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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost has been in each of the past five years of programmes designed to start new businesses in rural communities. 
Alun Michael: One aim of the England Rural Development Programme is to encourage new business activity which benefits rural economies and communities. This may be helped through the expansion of existing business activity, new business activity within an existing business, or activity in a new and separate business in a rural area. There is no separate funding programme which solely targets new businesses only.
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Within the ERDP, the Rural Enterprise Scheme supports both farmers diversifying via new and expanded business activity, and non-farmers with projects in the rural tourism and food marketing sectors. Similarly, the Processing and Marketing Grant supports both new and expanded business activity in the processing of primary foods. Equivalent measures also exist in objective one areas. We do not have separate figures for assistance to new business start-ups and it would depend how 'new businesses' were to be defined. For example, if a farm business diversifies into running a children's nursery or selling clothes over the internet, it might either still be a single diversified farm business or the nursery and clothing sales might be considered new businesses.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding the Government provide for the (a) Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and (b) Veterinary Laboratories Agency; and if this sum will be increased in 2003. 
The accounts for VLA show an income of £74,082,000 from DEFRA for the financial year 200102. VLA received a further £4,820,000 from other Government sources (e.g. FSA) giving a total income from Government of £78,902,000. These are figures from the VLA annual accounts which are due to be laid in Parliament on 23 July.
At this stage of the financial year, VLA's anticipated budgets show £78 million receivable from DEFRA and £5 million from other Government sources, giving a total forecast income for 200203 from Government of £83 million (an anticipated increase of approximately 5.2 per cent. over 200102).
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) cattle and (b) sheep were transported from (i) England to Scottish abattoirs and (ii) Scotland to English abattoirs in each of the last five years; and how many (A) cattle and (B) sheep were transported from (1) the Irish Republic to abattoirs in Northern Ireland and (2) Northern Ireland to abattoirs in the Irish Republic in each of the last five years. 
(a) 56.0 thousand cattle in 2000 and 17.3 thousand cattle in 2001, born in England or Wales and not previously on Scottish agricultural holdings, were slaughtered in Scottish abattoirs; and
(b) 36.7 thousand cattle born in Scotland were slaughtered in English or Welsh abattoirs in 2001these may include cattle retained on farm in England or Wales for a period of time and not represent those transported directly to an abattoir.
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(9) Excluding the 1,200 cattle slaughtered under the Calf Processing Aid Scheme.
No cattle born in Northern Ireland were slaughtered in abattoirs in the Republic of Ireland during this period because exports of live cattle were banned as part of BSE control measures.
|2001 (from March)||161.1|
|2002 (to 6 July)||79.4|
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 17 July 2002]: None. The Government's policy is that radioactive waste should not be imported to (or exported from) the UK, except for the recovery of reusable materials, or, in certain circumstances, for treatment that will make its subsequent storage or disposal more manageable. In accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency and Euratom definitions, spent fuel is not categorised as waste while the option of reprocessing it remains open and a future use for the fuel can be foreseen.
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Mr. Morley: The ISG's preliminary analysis of data from the 'TB99' epidemiological survey is included in its third report which is available on DEFRA's website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/point5/p5prog
We have accepted the main conclusion that a full analysis of data is not possible at present. The preliminary comparative analyses that have been undertaken do, however, indicate the value of the TB99 questionnaire and the soundness of its design based on ISG advice. The completion of TB99 questionnaires has been delayed by the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the subsequent deployment of veterinary resources to address the backlog of cattle TB testing. However, negotiations are under way to employ contractors to help catch up in this important area of the cattle TB research programme.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average time has been between when cattle are being compulsorily slaughtered under TB control measures and the receipt of compensation payments by the farmer over the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
The Government believe that compensation for animals slaughtered should be paid promptly. We are aware of payment delays in some areas due to the pressure of work generated by increased bovine TB testing.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what strategy options have been considered regarding the economic difficulties and movement restrictions regarding bovine TB; and when a decision will be made on these options. 
Mr. Morley: My officials met industry representatives on 27 June to discuss a range of options for softening the economic impact on farmers of movement restrictions applied to herds as a result of TB breakdowns.
Our priority is to ensure that disease control will not be compromised by any new measures applied, therefore, objective risk assessments of the proposals made by industry representatives are being commissioned. No decisions can be made until the risk assessments and full cost benefit analyses have been completed. Officials plan to meet with industry representatives again on this matter in September.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many false positives for bovine TB have been recorded in the current year; and how many false positives there were (a) as a percentage of positive tests and (b) as a percentage of all the tests. 
In the UK, the diagnosis of bovine TB in live cattle relies on the single intradermal comparative test which involves the use of both avian and bovine tuberculins. This test is designed to exclude animals which react to other, often non-pathogenic bacteria, which would otherwise interfere with the test and produce 'false positive' reactions.
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Reactors to the skin test, including animals which give an inconclusive reaction after two retests, are slaughtered and examined post-mortem. Infection is confirmed by either the presence of typical, visible lesions or by the laboratory culture of the organism. In the year 2000, of approximately 7,000 reactors slaughtered, post-mortem examination failed to confirm infection in about 45 per cent. of cases. Infection is confirmed in around 60 to 65 per cent. of herds with one or more reactors.
However, these post-mortem examinations are also less than 100 per cent. sensitive, so failure to detect visible lesions or failure to culture the organism does not confirm the absence of infection. It is not therefore possible to determine how many animals which reacted to the skin test are 'false positives'.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what delays there are in compensation payments for cattle compulsorily slaughtered under TB control; and what extra compensation has been paid for the delays. 
Mr. Morley: The Government recognise that compensation for animals slaughtered should be paid promptly. We are aware of some delays in payment in some areas due to the priority given by Animal Health Offices to clearing the backlog of TB testing after the foot and mouth disease outbreak. No extra compensation payments have been made in these cases.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research she has commissioned on a bovine TB vaccine that is better than 60 per cent. effective; and if she will make a statement on progress. 
Mr. Morley: The Department has commissioned an extensive programme of research on the vaccination of animals against bovine TB following recommendations made in the Krebs report. Currently we have four projects which are directly related to generating and testing new vaccine candidates and these involve collaboration between Government agencies, institutes and universities both in the UK and internationally. There are also several allied projects to the vaccine programme which include using information from sequencing the M. bovis genome, studying the immune response and pathogenesis of TB, and developing improved diagnostic tests. However, success in developing a bovine TB vaccine that is better than 60 per cent. effective cannot be guaranteed.
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