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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 15 December 2000


Animal Feed

Mr. Efford: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what plans he has to implement a complete ban on MBM in animal feeds in the United Kingdom; [141648]

Ms Quin: My Department is considering the measures necessary to implement expeditiously the Decision taken by the Agriculture Council on 4 December relating to animal feed.

Suckler Cow Quota

Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the effect on quota values of including heifers in the suckler cow quota. [142255]

Ms Quin: The inclusion of heifers on suckler cow premium claims up to a maximum of 20 per cent. is only one of a number of factors contributing to the recent rise in lease and sale values of suckler cow premium quota. Its effects cannot be determined in isolation. Other relevant factors include:

Most farmers already have sufficient quota to support their claims; only a small percentage of the 1.7 million units of quota in the UK is traded each year.


Mrs. Browning: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in which scientific journals post mortem tests for BSE used in other EU countries have been subject to peer review; and if he will arrange for these papers to be placed in the Library. [141717]

Ms Quin [holding answer 11 December 2000]: According to our information none of the post mortem tests for BSE used in the EU have been submitted to a peer reviewed journal. However, the EC has undertaken an independent evaluation of BSE diagnostic tests. Four tests were submitted last year and a report outlining the results of this evaluation was published in July 1999. I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library. The EC recently announced that an evaluation of five new tests for BSE will begin shortly.

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Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she took at the G8 meeting on December 6 to 8 to urge G8 Governments to support developing countries, in exercising their rights under the TRIPs agreement, to use compulsory licences to reduce the prices of drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and related infections; and if she will make a statement about the outcome of the meeting with regard to development issues. [141559]

Clare Short: At the recent meeting in Japan, the UK Government, with other G8 Governments, reaffirmed our commitment to improved access and affordability of health services, commodities and information to developing countries. There was increased G8 political and financial commitment to improving availability and affordability of medicines, in particular for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, for developing countries.

There is a need to ensure increased access to affordable, effective drugs and vaccines. We also need to ensure research and development for new medicines for diseases of the poor in the future. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) provide an essential incentive for private investment in research and development. The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Property Rights (TRIPs) sets out minimum standards for IPR. TRIPs allows compulsory licensing under certain circumstances but this needs to be used in exceptional circumstances, otherwise it would reduce the incentives for pharmaceutical company investment in research better to meet the needs of poor countries.

As indicated in my Government's new White Paper on Globalisation, the UK Government have commissioned urgent work to develop new proposals to improve access to existing medicines, and to tackle the lack of incentives for investment in research for future vaccines and treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB medicines.

Parliamentary Questions

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many parliamentary questions have been tabled to her Department in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [142510]

Clare Short: 1,155 parliamentary questions were tabled to my Department in the parliamentary year 1997-98, 1,140 in the parliamentary year 1998-99, and 1,280 in the parliamentary year 1999-2000.

We endeavour to ensure that all questions are answered promptly, accurately and informatively.


Defence Agency Reviews

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the quinquennial review of the Defence Secondary Care Agency, the Defence Dental Agency, the Medical Supplies Agency and the Defence Medical Training Agency will take place; and what the aim of and arrangements for the review will be. [143496]

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Dr. Moonie: A single quinquennial review is to begin in February 2001 embracing these four Defence medical agencies and covering also medical arrangements for personnel in Germany and Northern Ireland and interrelationships between primary and secondary care.

The aim of the review is to make recommendations on the future means of delivery of the functions and services provided by the organisations which are the subject of this review. In doing this Phase 1 of the review, which is expected to be completed by the end of June 2001, will:

Following consultation, Phase 2 of the review will then develop more detailed proposals for the targeting of improvements in performance and service delivery. The precise programme of work will be dependent on the findings of Phase 1, but it is currently expected that it will be completed by November 2001.

The review will be carried out by a small team of military officers and civilians within the MOD, but under the leadership of a senior health professional on loan from the Department of Health. The review will be overseen by a Steering Group chaired by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

There will be consultation with Stakeholders throughout this process, but the Ministry of Defence is also keen to hear the views of other interested parties including suggestions for improvement in the provision of services. Any comments, which should be sent by 30 April 2001, should be addressed to Rear Admiral C. D. Stanford, Chief of Staff to the Surgeon General, Room 7364, Ministry of Defence, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB (e-mail address: sgcos@surgeongeneral.co.uk).

Tucano Aircraft

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Tucano aircraft and the training of pilots in Australia. [143420]

Mr. Spellar: The Tucano recovery programme is proceeding to plan and full training capacity is expected to be available by the end of February 2001. Fifteen students are to complete their basic fast jet flying training in Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force, assisted by three RAF Qualified Flying Instructors. The first group of 10 students started flying training in Australia on 6 November and the arrangement is working well. The remaining five students will start their training on 29 January 2001.

Territorial Army

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Territorial Army were deployed in (a) Bosnia and (b) Kosovo in each of the past 12 months. [143034]

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Dr. Moonie: The number of individual Territorial Army reservists deployed in Bosnia and Kosovo in each of the past 12 months are:

January 2000282228
February 2000291250
March 2000271174
April 2000238195
May 2000205191
June 2000203222
July 2000197226
August 2000180266
September 2000145184
October 2000158198
November 2000140156
December 2000146152

Armed Services (Personnel)

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people (a) left and (b) joined each of the three armed services in each of the past six months. [143025]

Mr. Spellar: The numbers of personnel who joined and left each of the three armed services in each of the last six months for which records are available, are set out in the table.

Naval service Army RAF

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