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Mr. Waldegrave : Information super highways are an emerging technology on which much interest has focused recently, particularly on the possible access to services for the citizen that such technology could offer. There are to date only a few pilots in operation globally, most notably in the United States.
Clearly, these developments are being watched with interest. The Government are also working closely with other members of the European Union in considering the requirements for such networks within Europe. The CCTA-- Government centre for information systems--has already begun work on a study to look in detail at the
Column 487possible development of information super highways within the United Kingdom It will be working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in considering this issue.
It is important that the roles of the private and public sector are taken into account. Full and thorough analysis of the global pilot projects will be needed to evaluate their benefits to the citizen and to the public and private sectors both within the United Kingdom and across Europe as a whole.
Mr. Waldegrave : The national week of science, engineering and technology--"SET "--will begin on Friday 18 March 1994. It is being organised, with Government funding, by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and will involve over 1,000 events taking place in some 230 towns and cities nationwide. SET will, I am confident, make a significant impact by promoting a better appreciation among the general public of the invaluable contribution that science, engineering and technology make to our well-being as a nation.
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State and I will be doing our best to get to as many events as possible during SET . Among other things, I will be opening the week at the natural history museum on the Friday morning ; I will also deliver the Friday evening discourse at the Royal Institution ; my family and I will be visiting the Bristol Exploratory on Saturday ; on Monday, I will be opening the new science line telephone answering service at Channel 4's headquarters ; on Wednesday, I shall be attending a Royal Society of Chemistry presentation ceremony at the House of Commons ; and on Friday 25 March, I will be holding a breakfast briefing on the week in the House. I will also, of course, be doing a number of radio and television interviews.
Mr. David Davis : The Government make money available to the research councils through the science budget. The amounts of such money allocated to the British Antarctic Survey from its parent body, the Natural Environment Research Council, are as follows :
|Capital |Recurrent|Total |£ million|£ million|£ million -------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |1.435 |9.354 |10.789 1985-86 |2.873 |9.375 |12.248 1986-87 |2.458 |9.211 |11.669 1987-88 |3.156 |10.898 |14.054 1988-89 |12.032 |12.693 |24.725 1989-90 |18.559 |14.064 |32.623 1990-91 |30.023 |16.067 |46.090 1991-92 |9.030 |17.064 |26.094 1992-93 |4.010 |18.016 |22.026 1993-94 |2.177 |19.491 |21.668
The proposed grant for 1994-95 is £24.31 million, including £2.15 million for capital expenditure.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to his answer of 4 March, Official Report, columns 899- 900, if he will provide a list of known (a) Conservative and (b) Liberal Democrat supporters appointed to public bodies to which he referred.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 2 March, Official Report, columns 767-68, what was the result of the response to each HMSO campaign listed.
Mr. David Davis : HMSO's revenue from the sale of publications and videos in 1993 increased by 5.6 per cent. over the previous year, while revenue from the sale of IT products increased by 37 per cent. Sales of BSI titles at HMSO bookshops over the first five months since becoming main agents totalled £146,000. The campaign to strengthen awareness in central and local government, the health service and public utilities took place more recently and it is too soon to assess the impact.
Mr. Waldegrave : Since my Department was established in May 1992 I have declined to answer six questions on a disproportionate cost basis. I have also declined to answer parts of 10 further questions on the same basis.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the latest figure she has for (a) the total value of moneys purloined from the common agricultural policy's export refund and price support schemes and (b) how much the common agricultural policy has lost through the evasion of customs duties and farm levies ; and if she will estimate the proportion of defrauded funds that are recouped.
Mr. Jack : Cases reported by member states of irregularity, including details of the amounts recovered, under the EAGGF guarantee, fund, which includes CAP export refund and price support schemes, and cases of irregularity under the own resources regulation, which includes customs duties and farm levies under the CAP, are shown in table 1.1 of the annual report from the Commission on the Fight Against Fraud , a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Details of the value of own resources irregularities recovered are not separately identifiable.
Column 489Irregularity in this context encompasses all reported overpayments, whether caused by simply negligence or deliberate intent to defraud. Statistics on the number of irregularities should not therefore be interpreted as an indication of the extent of detected fraud within the Community.
1992 Report, COM(93) Final of 20 April 1993--Table 1.1, cases of fraud or irregularity reported above deminimus level of 10,000 ecu Own Resources and 4,000 ecu Guarantee Fund.
Mr. Jack : Level of agricultural production is ultimately determined by the aggregate decisions of individual farmers, who when making these decisions will take into account forecast returns for each crop, including Community support payments to which they may be entitled.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will estimate by how much common agricultural prices have risen in weak currency countries as a direct result of the system of pegging farm prices to the deutschmark via the switchover system for each country.
