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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: I have recently appointed, in consultation with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for National Heritage, for Scotland and Wales and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Sir Clive Whitmore GCB CVO to be the new chairman of the Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and Sponsorship.

Departmental Cash Limits

Mr. French: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes she plans to make to the cash limits of her Department in 1994 95.

Mrs. Virginnia Bottomley: The cash limit for class XII, vote 1-- hospital, community health, family health services, part, and related services, England--will be increased by £9,676,000--from £21, 734,116,000 to £21,743,792,000. This allows for an increase of £11, 287,000 to the external financing limits of national health service trusts--£25,887,000 in respect of 1993 94 external financing limit end-year flexibility carryforward less £14,600,000 financed from trusts own cash balances--partially offset by transfers of £1,457,000 to class XII, vote 3--Department of Health, administration, miscellaneous health services and personal social services, England--for the work of the Health Education Authority; for part-time training posts for career registrars in the public health laboratory service and a grant towards the renovation of Tadworth Court hospital; £116,000 to class XIV, vote 18- -Student awards, Scotland--for orthoptic clinical placements of Glasgow Caledonian university students; £11,000 to--Department of Health and Social Services, Northern Ireland--and £27,000 to class XV, vote 8-- hospital, community health, family health services, part, and related services, Wales--for the national poisons information service.

The cash limit for class XII, vote 3--Department of Health, administration, miscellaneous health services and


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personal social services, England--will be reduced by £1,369, 000--from £1,591,256,000 to £1,589,887,000. This reduction allows for a transfer of £2,946,000 to class X, vote 2--higher and further education--for the conversion of social work training courses. The overall decrease is partially offset by a transfer of £1,457,000 from class XII, vote 1 as mentioned above and £120,000 from class XIV, vote 14--hospital, community health, part, and other health services, Scotland--for the work of the clinical standards advisory group. The Department's gross running cost limit will be reduced by £5,655,000 from £257,853,000 to £252,198,000. This reflects a reallocation of £4,800,000 for capital works, £625,000 for the work of the Mental Health Act Commission and £230,000 for the national aids helpline. All increases will either be offset by savings, increased receipts or transfers to or from other votes and will not therefore add to the planned total of pubic expenditure.

Overall the external financing limit for NHS trusts is increased by £42,190,000 from £588,264,000 to £630,454,000.

Intensive Care Units

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) intensive care units in London and (b) intensive care beds in total there were in each year since 1989.

Mr. Sackville [holding answer 30 January 1995]: Information on the number of intensive care units is not available centrally. Information is provided in the table on the average daily number of available designated intensive therapy beds in London.

In addition to these services provided in units designated as intensive therapy units, intensive therapy can also be delivered in a variety of hospital departments, such as neonatal intensive care, coronary care units, accident and emergency departments, renal units and high dependency units.

1989 90: 484

1990 91: 459

1991 92: 458

1992 93: 480

1993 94: 501

Note:

For the years 1989 90 to 1992 93, Ashford hospital intensive care beds were included in Hounslow and Spelthorne DHA figures as follows: 1989 90, four beds; 1990 91, four beds, 1991 92 four beds, 1992 93, four beds. From 1993 94 Ashford hospital intensive care beds two have been included in North West Surrey returns and are therefore no longer included in the London figure.

Source:

KHO3 returns.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Live Animal Exports

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the EC law which prevents the banning of the export of calves for rearing in veal crates.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the legal opinion that he has


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received relating to the export of veal calves and other live animals for slaughter; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Browning: My right hon. Friend the Minister has consulted further on the legality under Community law of measures banning the export of calves, or imposing selective restrictions intended to ensure that they are reared in other member states under conditions corresponding to those applied here by virtue of the Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/2126).

Consideration has been given to the best case that could be made in favour of such measures. However, the conclusion that emerges from the legal advice available to him is that such measures cannot be justified, for the following reasons:

there is already in existence a directive on welfare standards for calves which forms part of the Community legislation governing trade in calves and it is advised that the terms of that directive would preclude member states from introducing export restrictions; Article 36 of the treaty can in some circumstances justify export restrictions, on the grounds of the protection of health and life of animals, which includes animal welfare. That article, however, is only available to member states where there is no Community legislation governing the particular area. But that is not the case here, given the directive on welfare standards;

also it is very probable that measures banning or restricting the export of calves would constitute an unacceptable interference with the operation of the common agricultural policy, as it affects the market for beef and veal;

a total ban on all calf exports could not in any event be justified under article 36, because it would be deemed to be disproportionate;

in addition to the grave difficulties of justifying them legally, and the consequent high risk of their being struck down in court, selective restrictions would present severe practical problems of enforcement.

