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Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 14 March 2005]: Imports of red meat from China are not permitted. Imports of poultry meat were banned in January 2002 following the detection in animal products of residues of veterinary medicines.
Bans on some animal products e.g. honey, Royal jelly and rabbit meat have since been lifted following the implementation in China of corrective measures and the guarantees provided by their competent authorities.
However, an inspection visit to China by European Commission Inspectors identified some deficiencies with respect to the production of poultry meat intended for export to the EU. Given that, and the outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in China, the ban on imports of poultry meat has been retained.
The Department does not have a formal policy on the carrying/wearing of knives but as the Kirpan is a religious symbol and is usually securely wrapped and worn under clothing it would be permitted providing it was safe to do so.
The Department's Diversity and Equality Unit has produced guidance for staff in the rights and responsibilities arising from the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The guidance incorporated practical advice for staff and managers to consider to help colleagues establish a good work/life balance in relation to their religious observance. This guidance forms part of the internal website, which also includes a calendar of religious festivals, guidance for staff on cultural differences and information for accommodation managers regarding prayer rooms. Where it is practicable, managers are encouraged to allow staff from non-Christian religions to work on privilege days and take the equivalent time to meet their individual needs for either cultural or religious observance.
Religious discrimination is addressed in all diversity training courses, including our e-learning multi-media interactive IT training package. This package can be accessed by staff at their desks, or used as part of a formal group training exercise.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent advice she has received from the European Agriculture Commissioner on the legality of making the Single Farm Payment in more than one stage. 
Our understanding from various contacts with the European Commission is that making the Single Payment in more than one stage would probably require an amendment to EU legislation. The Agriculture Commissioner has agreed with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, that it would be helpful for respective officials to examine the position in more detail. That work is continuing.
21 Mar 2005 : Column 544W
8. Mr. Allen: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Commission intends to review the limits on expenditure by candidates in general elections; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Viggers: The Electoral Commission's recommendations in respect of the variation of election expenses for candidates at UK parliamentary elections, published in January 2005, have been accepted by the Government and came into force on 4 March 2005.
In its report on The funding of political parties" published at the end of 2004 the Commission stated that, after the next General Election, it would undertake a review of the balance between candidate and party spending limits.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what plans the Commission has to review the system of electoral registration. 
Mr. Viggers: The Electoral Commission's report The electoral registration process", published in May 2003, recommended the implementation of a range of measures designed to make the registration process more straightforward and user-friendly for voters, and to enhance security. Key proposals include the introduction of a system based on the collection and use of individual identifiers; the development of a UK-wide electronic register; and changes to allow voters to register closer to the date of an election.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has made, or have been made on his behalf, to companies involved in the CVF programme concerning final assembly of the proposed aircraft carriers. 
Mr. Boateng: Discussions with companies involved in the CVF programme concerning final assembly of the proposed aircraft carriers are a commercial matter for the Ministry of Defence and not for HM Treasury.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 16 February 2005, Official Report, column 66W, on Child Trust Fund Accounts, when he expects a resolution of the issues necessary for credit unions to offer child trust fund cash deposit accounts. 
John Healey: The estimated level of cigarettes smuggled in each of the last four full financial years are given in table 3.9 and table 3.10 of Measuring and Tackling Indirect Tax Losses", published by HM Customs and Excise in December 2004 and available from the House Library. The estimated level of smuggled cigarettes for 19992000 in market share and volume can be found in table 3.2 and table 3.3 of Measuring indirect tax losses" published in November 2002, which is also available from the House Library.
John Healey: HM Customs and Excise have Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher. As part of these, Customs meet regularly to discuss developments in the tobacco market, including measures to reduce smuggling.
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