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NHS Dentistry (Christchurch)

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dental practices in the Christchurch constituency accept new NHS patients; and what the number was in March 1997. [135728]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 30 October 2000]: The situation regarding which dental practices accept new national health service patients can change almost daily. In addition, practices sometimes restrict the category of patients they will accept, such as adult patients exempt from NHS charges or children. March 1997 data are not available, May 1997 data are given instead. The table shows the number of practices accepting all categories or certain categories of new NHS patient in the Christchurch constituency in May 1997 and October 2000.

Number of dental practices accepting new NHS patients in Christchurch constituency

May 1997October 2000
Practices accepting all categories of new NHS patients24
Practices accepting certain categories of new NHS patients44
Total number of practices accepting some new NHS patients68


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if an urgent reply will be given to the hon. Member for Walsall, North to his letter of 4 October regarding the need for a constituent to have an operation for a tumour. [135069]

Ms Stuart [holding answer 30 October 2000]: A reply was sent to my hon. Friend on 30 October.


Fruit Juice Labelling

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the extra costs to the manufacturers of fruit juices in the UK, if the EU proposed directives are introduced; and if he will make a statement. [135045]

Ms Stuart: I have been asked to reply.

United Kingdom industry has made estimates of one-off relabelling costs of up to £7 million. A more accurate assessment will be made during the period of consultation associated with the drafting of UK regulations to implement the Directive.


Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made on the decision whether to add Chardon LL maize to the National List. [136382]

Mr. Nick Brown: We proposed the addition of Chardon LL to the UK National List in March. After objections to the proposal were raised, Mr. Alun Alesbury

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was appointed by Ministers to hear representations in relation to the proposed listing, and a hearing is currently underway.

The Government have now learned from the French authorities that the data from French trials on varietal distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS), which supported the Chardon application for National Listing in the UK, were based on one year's data from accredited breeders' trials and one year's data from Government-run trials. This is apparently one of the procedures allowed by the French authorities for DUS trials of new maize varieties. The relevant Directive (72/180/EEC) requires two years of official trials.

Ministers are taking urgent legal advice on this issue and the implications of the information for the current hearing. MAFF is seeking further information from the French authorities and consulting the European Commission about the implications for National Listing decisions across the EU.

Chardon LL will only be added to the UK National List if all the legal requirements have been fully met.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with EU agriculture Ministers to discuss further reform of the CAP. [136383]

Mr. Nick Brown: Together with ministerial colleagues from Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, I took part in discussions on the future direction of the common agricultural policy at a meeting on Capri hosted by the Italian Minister of Agricultural Policy, Mr. Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio. These discussions carried forward the fruitful co-operation between Italy, Denmark, Sweden and UK which was a feature of the 1999 Agenda 2000 negotiations on the CAP. The Dutch Minister participated in the meeting for the first time in an observer capacity. Given the challenges of EU enlargement and the WTO trade negotiations to the future of the CAP, the participating Ministers agreed a programme of collective work on reform of the CAP; and decided to meet in a similar format in the course of next year. A copy of the framework document agreed upon at the Capri meeting has been placed in the Library of the House.

Organic Food Standards

Ms Drown: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to review the operation of the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards. [136381]

Mr. Morley: As part of the Modernising Government programme, my Department is now beginning a formal review of the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS), which is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry. UKROFS exercises regulatory and supervisory responsibilities in relation to organic farming across the United Kingdom.

The first stage of the review is expected to cover the following issues:

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Because UKROFS is a UK body, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be closely involved in the review. We expect to take decisions on the outcome of the first stage of the review before Easter 2001.

Full details of the review, including advice on how to contribute, are being placed in the Library and on my Department's website.

Flax and Hemp

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much has been paid in subsidy to farmers for growing flax and hemp during each of the past five years. [135503]

Ms Quin: The total amount of subsidy paid in the last five UK Exchequer financial years was as follows:



All of the hemp subsidy was paid direct to farmers. For flax there are three payment scenarios. The normal arrangement is for 25 per cent. of the aid to be paid to flax contractors who have concluded cultivation contracts with farmers whereby the farmers renounce ownership of their crop. The remaining 75 per cent. of the aid is paid to processors who have concluded contracts with the contractors.

Under the second method 100 per cent. of the aid is paid to contractors who have the straw processed on their behalf. Under the third method 25 per cent. of the aid is paid direct to farmers who have contracts with processors and the remaining 75 per cent. of the aid is paid to the processor.

Under all three methods, the amount of aid passed on to farmers for growing the flax is dependant on the contractual arrangements they have concluded with either the contractors or the processors.


Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will urgently assess the case for

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a trial destruction of bees affected by European foul brood; and if he will offer compensation for beekeepers affected. [135671]

Ms Quin: The Ministry takes very seriously the threat to beekeeping from European foul brood, and is spending around £1.3 million on measures to combat European foul brood and other notifiable diseases. These include the provision of training and education to help beekeepers become more self-reliant through improved bee husbandry, and investigating alternative disease control methods to deal with serious diseases. The National Bee Unit, part of the Central Science Laboratory, with the full co-operation of affected beekeepers is conducting well publicised trials aimed at eliminating persistent European foul brood from apiaries. Preliminary results from these trials are encouraging, especially since the method used avoids the unnecessary destruction of valuable colonies. We consider this to be the best use of the funds available that are being spent in the best interests of the beekeeping industry.

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