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report, column 71, what was the age of the cattle exported to (a) France, (b) the Netherlands, (c) Eire and (d) Northern Ireland for immediate slaughter.

Mrs. Browning [holding answer 30 January 1995]: I cannot add to my earlier replies as the information is not available. Exports to the other member states were restricted under EC rules to calves under six months of age. Cattle, including calves, to destinations in Northern Ireland would not have been subject to an age restriction.

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the policy objectives of Her Majesty's Government for 1995 on the subject of transportation of live animals.

Mrs. Browning [holding answer 26 January 1995]: We shall continue to press for the further detailed Community measures--for example on feeding, watering and rest and on limits on journeys to slaughter--that we consider to be necessary to ensure effective Community-wide safeguards for the welfare of livestock in transit. In the meantime, we shall maintain our existing strict national measures which protect the welfare of livestock, including exported livestock, during transit and which we have recently tightened up. We shall supplement these measures with a code of practice, and will continue to scrutinise all new proposals to export livestock to ensure that only those which meet welfare requirements are allowed to proceed. On the related issue of veal crates on the continent, we shall press, in the Council of Ministers' review of the directive which permits the veal crate, for changes which bring an end


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to this system of production. It is encouraging that the Commission has agreed to my right hon. Friend's request to facilitate this review by bringing forward to this year its review report scheduled for 1997.

Meat Imports

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he is in a position to ban the import into the United Kingdom of pork and pork products which are not reared in conditions permitted here;

(2) if he is in a position to ban the import into the United Kingdom of veal and veal products which are not reared in conditions permitted here.

Mrs. Browning: It is not apparent that it would be feasible to identify the production methods used for the imported goods mentioned. In any case, I am advised that selective import restrictions of the type proposed would not be compatible with Community law.

New Zealand Flatworm

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures are being taken by his Department to support research into and curb the New Zealand flatworm.

Mrs. Browning: The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is funding a study to review current knowledge of the New Zealand flatworm in the British Isles, to assess its effects. The results of this research are expected this spring, and will provide a basis on which to assess what further action may be appropriate.

Anglo-European Livestock Exporters Association

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of the Anglo-European Livestock Exporters Association.

Mrs. Browning: My ministerial colleagues and I have never met representatives of the Anglo-European Livestock Exporters Association. Nevertheless, officials maintain regular contacts with the association.

Salmon and Sea Trout

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food what initiatives his Department is pursuing to protect and enhance stocks of wild salmon and sea trout; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jack: The National Rivers Authority is responsible, within the policy and legislative framework determined by my right hon. Friends the Minister, and the Secretary of State for Wales, for maintaining, improving and developing salmon and sea trout fisheries in England and Wales. It carries out a range of activities, including habitat restoration, restocking and enforcement of legislation designed to combat illegal fishing. Much of this work is funded by the Government through grant-in- aid. The authority has recently prepared a draft salmon management strategy which considers how salmon stocks might best be managed in the future. In addition, the Government also fund a significant programme of research on wild salmon and sea trout.


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Dredging (Docking Shoal)

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the current situation as regards dredging off the Docking shoal; whether he has given permission to dredge in this area; and what other areas the National Rivers Authority has applied to dredge.

Mr. Jack: Licences for dredging of marine aggregates are issued by the Crown Estate. A Government view on each application is co-ordinated by the Department of the Environment.

The Ministry will in due course be providing its contribution to the Government view on an application from the NRA to dredge Docking shoal. The NRA has also applied to the Crown Estate for a licence to dredge an area known as Race bank.

Pesticides

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health regarding the use and effects of pesticides and any other animal treatments on the animal food chain.

Mrs. Browning: My right hon. Friend the Minister and the Secretary of State for Health are among the Ministers responsible for the regulation of pesticides and regularly discuss such matters. An important part of the regulatory process is consideration of effects on the food chain.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to reduce the amount of pesticides and other chemicals being used in agriculture.

