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Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the change in the prevalence of bovine TB is in areas where badger culling schemes (a) have and (b) have not taken place; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 16 January 2001]: The Government's cattle TB strategy includes a badger culling trial which is designed to establish whether culling badgers reduces the incidence of TB in cattle. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG), which is overseeing the trial, has advised the Government that
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disclosing the number and location of cattle breakdowns in trial areas could compromise the scientific integrity of the trial before it is completed. The Government have accepted this advice. When robust results are available from the trial, they will be made publicly available.
Ms Quin [holding answer 16 January 2001]: There is no reliable means of testing for bovine TB in live badgers but broad estimates of disease levels can be made from post-mortem examination of badgers killed on roads. The most recent information available from this source is as follows:
(1) 1998 figures, the most recent year for which 12 months' data are available
(2) Figures for 1 December 1998 to date
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Ms Quin: The decision to implement modulation at a low flat rate was made after full consultation. Given the particular challenges facing all sectors of the farming industry, we concluded that it would be inequitable for modulation to be applied to certain sectors and not others.
This approach offers a simple and transparent system, allowing farmers to understand readily the impact of modulation on their businesses, and one which is relatively simple to implement. It takes into account the need to avoid giving incentives to farmers to alter their businesses artificially in response to modulation, or to defer the implementation of business restructuring which would otherwise make economic sense, and it strikes a balance between the benefits of expanding rural development measures and the importance of avoiding distortion of competition with farmers in other member states which are not applying modulation.
|Tenure||Male holders||Female holders||Total|
|Owner occupied only(5)||20,387||3,089||23,476|
|Neither owned nor tenanted(6)||585||54||639|
(3) Where all area farmed is rented in
(4) Where part of the area farmed is rented in and part is owner occupied
(5) Where all area farmed is owner occupied
(6) Where none of the area farmed is owned or rented, eg share farming
The table does not include holders on minor holdings
The EU Farm Structure Survey 1997
Mr. Nick Brown: I am pleased to be able to announce that the Ongoers element of the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme is today being opened for applications and will remain open for six months. This announcement completes the delivery of a further component of the
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Government's Action Plan for Farming. It is particularly pleasing to announce the opening of phase two of a scheme that will make a significant amount of money available to the UK pig industry, a sector that has suffered over the past two years. While market conditions have improved recently, the scale of the debt incurred over those difficult times continues to be a major restraint on the industry's ability to prepare itself for the future. The Government's restructuring scheme will go some way towards remedying that situation.
The aim of Ongoers is to help pig producers reduce costs, overcome any competitive disadvantage and restore long term viability to their businesses. It will achieve this by providing an interest rate rebate on loans linked to an agreed business plan.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Solicitor-General for what reasons his Department did not reply to the questions tabled by the hon. Member for Thurrock on 19 October 1999 [refs. 94621 and 94622]; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will make a statement on the reasons for, and circumstances relating to, the decision of the CPS not to offer evidence at the trial of Linda Watson and Amanda London- Williams on 8 June 1999. 
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence in the case against Linda Watson and Amanda London-Williams only after very careful and detailed consultation between the Crown Prosecutor, Queen's and Junior counsel for the Crown and the Crown's forensic science expert. The decision that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction was made following the late receipt of evidence from a forensic science expert for the defence about the trajectory of the fatal shots. The Crown's own forensic expert was unable to offer any evidence by way of rebuttal.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Solicitor-General for what reasons the senior CID officer overseeing the murder investigation relating to Richard Watson was not consulted prior to the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to present evidence in the trial of Linda Watson and Amanda London-Williams on 8 June 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence in the case against Linda Watson and Amanda London-Williams only after very careful and detailed consultation between the Crown Prosecutor, the Queen's counsel and Junior counsel for the Crown and the Crown's forensic science expert. The
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decision that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction was made following the late receipt of evidence from a forensic science expert for the defence about the trajectory of the fatal shots. The Detective Inspector dealing with the police inquiry was kept fully informed as decisions were made.
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