      |---     |---              

                             |Total   |0.17    |0.31             


Regional Dental Officer References                                      

                   AverageNumber                                        

                  |Salaried Dentists|General Dental                     

                                    |Practitioners                      

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

Referrals         |1.53             |3.95                               

Failed to attend  |0.64             |1.42                               


Analysis of item of service 1992-93                                                

                                          Percentage                               

                                         |Salaried     |General                    

                                         |dentists     |dental                     

                                                       |practitioners              

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

Diagnosis                                                                          

1.  (a) Examination and advice           |9.27         |8.58                       

(b) Extensive examinations and advice    |0.54         |1.27                       

(c) Full case assessment                 |0.43         |0.44                       

(d) Treatment summary                    |0.00         |0.00                       

                                                                                   

2.  X-Rays                               |1.59         |1.91                       

Study models                             |0.29         |0.43                       

                                                                                   

3.  Colour photographs                   |0.00         |0.00                       

                                                                                   

Preventive treatment                                                               

6.  Intensive instruction                |0.00         |0.00                       

                                                                                   

7.  Surface applications                 |0.02         |0.01                       

                                                                                   

Periodontal treatment                                                              

10. (a) Simple scale and polish          |8.11         |9.17                       

(b) Scale and polish>one visit           |1.66         |2.02                       

(c) Periodontal disease                  |0.05         |0.15                       

Other                                    |0.00         |0.00                       

                                                                                   

11. Surgical treatment                   |0.01         |0.02                       

                                                                                   

Conservative treatment                                                             

14. Amalgam fillings                     |15.39        |13.46                      

Fillings-other materials                 |8.20         |8.63                       

Sealants                                 |0.12         |0.30                       

Pin or screw retention                   |0.30         |0.46                       

                                                                                   

15. Endodontic treatment                 |2.48         |4.60                       

                                                                                   

16. Porcelain veneers                    |2.09         |2.38                       

                                                                                   

17. Inlays                               |0.01         |0.31                       

Crowns                                   |9.46         |15.76                      

Core and post, pin or screw              |0.65         |1.34                       

Re-cement                                |0.16         |0.38                       

                                                                                   

18. Bridges                              |2.17         |3.68                       

Re-cement-adhesive                       |0.01         |0.05                       

Other                                    |0.00         |0.02                       

                                                                                   

Surgical treatment                                                                 

21. Extractions                          |3.84         |3.13                       

                                                                                   

22. Surgical extractions                 |0.35         |0.50                       

                                                                                   

23. Post-operative care                  |0.06         |0.13                       

                                                                                   

24. General anaesthetics                 |0.46         |0.46                       

Sedations                                |0.02         |0.20                       

                                                                                   

Non-orthodontic appliances                                                         

27. Acrylic dentures                     |14.46        |11.57                      

Metal dentures                           |4.49         |2.34                       

Treatment prior to provision of                                                    

dentures                                 |0.00         |0.02                       

Soft lining                              |0.01         |0.05                       

Special trays                            |0.43         |0.44                       

Metal strip                              |0.05         |0.01                       

28. Denture repairs/alterations          |0.75         |0.89                       

Re-line dentures                         |0.23         |0.46                       

Denture additions                        |0.39         |0.54                       

29. Obturators and splints               |0.04         |0.03                       

Treatment involving other appliances     |0.09         |0.08                       

                                                                                   

Orthodontic treatment                                                              

32. Active appliances                    |0.70         |0.70                       

                                                                                   

Other forms of treatment                                                           

35. Domiciliary visits                   |0.43         |0.71                       

Recalled attendance                      |0.36         |0.65                       

36. Miscellaneous                        |0.19         |0.20                       

37. Acute conditions                     |0.06         |0.17                       

40. Any other treatment                  |0.15         |0.13                       

                                                                                   

Occasional treatment                                                               

48. Issue of a prescription only         |0.36         |0.01                       

49. X-rays                               |0.14         |0.02                       

50. Dressings/other palliative treatment |2.21         |0.07                       

51. Inlays, crowns and bridges           |0.38         |0.04                       

52. Extractions                          |4.55         |0.17                       

53. Post-operative care                  |0.21         |0.01                       

54. General anaesthetics/sedations       |0.19         |0.03                       

55. Denture repairs/alterations          |0.29         |0.08                       

56. Acute conditions                     |0.15         |0.02                       

57. Domiciliary visits                   |0.00         |0.00                       

Recalled attendance                      |0.35         |0.32                       

58. Additional items-conservative        |0.07         |0.07                       

59. Additional items-appliances          |0.01         |0.00                       

                                                                                   

Incomplete treatment                                                               

62. Dentures                             |0.27         |0.16                       

63. Fillings and endodontic treatment    |0.15         |0.10                       

65. Crowns                               |0.04         |0.08                       

73. Any other treatment                  |0.01         |0.00                       

Porcelain veneers                        |0.03         |0.01                       

Footnote: Sub-totals may not add exactly owing to rounding.                        

