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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will assess the impact on the fishing industry of the reduction in the Environment Agency's fisheries budget for 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The reduction in grant in aid to the Environment Agency in England in 2001-02 is unlikely to have any significant impact on the fishing industry. I would also refer my hon. Friend to the replies given to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) on 27 October 1999, Official Report, column 922W.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the effect of reform of the Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowance Scheme on farm incomes in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales. 
Ms Quin: There will be some redistribution of support between producers but the impact will vary according to their individual circumstances. We are pressing the EC Commission to allow a safety net mechanism that will give producers time to adjust.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when (a) he and (b) his Ministers consulted with the Board of Inland Revenue on the Land Settlement Association's compensation arrangements. 
Mr. Morley: Neither my fellow Ministers nor I have consulted the Board of the Inland Revenue about the taxation arrangements for the payment made in 1991 to settle the litigation brought against the Ministry by former members of the Land Settlement Association.
Ms Quin: There are no controls in either UK or European Community law on the pricing of veterinary medicinal products. Decisions on pricing are a matter for the companies manufacturing the products, taking into account commercial factors such as development and production costs and anticipated volume of sales. Similarly, the cost of veterinary treatment is not controlled by legislation but is a matter for negotiation between veterinary surgeon and client.
However, we have received representations about comparatively high prices of veterinary medicinal products in the UK and the issue is being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) who are currently conducting an inquiry into the pricing of veterinary medicines in the UK. It will consider whether there is any evidence of anti-competitive practices. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Minister announced on 30 March an independent review of dispensing of medicines by
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veterinary surgeons as part of the Government's Strategy for Agriculture. This review will examine current dispensing practices and their impact on the supply, availability and costs of veterinary medicines. An announcement of the membership of the Review Group and its terms of reference will be made shortly. The review will be completed by the end of March 2001.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with his European counterparts about ensuring uniform and simultaneous implementation of European regulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 21 July 2000]: Tenders for over-30-months scheme abattoir services were considered and contracts awarded on a regional basis. The only region without its own abattoir is East Anglia, which was grouped with the South East of England as a single region in view of the small number of cattle coming forward for slaughter from these areas, as compared with the rest of Great Britain. I will be placing in the Library of the House a copy of a map locating the OTMS abattoirs.
Ms Quin [holding answer 21 July 2000]: In the run up to the Agenda 2000 CAP negotiations the Ministry commissioned The University of Manchester to carry out a study on the milk quota system. In its report 'An Economic Evaluation of the UK Milk Quota System' it concluded that despite the fact that conditions in the UK are well suited to milk production, the imposition of milk quotas is a source of economic inefficiency.
In addition to this, the UK, together with Italy, Sweden and Denmark, produced a paper that concluded that the abolition of the milk quota system would provide greater flexibility in the dairy market, encourage investment in the UK dairy industry and leave it free to compete for a share of the growing world markets.
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Since August 1999, the Government have announced two significant packages of assistance for the livestock sector delivering in total £419 million. Livestock farmers also receive around £1 billion each year in payments under the CAP to which this £149 million is an addition (CAP payments for beef producers are also set to rise this year by £130 million as a result of the reform of the beef regime). Beef and dairy farmers also benefit from the Over-thirty-months Scheme which itself costs around £400 million each year to run.
Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 17 July 2000]: The period of subsidised employment lasts a maximum of six months. Information on those who continue with the same employer on leaving the New Deal is not available.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people who participated in the New Deal in Wales had previously been unemployed for 12 months or more in (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) 1999. 
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of those leaving the New Deal for Young People in Wales for jobs lasting less than 13 weeks have found jobs lasting less than (a) one week, (b) two weeks, (c) four weeks and (d) eight weeks. 
Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 17 July 2000]: This information is not available. Young people who do leave for a job lasting less than 13 weeks return to New Deal at the point at which they left, and are no longer classified as leavers.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the number of people who have left the New Deal for Young People in Wales and returned to state benefits within 12 months. 
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Mr. Paul Murphy [holding answer 17 July 2000]: None. To April 2000, 2,940 young people transferred to state benefits on leaving the New Deal. Information on those who return to state benefits at a later stage is not available.
Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many written parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department between 19 October 1999 and 20 April; and how many have not received substantive answers citing disproportionate cost as the reason. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: 186 written questions were tabled to my Department between 19 October 1999 and 20 April 2000. Of these, one parliamentary question did not receive a substantive answer and a further five questions were not answered fully for reasons of disproportionate cost.
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