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Beef Producers

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the principles he proposes to apply in restructuring the beef-producing sector in the United Kingdom; and if producers in less favoured areas will continue to be the prime recipients of longer-term support payments; [25245]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The aim of our restructuring plan, which will be drawn up in full consultation with the industry, is to help the sector become more efficient, and thus less dependent on subsidies and other support.

Our initial thoughts are that it would be appropriate to devise such a plan for both beef and sheep producers. If the plan is successful, it is possible that overall levels of production may decline. The extent to which this happens will reflect producers' decisions rather than those of Government. It is not an objective of the plan deliberately to alter the balance of production as between the less favoured areas (LFA) and non-LFA or as between the dairy herd and the suckler herd.

It is no part of our thinking that, by putting such a plan in place, the Government will reduce the need to provide some form of continuing long-term support to hill farmers that recognises the natural handicaps which they face. But, as my right hon. Friend said in his statement to the House on 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 677-79, we do need to look carefully at the way in which such support is provided and to devise ways of enabling that support to achieve positive environmental goals. This too will be the subject of full consultation with the industry.

Genetically Modified Crops

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce compulsory segregation of genetically modified crops. [25458]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Dr. Jones) on 17 July 1997, Official Report, column 504.

Livestock Producers

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he proposes to take to consult livestock interests about the need to restructure; and if he will make special arrangements to consider the needs of livestock producers in less favoured areas. [25242]

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Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Detailed plans for this initiative are under consideration, but livestock interests will be fully consulted as soon as possible. As always, we will take due account of the interests of less favoured area producers.

Specialist Beef Herd

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the reduction in size necessary in the United Kingdom specialist beef herd to make it economically sustainable in the long term; and if he will make a statement indicating the period of time over which the restructuring is to be achieved. [25244]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: No. Adjustment is a continuing process and it is for individual farmers to assess their ability to compete within the single market of the European Union. However, our officials are discussing with farming organisations in what way the Government might be able to assist farmers to adjust.

BSE

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his oral statement of 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 677-79, if he will give a breakdown of the £2 billion provided in 1996-97 and the £1.4 billion in 1997-98 to support the beef sector, identifying what the money was spent on, and what proportion of the money was used in each year for Government food safety or public health measures. [25253]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: For the requested breakdown of 1996-97 expenditure, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson) on 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 488-89. The latest estimates of the equivalent figures for 1997-98 are as follows (not including the measures announced in the package, of which the beef industry's share is £72.5 million):

£ million
Non-BSE related
Suckler Cow Premium Scheme222
Beef Special Premium Scheme219
Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances52
Total (Non-BSE related)493
BSE related
Intervention180
Export refunds-2
Over Thirty Month Scheme395
Calf Processing Aid Scheme54
Rendering Industry Support69
Animal Feed Disposal Service2
Suckler Cow Special Payments8
Specified Risk Material Controls23
Selective Cull119
MLC/LMC Promotion Payments2
Other Measures21
Total BSE related871

All the above expenditure relates to measures which support the beef industry, whether through direct payments, market intervention, rebuilding consumer

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confidence or in meeting the terms of the Florence Agreement in order to get the export ban lifted. Expenditure listed under Specified Risk Material Controls is principally concerned with increased controls in slaughterhouses and other meat plants and can properly be regarded as necessary to safeguard public health. The exclusion of meat from animals over thirty months of age from the food chain is a public health measure, but the market support provided in respect of such animals is not, properly speaking, public health expenditure.

Veterinary Students

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will pay tuition fees for veterinary students in the fifth and subsequent years of their courses; and if he will make a statement. [25342]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Matters relating to the funding of tuition fees for veterinary students are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education and Employment.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Disabled Civil Servants

Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proportion of Civil Service staff are registered disabled. [25661]

Dr. Clark: On 1 April 1996, 2.9 per cent. of staff (13,900) employed in the non-industrial Civil Service were disabled, of whom 1.6 per cent. (7,680) were registered as disabled.

The provisions under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944, which provided for disabled people to register their disability, were repealed in December 1996 by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Millennium Experience

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what is his definition of British for the purposes of exhibiting in the Millennium Experience. [23713]

Mr. Mandelson: All the design companies with which the New Millennium Experience Company is working on the content of the Millennium Dome are registered in the United Kingdom.

The Millennium Experience at Greenwich will demonstrate to the world the very best of this country's rich and diverse talent and creativity.

Disney World

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what lessons he is drawing from Disney World for the Millennium Experience. [23919]

Mr. Mandelson: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 January 1998, Official Report, column 352.

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Millennium Dome (Contracts)

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister without Portfolio (1) what steps were taken to ensure that the tendering process for the contract awarded to Brand Union conformed with European law; [25548]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The New Millennium Experience Company's legal advice is that there is no requirement for contracts for corporate brand and identity (including logo design) to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Such contracts fall within Part B of the Public Services Contracts Regulations (SI 1993/3228), the obligations of which, in contracts of this nature, concern technical specifications and post-contract award information. The New Millennium Experience Company has complied with the relevant obligations and, in the case of post-contract award information, will comply when negotiations on contract details are finalised. In the circumstances, the issue of lower limits of contract value and the European Journal do not apply.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister without Portfolio if he will make a statement on the tendering process used for the corporate identity and logo design contract awarded to Brand Union Ltd. [25547]

Mr. Mandelson: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is required to achieve some £359 million of income from private sponsors, visitors and other commercial income. NMEC's aim, therefore, is to develop a brand and identity, of which a logo is an integral part, which will assist the delivery of that income target.

After initial concept work in July and August, the NMEC Board's Executive Committee agreed in September that three companies would be invited to submit logo designs, on the basis that the status, experience and competence of those invited to tender were sufficiently similar to enable proper competition, and that no conflicts of interest arose for the Board or Executive of the NMEC.

Two of the three companies invited to do so submitted logo proposals. NMEC's Board decided that those from Brand Union Ltd., which included a comprehensive package of design support, were superior and held the prospect of providing the quality and profile considered essential to assist the achievement of sponsorship and other income targets.

However, it was clear that, whichever of the two bidders was chosen, further development work would be needed, both on logo and on overall brand and identity. In November, the Board's Executive Committee agreed that discussions with Brand Union Ltd. should be undertaken with the aim of refining the logo concepts and of establishing favourable contract terms. At this stage, Brand Union's work was shown to me, as Shareholder.

Subsequent discussions and negotiations between the company and Brand Union Ltd. concluded with a proposal that NMEC would pay Brand Union £50,000 to finalise

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the logo design, for copyright of the logo, and for work on wider brand and identity. In addition, the company is in discussion with Martin Lambie-Nairn of Brand Union Ltd. over provision of design services to NMEC on all aspects of brand and identity.

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On 13 January, NMEC's Chief Executive informed the Millennium Commission, in accordance with the provisions of their Grant Agreement, of its proposed contract arrangements. The Commission confirmed on 16 January that they were content with the decision.