Data provided by dental practice division of Central Services Agency.              

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Advertising

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 18 February, Official Report , columns 1056-58 , if she will make a statement on (a) the response of delegates attending the continental challenge conference to the campaign on continental market opportunities, (b) the assessment of improvements in animal welfare monitored by veterinary officers and animal health inspectors, (c) the qualitative measurement of the plant health campaign, (d) the responses to the small producers of food campaign and (e) the qualitative assessment of the warble fly campaign.

Mr. Jack : (a) One hundred and sixty delegates attended the conference to launch "The Continental Challenge". Evaluation will take place throughout the course of the campaign, which runs throughout the year.

(b) The Government have a continuing policy of seeking improvements for the welfare of farm animals. of casualty animals or heat stress in farm animals. However, the Government are satisfied that the advice offered will contribute to a better understanding of animals' needs in circumstances where unnecessary suffering might otherwise occur.

(c) From its contacts with commercial growers and the general public, the plant health and seeds inspectorate considers that the plant health campaign has been effective in achieving its objective of raising awareness of the requirements of the single market. (d) The primary objective of the small producers of food booklet was to provide advice to small businesses on sources of help available. Some 30,000 booklets have been distributed and, of those who have chosen to comment, nearly all have said that they found it helpful.

(e) Monitoring of the warble fly campaign is still taking place but early indications are that it has been successful.

Fisheries Policy

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list those areas of fisheries policy she has so far identified where her Department has responsibilities towards achieving the objectives of the United Kingdom biodiversity national action plan ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : In making fisheries policy, Ministers take account of the objectives for conserving biodiversity which are set out in the United Kingdom biodiversity national action plan.


Column 385

While EC fisheries policy is based on the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks for commercial--human consumption-- reasons, less emphasis has been given to the impact of fishing on other species and on the marine environment. During our presidency of the EC at the end of 1992, the basic EC regulation governing the common fisheries policy was amended to include a clear obligation that the CFP must provide for rational and responsible exploitation on a sustainable basis taking account of implications for the marine eco-system. Subsequently, at the December 1993 Fisheries Council I pressed for a re-examination of the industry fishing problem. As a result, the Commission is establishing a working group of marine ecologists and fisheries biologists to study the implications for the marine ecosystem of fishing in general and industrial fishing in particular.

Wherever appropriate the United Kingdom introduces national conservation measures in addition to those applicable throughout the EC. Most recently fishing for nephrops with twin-rig trawls has been restricted to help improve conservation of this species. The United Kingdom Fisheries Departments currently undertake research to discover what, if any, long- term effects heavy fishing gear including beam trawls have on the sea bed and its benthic communities. It is clear that fishing effort should be reduced against many of the stocks around our shores, as elsewhere in the EC. To this end, the Government announced a package of conservation measures in February 1992. These included various changes to the licensing regime, a £25 million decommissioning scheme and restrictions on time at sea. Since then, license changes have been implemented and the first round of decommissioning has removed approximately 5,000 tonnes of fleet capacity, but the time at sea element of the package has been suspended pending a ruling by the ECJ. The industry's view is that technical conservation measures could play a much more significant role, and we are discussing its proposals with it.


Column 386

Cereals

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the cost in (a) 1994 and (b) 1995 of the increase in set-aside compensation for cereal growers by 12 ecu per tonne, agreed last May by EC Agriculture Ministers.

Mr. Jack : The Commission has estimated that the increase in set- aside compensation will add 352 mecu--£267 million--to the Community's 1995 and subsequent budgets.

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will state (a) the price at which British wholesalers buy cereals per tonne, (b) what she estimates the price of cereals per tonne would be in a free market without European Community price intervention, (c) the levels of European Community production and consumption of cereals, (d) the level of common agricultural policy expenditure on cereal subsidies and (e) the cost to the British Exchequer of European Community intervention in the cereals market.