Mr. Jack : Common agricultural policy support prices in all European Community member states are 20.75 per cent. higher in national currency terms than they would be without the application of the switchover coefficient. The effect of this coefficient has, however, been offset to some extent by associated reductions in the common ecu level of support prices : the net effect is that prices are just under 19 per cent. higher. However, support prices are set by the Council of Ministers in the annual price-fixing negotiations. It is not possible to say what prices would have been set had the switchover system not existed.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of the common agricultural policy's budget is accounted for by (a) administrative costs, (b) storage costs, (c) disposal costs and (d) export restitutions in the current financial year.
Mr. Jack : The CAP budget for 1994 has been set at 36,465 mecu-- £27, 566 million. This does not cover expenditure incurred by either the Commission or the member states in the administration of the CAP, with the exception of some anti-fraud measures, which account for about 0.4 per cent. of the budget. Intervention storage, including depreciation costs and profits on sale, and export refunds account for 9 per cent and 20.8 per cent., respectively. With regard to disposal costs, surpluses are generally either exported on to world markets with the aid of export refunds, or purchased into intervention storage, from which they are eventually sold out again. Some perishable products, such as fruit and vegetables and fish, may be withdrawn from the market, and may, for example, be used for non- food purposes or be donated to charities. Some of this produce, because of its perishable nature, may be destroyed. Withdrawals and similar operations account for 2.6 per cent. of the 1994 budget.
Column 490(b) what she estimates the price of beef per tonne would be in a free market without European Community price intervention, (c) the levels of European Community production and consumption of beef, (d) the level of common agricultural policy expenditure on beef subsidies and (e) the cost to the British Exchequer of European Community intervention in the beef market.
Mr. Jack : The cattle reference price for the week commencing 17 February 1994 was £1,152.30 per tonne. However, 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 Community policy were to be changed.
It is provisionally estimated that EC production of beef in 1993 was 7,980 thousand tonnes and EC consumption was 7,755 thousand tonnes.
The level CAP expenditure on beef subsidies in the 1993 EC budget years was some £3,131 million and the Exchequer costs of CAP support for beef in the United Kingdom is estimated at £308 million for the 1993-94 financial year. The United Kingdom also contributes to the EC budget as a whole, which funds the cost of beef support in other member states.
Sir Roger Moate : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what proposals are under consideration for introduction by the European Community in respect of grubbing grants for apple orchards ; and what is her policy on this matter ;
(2) what proposals are under consideration for altering the intervention system for apples within the European Community ; and what is her policy on this matter.
Mr. Jack : The Council of Ministers has asked the Commission to come forward with proposals to reform the EC regime in fruit and vegetables. Their proposals are awaited ; our view is that the intervention system for apples, and other products, sustains over-production and distorts the market, to which the regime should pay more attention. Our view on grubbing grants, should those be included in the Commission's proposals, will depend on the shape of the package as a whole. Such schemes have been unsuccessful in the past when introduced in isolation.
Mr. Gale : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the effect of the introduction of maximum residue levels on the veterinary care of horses in the United Kingdom ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : Under Council regulation 2377/90, maximum residue limits must be established by 1996 for active ingredients in veterinary medicines used in food producing species. The status of horses as food producing animals was established under directive 64/433/EEC relating to the sanitary conditions for the production and marketing of fresh meat. The European Commission has now confirmed however that, in line with existing United Kingdom policy, if a horse is not destined for human consumption, maximum residue limits will not be required. In addition, the Commission has emphasised that it is not the intention of the regulatory authorities to deny veterinarians the possibility of treating any animals.
In the United Kingdom, therefore, we shall continue to require that where no MRLs have been established, the medicinal product should be clearly marked as not to be used on any animal that might be intended for human consumption. This applies to all horses irrespective of value. I am satisfied this provides the necessary guarantees to consumers of the safety of food whilst safeguarding animal health and welfare. The introduction of MRLs should therefore have no effect on the veterinary care of horses in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jack : The Fishery Limits Act 1976 established British fishery limits extending to 200 miles from baselines or, where appropriate, to the median line. Since the establishment of the common fisheries policy in 1983 these waters, except for those out to 12 miles from baselines, are Community waters. Norway's entitlements to fish in Community waters are fixed annually under bilateral EC-Norway agreements in relation to specified ICES--International Council for the Exploration of the Sea--
Column 492zones. Listed in the table are the species and quantities of fish for 1994 which Norway is entitled to take in the Community waters around the United Kingdom :--
ICES area |Species |Tonnage |('000) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IV |Cod | 8.8 |Haddock | 20 IV and IIIa |Saithe | 40 IV |Whiting | 10 |Plaice | 6 IV and IIIa |Mackerel | 63.79 IV and VIId |Herring | 50 IV |Norway pout | 20 IV |Sandeel | 30 II, IVa, VIa, VIb, VII |Bluewhiting |205 IV, Vb, VI, VII, IIa |Blue ling | 1 IV, Vb, VI, VII, IIa |Ling | 10 IV, Vb, VI, VII, IIa |Tusk | 5 Vb, VI, VII |Combined quota<1> | 2 IV, VI, VII |Dogfish | 1.5 IV, VI, VII |Basking shark (liver)| 0.1 IV, VI, VII |Porbeagle | 0.2 IV |Shrimps | 0.1 IV |Horse mackerel | 5 IV, IIa |Others | 5 VIa |Herring | 6.2 IV |Sprat | 20 IIa, VI |Greenland halibut | 1.7 <1> Fishing with long lines for grenadiers, rat tails, mora mora and greater fork beard.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what species and quantities of fish were caught by (a) British, (b) German and (c) Spanish vessels within Norwegian fishing limits in (i) 1977, (ii) 1982, (iii) 1986, (iv) 1990 and (v) 1993.
