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Beef Imports

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tonnes of beef have been imported into the UK in each year since 1990 from (a) Argentina, (b) Uruguay, (c) Paraguay, (d) Brazil, (e) USA and (f) Canada. [105652]

Ms Quin [holding answer 19 January 2000]: The table shows the volume of beef and veal, beef offal and beef preparations (i.e. corned beef, canned meats, etc.) imported into the UK from (a) Argentina, (b) Uruguay, (c) Paraguay, (d) Brazil, (e) USA and (f) Canada between 1990 and 1998 and January and November 1999 as recorded in the Official Overseas Trade Statistics.

UK imports of beef 1990-99 (7)

1990199119921993199419951996199719981999 (8)
Imports of beef from Brazil39,62954,33076,11458,21141,07245,34236,22641,63243,06253,644
of which:
Beef preparations(9)36,50550,32769,24952,91637,99142,18132,23536,89338,14643,330
Beef and veal2,9854,0026,7585,1813,0413,0493,8094,5754,79410,156
Beef offal139--10711439112183164123159
Imports of beef from Argentina31,47618,03615,56514,28514,91728,28922,75423,12110,6369,387
of which:
Beef preparations(9)24,48515,37513,93212,67212,27920,04314,75615,2019,2287,159
Beef and veal6,8152,3981,4861,4252,2867,1547,4557,6591,2532,000
Beef offal1772621481883521,092543260155228
Imports of beef from Uruguay11,6338,9858,3817,7087,57513,21912,12718,16512,6169,303
of which:
Beef preparations(9)3,7203,4093,5662,9803,4194,4103,8514,7414,9064,780
Beef and veal7,8275,5034,6984,6283,7808,5358,11513,3647,6774,419
Beef offal8673117993762741626132104
Imports of beef from U.S.A.7426071,8272,2602,7684,2813,9921,9581,636939
of which:
Beef preparations(9)104194329493748663944894019
Beef and veal1511635664936961,9012,8471,3941,580920
Beef offal4872509321,7181,6981,51575275160
Imports of beef from Canada230205141381151035320--
of which:
Beef preparations(9)7--------------2--
Beef and veal24----6985317--
Beef offal1992051413210696----0--
Imports of beef from Paraguay82341333412150115641312
of which:
Beef and veal82341333412150115641312

(7) Overseas trade statistics are subject to a degree of error. Although the overall level of errors is low, small values are affected disproportionately. Care should therefore be taken when interpreting such data.

(8) January to November

(9) Principally corned beef

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Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which European laws set out the dimensions of field margins of cultivation adjacent to hedges. [103132]

Ms Quin: The European Community legislation which is relevant to this issue is that governing the farm-based arable and livestock aid schemes introduced as part of the 1992 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Under the rules of Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS), farmers in the United Kingdom are allowed to use the full field areas which are shown on Ordnance Survey maps as the basis of their claims, provided that their fields are fully utilised. If this condition is not fulfilled, then only that part of the total area which is actually cropped can be claimed. The use of total field areas is of considerable benefit to our farmers but it can only be justified if the extent of uncropped areas around field margins, including the area occupied by any hedges which may be present, is kept within reasonable limits. AAPS applicants have recently been notified about new guidance from the European Commission about the maximum width of field margins that is consistent with the use of full Ordnance Survey areas in aid applications. They have also been urged to seek advice about minimising the environmental impact of any action they may need to take in order to comply with the new guidance.

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Intervention Board

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what weighting was given to the journey time of livestock in recent award of contracts to abattoirs by the Intervention Board under the over 30 month scheme. [102359]

Ms Quin: The Intervention Board, which is responsible for the administration of the over thirty month scheme (OTMS), attaches considerable importance to ensuring that sufficient slaughtering capacity is available in the right areas to minimise the travelling time for animals entering the scheme, consistent with the need to protect the public purse and ensure a good quality service. Tenders were grouped and evaluated by region to ensure that all areas received a reasonable level of service. East Anglia and South East England were grouped as a single region in view of the relatively small number of cattle coming forward from these areas for slaughter. As a result of the changes being introduced following the tender, some journey times will, inevitably, increase, but in no case will journey times exceed those laid down in animal welfare guidelines. Some journey times will decrease. Farmers will continue to be able to access the scheme through the network of 170 markets registered to collect OTMS cattle.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will rank in order of importance the criteria (a) past trade record, (b) location, (c) quality of service, (d) ability to offer a dedicated service, (e) ease

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of supervision, (f) throughput and (g) price used for evaluating bids in the recent award of contracts to abattoirs by the Intervention Board under the over 30 month scheme. [102356]

Ms Quin: Tenders were considered on a regional basis to ensure that sufficient capacity was contracted for the number of animals coming forward for slaughter in the region. Within this regional approach, under which East Anglia and South East England were grouped as a single region, the ranking (highest to lowest) of the criteria for evaluating bids received for OTMS slaughter services were: quality of service, price, ability to offer a dedicated service, ease of supervision and throughput (equal ranking), location.


Dr. Brand: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the incidence of new cases of BSE for each of the last five years. [102352]

Ms Quin: Numbers of cattle notified as BSE suspects to Agriculture Departments in Great Britain for each of the last five complete years are given in the table. Figures for those subsequently confirmed as BSE cases are also shown.

Year Suspects restrictedSuspects in which BSE confirmed

For 1999, the latest figures up to 3 December show that 2,824 cattle have been restricted as BSE suspects. Of these, 1,904 have been confirmed as BSE cases and 247 results are still pending. No confirmed cases have been found in animals born after August 1996.

Farming (Leicestershire)

Mr. Reed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many people were employed in the farming sector in Leicestershire in (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000; and how many he projects will be employed in 2000-01. [101060]

Ms Quin: The information requested is as follows:

People employed in the farming sector in Leicestershire

Farmers, partners, directors and spouses working on the holdingSalaried managers and all other workers (10)Total workforce (11)
(a) June 19963,8843,0036,887
(b) June 19973,8333,0036,836
(c) June 19983,8372,9746,811
June 19993,8052,7256,530

(10) Including hired, family and casual workers working on 1 June

(11) Excludes youth training


1. The figures have been taken from the annual June Agricultural and Horticultural Census. These data relate to main holdings only.

2. In 1998 fundamental changes were introduced to the labour questions. It appears that this change may have led to the recording of additional labour who were not previously included in the returns. The change in questions has also led to a redistribution of labour between the various categories, most notably for salaried managers. Caution is therefore advised when comparing the 1998 and 1999 results with previous years.

MAFF does not have any projections for the year 2000-01.

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