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24 Jul 2000 : Column: 469W
Mr. Boateng: I have today laid before Parliament on behalf of the Director General of Her Majesty's Prison Service, the Annual Report and Accounts for the Service for 1999-2000. Copies have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his Ministry's spending plans are for the three years following the 2000 Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Nick Brown: The results of the Spending Review for MAFF are summarised in Chapter 16 of the White Paper on "Spending Review 2000: New Public Spending Plans 2001-2004" (Cm 4807). The key figures are as follows:
|Total DEL(1) of which:||804||963||1,048||1,081|
(1) Departmental Expenditure Limit
(1) Annually Managed Expenditure
MAFF's aim has been amended to give a clearer and more focused picture of what the Department wants to achieve: good quality food which meets consumers' requirements; modern, sustainable, competitive farming and fisheries businesses; protection of the rural and marine environment and a thriving rural economy.
I should like to explain how the Spending Review settlement will impact on MAFF's programmes over the next three years and assist the Department in pursuing its aims and objectives. Safe, good quality food
MAFF's responsibility for handling food safety transferred in April with the creation of the new Food Standards Agency (FSA). But MAFF will continue to play a key role in ensuring there is good quality, safe food meeting consumer requirements. As well as its wider commitment to sponsoring all the industries in the food chain, MAFF will retain as a key priority tackling the threat from animal diseases that are transmissible to humans and threats to the health and welfare of farm animals.
Over the next three years we will: continue to work towards the eradication of BSE, with a target by 2004 of being on track for fewer than 30 cases by 2006. We will introduce a scrapie control programme. This will comprise a ram genotyping programme, designed to encourage the use of scrapie resistant rams, and new testing and control measures. Consultation documents on the first stage of this programme, involving ram genotyping, will be issued on 28 July and copies will be placed in the Library of the House. We will pursue our strategy for controlling TB in cattle. There will be additional funding to increase testing in response to the spread of the disease, in line with EU requirements and veterinary advice. And we will complete the field trial of badger culling in 10 areas of high cattle TB incidence, as
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recommended by the Krebs review. We will also examine possible ways of enhancing other strands of the TB strategy in consultation with the TB Forum. We will complete work on extending the coverage of the Cattle Tracing System database from 40 per cent. of the GB herd to 100 per cent.
The Government set out on 7 December 1999, Official Report, columns 701-12, their long-term strategy for the future development of an agriculture industry that must be competitive, diverse and flexible, that must respond better to consumer demands (including those of the food industry), that must be more environmentally responsible and that must play an integral part in the wider rural economy.
The £1.6 billion, seven-year England Rural Development Plan (ERDP) is a key component in the delivery of this strategy. Over the next three years we will spend a total of £600 million under the ERDP. This will be funded in part by redirecting (or modulating) CAP payments and matching them with further Government funding on a pound for pound basis. There will be extra money for the agri-environment schemes, allowing more farmland to be protected and enhanced under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and approved for conversion to organic farming. And there will be a substantial increase in funding over the three years for measures to encourage diversification and restructuring. We will replace Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances with a new area-based scheme of support for hill farmers.
We will also provide funding over the next three years for agricultural measures in the Objective 1 areas of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, South Yorkshire and Merseyside. And there will be funding for rural regeneration projects under the new LEADER+ programme.
The other major plank of the Government's strategy for agriculture is the Action Plan which was announced on 30 March 2000. We will carry forward the measures announced in that Action Plan by: providing an additional £40 million up to March 2003 for the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme; maintaining the increased rate of grant under the Farm Waste Grant Scheme; continuing the new programme of business advice to farmers through the Business Link Partnership; providing additional funding for the applications currently being considered under the Agricultural Development Scheme; and making additional funding available for the development of an electronic portal for farming, providing access from a single source to information and interactive advice for farmers.
We will maintain a strong and varied programme of research to support, inform and facilitate the implementation of MAFF's policies and its regulatory and environmental activities. Over the next three years we will: increase spending on research and surveillance on TSEs in sheep by a total of £26.2 million. There will also be an additional £10.5 million to invest in the facilities in which to carry out this research; invest in new and improved facilities at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency which will contribute to MAFF's programme of research on TSEs and research, diagnosis and surveillance in respect of other major animal diseases, including those transmissible to humans; and complete the procurement
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of a new marine research vessel to be used by MAFF's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in support of the Department's objectives on the conservation of fish stocks and sustaining the marine environment.
We will shortly be conducting a major consultation on our Research Strategy for 2001-05. I shall consider the overall priorities for the whole research programme on the basis of that consultation, taking the advice of my new MAFF Science Committee, which will be launched soon.
A key objective for MAFF over the next three years is to modernise the Department and make real and lasting improvements in the efficiency with which we deliver services to our stakeholders. The major initiative in this area will be the creation of a new CAP Payments Agency, for which there is additional provision of £130 million over the Spending Review period. The Agency will merge the paying agency functions of the Intervention Board and MAFF's Regional Service Centres to provide top quality customer service using modern electronic systems. I am making a separate announcement today on this exciting and challenging project.
We will continue to work with our European partners to secure further reform of the CAP which will increase the competitiveness of the whole food chain. To that end there will be additional funding to improve our policy analysis and enhance our capability to model the economic impact of CAP reform.
An additional £10 million in 2002-03 and £20 million in 2003-04 will be made available to local flood and coastal defence operating authorities for investment in maintaining and improving defences. There will also be additional funds for improving storm tide forecasting and warning systems.
Securing a sustainable future for the sea fishing industry remains a priority for MAFF. A total of £11 million will be made available for a three year programme of structural measures under the EU's Agenda 2000, including provision for safety training, encouragement of environmentally sustainable fishing, improvement in the quality of fish and support for regional fisheries management initiatives.
As Minister responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of the Government's Action Plan for farming, I am considering with colleagues the recommendations of the task force which was set up to examine alternative approaches to charging for meat hygiene inspection, in response to concerns expressed by small and medium sized abattoirs.
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the Government's pledge to introduce a significant programme of measures to help the environment, agricultural restructuring and the wider rural economy. And it reflects the continuing commitment to protecting public health, encouraging sustainable development and modernising service delivery.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the Intervention Board's spending plans are for the three years following the 2000 Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Nick Brown: The results of the 2000 Spending Review for the Intervention Board (IB) and the spending plans that have resulted from it were summarised in Chapter 16 of the White Paper on "Spending Review 2000: New Public Spending Plans 2001-2004" (CM 4807). The key figures are:
|Departmental expenditure limit||179||222||201||189|
|Annually managed expenditure||635||714||697||709|
The settlement for the next three years will allow IB to make progress on all its objectives and its targets to be set out in its Service Delivery Agreement. It will underpin its operations and ongoing efficiency plans and facilitate change including achievement of the Modernising Government agenda.
The settlement recognises the resource cost of implementing the new Slaughter Premium Scheme and the ongoing but falling cost of operating the Over Thirty Months Scheme. The short-term increase in MBM disposal costs reflects the successful letting of MBM disposal contracts and the commencement of full-scale incineration of MBM stock.
IB's CAP expenditure is non-discretionary and demand-led. It is treated as Annually Managed Expenditure (including OTMS compensation) and is subject to review and adjustment in order to meet changes in scheme operations, anticipated levels of activity and EU rates of aid.
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