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Mr. Scott : It is estimated that freezing the additional pension payable with invalidity benefit will generate net savings of £30 million in 1995-96, £40 million in 1996-97 and £50 million in 1997-98.

It is estimated that abolishing additional pension for people who start receiving long-term incapacity benefit after April 1995 will generate net savings of £20 million in 1995-96, £130 million in 1996-97 and £230 million in 1997-98.

Note : Estimates are expressed in constant 1993-94 prices, are rounded to the nearest £10 million and are net of offsetting changes in expenditure on age allowances and income related benefits.


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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the estimated administration costs of incapacity benefit for the years 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Mr. Scott : Information is not available in the form requested. Forecasts of the costs of administering individual benefits are not available. It is estimated that the changes announced in the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 will add £40 million per annum to the Department's overall administrative costs in 1995-96 and 1996-97 and £10 million per annum from 1997-98.

Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the estimated savings to his Department arising from each clause of the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill, as amended.

Mr. Scott : The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill received Royal Assent on 5 July 1994.

The estimated savings taking account of amendments passed are in the table. Sections 1 and 2 have been grouped because it is not feasible to apportion the savings further. The figures show only the savings arising out of the Act itself.


Section    |1995-96   |1996-97              

           |£ million |£ million            

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

1 and 2    |-150      |-335                 

3          |n/a       |n/a                  

4          |-160      |-475                 

5          |-50       |-180                 

6          |n/a       |n/a                  

7          |n/a       |n/a                  

8          |negligible|negligible           

9          |n/a       |n/a                  

10         |+5        |+5                   

11         |n/a       |n/a                  

12         |-25       |-90                  

Note: Estimates are expressed in constant   

1993-94 prices and are rounded to the       

nearest £5 million.                         

Disability Working Allowance

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (a) what are the estimated costs to his Department of the changes to disability working allowance and (b) how many people are estimated to gain, under (i) increases to the allowance for lone parents, and couples, (ii) increases to the single person's threshold and (iii) introducing a disabled child's premium.

Mr. Scott : The cost and expected number of gainers as a result of the disability working allowance changes are in the table.


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                          1995-96                 1996-97                 1997-98                            

Cost                      £3.25 million           £4.25 million           £5.25 million                      

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

Increase allowance for   |gainers    |4,000      |gainers    |5,500      |gainers    |6,500                  

couples and lone parents |floaters on|1,000      |floaters on|1,000      |floaters on|1,500                  

                                                                                                             

Increase threshold for   |gainers    |4,500      |gainers    |6,000      |gainers    |7,000                  

single people            |floaters on|500        |floaters on|500        |floaters on|1,000                  

                                                                                                             

Introduce a disabled     |Gainers and|<250       |Gainers and|<250       |Gainers and|<250                   

child's premium          |floaters on            |floaters on            |floaters on                        

Note: Costs are rounded to the nearest £0.25 million and are given at constant 1994-95 prices; caseloads are 

rounded to the nearest 500. It is very difficult to reliably estimate the behavioural consequences of these  

policy changes, therefore figures are not accurate to that degree.                                           

Statistics

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of claimants receiving (a) severe disablement allowance, (b) invalidity benefit and (c) unemployment benefit also received (i) housing benefit and (ii) council tax benefit.

Mr. Scott : Information relating to housing benefit is in the table.

Information relating to council tax benefit is not yet available.


Benefit                      |Total         |Beneficiaries |Percentage                   

                             |Beneficiaries |also receiving                              

                                            |Housing                                     

                                            |Benefit                                     

                             |(000s)        |(000s)                                      

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

Severe Disablement Allowance |302           |60            |20                           

Invalidity Benefit           |1,439         |336           |23                           

Unemployment Benefit         |669           |154           |23                           

Notes:                                                                                   

The Severe disablement Allowance and Invalidity Benefit figures are based on a 1 per     

cent. sample of claimants in Great Britain at 4 April 1992, and the Unemployment Benefit 

figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample of claimants in Great Britain at 14 May 1992.  

