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Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how a dog or cat has to comply with the new import regulations for traded animals as far as vaccination and identification are concerned.

Mrs. Browning: The regulations require that a dog or cat must have been vaccinated against rabies using an inactivated vaccine after the age of three months and at least six months before dispatch to the United Kingdom. In addition, at least one month after vaccination a blood sample must be taken and tested to confirm that the vaccine has been effective. The only approved method of identification for such imports is by an implanted microchip transponder.

Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether all registered animals entering the country since the introduction of the traded animal legislation last summer have complied with the requirements of the new importation rules.

Mrs. Browning: Of the two dogs and one cat imported under the new arrangements set out in article 10(3) of EC directive 92/65 one dog has been put into quarantine, because the necessary microchip identification was absent.

Internet

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to


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provide information via Internet; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jack: MAFF has placed selected statistical information on Internet, as part of its participation in the pilot CCTA Government information service launched on 10 November. As a result, up to 20 years of agriculture and food statistics are now accessible on Internet. A range of background information about the Department's work and publications is also available, and the MAFF helpline has enhanced its service by introducing an E-mail address for communicating with Internet users.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what prosecutions have resulted in each of the last five years from fraud against the CAP; how much has been recovered; what fines have been imposed; and what equivalent information he has in respect of (a) Italy, (b) Greece and (c) Spain.

Mr. Jack: The information for the United Kingdom for the four years 1990 to 1993 is as follows. Information for earlier years is not readily available.


             |Numbers of  |Amounts                               

             |prosecutions|recovered   |Fines                    

Year                      |£           |£                        

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

1990         |26          |3,136       |23,100                   

1991         |20          |70,349      |223,650                  

1992         |31          |301,601     |557,170                  

1993         |31          |14,955      |309,795                  

We have no equivalent data available relating to other member states.

Rabies

Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will estimate the results of the oral vaccination of foxes in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1993 and the first half of 1994; and if he will give the number of cases of rabies in both domestic animals and wild animals in Germany during the same period. (2) how many cases of rabies in human beings were reported in eastern Europe during 1993 and in the first half of 1994.

Mrs. Browning: The information the hon. Member requires can be found in the "Rabies Bulletin Europe", compiled by the World Health Organisation collaborating centre for rabies surveillance and research. This is published on a quarterly basis with a consolidated report issued at the end of each year. Copies of the consolidated reports for the last five years and the two quarterly reports issued so far this year have been placed in the Library of the House.

Spongiform Encephalopathies

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many confirmed cases of spongiform encephalopathies in canines there have been; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Browning: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy has never been confirmed in canines in the United Kingdom, or as far as the Ministry is aware, anywhere else in the world.


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Fisheries Council

Mr. Harris: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the Council of Fisheries Ministers held in Brussels on 23 November.

Mr. Jack: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 24 November to the Member for Harborough(Mr. Garnier), Official Report, columns 316 17.

Milk Prices

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to examine milk price rises and the role of the Milk Marque.

Mr. Jack: My right hon. Friends the Minister, the Secretary of State for Wales and the President of the Board of Trade examined the outcome of Milk Marque's selling arrangements when they turned down the Dairy Trade Federation's request for a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the summer. Now that the milk marketing scheme has come to an end the milk market is subject to the normal competition rules. Scrutiny of the trading behaviour of Milk Marque is now a matter for the competition authorities.

Salmonella

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the progress so far made to eradicate salmonella from eggs.

Mrs. Browning: Following a report of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food on Salmonella in Eggs, the Government ceased to require the monitoring of commercial egg laying flocks for salmonella and the compulsory slaughter of those infected with salmonella enteritidis in February 1993. Controls on breeding flocks were brought into line with those required under Council directive 92/117/EEC later that year. A survey of home produced eggs carried out by the Public Health Laboratory Service in 1991 revealed that 99.3 per cent. of six-egg packs tested were found not to contain salmonella enteritidis. The steering group for the microbiological safety of food is considering the need for a further survey in 1995. The Government continue to fund research into the control of salmonella in poultry and the survival of salmonella in eggs. The egg industry is actively consolidating best practice for the transport, handling and storage of eggs into an industry code of practice. Much of the industry already had adopted such procedures.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the high cost of the common agricultural policy prior to the introduction of the European Communities (Finance) Bill.

