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19. Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the discussions he has held with the political parties about the flying of flags in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Mandelson: On 10 July I wrote to the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland requesting their views on the flying of flags in Northern Ireland. I considered all of the points made by the parties before preparing draft Regulations, which I then sent to the Northern Ireland Assembly for its consideration as I was required to do by the Flags (Northern Ireland) Order 2000. The Assembly reported its view to me on 18 October. I considered the Assembly's Report, and the views of the parties set out within it very carefully, before laying draft Regulations before Parliament on 23 October.
Mr. Mandelson: The report of the Review of the Criminal Justice System was published in March this year and the period of consultation ended on 29 September. The Government fully endorse the general approach taken in the report. Informed by the consultation exercise we have now put in hand the detailed work needed to prepare legislation and an implementation plan. As the Prime Minister said on 5 May, these will both be published next April.
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are opposed to the peace process as evidenced by the recent explosion at Castlewellan RUC Station. These attacks are carried out against the will of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland who voted for the Good Friday agreement as the only way forward.
We condemn the recent upsurge in Loyalist violence and appeal to those leaders with influence over paramilitary organisations to bring this senseless feud to an end before the lives of more families are ruined.
Mr. Ingram: The Government are committed to normalisation of security as quickly as the threat allows. Major progress has already been made. There are currently under 13,500 troops in Northern Ireland--the lowest level since 1970. Since the ceasefire 31 military bases have been demolished or closed. The Borucki sangar in Crossmaglen has also been demolished.
The Chief Constable recently announced a number of further normalisation measures including the demolition of the six Fermanagh patrol bases, the closure and demolition of Long Kesh army base and, with effect from 1 October, the closure of Strand Road Holding Centre. Further steps will be taken when it is safe to do so.
Mr. Ingram: Organised crime has no place in a decent society. On 25 September the Secretary of State announced a new multi-agency approach to tackling organised crime in Northern Ireland. An Organised Crime Task Force has been established and met for the first time on 25 October. I chair the Task Force. The Task Force brings together a number of agencies to provide a strategic focus and to develop the existing co-ordination arrangements between the agencies.
Mr. Mandelson: We condemn the recent upsurge in violence in North and West Belfast. In the past number of days four men have been killed as a result of feuding between loyalist paramilitary organisations. I know from my own visits to these communities just how much pain has been suffered. The Government are resolute in their determination to tackle this issue and maintain a proper security presence in these areas to deal with this threat. We support the Chief Constable in his decision to re-introduce troops on to the streets of Belfast to provide additional support to the police.
We also condemn the recent attack on Castlewellan RUC Station. Any attack of this nature is to be deplored but to attack police officers as they carry out their duty in protecting the public is particularly heinous. Our thoughts are with Reserve Constable David Fegan and his family at this time.
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Over the summer, the participants in the British-Irish Council have been taking forward work in a number of the areas identified as priorities at the first BIC summit meeting last December. The second BIC summit was due to take place in Dublin on Wednesday 18 October, hosted by the Irish Government. Regrettably, the summit had to be postponed following the death of the right hon. Donald Dewar MP MSP, First Minister of the Scottish Executive. Action is in hand to identify a new date for the summit.
Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received about the falling incomes of cereal farms as a result of the weakness of the euro and the need for the Government to claim agrimonetary compensation from the European Commission prior to the end of October; what his policy is on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Ms Quin [holding answer 6 November 2000]: Farmers are entitled to payments under the Arable Area Payments Scheme in respect of cereals grown and claimed under the rules of that Scheme. In 2000, farmers in England will receive £217.27/ha on 98.36% of their payable area of eligible cereal crops (other than maize). In addition, and subject to the agreement of the European Commission, they are expected to receive £7.37/ha in agrimonetary compensation on the same area. In 1999 they received £208.06/ha on 99.06 per cent. of their payable area. In addition they received a payment of £33.66/ha in agrimonetary compensation and are now receiving a further instalment of £11.22/ha on the same area. Producers of maize in England received the same payments but on a lower area (33.15 per cent. of the payable area in 1999 and 35 per cent. of the payable area in 2000). Farmers in other parts of the UK receive lower payments in line with historic yields but, other than in Scotland, do not suffer area penalties.
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Ann Clwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his annual budget for poultry science research and development was in (a) 1998 and (b) 1999; and in each of those years what proportion of this budget was spent on research aimed at increasing broiler chicken (i) growth rate and (ii) feed efficiency. 
Ms Quin: The annual budget for poultry science research and development was £1.0 million in 1998 and £940,000 in 1999. In addition, a further £1.66 million and £1.44 million were spent in 1998 and 1999 respectively on animal welfare projects relevant to poultry nutrition and welfare. There were no projects during 1998-99 aimed at increasing standard broiler chicken growth rate. The work we are funding on increasing broiler chicken feed efficiency in 1998-99 was £325,000 and £338,000 in 1999-2000. This research is driven by a need--with the reduction in pollutants in mind--to move away from the use of animal proteins in chicken feed and to utilise home grown sources of proteins.
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