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Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reviews on the future of the Fire Service are in progress; when he will make announcements on them; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government have a continuing programme of work in partnership with fire service and other interests to modernise the fire service, to reduce the incidence of fire and related death, injury and damage and to ensure the safety of the public. Details are set out in the Home Office Annual Report for 2000-01 (Cm 5106). We are also listening to the views of the Fire Community on the wider future of fire services.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his policy to refuse relocation under the National Asylum Support Service allocation rules on grounds of severe clinical depression. 
Mrs. Roche [holding answer 2 April 2001]: Dispersal is only considered where the asylum seeker has requested that accommodation be provided as part of an application for support. A decision on whether dispersal is appropriate is taken by the National Asylum Support Service after full and careful consideration of all the known facts. Any medical advice that dispersal is inappropriate would also be taken into account.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list (a) each category of grant and (b) the amount of each grant paid by his Department to each London borough in (i) 1997-98, (ii) 1998-1999, (iii) 1999-2000 and (iv) 2000-01; and what the projected figure is for 2001-02. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on anti-Semitic incidents in the last six months; and what representations he has received on the causes of such incidents. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Anti-Semitic incidents are not recorded separately by the Home Office. The police in the year 1999-2000 recorded 47,814 racist incidents. The Board of Deputies of British Jews recorded some 221 anti-Semitic incidents in the six months from September 2000 to February 2001.
I have not received any specific representations on the causes of such incidents. I have, with my ministerial colleagues, met with representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities in the last six months to discuss concerns that the situation in the Middle East should not lead to a breakdown in the good relations between the communities in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the use of anti-social behaviour orders in the Shrewsbury Division of West Mercia constabulary. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: We do not monitor the effectiveness of individual orders centrally. However, I understand from West Mercia police that six anti-social behaviour orders have been issued in the Shrewsbury Division. The orders have all been very effective. Four of them have been targeted on the ringleaders of a gang threatening residents in a village within the Division. Since the orders have been in force, the anti-social behaviour has stopped, and the remaining members of the gang have dispersed.
Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers are available to (a) the Police, (b) local authorities and (c) landowners in order to control dogs in the countryside; and if he will undertake a review of these powers. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Under section 2 of the Animals Act 1971, where a dog causes damage by killing or injuring livestock, any person who is a keeper of the dog is liable for the damage. If a dog trespasses onto another's land then if the owner allowed the dog to trespass wilfully or to search for game, the owner is liable for any damage to the owner's livestock.
Under section 9 of the 1971 Act a landowner or the owner of the livestock or an employee of the landowner or the owner of the livestock has a defence to killing or injuring a dog worrying livestock if either:
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There are no plans to review the wider law relating to the control of dogs in the countryside, although the measures in place to combat the spread of foot and mouth disease are being kept under constant review.
Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to give additional powers to (a) the Police, (b) local authorities and (c) landowners in order to control dogs in the countryside during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Mrs. Roche: A precise figure is not available, but the cost of recording electronically the admissions and departures of all non-European Economic Area nationals is provisionally estimated to be around £20 million a year. This estimate includes the costs of reintroducing embarkation controls, which were discontinued in 1998.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the Government will pay the additional cost to abattoirs of higher veterinary costs and those arising from the removal of (a) manure, (b) lorry solids and (c) guts and blood following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
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Ms Quin [holding answer 19 March 2001]: The Government have agreed that they will pay for the more intensive ante mortem inspections and supervision of cleansing and disinfection of wagons that is currently being carried out by the Meat Hygiene Service as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak.
Slaughterhouses, as with any other premises where livestock are kept, may need to comply with statutory requirements for the removal of manure, lorry solids and guts and blood, as part of the controls in place to deal with the foot and mouth outbreak. There are no plans for Government to reimburse costs associated with these functions.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to ban the import of meat and meat products from countries outside the EU (a) where foot and mouth disease is (i) prevalent and (ii) suspected and (b) where antibodies may be present in animals as a result of vaccination. 
Ms Quin: The importation of meat is permitted from a limited number of third countries where foot and mouth disease is present and where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specified regions. EC rules permit imports from those regions of the relevant countries that are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not pose an FMD risk, may in some cases be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. Because of their FMD situation, prohibitions are currently in place on imports from South Africa, Swaziland and Argentina; countries from which imports were previously permitted. All meat imported from third countries is subject to veterinary checks at Border Inspection Posts to ensure that import requirements are met.
There are no controls relating specifically to the presence of antibodies as a result of vaccination. However import of meat from countries which vaccinate is subject to controls and certification to ensure that the beef is matured and boneless and that meat from pigs and ruminants other than bovines comes from unvaccinated animals from an FMD free region.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures were taken by his Department to deal with any outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom prior to the public announcements made on 19 February in response to the infection reported at a Brentwood abattoir. 