Mr. Jack: My right hon. Friend is in regular contact with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on matters concerning the cost of the common agricultural policy.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the implications of the European Communities


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(Finance) Bill for the future of the common agricultural policy.

Mr. Jack: The European Communities (Finance) Bill does not of itself have direct implications for the future of the common agricultural policy. CAP expenditure is constrained by the agricultural guideline, a legally binding ceiling. Its growth is restricted to 74 per cent. of the growth in EC GNP. As a result, CAP expenditure as a proportion of the total EC budget will continue to fall. It currently represents 50 per cent. of the total EC budget, as compared with 70 per cent. when the guideline was first introduced in 1988.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will place a copy of the European Commission report on reform of the common agricultural policy in the Library.

Mr. Waldegrave: This report, entitled "EC Agriculture in the 21st Century", has now been published in the Journal "European Economy" on behalf of the European Commission's Directorate-General II (Economy and Finance) Copies have been placed in the House Libraries. I welcome the Commission's decision to publish this radical look at the common argriculture policy and shall be study it with interest.

Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively;

(2) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months, respectively.

Mr. Jack: The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, Departments are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. For 1993 94, MAFF paid 85 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the special advisers employed by his Department in each of the last five years indicating when they (a) joined and (b) left his Department and the annual salary they received.

Mr. Jack: The names of special advisers who have joined or left the Department in the last five years is as follows:


                    |1990               |1991               |1992               |1993               |1994                                   

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

Joined              |Keith Adams        |-                  |-                  |Elizabeth Cottrell,|David Rutley                           

                                                                                |Ken Leggett                                                

                                                                                                                                            

Left                |Richard Gueterbock |-                  |-                  |Keith Adams        |Elizabeth Cottrell,                    

                                                                                                    |Ken Leggett                            

Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points, ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this.

Hill Farming

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what acreage has been put into regeneration of the natural habitat in hill farming; and if he will evaluate the effect this will have on hill farm incomes.

Mr. Jack [holding answer 24 November 1994]: The environmentally sensitive areas scheme includes provisions for annual payments to farmers for the regeneration of heather moorland and other upland habitats. Some 16,000 hectares of land are being managed under those tiers of the scheme in England. Other schemes also provide assistance to hill farmers for habitat enhancement but it is not possible to quantify the area of land benefiting from those schemes. It is not possible to isolate the effect which any of these measures will have on hill farm incomes.

Live Animal Exports

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any of those holding the licences to export live animals from Plymouth on the night of 21 November have any previous convictions for animal cruelty; who are these people; and what their specific convictions are for.

Mrs. Browing [holding answer 24 November 1994]: There is no requirement for such persons to be licensed. We are aware that some involved recently in the export of animals may have past convictions for welfare offences, but prohibition from engaging in the trade is not a penalty provided for by statute.

Secret Files

Mr. Byers: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.

Mr. Jack [holding answer 24 November 1994]: This Department operates a de-centralised record-keeping system and no central records, either of files or of its individual classification, are kept. There is unlikely to be a great number of top secret and secret files but because no central record is kept in MAFF to obtain this information by a departmental inquiry to all the various registries would be time consuming and at a disproportionate cost.


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DEFENCE

Market Testing

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the basis of calculating savings on his Department's competing for quality programme; and if he will have a statement.

Mr. Freeman: Savings and efficiency gains against the Department's competing for quality programme are calculated against a baseline of the annual cost of the existing activities before market testing. For costing purposes, it would be expected that full costs, representing the total cost of resources used in providing a particular service, including the direct costs of the service and a proportional share of overhead costs, would be used.

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 22 November 1994, Official Report , column 135 , if he will list the 82 support activities which have been examined in relation to the competing for quality programme.