Comparable data for the earlier two years are not available.
Tonnes liveweight Nationality and Year species |1986 |1990 |<1>1993 -------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom Cod |6,572 |2,573 |9,667 Haddock |429 |320 |1,065 Saithe |48 |257 |384 Redfish |122 |129 |455 Greenland Halibut |2 |0 |0 Other species |1,702 |2,051 |7,974 German Cod |1,938 |649 |2,598 Haddock |880 |123 |426 Saithe |3,452 |1,050 |3,580 Blue whiting |0 |0 |2 Mackerel |0 |0 |17,760 Redfish |3,367 |1,118 |464 Greenland Halibut |9 |4 |4 Other species |772 |386 |374 Spanish Cod |0 |0 |203 <1>Provisional year-end data.
Column 493quantity of Norwegian fish exports went to (a) the United Kingdom (b) Denmark, (c) the Netherlands and (d) France in the last year for which figures are available.
|Tonnes |Percent --------------------------------------- United Kingdom |43,263 |11 Denmark |116,575|28 Netherlands |25,772 |6 France |68,156 |17
Mr. Radice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many agency chief executives in her Department are currently paid more than £82,925, excluding performance-related bonuses ; and whether such chief executives were recruited directly to their present post from outside the civil service.
Mr. Ray Michie : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions she has had with (a) France and (b) other European Union countries regarding European Union restrictions on the transport of British cattle to Switzerland : and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : None. European Community animal health rules prevent the export from the United Kingdom to non-EC countries via other member states of live cattle, other than those of less than six months of age or which have been imported into the United Kingdom after 18 July 1988.
Adlington, Nr Macclesfield
Bishops Lydeard, Nr Taunton
Brenchley, Nr Tonbridge
Burscough, Nr Ormskirk
Dalston, Nr Carlisle
Earl Shilton, Nr Leicester
Glen Parva, Nr Leicester
Grimsargh, Nr Preston
Gunthorpe Lock, Nr Nottingham
Honeybourne, Nr Evesham
Humshaugh, Nr Hexham
Hemel Hempstead, Herts
Pollington, Nr Goole
Column 494Ringmer, Nr Lewes
Sevenhampton, Nr Swindon
Sowerby, Nr Thirsk
Strubby, Nr Alford, Lincs
Sunbury on Thames
West Pennard, Nr Glastonbury
In addition, 4 acres of agricultural land at Luddington, Warwickshire, 2 acres of agricultural land at Potton in Bedfordshire and 95 acres of agricultural land near Wickford in Essex are not being used by the Ministry pending disposal.
Contractors must also comply with contractural obligations drawn up by this Ministry to minimise the contamination of premises, prevent contamination of water and air and provide for safe handling of material by operators.
Mr. Soames : The number of suspect BSE carcases slaughtered in each region and subsequently incinerated, from 1991 to 1994, is as follows. This information can be obtained only on a calendar year basis.
Region |1991 |1992 |1993 |1994 ---------------------------------------------------------- Northern |2,376 |4,457 |5,042 |392 Midlands and West |4,679 |9,164 |9,096 |726 Eastern |1,680 |2,557 |2,555 |235 SouthEast |2,785 |3,975 |3,855 |343 SouthWest |15,394 |16,860 |13,467 |1,063 Wales |2,570 |4,518 |4,043 |374 South Scotland |551 |1,281 |1,651 |124 North Scotland |271 |635 |816 |71 |-------|-------|-------|------- Total |30,306 |43,447 |40,525 |3,328 1994 figures are as at 31 January.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the 1994 forms and explanatory booklet relating to the integrated administration and control system will become available in England and Wales.