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Agrimonetary Compensation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what level of total agrimonetary compensation was (a) applied for and (b) received in each of the last 10 years. [151828]

Ms Quin [holding answer 1 March 2001]: The UK was first eligible for agrimonetary compensation following currency movements during 1996. Agrimonetary compensation applied for since then is shown in the table. In each case, payment has been made as soon as possible following approval by the European Commission.

£ million

YearApplied for

(18) Includes second and third annual instalments of compulsory agrimonetary compensation; one notification covered all three years' payments, from 1999 to 2001

In addition, my right hon. Friend the Minister announced on 28 February that he intended to draw down a further £156 million of agrimonetary compensation for beef, sheep and dairy farmers, subject to Commission approval.

EU Floods Compensation

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what money he has applied for from the EU to reclaim agricultural land affected by flooding; and if he will make a statement. [152293]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 March 2001]: At our request, the European Commission has agreed a number of changes and flexibilities in CAP scheme rules to protect payments to British farmers affected by flooding this winter, details of which have already been announced. EU funding was discussed as a possibility under the England Rural Development Programme but the views of rural stakeholders expressed in consultations were that restoration from flooding was a lower priority in this long-term programme than measures to conserve and improve the environment and to assist the creation of a more productive and sustainable rural economy.

Illegal Livestock Exports

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what investigations he has carried out to determine how many consignments of sheep and lambs have been illegally exported from England and Wales to the Irish Republic during the last 12 months. [153030]

Ms Quin [holding answer 12 March 2001]: Exports of sheep from England and Wales to another member state are required to be covered by export health certification under harmonised EU conditions. Under normal circumstances, additional border checks constitute an illegal impediment to trade. However, since the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, surveillance at Holyhead Port has been increased. We are not aware that there have been any illegally exported consignments nor have any been reported to MAFF by the Irish Authorities.

23 Mar 2001 : Column: 380W

Less than 1 per cent. of sheep legally moved between Great Britain and Ireland as a whole went direct to the Republic of Ireland between 1 February 2000 and 31 March 2001. A significant proportion of trade to the Irish Republic goes via Northern Ireland. Suspicions of illegal trading of sheep, involving misleading certification, arose there last year; increased port surveillance and tracing of animals to their final destinations were put in place and the trade had in consequence virtually stopped by January 2001. Any evidence submitted to us of illegal consignments between England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland would be carefully investigated.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many geographical locations are associated with the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease announced to date. [153841]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 March 2001]: As of 19 March there are 14 areas within the United Kingdom which are covered by "infected area" restrictions.

These are as follows:

Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the different locations affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire. [153843]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 March 2001]: As of 19 March, two premises in this area have been affected with foot and mouth disease. They are Longmore Farm and The Woodlands, Chaddesley Corbett, Kidderminster. Details of newly affected premises are listed on the MAFF website and provided to Members of Parliament on a daily basis.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he is examining to help other rural businesses, besides farming affected by the foot and mouth epidemic. [154029]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 March 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

23 Mar 2001 : Column: 381W

The Rural Taskforce has been set up to look urgently at the wider effects of the foot and mouth outbreak on the rural economy. My statement to the House on 20 March 2001, Official Report, column 192, outlined some preliminary measures to alleviate the immediate financial hardship of small businesses in rural areas. The taskforce will continue to look at this issue and I will make further announcements in due course.

Livestock Movements

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures his Department is taking to ensure that hauliers do not breach new regulations concerning the length of time over which animals can be transported. [155257]

Mr. Morley: Owing to the foot and mouth disease outbreak, movements of FMD susceptible livestock may only take place under licence. We expect all hauliers to take seriously their obligations not to spread the disease. But we will nevertheless arrange for a high proportion of longer distance movements to be supervised and accompanied. In addition, checks are made by the police and local authorities to ensure compliance.


Finance Bill

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Finance Bill will be published; and if he will make explanatory notes on the Bill's clauses available to hon. Members. [155578]

Mr. Gordon Brown: The Finance Bill will be published on Friday, 30 March. Explanatory notes on the Bill's clauses will be placed in the Vote Office and the Libraries of both Houses that day. Members of the public will be able to obtain copies of the explanatory notes from the Treasury; these will also be available on the Treasury's website

Stakeholder Pensions

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information on purchasers of stakeholder pensions the Inland Revenue will ask providers of such pensions to provide; and if this information will allow the Inland Revenue to determine whether the target market for such pensions is being reached. [154773]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information requirements for stakeholder and personal pensions are laid out at Part 17B of the Inland Revenue Personal Pension Schemes (including Stakeholder Pension Schemes) Guidance Notes--IR76 (2000). I have arranged for a copy to be laid in the House of Commons Library.

These requirements, supplemented by surveys and with other information held by the Inland Revenue, will enable take up of stakeholder pensions to be monitored.

Partnerships UK

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his plans for Partnerships UK. [155722]

23 Mar 2001 : Column: 382W

Mr. Andrew Smith: Partnerships UK was launched in June 2000 to build upon the success of the Treasury Taskforce and to provide a permanent and sustainable centre of expertise to continue the Treasury Taskforce's role in developing and expanding the Government's PPP programme.

The Treasury is currently seeking private investors for a 51 per cent. stake in Partnerships UK. The Treasury's aim is to raise at least £22.5 million through a sale of the shares on a competitive basis to qualifying institutions. Each potential qualifying investor is being invited to invest between £1 million and £5 million.

An Information Memorandum has been distributed to qualifying institutions in connection with this Offer for sale. Further information on the sale can be obtained from the publication copy of the Information Memorandum, which has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

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