Mr. Freeman: I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

Counselling

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out his Department's arrangements for counselling service personnel and ex-service personnel; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: There are many forms of counselling, ranging from an interview or discussion with a commanding officer or chaplain to a series of sessions with a doctor, professional social or welfare worker or counsellor, and covering the whole range of personal and professional problems. Illustrative examples would be: the provision of marriage guidance counselling for serving members of the forces and their dependants in Germany through a grant to Relate--to replicate facilities in the United Kingdom-- active programmes for the prevention and treatment of the condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder; and a comprehensive system of education and treatment in relation to alcohol abuse. Counselling of former service personnel would generally be through those channels available to the population at large, for example, the national health service or local authorities.

Civil Servants

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) by grade those members of his Department who have left his Department in the last two years to join defence or defence-related companies, (b) the companies involved and (c) the number joining each company.


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Mr. Freeman: I have placed a list in the House of Commons Library answering this question and have written to the hon. Member with the details.

Indonesia

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the value, (b) the source of finance and (c) the work carried out over the last five years by the Defence Research Agency for the Government of Indonesia.

Mr. Freeman: Responsibility for such matters rests with the chief executive of the Defence Research Agency. I have therefore asked him to reply.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Derek Fatchett, dated 1 December 1994:

In today's written answer the Minister of State for Defence Procurement informed you that I would be replying to your question concerning work carried out by the Defence Research Agency for the government of Indonesia over the last five years.

The Defence Research Agency was established in April 1991 by bringing together the Royal Aerospace Establishment, Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Royal Signals and Radar Establishment and the Admiralty Research Establishment. Since that date the DRA has undertaken no work for the government of Indonesia Complete records are not available for the period prior to April 1991, but a check of those that are still held has not come up with any instances of work being carried out for the government of Indonesia during the two years in question.

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which dates the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff visited Indonesia last year; at whose invitation and at whose expense.

Mr. Soames: Neither the Chief of Defence Staff nor the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff visited Indonesia in 1993. The Chief of Defence Staff visited Indonesia from 8 to 12 October 1994. The Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff visited Indonesia from 27 February to 2 March 1994. Both visits were at the invitation of their Indonesia counterparts. Travel costs arising from both visits were met by my Department; accommodation was provided by the hosts.

Animal Testing

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the Ministry of Defence establishments at which tests are carried out using animals and (b) the total number of tests at each establishment over the last five years.

Mr. Soames: Experiments using animals were carried out in the period 1989 1993 at the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, the Defence Research Agency at Alverstoke and the Institute of Aviation Medicine, now the Centre for Human Sciences.

Experiments are carried out only when it is judged essential, and fully meet both the spirit and letter of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The locations are registered places under that Act with relevant staff being licensed by the Home Office and subject at all times to Home Office inspection. The total number of experiments for the past five years is as follows:

1989: 9,129

1990: 8,146

1991: 6,100

1992: 4,500

1993: 6,796


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Lockheed

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 22 November, Official Report , columns 138 9 , if he will list (a) the meetings held with Market Access International and (b) the representations received from Market Access International regarding the Lockheed C130-J by his ministerial colleagues or staff.

Mr. Freeman: To the best of my knowledge, neither I nor any of my ministerial colleagues, or our staff, have either received representations from Market Access International, or met any of its personnel in connection with the Hercules rolling replacement programme.

Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months;

(2) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively.

Mr. Freeman: Responsibility for such matters rests with the chief executive of the Defence Accounts Agency. I have therefore asked him to reply.

Letter from M. J. Dymond to Mr. Clive Betts, dated 1 December 1994:

You asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice, and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months. You also asked the Secretary of State for Defence, of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months respectively. These matters fall to me, as Chief Executive of the Defence Accounts Agency, for reply.

The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Departments, however, are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in the Departmental Reports. For financial year 1993 94 Ministry of Defence paid 99.99 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of the presentation of a valid invoice. The MOD bill payment office at Liverpool also measure their performance against the higher departmental standard of payment within eleven working days of receipt of a valid invoice. They are currently achieving 97 per cent.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of each type of armoured personnel carrier and light tank surplus to his Department's requirements have been or are to be sold in the 1994 95 financial year.