Mr. Jack : (a) It is not possible to provide a single figure for the price of cereals in Britain per tonne which wholesalers have to pay. The following are average ex-farm prices for wheat and barley in pounds sterling per tonne.

(b) It is not possible to make precise estimates about what prices might result if there were no market support in the EC. A large number of assumptions would be required in order to assess how domestic and world markets would react if commodity policy were to be changed.

(c) The latest estimates for 1992-93 put cereal production at 166 million tonnes and consumption at 137 million tonnes.

(d) Total EC cereals expenditure in the 1993 calendar year was £5,154 million.

(e) The Exchequer cost of CAP support of cereals in the United Kingdom is estimated at £948 million for the 1993-94 financial year. The United Kingdom also contributes to the EC budget as a whole, which funds the cost of cereals support in other member states.


Column 385


                                     |Bread wheat  |Milling wheat|Feed wheat   |Feed barley                

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

Average 1992-93 marketing year<1><2> |142.60       |125.50       |119.30       |113.00                     

Week-ending 24 February 1994<1>      |114.30       |100.40       |99.10        |103.20                     

<1> Source: Home Grown Cereals Authority.                                                                  

<2> Ex-farm prices for the week ending 24 February 1994 reflect a reduction in prices this year as against 

1993 as a result of CAP reform.                                                                            

<3> Source: EuropeanCommission.                                                                            

<4> The first payments under the arable area payments scheme will fall under the 1994EC budget.            

<5> Includes set-aside payments for oilseeds and proteins as costs for the individual elements are not     

available.                                                                                                 

Butter

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will state (a) the price at which British wholesalers buy butter per 250 g pack, (b) the price at which the European Community sells butter per 250 g pack on the world market, (c) the levels of European Community production and consumption of butter, (d) the level of common agricultural policy expenditure on butter subsidies and (e) the cost to the British Exchequer of European Community intervention in the butter market.


Column 386

Mr. Jack : (a) The first-hand delivered price of butter in the United Kingdom is between 62p and 79p per 250 g pack ; (b) the price of butter on the world market fluctuates, but the current minimum price under the international dairy agreement is $1,350 per tonne ; (c) production of butter in EC dairies was 1,636,000 tonnes in 1992 and is estimated to be 1,658,000 tonnes in 1993 ; consumption of butter in the EC was 1,591,000 tonnes in 1992 and is estimated to be 1,567,000 tonnes in 1993 ; (d) the 1993 provisional outturn of CAP expenditure on butter support in the European Community amounted to £1 billion ; (e) the Exchequer cost of CAP support of butter in the United Kingdom is estimated at £67.5 million for the 1993-94 financial year. The United Kingdom also contributes to the EC budget as a whole, which funds the cost of butter support in other member states.

Flood Defence Committees

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether the national code of local government conduct--DOE circular 8/90--applies to the flood defence committees of the National Rivers Authority ;

(2) what advice she has given to county councils regarding the national code of local government conduct--DOE circular 8/90--and the benefits that farmers and landowners may receive from the National Rivers Authority flood defence operations.

Mr. Jack : The code does not apply directly to the flood defence committees of the National Rivers Authority, but members of local authorities appointed to the committees are subject to the provisions in paragraph 33 of the code. No advice has been given to county councils regarding the code in relation to the flood defence operations of the National Rivers Authority because the pecuniary interests of all members of flood defence committees are governed by provisions in sections 94 to 98 of the Local Government Finance Act 1972 and these provisions are specifically included in the terms of appointment issued to ministerial appointees.

Sugar

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will state (a) the price at which British wholesalers buy sugar per kilogramme, (b) the price at which the European Community sells sugar per kilogramme on the world market, (c) the levels of European Community production and consumption of sugar, (d) the level of common agricultural policy expenditure on sugar subsidies and (e) the cost to the British Exchequer of European Community intervention in the sugar market.

Mr. Jack : (a) Sugar manufacturers' list prices for bulk white sugar are currently around £0.66 per kilogramme, though the actual price paid is subject to negotiation between sugar producers and their customers.

(b) Currently, quota sugar is being sold on the world market, with the aid of export refunds, at around 0.30 ecu per kilogramme--£0.22 per kilogramme .

(c) The latest figures from the European Commission estimate total Community sugar production for 1992-93 at 15,602,179 tonnes, of which 13,336,888 tonnes is quota sugar. Consumption is estimated at 11,818, 179 tonnes.

(d) The provisional outturn for Community expenditure for sugar in 1993 is 2,189 mecu--£1,720 million .

