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Farm Worker Incomes

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the effect of the crisis in agriculture on farm workers' annual incomes. [9802]

Mr. Morley: The Government do not monitor the annual incomes of farm workers directly. However, the earnings and hours worked by farm workers in England and Wales are measured by a statistical survey each September. The latest results, for September 2000, were published in January 2001. A copy of the results has been placed in the Library. Results for September 2001 will be published in January 2002.

In England and Wales minimum agricultural wage rates and conditions of employment are set by the Agricultural Wages Board (an independent body). A new agricultural

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wages order implementing this year's wage negotiations came into force on 1 October 2001. Some workers will be paid more than the minimum wage rates.

Nicarbazin and Dimetridazole

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy in relation to the proposals from the European Commission to remove the authorisation for the anti-coccidial drugs Nicarbazin and Dimetridazole. [10206]

Mr. Morley: The UK made representations to the Council of Ministers on 23 October opposing the Commission proposal to withdraw the authorisation of nicarbazin.

The proposal to withdraw nicarbazin was due solely to the company responsible for the product not having supplied a complete data dossier for re-evaluation by the agreed deadline.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Food Standards Agency are not aware of any evidence that nicarbazin is mutagenic. At the March 2001 Standing Committee for Animal Nutrition, the Commission agreed to postpone any decision on the future authorisation of nicarbazin and to allow the company time to submit additional information. The company commissioned the tests required to generate the missing data, and all reports are expected to be submitted by February 2002. Despite this, the Commission included nicarbazin in the proposal.

In view of this and potential serious bird health and welfare problems, the UK believed that the authorisation for nicarbazin should not have been withdrawn simply to meet an arbitrary Commission deadline.

Regarding dimetridazole, the UK did not oppose its inclusion in the proposal to withdraw authorisation.

The dossier submitted by the company responsible for the product was inadequate, consisting only of an index and no data. The company did not indicate a firm commitment at an early stage to submit the missing data. The Commission did not offer the company time to submit the data and unlike nicarbazin there has been evidence of safety concerns. The rapporteur for the product, France, indicated at a Standing Committee meeting that it would not support a proposal for the authorisation of DMZ to continue. Under those circumstances the UK felt it was impossible to argue for the continued authorisation of dimetridazole.

It should be noted that despite the UK's representations to the Council of Ministers, we failed to get the Commission to reconsider the proposal to withdraw nicarbazin, and along with dimetridazole the authorisations will be withdrawn. This will result in the products being removed from the market six months after the commission regulation is published.

Agricultural Workers

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed in the agricultural industry in a (a) paid and (b) unpaid capacity, and (i) full-time and (ii) part-time (A) at the latest date for which figures are available and (B) in each of the last five years. [10451]

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Mr. Morley: The latest information available for England is from the June 2000 Agricultural Census. Results for 2001 will be available later this year. The labour questions were changed in 1998 to allow more detailed information on full/part time and paid/unpaid labour to be collected. The available information is shown in the table.

Thousand head

Total workers (England)195.8191.9189.5189.1176.1153.5
Salaried Managers(20)
Regular workers126.0124.2122.5120.2110.896.9

(20) From 1998 all farmers managing holdings for limited companies were asked to classify themselves as salaried managers.


1. In 1998 fundamental changes were introduced to the labour questions. It appears that this change may have led to the recording of additional labour not previously included in the census returns. The change in questions has also led to a redistribution of labour between the various categories, most notably for salaried managers. Caution is therefore advised when comparing the 1997 and 1998 results.

2. Part-time is defined as 39 hours or less.

3. Figures exclude school children but include trainees employed under an official youth training scheme and paid at Agricultural Wages Board rates or above.

4. Includes minor holdings.

Milk Consumption

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average daily consumption of milk was in the UK in July. [10269]

Mr. Morley: On average in July 2001 the estimated total consumption of liquid milk in the UK was 18 million litres per day.

Food Safety

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she proposes to ensure that scientists involved in public research into food safety are adequately qualified. [9920]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

All research projects for the Food Standards Agency are subjected to expert appraisal before being commissioned to ensure that their scientific quality and the competence of the proposer are acceptable.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will made a statement on the safety of British lamb. [9915]

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Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that its advice continues to be that, while consumers should be aware of the theoretical risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in sheep, it does not advise them to avoid consumption of lamb.

Beef Imports

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance the Government issues to consumers wishing to avoid imported beef when it is included in products that do not make the country of origin clear. [9800]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

The Food Standards Agency, with the support of the Consumers Association, has published a leaflet for consumers on bovine spongiform encephalopathy and beef. The leaflet advises that, for processed food, if the country of origin is shown on the label, it usually refers to the country where the product was processed, and not necessarily where the beef or other ingredients came from. This is one of the reasons why the FSA is pressing for improved European Union rules on country of origin labelling.


Overseas NHS Operations

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much of his Department's budget for the current financial year has been earmarked for NHS operations to be carried out overseas. [8519]

Mr. Milburn: None; we are devolving control over resources to local health services. In the light of rulings of the European Court of Justice in July this year, I have made it clear to health authorities and primary care trusts that they are now able to commission services from other European countries as part of their wider efforts to reduce waiting times for national health service treatment. However, NHS bodies will need to apply the same criteria to purchasing treatment abroad as they do to purchasing treatment in the NHS or United Kingdom-based independent sector, including value for money.

Hospital Doctors

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital doctors left the NHS in each of the last four years on grounds of (a) retirement, (b) early retirement, (c) ill health and (d) taking up an alternative post. [7595]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 October 2001]: Data in the form requested are not available. The number of hospital and community doctors in England and Wales who retired from the national health service in the financial years 1998 to 2001 is in the table. The "Others" category is indeterminate retirements not available from the computer records.

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All retirementsEarly retirementsIll health retirementsOthers


1. Early retirements includes retirements on the grounds of ill health, premature retirements following redundancy or in the interests of the efficiency of the service and voluntary early retirements before the scheme's normal retirement age of 60.

2. Ill-health retirements include retirements before and after the scheme's normal retirement age of 60.

3. "Others" relate to retirements where the reason for retirement is not yet established.

4. Hospital doctors include:

Hospital and community doctors

Associate Specialist

Clinical Assistant


House Officer

Medical Assistant

Senior House Officer

Medical Officer—all grades


Senior Registrar

Medical Specialist

5. The NHS Pensions Agency does not hold data on hospital doctors taking up alternative posts.


NHS Pensions Agency

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