Mr. Freeman: The information requested is as follows:


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Vehicle Type                                    |Quantity                 

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

CENTURION Armoured Recovery Vehicle MK2         |54                       

HUMBER 1 TON PIG Armoured Personnel Carrier     |109                      

CHIEFTAIN Main Battle Tank MK10                 |29                       

CHIEFTAIN Armoured Vehicle Recce                |1                        

ABBOT 105mm Self Propelled Gun                  |15                       

SULTAN Armoured Command Vehicle                 |17                       

FOX 30 mm Gunned Combat Vehicle Recce (Wheeled) |2                        

SCORPION 76mm Gunned Combat Recce (Tracked)     |40                       

FERRET Scout Car                                |35                       

SARACEN Armoured Personnel Carrier                                        

(Wheeled)                                       |16                       

432 Armoured Personnel Carrier                  |78                       

SALADIN 76mm Gunned Armoured Car                |1                        

434 Tracked Engineer Support Vehicle            |8                        

M109 GUNS 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer         |117                      

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to whom, and under what procedure, armoured personnel carriers and light tanks surplus to his Department's requirements have been sold since 1985; and what financial gain has resulted for Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Freeman: The Disposals Sales Agency as a general rule sells surplus armoured fighting vehicles, of all types, by invitation to tender. Occasionally, private treaty sales have been agreed, normally to collectors/museums or companies involved in refurbishment and update work aiming to sell similar vehicles overseas. More recently, vehicles have been sold to companies for smelting. Sales to acceptable foreign Governments are either by direct contract or through an agent accredited to the purchaser. Any vehicle which is to be exported requires an export licence from the Department of Trade and Industry. Vehicles which have ordnance fitted are either demilitarised prior to sale or sold to companies which intend to market them for export and have appropriate firearms licences. Details of financial gain to HMG would require disproportionate effort to establish as previous records are not readily available. It is not our policy to reveal the details of purchasers without their written permission.

Military Contracts

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will take steps to prevent military personnel from evading the terms of their military contracts by deliberate law-breaking;

(2) what evidence he has received of deliberate law-breaking by young Army personnel in order to be dismissed from the service and evade their service contract obligation.

Mr. Soames: Although statistical evidence is not available, it is well known that soldiers do on occasion attempt to gain release from their engagement early by committing a disciplinary offence. Service personnel do not have contracts but serve under the royal prerogative. All service personnel are made aware that if they are found to have committed an offence under service law, they will be liable for the appropriate punishment. This may not necessarily include administrative discharge or dismissal even if that is the aim of the individual concerned. However, any personnel who commit offences under service or civilian law, for whatever reasons, risk incurring a criminal record.


Column 900

Military Corrective Training Centre, Colchester

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what dates since 1992 his Ministers have visited the military corrective training centre at Colchester;

(2) when he last visited the military corrective training centre based in Colchester.

Mr. Soames: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has not visited the centre, but the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Sir A. Hamilton) visited it on 7 December 1992, and the Under-Secretary of State for Defence visited it on 22 June this year.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans there are for privatising the military corrective training centre at Colchester;

(2) what plans he has to further reduce staffing levels at the military corrective training centre based at Colchester;

(3) what changes in manpower and costs have accompanied the evaluation currently taking place at the Colchester military corrective training centre;

(4) what consideration he is giving to the further privatisation of any services connected with the military corrective training centre in Colchester;

(5) what reports he has commissioned into the possible privatisation of the military corrective training centre based at Colchester or any of its services therein;

(6) what discussions his Department has held aimed at the possibility of handing over to another body responsibility for the military corrective training centre based at Colchester.

Mr. Soames: A feasibility study has been conducted into market testing of the functions of the centre, the results of which are currently being considered by my Department. Appropriate consultation with trades unions and others will be undertaken before any final decisions are taken.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received against the privatisation of the catering services at the military corrective training centre at Colchester.

Mr. Soames: My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he is giving to the closure of the Colchester military corrective training centre.

Mr. Soames: There are no plans to close the centre.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military equipment used for training for prisoners serving sentences at the military corrective training centre at Colchester.

Mr. Soames: The military equipment used for the training of detainees in "A" wing are as follows:

Various weapons

Radios

Webbing and clothing


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