(e) The Exchequer cost of CAP support for sugar in the United Kingdom is estimated at £123,853 million for the 1993-94 financial year. The United Kingdom also contributes to the EC budget as a whole which funds the cost of sugar support in other member states. Around 55 per cent. of the costs of the regime are recovered from levies raised on growers and processors, which contribute to EC own resources.

£1=1.3228 ecu-- £1=1.2729 ecu.


Column 388

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will estimate the proportion of common agricultural policy spending that does not go to farmers but is (a) paid to middlemen who store unwanted surplus food and (b) is used to subsidise this surplus for export on to world markets.

Mr. Jack : Information on EC expenditure on storage of intervention produce prior to its sale and on export refunds is contained in annex 9 and annex 5, respectively, of the annual financial reports of guarantee section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund. These have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Mr. Duncan Smith : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will arrange for a copy of the report of the European Commission on the common agricultural policy to be placed in the Library.

Mr. Jack : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 9 March to the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler), Official Report, column 277.

Horticultural Imports

Sir Roger Moate : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement about the operation of minimum import prices for horticultural products, particularly blackcurrants, imported into the European Community.

Mr. Jack : The Europe agreements between the Community and Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria provide for minimum import prices for fresh and frozen blackcurrants from these countries. They may come into force when :

during each three-month period of the marketing year, the average unit value for each product imported into the Community is lower than the minimum import price for that product ; and

during any period of two weeks, the average unit value for each product imported in the Community is lower than 90 per cent. of the minimum import price for that product, in so far as the quantities imported during this period are not less than 4 per cent. of the normal annual import.

The Commission is responsible for implementing and monitoring the arrangements in the Europe agreements.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Wilson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list those aspects of agricultural, aquaculture and fisheries policy, with United Kingdom relevance, on which she transfers responsibility for answering oral parliamentary questions to another Department.

Mr. Jack : Ministers in this Department answer parliamentary questions on all agriculture, fisheries and food matters with United Kingdom relevance. Questions will only be transferred if the allocation of responsibilities between Departments suggests that in the particular case an answer could best be given by a Minister in another Department.


Column 389

Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus

Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence her Department has of increased severity of symptoms induced by bovine immunodeficiency virus in non-experimental infections or of a syndrome of superinfection.

Mr. Soames : Disease induced by bovine immunodeficiency virus in non -experimental cattle has not been diagnosed in this country. Extremely detailed investigations are in progress in a herd in Cheshire in which cattle with serological evidence of exposure to the virus have been identified. We are not aware of any published reports from abroad of disease in non-experimental cattle definitely induced by BIV. The three cattle in the United States from which the virus has been isolated over a period of 25 years were in poor condition but it is not known what role, if any, BIV played. A recent Canadian paper on a serological survey in Ontario dairy cattle reported that positive BIV serological herd test results were associated with slightly lower than average milk production. A published summary of work carried out by Louisiana State university school of veterinary medicine suggested findings of a range of conditions in a single dairy herd where there was also serological evidence of BIV and of the virus which causes enzootic bovine leukosis.

Freephone and Freepost

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on the use of freephone and freepost facilities currently being operated by her Department ; how much these facilities are costing ; for what purposes these facilities are being used ; and how much her Department has spent on operating freephone and freepost facilities in each financial year since 1979.

Mr. Jack : We have not, in the time available and without incurring disproportionate cost, been able to check comprehensively with all our agencies and outstations the actual expenditure in each financial year in the period specified.

In general, the Department has made relatively little use of freephone and freepost facilities.

A freephone service was set up in 1991 to enable members of the public to report incidents where they suspected the use of pesticides posed a serious risk to people, animals and wildlife.

A further freephone line was set up this year as part of MAFF's "food sense"campaign. It will operate from 7 February to 16 March to enable members of the public to order information booklets. In a rather different category, two freephone numbers have been operating, since 1986 and 1993 respectively, for use by MAFF staff working in our information technology department who need to dial into the Ministry's datacommunications network whilst working away from the office.

The recent cost of these facilities, to date, is :


Column 390


                     |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94          

                     |£       |£       |£       |£                

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

Pesticides Incidents                                              

 line                |-       |565.3   |329.1   |361.63           

Information                                                       

 Technology                                                       

 Department staff                                                 

 lines               |3,973.25|6,887.5 |9,495.8 |8,523.22         

Our records indicate that MAFF has only operated one substantial freepost service. This was for a period ending in 1989 to enable members of the public to send for a MAFF booklet on food additives. Exact figures are not readily available, but the total annual cost did not exceed £5,000.

