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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research the Spanish vessels at Newlyn are carrying out; and what net size they are using. [137415]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 November 2000]: The Spanish vessels to which the right hon. Member refers last berthed at Newlyn on 23 October. They are now understood to be in France. They are searching for anchovy and other non-quota species in ICES Areas VIIe and VIId (the English Channel).

It is understood that the skippers intend to use mesh sizes appropriate for the species targeted. These are set out in EC Council Regulation 850/98.

Fishing Rights

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what rights UK fishermen have to fish in Spanish waters. [137416]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 9 November 2000]: UK registered fishing vessels have no rights to fish in Spanish territorial waters and fishing opportunities in other waters under Spanish jurisdiction are limited by virtue of Western Waters effort restrictions and TACs and Quota regulations. Spanish vessels also face restrictions in UK territorial waters.

GM Crops

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the first GM crop was planted in the United Kingdom under (a) a part B consent and (b) a part C consent. [136683]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 6 November 2000]: I have been asked to reply.

In the United Kingdom, the first GM crop plant to be released under a consent issued in accordance with Part B of Directive 90/220/EEC was in April 1993. It was an oilseed rape modified for fungal tolerance. However, over the previous five years a number of different GM crop plants had been released under the interim arrangements which were in place before the Genetically Modified (Deliberate Release) regulations came into force on 1 February 1993.

The first GM crop to be planted in the United Kingdom under a part C consent was a herbicide tolerant oilseed rape. The consent was issued in February 1996 for seed production purposes only and not for general cultivation. The legislation does not require the location and time of sowing of crops covered by Part C consents to be notified to the authorities and we do not hold this information. However, we do have an assurance from Aventis, who hold this consent, that no plants have been grown in the UK under this consent since 1997.

Information on all the consents for GM crops issued in the United Kingdom is available on the public register held in my Department.

10 Nov 2000 : Column: 412W


Taxation Reform

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures have been recommended in the EU's draft report on taxation reform; and what response Her Majesty's Government have made to them. [136780]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 6 November 2000]: There are no current Commission proposals of this form. EC proposals for legislation are considered by the European Scrutiny Committee, and Explanatory memorandums concerning existing proposals on taxation are in the Library.

Employment Tax Credit

Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy on the introduction of an employment tax credit in 2003. [137060]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 7 November 2000]: The 2000 pre-Budget Report reaffirms the Government's intention to introduce an employment tax credit, as a complement to a new integrated system of support for children. The new tax credits will be introduced from 2003, subject to the legislative timetable.

VAT (Historic Buildings)

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to set a zero VAT rate for repairs to historic buildings; and if he will make a statement. [136995]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 8 November 2000]: EC agreements mean that we cannot introduce any new VAT zero rates. However, as the Chancellor announced in the Pre-Budget Report statement on 8 November 2000, Official Report, columns 315-27, I have written to the European Commission on the scope for reducing VAT on repairs to listed buildings that are places of worship.


Parental Leave Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the cost to public funds of the Parental Leave Directive in (a) 1999-2000 and (b) the estimated cost in 2000-01. [136474]

Mr. Alan Johnson: It is not possible to calculate the exact cost to public funds of public sector employees exercising this right since the Parental Leave Directive came into effect on 15 December 1999. As implemented, parental leave is unpaid and there is no statutory requirement to keep records.

The direct cost to the Department of printing and distributing information on the new right to employees and employers in general, and of operating a dedicated public inquiry point for employees and employers in the period immediately following its introduction, has been approximately £40,000.

10 Nov 2000 : Column: 413W

Imported Fertiliser

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the EU in respect of the temporary tariff on imported fertiliser. [137272]

Mr. Caborn: The European Community has imposed anti-dumping measures on imports of various types of fertiliser from a number of countries; these currently include provisional duties (lasting six months) on imports of ammonium nitrate from Poland and the Ukraine. The decision on whether to impose provisional measures rests with the European Commission after consulting member states; the decision whether to impose definitive (five-year) measures rests with the Council of Ministers, acting by a simple majority.

The Government consider any proposal for anti- dumping measures on the economic evidence presented and against the criteria set out in the European Community's Anti-dumping Regulation. In cases involving fertilisers we give full weight to the impact of proposed measures on both producers and farmers, both when consulted by the Commission and in the position we take in the Council of Ministers.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the impact of the national minimum wage on wage rates in England and Wales. [138011]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The Office for National Statistics latest estimates of low pay for spring 2000 (combining New Earnings Survey and Labour Force Survey statistics) show that the national minimum wage is having a direct and beneficial impact on the pay of the lowest paid workers in England and Wales. The latest data also show that it has helped close the gap between the highest and lowest earners and helped reduce the differential between men's and women's pay. This has been achieved without any discernable adverse impact on the economy.


Armed Forces (Death in Service)

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the posthumous recognition of members of the armed forces who are killed in service. [138265]

Mr. Hoon: I have given careful consideration to a number of ways in which the recognition of members of the armed forces who give their lives in the service of their country might be enhanced. In the light of discussion, I have concluded that the most appropriate would be the erection in central London of a memorial bearing the names of all those killed on duty and by terrorist attack since the end of the Second World War. In accordance with the long established custom for the erection of memorials, I would expect funds to be raised by public subscription. Further consultation will now take place with ex-Service organisations and other interested bodies.

10 Nov 2000 : Column: 414W

Falklands War

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much time HMS Invincible had to alert other warships to the first Exocet attack during the Falklands war; what action was taken during that time; how much warning HMS Sheffield received of the attack; and if he will make a statement. [137302]

Mr. Spellar: On 4 May 1982, during Operation Corporate, the British operation to re-take the Falkland Islands after the Argentine invasion, the Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield was attacked by Super Etendard aircraft carrying Exocet anti-ship missiles.

Some 13 minutes before the missile impact on Sheffield, which resulted in the tragic loss of HMS Sheffield and 20 of her crew, HMS Invincible had detected a contact initially at a range of approximately 180 miles from Invincible which would have been consistent with the Argentine aircraft. However, for the previous few days, the force had experienced a high incidence of spurious radar contacts. These contacts were also assessed as spurious. There were at the time no other indications of impending attack.

Some six minutes before the Exocet hit Sheffield, her sister ship Glasgow detected the radar transmissions of the Exocet carrying aircraft--the first certain indication of imminent attack--and alerted the rest of the force to the threat. The process of detection and assessment absorbed little time and Sheffield thus had five minutes warning of the imminent attack.

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