The Housing Benefit figures are based on a 1 per cent. sample of recipients at May 1992. 

All figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand and percentages to the nearest     

whole number.                                                                            

Council Tax

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the latest figures available for the level of use of (a) direct payments from benefits and (b) attachment of earnings, for each council tax collecting local authority in England and Wales.

Mr. Hague : I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment that the information is not available centrally.

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security why local authorities' responses to his Department's research on the amount of estimated council tax benefit local authorities were expecting to have processed by the end of March 1993 were not published in the report "Preparing for Council Tax Benefit" published in August 1993 ; and if he will now publish these responses.

Mr. Hague : Although the question was included in a departmental circular to local authorities giving examples of the type of information that might be required, it was not included in the research questionnaire subsequently issued. Professional advice was that responses to such a question would be inaccurate, as an estimate of council tax benefit case load assessed would have been based on an already estimated case load figure. The information is not therefore available.

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the estimated cost of reducing the council tax benefit taper (a) from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent. and (b) from 20 per cent. to 10 per cent.


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Mr. Hague : The cost is estimated to be £110 million and £300 million in 1994 and 1995 respectively.

Source :

Estimates use data drawn from the 1989-90-91 Family Expenditure Surveys and modelled at 1994-95 prices and benefit levels. Costs are rounded to the nearest £5 million.

Income Support

Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the estimated average cost of keeping an individual on income support from the day he becomes eligible to receive it until he reaches pensionable age.

Mr. Burt : The information is not available. Such a cost would vary according to the personal circumstances of the claimant and the changes that occurred during the period on benefit.

Asbestosis

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to introduce an asbestosis compensation scheme on the same basis as the pneumoconiosis compensation scheme ; and if he will give reasons for his decision.

Mr. Scott : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to introduce an asbestosis compensation scheme.

Poverty

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what definition Her Majesty's Government use of absolute poverty.

Mr. Burt : No Government in the United Kingdom have ever accepted that it is possible to identify a single simple measure to define poverty in any meaningful way. A great many methods have been used by various academics to identify a "poverty line", but none has received general acceptance.

Rather than relying on narrow arbitrary definitions this Department publishes an extensive range of analyses and information of the incomes and characteristics of people in the lower half of the income distribution. These analyses can be found in "Households Below Average Income", the latest edition of which was published on 30 June 1993 covering the years 1979 to 1990. A copy is in the Library. The next edition is due to be published on 14 July covering the years 1979 to 1991-92.

Funeral Expenses

Ms Coffey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications to the social fund for funeral expenses have been refused since SI 506, the social fund Maternity and Funeral Expenses (General) Amendment Regulations 1994 came into force ; and how many refusals were on the grounds that the applicant is not considered a responsible person to meet the costs.

Mr. Scott : The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


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Habitual Residence

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he received representations from the Irish Government regarding the proposed habitual residence regulations ; what was the substance of the representations ; and what plans his Department has to take action as a result of these representations.

Mr. Burt : Department of Social Security Ministers met members of the Irish Government on a number of occasions earlier this year. The regulations laid on 11 July, which introduce a habitual residence test into income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit from 1 August, enable people who are habitually resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Irish Republic to qualify for those benefits, subject to satisfaction of the other conditions of entitlement. This maintains the reciprocal access to benefits between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic based upon the common travel area which has existed for many years.

Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he received representations from the European Commission regarding the proposed habitual residence regulation ; what is the substance of the representations ; if he will place them in the Library ; and what plans his Department has in view of the representations.

Mr. Burt : The Commission for the European Communities wrote on 15 March drawing attention to the existence of Community law in relation to residence tests and the right of free movement. The regulations which introduce a habitual residence test into income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit, laid on 11 July, take account of the requirements of Community law.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Fur Farms

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether mink are currently present at Little Youlstone mink farm ; and when the last licence was issued for this establishment ; (2) whether mink are currently present at Lawleys mink farm ; and when the last licence was issued for this establishment ; (3) whether mink are currently present at Kelbain mink farm ; and when the last licence was issued for this establishment ; (4) whether Swaslemoor mink farm is currently licensed to keep mink ;

(5) whether mink are currently present at Brome mink farm ; and when the last licence was issued for this establishment.

