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Janet Anderson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for funding the English Tourism Council (ETC). In the current financial year the ETC is making over £5 million of its £10 million grant-in-aid available to support tourism in the English regions. Most of this is being passed to the 10 Regional Tourist Boards under individual funding agreements with the ETC, following a competitive bidding process. The remainder of this regional money is used by the ETC, for instance, for delivering regional services such as inspections under the national accommodation scheme (which have been contracted out to a single provider). Future levels of funding for tourism in the English regions will be decided during negotiation of the next three-year funding agreement between the Department and the ETC and in the light of any further bidding competition run by the ETC.
Responsibility for funding the national tourism bodies in the other countries of the United Kingdom rests with the devolved Administrations, who also make decisions about their own regional structures and funding.
Janet Anderson: The Government are currently in discussion with Legacy plc, in relation to Legacy's proposal for a high technology business campus at the Greenwich site. The Legacy proposal is currently being analysed by the Competition team in advance of any decision on preferred bidder status. An announcement will be made in due course. The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is preparing plans for decommissioning the Millennium Experience from January 2001. That includes returning various assets in the exhibitions that are on loan or hired to their owners, removing any other items of value for sale, and preparing the Dome for its subsequent use. Legacy plc is in discussion with NMEC regarding the scope of decommissioning it would require if negotiations are successful.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the funds announced in this year's Spending Review for the maintenance of the Post Office network require approval by the European Union. 
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The European Commission has been notified of the broad outline of the measures to modernise and maintain the Post Office network proposed in the Performance and Innovation Unit report. In developing individual measures in detail, including any funding arrangements, we are consulting with the Commission to ensure compliance with state aid provisions.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps the Environment Agency has taken to improve flood defence systems around Shrewsbury since October 1998; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The Agency has repaired and maintained upstream floodbanks that provide flood protection to the town. Proposals for a scheme in the town were rejected in 1994 by the borough council. The Agency has since been working with the borough council and the residents to investigate more innovative solutions and identify a scheme that would be both practical to develop and acceptable to the town's people if it meets the Ministry's criteria within which the Agency has to operate.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much the budget of the Environment Agency was each year since 1996 for flood defence systems around Shrewsbury; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 November 2000]: No capital funds have been allocated for a scheme in Shrewsbury following the rejection of the earlier proposed scheme by the local planning authority in 1994. However, considerable revenue expenditure has been made--more than £1 million since 1996--to repair and maintain upstream floodbanks that provide flood protection to the town.
Ms Quin [holding answer 6 November 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Helen Jackson) on 2 November 2000, Official Report, column 620W.
Ms Quin [holding answer 31 October 2000]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Helen Jackson) on 2 November 2000, Official Report, column 620W.
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Mr. Fitzpatrick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he plans to take to address the dairy cattle health and welfare problems associated with further intensification of the dairy industry and a rise in the number of dairy cattle housed indoors throughout the year, in the Government's response to the Farm Animal Welfare Council's report on the welfare of dairy cattle. 
Mr. Morley: The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 No 1870), which came into force on 14 August this year, regulate the conditions in which all cattle and calves should be kept, covering such things as accommodation, ventilation, lighting, feed and water, and inspections. Similar regulations will shortly enter into force in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Revision of our Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Cattle is nearly complete and will reflect FAWC's advice on best practice on all-year housing; we shall shortly consult with all stakeholders on our draft. We have also commissioned a research project involving behavioural studies relating to the welfare of intensively managed dairy cows. And, through the agricultural consultancy ADAS, we run an extensive programme of guidance for dairy farmers.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the (a) gross incomes and (b) net incomes of farmers were in each year from 1990 to 1995; and what average total subsidy was paid in each of those years. 
|Total farm output(8)||Net farm income||Subsidies and grants|
(8) This is broadly equivalent to the concept of gross farm income
Farm Business Survey
Mr. Bennett: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made by the Government since 31 July in reaching a final agreement with the European Commission on the two metre rules for field margins; when he expects this issue to be resolved; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Middleton (Mr. Dobbin) on 30 October 2000, Official Report, column 233W, referred to a recognition by Commissioner Fischler of the importance of traditional
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landscape features, such as hedges, in implementing aid schemes. This recognition stems from the frequent and intensive contacts that MAFF Ministers and officials have had with the Commission over recent months and, as part of the initiative to simplify the administration of the Common Agricultural Policy, a change to the rules of the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) has now been proposed which would give it practical effect. The proposed rule change would allow United Kingdom farmers to continue, on a permanent basis, to treat field margins in the same way as they have done in the past so far as their inclusion in IACS claims is concerned and would remove the risk of environmental damage that might have resulted from strict application of "two metre rule". This change would also avoid imposing extra burdens of "red tape" on farmers or any adverse impact on their returns under the IACS schemes. The Government welcome this proposal and will press for its rapid adoption.
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