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Genetically Modified Foods

Dr. George Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to publish the Government's response to the Science and Technology

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Committee's first report of Session 1998-99, HC 286, on the Scientific Advisory System: Genetically Modified Foods. [100566]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I have today written to the Chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee enclosing a copy of the Government's Response to the Committee's report on the Scientific Advisory System: Genetically Modified Foods, which was published earlier today. A copy of Responses has been laid in the Library of the House.

WTO Seattle Round

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initiatives he proposes to take at the World Trade Organisation Conference at Seattle to ensure that WTO policies have specific objectives which include (a) the reduction of Third World poverty, (b) ensuring equitable market access for the products of Third World countries on the basis of a level playing field and (c) helping consumers to distinguish between products on ethical, environmental and health grounds. [99422]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 23 November 1999]: At Seattle, I will be vigorously supporting EU efforts aimed at ensuring that a new comprehensive round of negotiations has a clear development agenda meeting the needs and priorities of developing countries and which maximises the WTO's contribution to the eradication of poverty. On market access in respect of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), I shall be arguing strongly that other industrialised countries should join the EU in undertaking to provide duty-free access for essentially all LDC exports no later than the end of the round. I fully support the development of labelling schemes which enable consumers to make choices consistent with the pursuit of sustainable development. The EU will be pressing for clarification of the relationship between WTO rules and eco-labelling schemes to be included in the round.



Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what moratorium was implemented with regard to spending on through-floor lifts in the North and West Trust area in the current financial year; and when it is likely to be lifted. [98473]

Mr. George Howarth: Spending on through-floor lifts was suspended by North and West Belfast HSS Trust during July and August 1999 due to budgetary constraints. The provision of through-floor lifts resumed in September.


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many female members of the (a) RUC and (b) RUCR were perceived to be (i) Protestant and (ii) Roman Catholic in 1996 to 1998; what proportion these were of the total number of female members; and what ranks they held. [98456]

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Mr. Ingram: The following is the information:

Year NumberPercentage of total femalesRanks
(a) RUC Regulars (Females perceived to be Protestant)
199680990.2Constable to Superintendent
199783590.4Constable to Superintendent
199884390.4Constable to Superintendent
(a) RUC Regulars (Females perceived to be Roman Catholic)
1996788.7Constable to Chief Inspector
1997818.8Constable to Chief Inspector
1998828.8Constable to Chief Inspector
(b) RUC Reserve (Females perceived to be Protestant)
(b) RUC Reserve (Females perceived to be Roman Catholic)


RUC Reserve figures include full-time and part-time officers



Dr. Gibson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the report by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment on the human health implications of organophosphates will be published. [100714]

Ms Quin: The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is today publishing its report on organophosphates (OPs).

The Government welcome this thorough and timely report. We have always made it clear that we take very seriously the concerns expressed about the safety of organophospate compounds. In response to those concerns, we pledged that we would subject the scientific evidence to the most rigorous and transparent scrutiny. This was why we asked the Committee on Toxicity (COT) to undertake this in-depth review.

As announced when the review was set up, the Veterinary Products Committee, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the Committee on Safety of Medicines have been asked to give their advice on the implications of the COT report to Ministers. We will publish this advice and our response to it as soon as possible.

Copies of the COT report are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Departmental Estate

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Solicitor- General what his estimate is of the value of land and

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property held (i) in Scotland and (ii) in total by (a) the Crown Prosecution Service, (b) the Serious Fraud Office and (c) the Treasury Solicitor's Department. [99734]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers' Departments, comprising the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Treasury Solicitor's Department, and the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers do not have property interests in Scotland.

CPS has an interest in 105 properties. Of these, 91 are leasehold interests, 10 are Crown freeholds held by other Departments and four are Crown freeholds held by the CPS.

The total value of the four freeholds held by the CPS was calculated to be £3.6 million in 1998, by property consultants employed for this purpose. Calculations for the value of CPS leasehold interests could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department holds property in England and Wales with a value of £9.3 million at 31 March 1999.

The SFO has one leasehold property whose value currently is nil, in that the terms of the lease, entered into in 1988, exceed current market rental values. This lease expires on 24 December 2012, and the annual rental is £1.5 million.

The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers has one leasehold property, the value of which is currently estimated at £100,000.

Roger Levitt Case

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Solicitor-General what was the cost to the public purse, through Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and central funds, of the Roger Levitt case; and what was the amount paid to the counsel for the prosecution and the counsel for the defence. [99329]

The Solicitor-General: The estimated prosecution costs associated with the trial were £993,815, including £449,649.32 (including VAT) paid to counsel for the prosecution. In addition, the estimated prosecution costs of investigation amounted to £819,552. The defence costs from legal aid were £2,649,495 and defence costs from central funds were £10,699. I shall write to my hon. Friend shortly with a more detailed breakdown of the defence costs.

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will ask the Bar Council to publish the findings and the reasons for the findings of the disciplinary hearing held by the Bar Council into the handling of the Roger Levitt case. [99330]

The Solicitor-General: I am informed by the Bar Council that no charges of professional misconduct arising from the handling of the Roger Levitt case have been upheld. The Bar Council's disciplinary regulations do not provide for publication of any charge against a barrister, or the finding, where the charge has not been proved, unless the barrister charged so requests. It would be inappropriate for me to ask the Bar Council to depart from the regulations which apply.

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Residential Care

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will extend the period of consultation on the national required standards for residential and nursing homes; [98752]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 November 1999]: To date the Department has received letters from fewer than 20 people and organisations about the formal consultation period, all suggesting that the period should be extended.

The high demand for copies of the consultation document, "Fit for the Future?" led to stocks being exhausted as well as to a backlog of requests. As a result, we decided to order additional copies of "Fit for the Future?", which are now available. A letter will be sent with these copies giving recipients until 21 January to comment on the consultation document.

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