Mr. Soames : Ministry policy is not to disclose details of licences of mink farms.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many times officials of the State Veterinary Service have monitored the killing of arctic foxes on fur farms during each of the last five years ;

(2) what method is used to kill arctic foxes in fur farms.


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Mr. Soames : Officers of the State Veterinary Service monitored the slaughter of arctic fox once in the last five years. On that occasion the method of slaughter used was by lethal injection.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many welfare inspections were carried out on mink farms in 1993 by officers of the State Veterinary Service.

Mr. Soames : Officers of the State Veterinary Service carried out 13 inspections on mink farms in 1993.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the total breeding population of mink in England, by county.

Mr. Soames : The Mink Keeping Order 1992, which requires that mink farms are licensed by Agriculture Departments, does not require regular returns of the number of mink kept. However, best estimates suggest that the total number of mink being kept in fur farms in the United Kingdom has fallen from approximately 100,000 in 1987 to some 47,000 in 1992.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many mink were killed in fur factory farms in England last November.

Mr. Soames : The Mink Keeping Order 1992, which requires that mink farms are licensed by Agriculture Departments, does not require returns to be made of the number of mink killed.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many licensing applications for new mink fur factory farms have been made in each of the past five years.

Mr. Soames : In the last five years up to 30 June 1994, two licence applications have been made for new mink farms : one in 1991 and one earlier this year. All other licence applications received have been for licence renewals.

Calves' Offal

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration she gave to banning the use of the brains and spinal cords of calves under the age of six months in human food equally with the intestines and thymus ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : I have considered carefully the advice of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee and the Government's chief medical officer and concluded that on the basis of the scientific evidence there is no justification for banning the use of brain, spinal cord, tonsils and spleen of calves under six months of age from human food.

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research she is doing on the dangers of consumption of the thalamus.

Mr. Soames : The thalamus is part of the brain, and therefore from bovine animals over six months of age is a specified bovine offal which is prohibited for use in food for humans, animals and birds. The thalamus has not been


Column 645

tested separately from the rest of the brain, which has been assayed on several occasions, and in which the BSE agent has been shown to be present in brains from clinically infected cattle. The hon. Member may have in mind the thymus gland which was specifically mentioned in the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) on 30 June, Official Report, column 264, about new controls on calf offals. The thymus is also a specified bovine offal and prohibited for human consumption. Thymus tissue from experimental calves orally challenged with a large dose of BSE- infected brain is being assayed for infectivity in mice under a project funded by the Ministry. This research is incomplete but so far there is no evidence of infectivity in thymus tissue.

Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the background and field of expertise of each member of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee.

Mr. Soames : The information requested about members of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee is as follows : Dr. David A. J. Tyrrell : CBE, FRS. (Chairman)--Physician and Virologist. Former Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Common Cold Unit and Deputy Director of the MRC Clinical Research Centre.

Dr. Robert G. Will (Deputy Chairman)--Consultant Neurologist at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh and Head of the National Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit.

Professor Ingrid V. Allen--Professor of Neuropathology at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Professor Fred Brown FRS--Virologist. Former Deputy Director (Scientific) Animal Virus Research Institute (Pirbright). Dr. William D. Hueston-- Veterinary Epidemiologist, United States Department of Agriculture.


Column 646

Dr. Richard H. Kimberlin--Independent Consultant on Scrapie and Related Diseases.

Mr. David B. Pepper--Veterinary Surgeon in Private Practice (Retired).

Dr. William A. Watson--Veterinary Surgeon. Former Director of the Central Veterinary Laboratory.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what financial allowance is given to members appointed to the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee.

