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Written Answers

Wednesday 18th January 1995


Lord Bruce Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will state to the nearest £1,000,000 the allocation, in terms of commitments and payments respectively, of funds from the European Community Cohesion Fund for the years 1993 and 1994 to each recipient member state.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Earl Ferrers): The information requested is in the following table:

£ million

1993 1994
Commitments Payments Commitments Payments
Republic of Ireland 111 53 130 67
Greece 219 116 257 122
Spain 671 329 789 328
Portugal 222 73 259 192

Source: European Commission


Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many mature students will be affected by the Finance Bill proposal to cut the £1,000 supplement available to students aged 29 and over who have previously earned £12,000 per annum, and how many students are affected by the cut in supplement for 26, 27 and 28 year-olds.

Lord Lucas: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education has estimated that about 15,000 new students aged 26 or over will be affected by the withdrawal of the older students' allowance when the Education (Mandatory Awards) Regulations 1994 come into force for the 1995/96 academic year. It is not possible to break this figure down by the ages of affected students.


Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in cases in which workers leave a job when offered a change of contract involving worse terms and conditions, they will not be treated as voluntarily unemployed.

Lord Inglewood: When people leave employment because their employers want to impose on them, other than by general agreement, a change in the terms and conditions of their employment which makes them substantially less favourable than before, the employment may have been brought to an end because of a breach of contract by the employer. In these

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circumstances we would not consider the person to have left employment voluntarily.

Where an alteration does not amount to a breach of contract, the person may have left voluntarily, but the imposition of the new conditions may provide just cause for leaving.

This information is contained in the Adjudication Officers' Guide, which is available in the Library.


Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will undertake that the refusal of a job paying commission only will not be used to cast doubt on whether the claimant is actively seeking work.

Lord Inglewood: If claimants fail to apply for, or refuse the offer of, any job that has been properly notified to them, they can be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit unless they show good cause for the refusal. The circumstances of any refusal are carefully considered when deciding whether claimants have fulfilled their obligation to seek work actively and this applies to jobs paying commission only as to other jobs.


Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will commission research to establish whether there is any statistical correlation between claims for Statutory Sick Pay and dismissal.

The Minster of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): We will be commissioning a survey this year to assess the impact on employers and employees of the April 1994 changes to the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) scheme. The survey will explore the impact on employers; recruitment and retention policies and on their monitoring and control of sickness absence. In addition, the Contributions Agency will continue to monitor the operation of the scheme to ensure that employers are properly complying with their obligations to pay SSP.


Lord Cullen of Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of their policy of care in the community, they will give discretion to the War Pensions Board to assist war pensioners financially when they are living in their own homes.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Financial assistance to war pensioners living in their homes is already available. In addition to the maximum tax-free War Disablement Pension, currently £98.90 a week, there are tax-free allowances which severely disabled war pensioners may claim to assist with the cost of coping with their disabilities.

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The allowances, and their current rates are as follows:—

£ week
Unemployability Supplement personal allowance 61.10
Invalidity Allowance maximum 12.15
Constant Attendance Allowance maximum 74.80
Exceptionally Severe Disability Allowance 37.40
Comforts Allowance maximum 16.00
Age Allowance maximum 20.40
Mobility Supplement 35.55

A single, severely disabled war pensioner could, therefore, receive currently a maximum war pension of £356.30 a week. In addition he might be entitled to a Clothing Allowance of up to £126 year. A House Adaptation Grant of up to £750 may also be payable towards the cost of adapting the home of a severely disabled war pensioner.


Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What tests they intend carrying out on BST (bovine somatotropin) milk and for what purposes.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): BST is a natural hormone produced naturally by cows and is present in all cow's milk. On the basis of the scientific evidence and advice currently available, BST in milk poses no hazard to human health. In those circumstances the Government has no plans to carry out any tests on BST milk.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that the recently introduced Provisional Approval Schedule for Animal Medicines can be used to introduce to the United Kingdom other animal medicines already licensed elsewhere in the European Union.

Earl Howe: On the assumption that the noble Countess is referring to the Provisional Marketing Authorisation arrangements which came into operation on 8 September 1994, I can confirm that the scheme can be used for this purpose. Indeed, two of the three authorisations so far issued under the scheme relate to products already licensed under national arrangements in at least one other member state of the European Union.

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The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm that, as from 1st January 1995, veterinary surgeons and farmers may import for their own use (on prescription, or in their own herds and flocks) animal medicines which are already licensed for use elsewhere in the European Union.

Earl Howe: Not in all circumstances. Many factors affect the import and use of veterinary medicinal products from other member states. For example, no person, including a veterinary surgeon, may import a product for supply to another person (or for administration to another person's animals) unless the product has a marketing authorisation valid in the UK. For one-off supplies by a veterinary surgeon to a client, in response to a particular need, a special treatment authorisation may be available.

Anyone may import a product other than a vaccine from another EEA Member State and administer it to a companion animal (as distinct from a food-producing animal) which he or she owns, provided the product has a marketing authorisation in that originating member state. Equally, anyone may import a vaccine which has been reviewed, or newly licensed since 1993, in accordance with Community law and administer it to animals which he or she owns, provided it does not contain any pathogen controlled under animal health law and does not interfere with any animal health programme in the UK. The import and administration of products in other circumstances requires authorisation.

A guidance note explaining these arrangements in more detail is being prepared. I will ensure that it is placed in the Library of the House, and that the noble Countess is sent a copy.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What research and development is being carried out in the United Kingdom into alternative treatments for sheep scab; what types of compounds are involved, and how much work is being carried out in the public sector.

Earl Howe: There are three ongoing research and development projects being funded by MAFF into alternative treatments for sheep scab, including immunological and non-chemical control. The forecast costs for 1995/96 for these projects is £198,000. I have no information on any research and development being carried out by the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, which is a matter for the commercial judgment of the individual companies concerned.

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