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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost has been to UK public funds of subsidising the export of live cattle from the EU to the middle east and North Africa in the last five years. 
Mr. Morley: During the 19992000 EU budget year, the EU spent approximately 110 million euros on export refunds for live cattle to all destinations. We do not have data for specific destinations. The UK Exchequer does not contribute directly to the cost of any agricultural expenditure from the EU budget, but contributes to the budget as a whole. The UK position is to argue for a reformed CAP and an end to such export subsidies.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) national and (b) international awareness events her Department has participated in since June 1997 in the form of (i) sponsorship, (ii) departmental attendance, (iii) similar departmental activities and (iv) a message of support. 
Mr. Morley: The redesign of the MAFF website into the new DEFRA website was undertaken using internal resources. It is not possible to be precise about the extent of those indirect costs but they are estimated to be less than £10,000.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in (a) England and (b) Cumbria do no other farming activity except letting out their grass. 
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Mr. Morley: My officials are in touch with the Arthur Rank Foundation and with industry bodies about the work of the ARF's National Fodder Bureau and Government match funding for this charitable work. These discussions have included consideration of the prices and availability of fodder and grazing across the country.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to represent non-farming and conservation interests on her Department's Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food. 
Mr. Morley: Appointments to the independent Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, announced on 9 August, have been made by the Prime Minister. Members have been appointed in a personal capacity, not as representatives of particular groups, and reflect a wide range of interests, knowledge and expertise extending beyond farming and conservation.
Mr. Morley: We are very conscious of the need to reduce bureaucracy. While some regulation is unavoidable if the Government are to safeguard public and animal health, environmental matters or public funds, the aim is to keep regulation to a minimum. A major programme of work to streamline processes has been under way for the last 18 months since my right hon. Friend the former Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food asked the industry to identify particular problem areas. In Europe, too, we continue to seek greater simplification of regulations affecting farmers.
Money has been saved in direct costs to industry as well as time saved in paperworkfor example, by implementing a simplified procedure for granting "own-use" approvals for imports of pesticides with a reduced fee, by streamlining intervention procedures and by better co-ordinated cattle inspections. We continue to implement the remaining recommendations from the Red Tape Reviews and the Better Regulation Task Force report on Environmental Regulation and Farmers.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many days on average were lost per employee in his Department because of sickness; and how many officials retired early from his Department, in each of the past 10 years. [R] 
Mr. Morley: This reply essentially reflects the position in the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Details are not readily available for the ex-DETR and Home Office groups who now form part of DEFRA.
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The Department does not maintain aggregated data on sickness absence but relies instead on a comprehensive analysis of sickness absence in the Civil Service which is produced annually by Cabinet Office. Copies of such reports are placed in House Libraries.
In 1998 the Cabinet Office published a report 'Working Well TogetherManaging Attendance in the Public Sector' aimed at promoting wider awareness and use of the very best attendance management techniques in order to reduce sickness absence levels across the public sector. Following that report, the Department has designed a range of new sickness absence management procedures which it is currently in the process of rolling out across the Department.
Responsibility for attendance matters within the Central Science Laboratory, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Centre for Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Agencyall former MAFF agencieshas been delegated to the agency chief executives and I have asked them to reply direct. The Pesticides Safety Directorate and Veterinary Medicines Directorate Agencies are covered by the departmental response.
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