Mr. Soames : All members of the committee receive reimbursement of necessarily incurred travel and subsistence expenses. The chairman and four members of the committee also receive a daily fee for attendance at meetings in accordance with provisions set out in Treasury guidelines. The fee is £165 per meeting for the chairman and £131 for those members who receive a fee.

Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement about the supply of green top milk from dairy herds where BSE has been identified.

Mr. Soames : Green top milk from dairy herds where BSE has been identified is safe. Indeed, there is no evidence to indicate that milk will transmit any of the spongiform encephalopathies. Nevertheless, as part of the Government's ultra-cautious approach to BSE, the use of milk from BSE suspects is prohibited unless fed to their own calf, and all suspect BSE cattle are slaughtered and incinerated.

Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cases of BSE have been reported in each region of Britain in (a) beef cattle and (d) dairy cattle in each of the last five years.

Mr. Soames : The information requested is as follows :


Column 645


            Region                                                                                 

           |Northern  |Mid/West  |Eastern   |South East|South West|Wales     |Scotland             

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

1989                                                                                               

Beef       |31        |31        |43        |36        |102       |64        |47                   

Dairy      |365       |886       |326       |1,017     |3,050     |374       |124                  

                                                                                                   

1990                                                                                               

Beef       |119       |88        |59        |92        |179       |145       |165                  

Dairy      |882       |2,027     |678       |1,655     |4,935     |760       |242                  

                                                                                                   

1991                                                                                               

Beef       |226       |213       |127       |146       |423       |293       |260                  

Dairy      |1,544     |3,566     |1,108     |2,262     |8,852     |1,604     |378                  

                                                                                                   

1992                                                                                               

Beef       |521       |602       |290       |356       |847       |647       |634                  

Dairy      |2,740     |6,147     |1,669     |3,009     |11,223    |2,578     |831                  

                                                                                                   

1993                                                                                               

Beef       |782       |761       |438       |498       |952       |852       |1,043                

Dairy      |2,920     |6,537     |1,989     |3,014     |10,093    |2,634     |1,007                

                                                                                                   

1994<1>                                                                                            

Beef       |406       |329       |189       |248       |400       |363       |497                  

Dairy      |1,284     |2,951     |1,050     |1,470     |4,069     |1,161     |437                  

<1>As at 11 July 1994.                                                                             

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list all research


Column 646

projects related to BSE which have been supported by Government in the last three years ; and which projects are currently under consideration for future financial support.


Column 647

Mr. Soames : The titles of research projects that, for the last three years, have been and are currently being supported by Government funding are shown in the table. Research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy is also supported by the Biotechnology and Biologial Sciences Research Council, but this Ministry does not hold detailed information on these.

As new research projects are submitted by potential contractors "in confidence" for consideration by officials of this Ministry details of these projects are unavailable.


Column 647


Research projects related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy                                                                                                                                                                                        

Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the last three years                                                                                                                                                                 

Project title                                            |Contractor                                    |Start date                                    |Proposed end date                                                                            

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

Infectivity of various tissues from animals with BSE     |Royal Veterinary College, Veterinary Pathology| 1 January 1989                               |30 June 1993                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Evidence for the inheritance of susceptibility to BSE    |Dr. W. V. S. Wijeratne                        | 1 July 1990                                  |30 June 1993                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Experimental transmission of feline spongiform           |Bristol University, Pathology and Microbiology|29 August 1990                                |28 August 1993                                                                               

  encephalopathy to mice                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Large scale isolation of abnormal prion protein from     |Birmingham University, Chemical Engineering   | 1 June 1991                                  |31 May 1993                                                                                  