Mrs. Browning: The Government's policy is that pesticide usage should be the minimum necessary for effective pest control compatible with the protection of human health and the environment. This policy is pursued by a variety of means including a rigorous approvals policy, codes of practice for pesticide users and an extensive research and development programme.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food what plans he has to implement more stringent regulations on the use of chemical treatments.

Mrs. Browning: None. Ministers have sufficient powers to ensure the proper protection of health and to safeguard the environment.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what discussions he has had with other countries regarding legislation used in those countries to ban the use of toxins and pesticides;

(2) what proposals he has for legislation to be introduced in this country which will bring this country into line with other countries which have banned the use of pesticides, toxins and chemicals.

Mrs. Browning: The United Kingdom has a well-developed system for regulating pesticides which protects people and the environment while ensuring that those who need them have effective pesticides available. We can and do restrict or ban pesticides where they cannot be used safely. Our system is widely respected abroad and the new Community regime closely resembles it.


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Tenanted Land

Dr. Strang: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has showing the proportion of agricultural land which was tenanted in England for (a) 1965, (b) 1970, (c) 1975, (d) 1980, (e) 1985, (f) 1990 and (g) the latest available date; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave: The proportion of agricultural land which was rented as recorded in the June agricultural and horticultural census is as follows:


                 |Percentage                       

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

1965             |not collected<1>                 

1970             |48.3                             

1975             |47.8                             

1980             |43.4                             

1985             |40.4                             

1990             |37.0                             

1994             |35.6                             

Note:                                              

<1> World Census of Agriculture (FAO) records 50.9 

per cent. in 1960 for England and Wales combined.  

The continuing decline in the proportion of let land is one reason why the main industry organisations all agree that the reforms in our Agricultural Tenancies Bill are badly needed.

Agricultural Wages Board

Ms Harman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many people in Islwyn are covered by the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales; and what percentage this is of the work force in employment.

Mr. Jack: There were 31 hired workers on agricultural holdings in the district of Islwyn recorded in the June census of 1993. This represents 0.1 per cent. of the work force in employment in that district.

Departmental Cash Limits

Dr. Spink: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what changes are proposed in his Department's cash limits for 1994 95.

Mr. Waldegrave: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for class III, vote 4--Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: agricultural, food and fishing services-- will be reduced by £10,045,000 from £372,630,000 to £362,585,000. Within this limit, the estimated provision will be reduced by £6,205,000 on environmentally sensitive area grants and by £3 million on coast protection. The remaining reduction, £840,000, reflects a transfer of funds to the Office of Science and Technology to cover the cost of redundancies arising among staff of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council seconded to Horticulture Research International.

Recruitment

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much his Department spent during 1994 on recruiting staff to his Department and its executive agencies; and how many staff were recruited.

Mr. Jack: In 1994, 411 staff were recruited to the Department and its agencies at a cost of £579,987.


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Sheep Exporters

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many of the exporters of sheep currently using Brightlingsea have convictions for livestock animal cruelty; and if he will specify the date and nature of the offences.

Mrs. Browning [holding answer 23 January 1995]: Complete information is not available centrally on convictions of exporters and others for offences related to animal welfare.

DEFENCE

Ex-service Men's Organisations

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he and his colleagues in other Government departments have had with ex-service men's organisations regarding the abolition of compensation for noise-induced deafness.

Mr. Arbuthnot: I have been asked to reply.

Where disablement due to noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss is assessed at 20 per cent. or more, a war pension is paid. The Government's proposals to abolish war pension gratuities for noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss causing disablement of less than 20 per cent. were discussed with the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions, which includes representatives of ex-service organisations on 3 December 1992. The Central Advisory Committee is the statutory body with which Ministers, by convention, discuss proposals to amend the war pensions scheme.

The matter has been discussed on several occasions since, including at later meetings of the central advisory committee and of the regional war pensions committees attended by the Minister with special responsibility for war pensions. It has also been raised at meetings he has had with delegations from the Royal British Legion.

Departmental Funding

Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will announce changes to the class 1 cash limits and operating costs limited for 1994 95.