National Milk Records

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans she has to ensure that national milk records will continue to provide accurate information to dairy farmers.

Mr. Jack : The Milk Marketing Board proposed in its reorganisation scheme that the future of national milk records should be determined after vesting day by the residuary MMB. The scheme, which has been amended by the board three times, is subject to a further consultation exercise which will end on 8 April. I must not prejudge the decision which my right hon. Friends the Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales have to take on whether to approve the scheme. I am sure, however, that if the residuary MMB is established and given the task as proposed it will reach its decision with full regard to the interests of milk producers.

Less-favoured Areas

Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 2 March, Official Report , columns 744-46 , if the information published for the farm type cattle and sheep is the same as for the farm type mixed cattle and sheep in the revised series.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : No. There are four farm types which are included in the robust type cattle and sheep LFA. One of these is SDA mixed cattle and sheep, the other three are SDA specialist sheep, SDA specialist beef and DA cattle and sheep. A full description of the system of farm classification is contained in appendix 3 of farm incomes in the United Kingdom 1991-92.

Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 9 February, Official Report , column 277 , how livestock units translate in terms of numbers of hill cows and hill ewes.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : For the purposes of assessing stocking density on farms in the farm business survey, animal numbers are converted into livestock units--LU. One hill cow is equivalent to 0.75 LU and one hill ewe--eligible to SDA higher rate hill livestock compensatory allowance --is equivalent to 0.06 LU. Full details of the livestock units used in the farm business survey are contained in appendix 2 of Farm Incomes in the United Kingdom 1991-92.

Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the figures for net farm income


Column 391

published for (a) the farm business survey and (b) the farm business survey weighted in accordance with the annual farm census (i) reflect the net farm income of whole farm enterprises or (ii) are adjusted to reflect the individual income of each (1) partner, (2) director and (3) shareholder ; and what would be the effect of disaggregating the figures along these lines on the averages for (x) total LFA income and (y) income of each person deriving a taxable personal income from livestock farming in the less-favoured areas.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The national results of net farm income from the farm business survey are weighted averages which reflect the income of the whole farm business. Net farm income represents the return to the farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and on the tenant- type capital of the business. The cost of all hired labour and the inputted cost of all unpaid labour is included as an input and is deducted from the value of output in the calculation of net farm income. It is not, therefore, appropriate to divide net farm income between partners, directors and shareholders.

Illegal Poisoning

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many people have been prosecuted as a result of the Ministry's campaign against illegal poisoning in each year since it started ; what percentage increase this has been on each of the previous four years ; and what has been the cost of the campaign in each year.

Mr. Soames : The campaign was launched in March 1991. It is not possible to identify the reason for a report of a prosecutable offence in every case but the number of people successfully prosecuted each year in England and Wales is as follows :


Calendar |Number           

years                      

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

1987     |4                

1988     |5                

1989     |4                

1990     |8                


Start of |Number           

campaign                   

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

1991     |3                

1992     |10               

1993     |8                

1994     |2                

The estimated Exchequer costs of the campaign's publicity and administration are :


Financial year |£                            

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

1991-92        |152,000                      

1992-93        |148,000                      

1993-94        |121,000                      


Column 392

DEFENCE

Information Exchange Agreements

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the titles of the master information exchange arrangements agreements between the United States of America and Britain, outlining the subject matter of each title, the date each agreement was signed, and any other countries involved in each agreement.

Mr. Aitken : The Master Information Exchange Agreement between the United States of America and the United Kingdom was signed in September 1988. It provides for the exchange, for defence purposes, of information concerning military, technical or scientific topics. Individual information projects are set out in annexes to the arrangement. There is a number of these involving many areas of my Department. Information on them is being collected and I shall write to the hon. Member.

Porton Down

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the new defence microbiology laboratory at the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down, will be in use ; what it will be used for ; why it is necessary ; and how much its construction cost ;

(2) what is the subject matter of the substantial contract which is currently being carried out by the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment for another Government Department mentioned in the published 1992-93 accounts for the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down ; what is the value of this contract ; what is its duration ; and when it started ;

(3) what is the purpose of the two new facilities under construction mentioned on page 25 of the 1992-93 annual report of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment ; why they are necessary ; what is their cost ; and which buildings they are replacing ;

(4) if, following the publication of the account of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down, in its latest two annual reports, he will now publish the annual budgets of this establishment for each financial year since 1979.


Next Section

  Home Page