  BSE-infected tissue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

BSE deactivation studies (part of EC project)            |IAH, Compton Laboratory                       | 1 October 1991                               |11 October 1994                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Bovine gene mapping with particular reference to BSE     |Roslin Institute, Edinburgh                   | 1 October 1991                               |30 September 1994                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Further studies on oral transmission of BSE to mice      |Royal Veterinary College, Veterinary Pathology|30 January 1992                               |29 January 1995                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Investigation of the role of the embryo in maternal      |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 July 1992                                  |30 June 1995                                                                                 

  transmission of scrapie in sheep                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Potential role of anti-PrP in BSE                        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transferrin ion binding in normal and abnormal           |UL, UCL, Medical Microbiology                 | 1 November 1992                              |31 October 1993                                                                              

  plasma                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Genetic susceptibility of cattle to BSE                  |Reading University, Department Applied        | 1 July 1993                                  |30 June 1994                                                                                 

                                                         |  Statistics                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Continued large scale isolation of abnormal PrP from     |Birmingham University                         | 1 June 1994                                  |31 May 1995                                                                                  

   BSE affected tissues                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

BSE: Epidemiological studies                             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1988                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

BSE: Study to determine occurrence and incidence         |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 October 1990                               |31 March 1997                                                                                

  of maternal transmission                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Longitudinal studies of the brain pathology of BSE       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 January 1992                               |30 June 1996                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Brain pathology of clinical BSE in cattle born           |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  subsequent to exclusion of ruminant protein in                                                                                                                                                                                                     

  ruminant feed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Clinical and epidemiological correlates of the           |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 October 1993                                                                              

  vacuolar profile in BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Correlation of the histopathological diagnosis of        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1993                                                                             

  clinically suspect but histopathologically                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  unconfirmed BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Comparative neuropathology of recently recorded          |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1998                                                                                

  scrapie-like encephalopathies in animal species                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  other than cattle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Identification of BSE infection in cattle tissue         |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmission of BSE and natural scrapie into sheep       |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  and goats by intracerebral and oral routes                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Strain typing of BSE pathogens in mice, and              |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1991                                 |31 March 1999                                                                                

  comparison with strains from natural sheep                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Susceptibility of BSE and scrapie isolates to            |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  laboratory facsimilies of rendering practices                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Susceptibility of BSE agent to chemical and physical     |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  inactivation procedures applicable to the field/                                                                                                                                                                                                   

  laboratory                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

PrP gene variants and their potential as markers for     |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  natural and experimental scrapie susceptibility in                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  sheep                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Analysis of neuclic acid and differences between         |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  control and scrapie/BSE infected animals                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Diagnosis of BSE by detection of abnormal deposits       |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  of PrP and other BSE-infection specific antigens                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Development of an antemortem test for BSE and            |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  natural scrapie infection through the detection of                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  abnormal deposits of PrP                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sheep PrP gene studies                                   |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Further analysis of nucleic acid differences between     |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  control and scrapie/BSE infected animals                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Identification of genetic markers for susceptibility of  |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  sheep to scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Evaluation of electrophysiological methods for the       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  study of BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

A study of the diagnostic potential of behavioural       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  abnormalities in BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Diagnostic potential of the pharmacologial               |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  manipulation of clinical signs of BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Electrophoretic analysis of body fluids to identify      |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  diagnostic markers in BSE and scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Identification of BSE and scrapie infected animals by    |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

  the detection of a urinary metabolite                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sensitivity studies of fibril detection techniques used  |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1991                                 |30 September 1996                                                                            

  in Electron Microscopy for the diagnosis of                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Biochemical approaches to the differential diagnosis     |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 November 1992                              |31 March 1995                                                                                

of BSE in the live animal                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sensitivity of scrapie-associated fibrils from different |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 July 1992                                  |31 March 1994                                                                                

  breeds of sheep to proteinase K digestion                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

TSE fibril immunolabelling studies                       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 July 1992                                  |31 March 1994                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Establishment of in-vitro culture of bovine cells for    |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 January 1993                               |31 March 1994                                                                                

  veterinary research                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Production of sera suitable for the development of       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1993                                                                             

  immunodiagnostic tests for transmissible                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  spongiform                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Gain information on use of resistant rams as method      |ADAS                                          | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1999                                                                                

  of controlling or eradicating scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Scale up of isolation of abnormal PrP from BSE           |Birmingham University                         | 1 June 1993                                  |31 May 1994                                                                                  

  infected tissue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Molecular characterisation of a single stranded (SS)     |London Hospital Medical College               | 1 August 1993                                |31 July 1994                                                                                 

