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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 12 December 2002


Transsexual People

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Ms Rosie Winterton): I will tomorrow announce the Government's plans for implementing the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Goodwin v The United Kingdom and XI" v The United Kingdom, following collective Ministerial consideration of the recommendations received from the Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People. Copies of the announcement will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The announcement will also be made available on the LCD website at www.lcd.gov.uk.


Employer's Liability

The Minister for Work (Mr. Nicholas Brown): In the Pre-Budget Report of 27 November my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that:

I am pleased now to announce the start of that review and its terms of reference.

The terms of reference of the review are to:

The review will be led by the Department for Work and Pensions, but will have the close involvement of a number of other Government Departments including HM Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Lord Chancellor's Department. It will report to Ministers in Spring 2003.

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Written contributions to the work of the review are welcomed. Any such contributions should be sent to the ELCI REVIEW TEAM at the Department for Work and Pensions, The Adelphi, Level 2, 1–11 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT by Monday 17 February 2003. I have arranged for further details to be made available on the Department of Work and Pensions web site at: www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/2002/index.htm.

International Labour Conference

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Malcolm Wicks): The 89th Session of the International Labour Conference adopted a new Convention 184 on Safety and Health in Agriculture and a Recommendation 192 supplementing the Convention. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has today laid before Parliament a White Paper entitled 'International Labour Conference' (Cm 5703), copies of which have been placed in the Library.


Council of Europe and WEU Assembly

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): The United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of Western European Union is as follows:

Tony Lloyd Esq MP (Leader)

Full Representatives David Atkinson Esq MP Malcolm Bruce Esq MP Sir Sydney Chapman MP Tom Cox Esq MP Terry Davis Esq MP Bill Etherington Esq MP Paul Flynn Esq MP Lord Judd Jim Marshall Esq MP Chris McCafferty MP Kevin McNamara Esq MP Eddie O'Hara Esq MP Lord Russell-Johnston Sir Teddy Taylor MP Robert Walter Esq MP John Wilkinson Esq MP Jimmy Wray Esq MP Substitute Members

Tony Banks Esq MP

Baroness Billingham

Peter Bottomley Esq MP

Lord Burlison

Ann Cryer MP

Jane Griffiths MP

Michael Hancock Esq CBE MP

Baroness Hooper

Rt Hon Lord Kilclooney

Baroness Knight of Collingtree DBE

Khalid Mahmood Esq MP

Humfrey Malins Esq MP

David Marshall Esq MP

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Alan Meale Esq MP

Gordon Prentice Esq MP

Geraldine Smith MP

Lord Tomlinson

Dr Rudi Vis MP


National Travel Survey Data

The Minister for Transport (Mr. John Spellar): Statisticians in my Department have discovered errors in the urban/rural coding of the National Travel Survey data. A statistical release issued today presents revised data for key analyses for 1996–2001. Copies of the document have been placed in the Library of the House. The effects of the revisions are in general small, but they do affect the 10 Year Transport Plan indicator of rural bus service availability.


Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett): I am pleased to report to the House that Government are today launching a Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food. Later today, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I will meet farmers and leaders of the food industry, rural, environmental and consumer bodies to discuss the new strategy and hear examples of good practice from across the food chain.

The strategy is further evidence of this Government's commitment to help deliver innovative and practical solutions to the challenges faced by those involved in the food chain. We do not underestimate the scale of these challenges: farm incomes remain under pressure and the foot and mouth disease outbreak also added to the momentum for change.

This strategy builds on the invaluable work conducted by the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food to chart a way through these challenges. It sets out how industry, Government and consumers can work together to secure a profitable and internationally competitive future for our industries, whilst contributing to a better environment, improving nutrition and public health and prosperous communities.

The strategy is backed by #500 million from Government over the next three years. Subject to clearance under the usual EU procedures, this will provide:

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A new 'whole farm' approach to management and regulation: helping farmers plan their business as a whole to meet commercial and regulatory needs. The Government also plan to develop an audit-based approach to identify a farm's strengths and weaknesses as a basis for cutting red tape and the number of inspections required.

In addition, the Government will ask the Institute of Grocery Distribution, in conjunction with the Food Chain Centre to undertake analysis of the impact of nutrition initiatives such as the National School Fruit Scheme and the five-a-day programme, on the food chain. This will highlight the commercial opportunities for English farmers and growers and other sectors of the food industry.

The strategy—which builds on the work of the Curry Commission—also underlines the need for farming to reconnect with its markets, better cooperation with the food chain, investment in people and technology and the adoption of environmental best practice. There are many examples of good practice to build upon:

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The Government have already announced that an independent Implementation Group, led by Sir Don Curry, will oversee the delivery of the strategy by both Government and industry.

Across England, regional delivery plans will be drawn up between government offices, Regional Development Agencies, local farmers, Rural Affairs Forums, Regional Chambers and a range of stakeholders, assisted by Sir Don Curry's Implementation Group.

The strategy is being laid before Parliament at 11.00am today and copies of this and the strategy related documents will be available in the Vote Office and the Libraries of the House at that time.

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