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Lord Carter: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the belief that the basic problem in this whole question of veal crates arises from the fact that animals are regarded under European rules as agricultural goods, which presumably puts them on the same trading basis as a tractor or a bag of fertiliser? Do the Government support the suggestion that farm animals should be redefined under the Treaty of Rome as sentient beings? They would thus be recognised under European law as having the ability to suffer from pain, fear or stress.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, the Government are definitely prepared to examine the proposal in advance of next year's negotiations on the treaty amendments. However, as the noble Lord will know, achieving a treaty amendment is no small matter. Therefore we need to consider most carefully the precise implications of a change in definition before pressing it.

Baroness Elles: My Lords, will my noble friend agree that despite any activity in regard to Community legislation, there is nothing to stop any member state

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bringing in its own legislation in order to abolish the rearing of calves in boxes, as we have done in this country?

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely correct.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, if the other countries of the Community persist in refusing to ban the rearing of calves in narrow crates, is there any time at all at which the Government will engage on a unilateral ban on the export of calves, and perhaps other live animals for slaughter, where the slaughtering procedures are in our view cruel and beastly?

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, the Government share the sentiment behind the noble Lord's question. My right honourable friend has already considered the best case which can be made out to support the legality of such measures as the noble Lord suggested. However, the conclusion was that any such measures could not be justified in law.

Viscount Mountgarret: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House why it takes a year for the fate of these unfortunate animals to be decided? Surely if anyone was really concerned about them, a discussion could be held well before that.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I should be grateful if the noble Viscount will tell me which animals we are talking about now.

Noble Lords: Next question!

Lord Geraint: My Lords, can the Minister confirm that those police authorities that are affected by the demonstrations at ports and airports will be able to recoup their extra financial costs?

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I am afraid that I do not have that information with me to provide to the noble Lord.

Noble Lords: Next Question!

Students: Bursaries

3.3 p.m.

Baroness Lockwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to modify the decision to terminate the provision of bursaries for students on vocational courses in translation and interpretation.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, we have no plans to do so.

Baroness Lockwood: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that Answer. In pursuing the matter, I declare a non-pecuniary interest as chairman of council of one of the universities that is concerned. Can the Minister say on what criteria the decision was made to withdraw all the bursaries for postgraduate courses in interpreting and translating? In making that decision, was the Minister aware that the two universities that are most concerned, Bradford and Bath, have a very high

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international reputation for the quality of the interpreters and translators that are provided, and that that in itself brings other educational business to the United Kingdom?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, we are talking here about people who are already very highly qualified and who take an additional qualification to provide them with an even more highly paid career than they might otherwise have. Surely that kind of vocational education is best paid for either by the people who are to benefit directly from it or by the employers who will employ them afterwards, as would be the case in, let us say, accountancy or the law.

Lord Healey: My Lords, is it not the case that Her Majesty's Government make great use of those who are trained under these bursaries—for instance, in the Cabinet Office, GCHQ and a large number of other departments that I could mention—as do major firms in Britain, such as the BBC and the Shell oil company, and major international organisations? How can the Government justify terminating bursaries which provide men of this quality—which made Britain world-famous in this field—when they rightly decided to finance training at a grammar school in the same skills but at a very much lower level? Is it perhaps that the Cabinet Office has decided that it is better that we do not understand foreigners and they do not understand us?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, the Government and industry also employ many accountants, and we do not pay for their training. These are people who are being asked to make a personal investment in their own future and who will achieve some very great rewards thereby. If the Government at any stage—or, indeed, any other organisations—found themselves short of these skills they would doubtless sponsor people on these excellent courses.

Lord Morris of Castle Morris: My Lords, does the noble Lord the Minister agree with the vice-chancellor of Bradford University, who says that abolishing these bursaries will not mean that these highly talented linguists will find alternative means of funding? There is no corporate or institutional sponsorship for this type of training. Is the vice-chancellor correct? If so, where would the Minister advise these highly trained linguists to look for alternative funding arrangements?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, there is not at present much corporate sponsorship for these courses, presumably because there are plenty of people out there with these skills. If an individual wants to finance himself on one of these courses, then all that I would suggest is that he should apply for a career development loan, which would seem to fit the case very well.

Baroness Seear: My Lords, is the Minister seriously saying that in this country we are overloaded with people who are good at foreign languages? It is the first time I have ever heard such a fairy-tale in this House! Do not the Government recognise that the training of graduates is of the greatest possible importance? At present there is a large increase in the number of undergraduates. Does the Minister accept that if we

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want people of high quality we must back graduate courses? This graduate course, producing the people who take those very responsible jobs—including simultaneous translation, which is highly skilled—is exactly what we need to support.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, these are high-level vocational courses answering the specific needs of particular employers. If those employers have a need which is not being met, they will surely find ways of financing students to learn the skills that they require, as happens in many other industries. In this industry they do not appear to need to do so at present.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that, at a time when educational money is viewed very stringently, the Government's decision seems to me to be both fair and sensible?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I cannot but agree with my noble friend.

Baroness David: My Lords, does the Minister realise that he has shocked a large number of us in this House by what he said today? It is very rare that we have these great centres of excellence in this country. To turn one down like this and not appreciate its value is really very shocking indeed. I am absolutely amazed at what the Minister said.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, excellence in vocational education is not a matter for the Government to express their opinion on; it is for the employers who make use of that particular skill. If employers wish to continue to employ graduates from these courses they will doubtless find ways of sending them on them.

Business of the House: Debates this Day

3.9 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Earl Ferrers): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in the name of my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the debates on the Motions in the names of the Lord Dubs and the Lord Ewing of Kirkford set down for this day shall each be limited to two-and-a-half hours.—(Earl Ferrers.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Procedure of the House: Select Committee Report

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the Second Report from the Select Committee be agreed to (HL Paper 22).—(The Chairman of Committees.)

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Following is the report referred to:


    The Committee has appointed a Sub-Committee "to consider the practice of the House in relation to financial and other interests of members, and in particular the case for a register of interests, and to make recommendations".

    The membership of the Sub-Committee is:

    Lord Griffiths (Chairman) Lord Hesketh Baroness Hilton of Eggardon Lord McIntosh of Haringey Lord Marsh Lord Pym Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank

    with the Clerk of the Parliaments.

    2. REVIEW OF SESSION 1993-94

    The Committee decided in 1988 "to give annual consideration, at the beginning of each session, to the proceedings of the House in the previous session and, where appropriate, to make a report on procedural difficulties which may have arisen" (First Report, Session 1987-88). The Committee has accordingly reviewed proceedings during Session 1993-94. As it is the Committee's practice to consider, as they arise, any matters warranting consideration by the Committee, the review has not brought to light any further matters meriting a report to the House. The Committee has accordingly concluded that the annual review should be discontinued.


    The Committee has considered a proposal that the time within which Questions for Written Answer should normally receive a reply should be a week, instead of a fortnight as at present. The Committee considers that the present time limit is reasonable, and recommends no change.

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