  DNA observed in scrapie infected hamster and                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  mouse brain-Jointly funded by MAFF and                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  BBSRC                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Studies of PrP gene of species naturally and             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

   experimentally infected with transmissible                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  spongiform encephalopathies                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Significance of PrP and putative anti-PrP genes on       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  susceptibility to transmission of spongiform                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  encephalopathies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transcriptional control of the PrP promotor              |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Antibodies against the BSE agent                         |Reading University, Department of             | 1 February 1994                              |31 January 1995                                                                              

                                                         |  Microbiology                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Molecular characterisation of bovine PrP                 |IAH, Compton Laboratory                       | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

BSE: Embryo transfer studies                             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 October 1989                               |30 September 2000                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to pigs by injection with        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1989                                 |31 March 1998                                                                                

  brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to pigs by oral exposure to      |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1990                                 |31 May 1999                                                                                  

  brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to cattle by oranasal            |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 May 1998                                                                                  

  exposure to placentae of affected cattle                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to domestic fowl by injection    |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 May 1999                                                                                  

  with brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to domestic fowl by oral         |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 May 1999                                                                                  

  exposure to brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE to mink by intracerebral and     |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1993                                                                             

  by oral exposure to brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of BSE and natural scrapie to           |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  marmoset by stereotoxic intracerebral inoculation                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  of brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Comparative efficiencies of the bioassay of BSE          |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 2006                                                                                

  infectivity in cattle and mice                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Peripheral tissue distribution of the agent of           |Institute of Zoology                          | 1 June 1993                                  |31 May 1996                                                                                  

  spongiform encephalopathy in kudu                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Injection of bovine embryos with BSE/PrP infectivity     |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1993                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

BSE: Transmissibility to cattle by injection with        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1993                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transmissibility of scrapie to pigs by oral exposure to  |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1993                                 |31 December 2005                                                                             

  brain homogenate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Pathogenesis of experimental BSE in cattle               |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 July 1998                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Effect of oral innoculation dose on attack rate and      |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  incubation period of BSE in cattle                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Targeting of PrBSE: Immunohistological localisation      |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1995                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Spinal cord pathology in BSE                             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Extraneural pathology of natural and experimental        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  BSE in cattle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Neuronal morphology in BSE                               |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 May 1995                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Morphometric and immunohistochemical studies of          |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ultrastructural morphological and                        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  immunocylochemical studies of transmissible                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  degenerative encephalopathies                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Potential role of anti-PrP in BSE                        |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 January 1992                               |31 March 1993                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Aetiological studies of brainstem neuronal               |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 October 1992                               |31 October 1997                                                                              

  chromatolysis; a disorder clinically similar to                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sequential observations of neurological signs in BSE     |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1995                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Magnetic resonnance of imaging bovine brains             |Animal Health Trust                           | 1 December 1993                              |31 January 1994                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Morphometric evaluation of scrapied mice                 |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 May 1994                                   |31 August 1995                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Scrapie infection of sheep neural and extraneural cell   |Moredun Research Institute                    | 1 January 1994                               |31 December 1996                                                                             

  lines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

For BSE work with ADAS                                   |ADAS                                          | 1 April 1991                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the projects which have been funded in the last three years ; and which are under consideration for funding, that are related to establishing a live BSE identification test for cattle.

Mr. Soames : The table lists those research projects on bovine spongiform encephalopathy supported by


Column 654

Government during the last three years, which are related to establishing methods for diagnosing BSE in the live animal. Some of the other research projects funded by Government may also contribute to the developments of diagnostic methods, in as much as they contribute to knowledge about the nature of the infectious agent and the response of the infected animal.