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if his Department received unconfirmed reports of possible foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom during 2000; 
(3) what investigations were carried out in respect of each unconfirmed report received by his Department of a case of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom over the 12 months up to 19 February. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: Any person who suspects that an animal may be affected by foot and mouth disease is required by the Foot and Mouth Order 1983 to notify the Ministry. Similar arrangements apply in Northern Ireland. Any such notification would immediately result in veterinary investigations being undertaken. No cases of suspected foot and mouth disease were reported to the Agriculture Departments over the 12 months up to 19 February 2001.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information was passed to EU officials by his Department regarding outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2000. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 22 March 2001]: There were no outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom during 2000. In consequence no information regarding outbreaks was passed to EU officials.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if (a) he, (b) ministerial colleagues or (c) officials were informed of (i) suspected cases of and (ii) increased risk of foot and mouth in the period three months prior to its first identification in Brentwood on 19 February. 
Ms Quin: No suspected cases were reported to the Ministry in the period three months prior to 19 February. The Ministry first became aware of a suspected case of foot and mouth in pigs at an abattoir in Essex on 19 February and subsequently confirmed disease on the evening of 20 February. My right hon. Friend the Minister was informed of these developments on the days they occurred.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of studies published on the effectiveness of disinfectants in destroying the foot and mouth virus. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 23 March 2001]: Only disinfectants approved by MAFF for use against foot and mouth disease can be used for statutory purposes laid down in Foot and Mouth Disease Orders made under the Animal Health Act 1981. These disinfectants have all been tested for efficacy against live foot and mouth disease virus at the Institute for Animal Health, in accordance with a standard test protocol, and have been found to be efficacious at the dilution rates at which they are approved for use.
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Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the possible linkage between cull sows imported from abroad and the current outbreak of foot and mouth; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what date his Department was first informed of the presence of the foot and mouth virus in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The Ministry first became aware of a suspected case of foot and mouth in pigs at an abattoir in Essex on 19 February and subsequently confirmed the disease on the evening of 20 February.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the time taken between diagnosing animals as being infected with foot and mouth disease and the taking of effective action. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 26 March 2001]: Our objective is to slaughter infected animals within 24 hours of the disease having been reported. In the majority of areas we are now meeting this target but due to the sheer numbers involved it has not been possible to meet it in all cases.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of road mats treated with disinfectant as a means of preventing the spread of the virus causing foot and mouth disease; 
Ms Quin [holding answer 26 March 2001]: Road mats treated with disinfectant provide a limited measure of protection against the spread of the FMD virus as they only apply disinfectant to the tyre treads of vehicles passing over them. The best method of disinfection is the combination of thorough cleansing, preferably with a pressure hose, followed by the use of an approved disinfectant applied to all exposed surfaces using a hose or spray.
The advice to people working or travelling in the countryside contained in Public Information Factsheets and on the MAFF website http://www.maff.gov.uk/ makes it clear that vehicles should be thoroughly cleansed and thoroughly disinfected, and explains that this is best achieved by using a hose or spray to apply disinfectant.
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Sir John Stanley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what Government contingency plan there was for an outbreak of foot and mouth in the United Kingdom; and when it was last revised. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: MAFF has contingency plans for dealing with outbreaks of serious animal disease. These include detailed operational instructions for use by the State Veterinary Service. The plan for foot and mouth was updated and submitted to the European Commission in July 2000.
Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what date (a) an official and (b) a Minister was first alerted to the (i) possibility of the first suspected case and (ii) confirmation of the first case of foot and mouth disease. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: MAFF first became aware of a suspect case of foot and mouth disease on 19 February and of its confirmation on the evening of 20 February. The Minister was so informed on those dates.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the retail and wholesale meat trades about the effect on their financial situation of foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement on possible temporary relief. 
Ms Quin: We have received a number of representations from various sectors of the meat supply chain. Organisations representing meat wholesalers are currently quantifying the extent of losses resulting from FMD and Government will consider any submission they may subsequently make.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to assist farmers who are running out of fodder who would normally turn out their cattle in April and may be prevented from doing so by movement restrictions. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 30 March 2001]: A range of options is available to farmers whose stock are short of food, or facing other welfare threats, as a result of FMD movement restrictions. We have produced advisory material on how to safeguard animal welfare in such circumstances; and we have introduced a scheme to license movements both locally, and over longer distances, for welfare reasons. Finally, the livestock welfare (disposal) scheme provides an outlet for those animals that are prevented from moving as normal and are consequently at risk of suffering. Farmers will receive payment for most classes of stock entered to the scheme. Proper care and feeding of livestock remains the responsibility of farmers.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the loss of foot and mouth disease-free status on trade in cattle and beef products. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 2 April 2001]: As a result of the present outbreak of foot and mouth disease, UK exports of a range of agricultural products including cattle, beef and beef products have been prohibited. However, the amount of UK beef exported in recent years
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has been very low as a consequence of BSE. In 2000 some 8,600 tonnes were exported at a value of £24 million. There were no exports of live animals.
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