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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): OECD figures for 1994 do indeed show that UK net official development assistance was 0.31 per cent. of GNP, above the 0.29 per cent. average for all OECD donors.
Lord Lucas: Yes. In the light of the assessment of the Institute of Occupational Health (IOH) report by its Medical and Scientific Panel, the Chairman of the Veterinary Products Committee (Professor Sir James Armour) has advised me that while the report contributed to the body of information now available, and its publication was to be welcomed, it was not in itself a definitive study. The committee found that the study did not provide sufficient scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that chronic health effects are associated with long term, low level, exposure to OP sheep dips. The conclusions reached by the IOH in the associated Lancet article did not appear to be adequately supported by the data in the full report. The committee therefore reaffirmed its previous advice that, on the basis of current scientific evidence, the marketing of OP dips should continue.
Among other recommendations, the committee urged that the award of contracts for the epidemiological research be pursued as a matter of urgency, and the need for farmers to follow the guidance in the "Sheep dipping" booklet was re-emphasised. A copy of the chairman's letter, and the full findings and advice of the committee are being placed in the Library of the House.
Having consulted the other agriculture and health Ministers who form the licensing authority, I can confirm that the Government has accepted the VPC's advice in full. In doing so, we are mindful of the continuing reports of outbreaks of sheep scab, and the importance of OP dips to animal welfare. Nevertheless, it is essential that users consider what treatment is best, take the steps necessary under the COSHH Regulations to assess the risks and decide what precautions are needed in the use of OP dips, and recognise the importance of following the available guidance and instructions on the label to ensure safe use of the product. This is just as important for non-OP dips, where the same precautions are recommended as for OP dips.
We also welcome the IOH report as providing a valuable contribution to the continuing debate on the possible long term effects of exposure to organophosphates. It forms a basis for the further epidemiological research for which we are currently assessing proposals. Following the recent advertisement we have received a total of 12 proposals, and these are being urgently considered. I hope to make a further announcement about progress with this before the end of the month.
(a) measures disentitling a category of people, regardless of any personal misconduct.
(b) measures creating a power of total disentitlement as a penalty for personal misconduct.
(c) measures creating a power to impose a deduction from benefit as a penalty for personal misconduct.
From the start of the 1990/91 academic year the majority of full-time students were excluded from income support and housing benefitexceptions were made for students in prescribed vulnerable groups, including disabled students and students with dependent children.
Reduction in benefit equal to 20 per cent. of the income support adult personal allowance (over 25 rate) for 6 months; then 10 per cent. for a further 12 months where parents with care refuse to co-operate in seeking child support maintenance in cases where there is no risk of harm or undue distress occurring to them or any children living with them.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Around 80 per cent. of trusts have made offers to their nursing staff. It is now for those staff or their representatives to pick up the offers locally. It is expected that the small number of trusts which have not yet made their offers known will do so shortly.
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