Column 653


Research projects concerned with the diagnosis of BSE in live animals supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food                                                                                                                   

Project title                                            |Contractor                                    |Start date                                    |Proposed end date                                                                            

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

Large scale isolation of abnormal prion protein from     |Birmingham University, Chemical Engineering   | 1 June 1991                                  |31 May 1993                                                                                  

  BSE-infected tissue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transferrin ion binding in normal and abnormal           |UL, UCL, Medical Microbiology                 | 1 November 1992                              |31 October 1993                                                                              

  plasma                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Continued Large scale isolation of abnormal PrP          |Birmingham University                         | 1 June 1994                                  |31 May 1995                                                                                  

  from BSE affected tissues                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

PrP gene variants and their potential as markers for     |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  natural and experimental scrapie susceptibility in                                                                                                                                                                                                 

sheep                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Analysis of neuclic acid and differences between         |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  control and scrapie/BSE infected animals                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Diagnosis of BSE by detection of abnormal deposits       |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1990                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  of PrP and other BSE-infection specific antigens                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Development of an antemortem test for BSE and            |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  natural scrapie infection through the detection of                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  abnormal deposits of PrP                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sheep PrP Gene studies                                   |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Further analysis of neuclicc acid differences between    |IAH, Neuropathogenesis Unit                   | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

  control and scrapie/BSE infected animals                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Evaluation of electrophysiological methods for the       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  study of BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

A study of the diagnostic potential of behavioural       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  abnormalities in BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Diagnostic potential of the pharmacologicial             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1993                                                                                

  manipulation of clinica; signs of BSE                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Electrophoretic analysis of body fluids to identify      |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1996                                                                                

  diagnostic markers in BSE and scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Identification of BSE and scrapie infected animals by    |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

  the detection of a urinary metabolite                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sensitivity studies of fibril detection techniques used  |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1991                                 |30 September 1996                                                                            

  in Electron Microsocopy for the diagnosis of                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Biochemical approaches to the differential diagnosis     |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 November 1992                              |31 March 1995                                                                                

  of BSE in the live animal                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Sensitivity of scrapie-associated fibrils from different |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 July 1992                                  |31 March 1994                                                                                

  breeds of sheep to proteinase K digestion                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

TSE fibril immunolabelling studies                       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 July 1992                                  |31 March 1994                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Establishment of in-vitro culture of bovine cells for    |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 January 1993                               |31 March 1994                                                                                

  veterinary research                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Production of sera suitable for the development of       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 December 1993                                                                             

  immunodiagnostic tests for transmissible                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  spongiform                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Gain information on use of resistant rams as method      |ADAS, Redesdale                               | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1999                                                                                

  of controlling or eradicating scrapie                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Scale up of isolation of abnormal PrP from BSE           |Birmingham University                         | 1 June 1993                                  |31 May 1994                                                                                  

  infected tissue                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Molecular characterisation of a single stranded (SS)     |London Hospital Medical College               | 1 August 1993                                |31 July 1994                                                                                 

  DNA observed in scrapie infected hamster and                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  mouse brain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Studies of PrP gene of species naturally and             |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

  experimentally infected with transmissible                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  spongiform encephalopathies                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Significance of PrP and putative anti-PrP genes on       |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1992                                 |31 March 1994                                                                                

  susceptibility to transmission of spongiform                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  encephalopathies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Transcriptional control of the PrP Promotor              |Central Veterinary Laboratory                 | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1997                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Antibodies against the BSE agent                         |Reading University, Department of Microbiology| 1 February 1994                              |31 January 1995                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Molecular characterisation of Bovine PrP                 |IAH, Compton Laboratory [FPC]                 | 1 April 1994                                 |31 March 1995                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Scrapie infection of sheep neural and extraneural cell   |Moredun Research Institute                    | 1 January 1994                               |31 December 1996                                                                             

  lines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 22 June Official Report, column 168 what assessment she has made of the risk to humans posed by bovine immunodeficiency virus.

