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Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on the High Peak constituency of his Department's policies and actions since May 1997. 
Mr. Wills: Details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the High Peak constituency and Derbyshire LEA have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Stunell: To ask the President of the Council, pursuant to her answer of 22 March 2001, Official Report, column 314W, on Government bills, what measures she has put in place to monitor the effectiveness of her policy to reduce the number of Government amendments tabled to Government Bills; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Beckett: Last Session, the number of pages in Bills grew by 28.8 per cent. between introduction and enactment. This Session, the increase is running at 3.8 per cent. However, there will always be occasions when the Government will need or wish to respond to relevant developments and table amendments as a result.
8. Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the role of livestock markets on the spread of foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Morley: The movement of sheep has been a key factor in the spread of foot and mouth disease. We estimate that some 700,000 sheep were sold through livestock markets in Great Britain in February before movement restrictions were imposed. The total movement of sheep in this period will be very much higher. I have launched a consultation on the issue of a standstill period following movements of sheep, goats and cattle, and will also be looking at questions such as traceability, the operation of markets and, in particular, out of ring sales.
11. Mr. Paterson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the foot and mouth crisis. 
Mr. Morley: Foot and mouth disease is having a devastating effect of farmers and others involved in the livestock industry, on the tourism industry and on rural communities in general. Experts agree that the nature and impact of the outbreak is unprecedented. Our top priority
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remains to contain and eradicate the disease as quickly as possible. Separately we are providing assistance to those worst affected.
16. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the level of farmers' incomes prior to the foot and mouth outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the effect of foot and mouth on this year's farmers' incomes. 
Ms Quin: Farm incomes have been seriously depressed. Average income from farming in 2000 was £8,500. This represents a drop of 25 per cent. in real terms as compared to 1999.
At this stage it is not possible to quantify the impact the foot and mouth outbreak may have on the incomes of the industry as a whole though it clearly has had a very serious impact on those farmers directly affected. That is why the government have already responded by introducing a number of targeted measures to assist the livestock industry. Overall, we expect the agrimonetary compensation and the welfare disposal scheme to provide over £400 million to livestock farmers.
26. Mr. Pike: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the latest developments in the foot and mouth disease outbreak. 
Ms Quin: This is an appalling disease which is having a devastating effect on farmers, rural communities and all those involved in the livestock industry. Our top priority remains to contain and eradicate it as quickly as possible.
27. Mr. Randall: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent meetings he has held with farmers representatives in the last month to discuss the foot and mouth outbreak. 
Ms Quin: We have regularly met a wide range of farming and other organisations since the beginning of the outbreak. In addition, we hold weekly meetings on foot and mouth with stakeholders.
28. Dr. Palmer: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken to preserve rare breeds during the foot and mouth outbreak. 
Ms Quin: Animals are slaughtered if they are found to be affected by foot and mouth disease. However, following the Chief Veterinary Officer's recent visit to Cumbria, we are reviewing the implications for rare breeds, particularly where these are located in the 3km zone surrounding infected premises.
29. Mr. Chope: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the Forestry Commission to discuss precautions against foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Morley: I have talked to the Forestry Commission about its response to the foot and mouth outbreak on several occasions over the last few weeks. The most recent occasion was yesterday.
Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the regulations which govern on-farm burial of animal carcases. 
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Ms Quin [holding answer 30 March 2001]: In England, the regulations which govern the on-farm burial of animal carcases are the Animal By-Products Order 1999, the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Groundwater Regulations 1998.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has carried out an assessment of the risk due to BSE infectivity from disposal of cattle during the present outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Nick Brown: On 30 March, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) considered the independent assessment from DNV Consulting of the public health risk due to BSE infectivity from burning cattle during the present foot and mouth disease outbreak. This assessment was placed in the Libraries of the House on 15 March. Taking account of comments from SEAC and the Environment Agency, this assessment has been revised to include the possible BSE risks from burying cattle carcases on farm and in landfill. Copies of this 1 April revision of the DNV risk assessment have been placed in the Libraries of the House, and are today being published on the MAFF Foot and Mouth Disease internet site.
SEAC advised that the risk from burning (or burying) cattle born on or after August 1996 would be at least 400 times lower than the risk from burning (or burying) a similar number of cattle born before this date. In the light of SEAC's advice, the Environment Agency is advising that, depending on local hydrogeological and other factors and subject to site specific risk assessments, cattle born on or after 1 August 1996 may be buried.
9. Kali Mountford: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to ensure prompt payments for claims under the agrimonetary compensation scheme. 
Mr. Nick Brown: Payments of the £156 million optional agrimonetary compensation to livestock farmers will begin later this week following accelerated approval by the European Commission. Sheep farmers are already receiving the payments due to them in compulsory agrimonetary compensation, and payment of their optional amounts will be under way during April. Dairy producers can expect to receive the bulk of their agrimonetary payments during April and May, with residual balance payments being made to them later in the year. Payments to beef producers will begin in May.
10. Mr. Blunt: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he had made of the impact of Government policy on Britain's livestock farmers. 
Mr. Morley: Livestock farmers will receive some £735 million in 2000-01 by way of payments under the principal EU livestock schemes--for suckler cows, beef cattle and sheep. In the present difficult circumstances, we have taken steps to ensure that farmers who have lost animals as a result of foot and mouth disease preserve their entitlement to premiums. In addition, the Government are paying compensation at full market value
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for animals slaughtered because of FMD, and have made available compensation under the optional Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme for those farmers who face immediate welfare difficulties. £156 million of optional agrimonetary compensation is about to be paid to livestock farmers.
12. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on agricultural food imports into the United Kingdom. 
Ms Quin: I refer the hon. Member to today's earlier oral answer given to the hon. Members for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) and for Poole (Mr. Syms), at columns 489-90.
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