Mr. Soames: Subject to parliamentary approval of the spring supplementary estimates, the following changes will be made:


Class I cash limits                                    

                                 |Revised              

           |Current              |cash limit           

Vote       |cash limit|Change    |£000                 

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

1          |11,549,651|-25.675   |11,523,976           

This change decreases the block Defence cash limit by £25,675,000 from £22,761,260,000 to £22,735,585,000. It reflects the net effect of transfers between the Ministry of Defence and other Government Departments and a revision to the estimated costs for redundancy. The Ministry of Defence operating costs limit will be reduced by £19,181,000 from £17,399,500,000 to £17,380,319,000. This also reflects the net effect of


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transfers between the Ministry of Defence and other Government Departments, a revision to the estimated costs for redundancy and an overestimate of receipts.

Service Career Review

Mr. Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with Mr. Bett's review of service career and manpower structures and terms and conditions of service; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence expects to receive Mr. Bett's report at the end of March. The terms of reference for the review require Mr. Bett to consult widely within MOD and the services. He very much appreciates the response he has received to his request for ideas and information, both in his visits programme and the extensive questionnaires and surveys which have formed an important part of the review. As part of this continuing dialogue, Mr. Bett and his team are now at the stage of testing elements of their ideas with those concerned in my Department and the services. Not all of these ideas will necessarily develop into recommendations, and others may be modified. There is bound to be speculation, some of it inaccurate and ill-founded, about what the report will recommend, but we regard Mr. Bett's continuing dialogue with us as important to the success of the review. Final decisions on Mr. Bett's recommendations will of course be taken by Ministers, in a process of consultation involving the armed forces and others, following receipt of his report.

Buried Atomic Bombs

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will establish an investigation into the allegations by former Royal Ordnance employee, Harry Southall, that two atomic bombs were buried at the Royal Ordnance site at Pembrey, Dyfed.

Mr. Soames: Until its closure in 1964, the former royal ordnance factory Pembrey was primarily engaged in the production of explosives although, in its final years of operation, it acted as a munition breakdown centre. The factory was never associated with our nuclear weapon programme and at no stage in its operations was the factory used for the production, storage or disposal of nuclear weapons.

Disabled People

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion and number of non-industrial civil servants in the Departments and agencies for which he has responsibility are registered disabled and disabled as defined by the Cabinet Office "Focus on Ability".

Mr. Freeman: My Department monitors its non-industrial staff to gather data on those who have a disability, for which they may or may not be registered. The results from the monitoring show that on 1 July 1994, the Ministry of Defence and its agencies employed 1,096 non-industrial staff who were registered disabled, representing 1.3 per cent. of the total. In addition to this, on 1 October 1994--figures for 1 July are not available--3,050 non-industrial staff, representing 3.7 per cent. of the total, were recorded as having declared some form of disability for which they were not registered.


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Live Animal Research

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for defence what plans he has to carry out an investigation into the use of live animals for MOD experiments; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: There are no plans to carry out an investigation into the use of live animals for MOD experiments.

Animal experiments are a small but essential part of the MOD's research and development programme. Animal experiments are carried out only when careful consideration of alternatives to the use of animals has shown that there is no adequate substitute and where it is judged essential to use animals for this purpose. The experiments carried out fully meet the spirit and letter of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and are subject to unannounced visits by Home Office inspectors.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many animals were used in research by or on behalf of his Department in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Freeman: Animals used in research include not only those used in animal experiments, but also those used for the provision of tissues, those not used and those used as passive control. The total numbers of animals used in each of the last 10 years is as follows: 1984: 11,445

1985: 7,855

1986: 7,712

1987: 10,628

1988: 10,462

1989: 10,419

1990: 9,270

1991: 7,028

1992: 5,088

1993: 7,329

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of animals used for the testing of military equipment by or on behalf of his Department are kept alive after the experiment has taken place.

Mr. Freeman: No animals are used to improve weapons or ammunition. Experiments involving animals have been used in the development of protective measures against certain weapons and to test procedures relating to submarine crew and aircrew safety. At the completion of experiments, animals are killed humanely in accordance with the project licence granted by the Home Office.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many live animal experiments have been carried out by his Department over each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Mr. Freeman: Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the number of animal experiments reported to the Home Office as required by the legislation in each of the last three years for which figures are available was as follows:

1991: 6,100

1992: 4,500

1993: 6,796


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