Mr. Soames : Bovine immunodeficiency-like virus, which was first identified in 1969, is one of a group of viruses that make up the lentivirus--slow virus--group. There is no evidence that it affects humans whether through contact with animals, drinking milk or eating meat. Experimental efforts to grow the virus in human cells have failed. Two United States laboratory personnel who had accidentally had needle stick injuries with BIV-infected cell culture material some five years ago have shown no signs of illness. Cattle with BIV antibodies have been identified in a number of countries and the virus is thought to have a worldwide distribution. No country as far as we are aware has considered it necessary to impose restrictions on known positive cattle herds in order either to protect the public or to prevent spread to other herds. It is characteristic of the lentiviruses to be highly species specific and it is important to note that mankind for generations has been in contact with horses, sheep, goats and cats many of which will have been infected with lentiviruses.

Racing Pigeons

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cases of paramyxovirus infection in commercial poultry have been attributed to racing pigeons for each year since 1987.

Mr. Soames : The virus which causes paramyxoviruses in pigeons causes Newcastle disease in poultry. The last confirmed outbreak of Newcastle disease in commercial poultry was in 1984, when racing pigeons were implicated.


Column 656

Durum Wheat, Italy

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 27 June, Official Report, columns 401-2 what were the areas and discrepancies of durum wheat measured by remote sensing in Italy ; what subsequent action was taken by the Italian authorities ; and what evidence she has on whether such action has been effective.

Mr. Jack [holding answer 30 June 1994] : The information requested is not held by my Department. Further details of the results and the nature of the action taken by the Italian authorities can be obtained from the European Commission in Brussels.

Recycled Paper

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of her Department's (a) press releases and (b) written answers are printed on recycled paper.

Mr. Jack [holding answer 4 July 1994] : Although the paper used for MAFF press releases and written answers is not at present recycled, they are all printed on an environmentally friendly paper made from pulp obtained from sustainable and managed forests. Tests of recycled paper on the high-speed and high-volume printing machines used to produce press releases and written answers have so far been unsuccessful. MAFF does use recycled or environmentally friendly paper wherever this is available, of adequate quality and represents value for money. Later this year, another type of paper is to be used which has been subject to an environmental audit and awarded an "Eco-check" four-star rating. Ministers' correspondence, which is not copied in large quantities, is printed on recycled paper.


Column 657

Privatisation

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which organisations, agencies and other bodies relating to her departmental area of responsibility have been privatised since 1990 ; and what plans she has for further privatisation.

Mr. Jack [holding answer 12 July 1994] : In March this year, the status of the former Agricultural Training Board was changed from that of a statutory, controlled non-departmental public body to a non-statutory private sector organisation with charitable status. The new organisation is known as ATB-Landbase. In 1990, it was announced that the Government intended to dispose of the assets of the Covent Garden Market Authority when legislative time permits. My right hon. Friend has taken no decisions regarding the transfer to private ownership of any other organisation of which she is owner or joint owner.

Bovine Somatotropin

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which interested parties she has written to on the licensing of BST ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames [holding answer 12 July 1994] : Following the announcement of my intention formally to consult all interested parties about BST I wrote on 28 April to 173 organisations, including welfare interests consumer organisations and industry bodies. A copy of the consultation package, including a list of those consulted, was placed in the Library of the House on 9 June.

Up to 7 July, copies had also been sent to a further 38 members of the public, hon. Members and organisations, a list of which has been placed in the Library of the House today.

Comfrey

Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether her Department will make a grant to the Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy to fund the undertaking of further research into the safety of comfrey and comfrey products.

Mr. Soames : The Ministry will shortly publish its "Food Research Requirements Document 1995-96" which describes the research topics that the Ministry is prepared to fund in the next financial year. These topics include research on the toxic properties of natural constituents of food which may cover the research requirements of the Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy. The society is therefore welcome to submit its proposal for research in this area which will be assessed for its suitability for funding against the selection criteria listed in the document.


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