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Public Record Office

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): An evaluation of the performance of the Public Record Office during its first three years as an executive agency was carried out by the Public Record Office in conjunction with my department and a report was completed in June 1996.

The report concluded that the office had benefited considerably from its move to agency status which had led it to re-evaluate and to clarify its aims and objectives within its statutory role and to focus on improving its performance and on meeting the needs of its users. The office has made notable advances in planning and managing its work and resources and has achieved efficiency gains and service improvements in a period in which its workload was increasing and in which it also successfully undertook a major building programme at its Kew site.

Copies of the evaluation report will be laid in the Libraries of both Houses.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Lucas: All suspect BSE cases are subject to an epidemiological investigation at the time the animal is placed under movement restrictions. This includes taking details of all types of feed supplied. BSE cases born after the introduction of the animal feed ban in 1988 are subject to a more detailed examination of the feeding history of the animal.

Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Lucas: The total number of cases of feline spongiform encephalopathy recorded in Great Britain by year of confirmation is:


None of these cats were born after the ban on including specified bovine offal in pet food. Veterinary surgeons notifying a case of feline spongiform encephalopathy are required to provide details of the animal's known medical treatments. The detail provided by the veterinary surgeon would normally include only those treatments prescribed by the veterinary surgeon. Flea collars which do not need to be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon would not therefore be included.

Bovine Encephalopathy Order 1988: Breaches

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases they are aware of where the Bovine Encephalopathy Order 1988 prohibiting the sale, supply or feeding to cattle of rations containing ruminant-derived protein has been breached, how many prosecutions have ensued and how many convictions have resulted.

Lord Lucas: A number of apparent breaches of the Bovine Encephalopathy Order 1988 have been investigated but so far no prosecutions have resulted. A record of the number of such alleged breaches is not held centrally, as this legislation is enforced by local authorities.

Since a test for the presence of mammalian protein became available in February of this year, two apparent breaches have come to light. Both of these are probably due to accidental cross-contamination at the feed mill, and investigations are currently proceeding.

The measures introduced on 29th March to ban the incorporation of any meat and bone meal into feed for any farmed animal, and the forthcoming ban on the holding of any meat and bone meal or feed containing it, on farms, at feed merchants and at feed mills from 1st August, should remove the risk of such cross-contamination recurring. The State Veterinary Service will however continue to visit feed mills on a regular basis and take samples for analysis.

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EU Tobacco Subsidy Statistics

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide the European Union expenditure on subsidisation of the tobacco industry for each of the last ten years.

Lord Lucas: Common Agricultural Policy expenditure on the tobacco regime has been as follows:

YearMillion ECU£ million equivalent
1995 (provisional)993802.3

Fish Landings: Records

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their Written Answer to Lord Pearson of Rannoch of 14th May 1996 (WA 48-49), whether the proportion of the fish caught in the United Kingdom's six, 12 and 200 mile limits by genuinely British boats and landed in British ports is recorded by fishermen in their logbooks, and, if so, whether they will give the relevant statistics.

Lord Lucas: Information is not available in the form requested.

EC logbooks are required to be completed by fishermen catching TAC species operating from vessels of 10 metres or more, but do not have to be provided for catches made by vessels between 10 and 17 metres whose fishing trips last less than 24 hours. The area of catch in Community waters is recorded in terms of ICES statistical rectangles. These are not conterminous with territorial waters or fishing limits.

EU Tobacco Regime

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following their promise that changes would be made to the European Union tobacco regime in 1996 (H.L. Deb., 20.10.1993, col. WA 54), what changes have been made to the regime; what reductions have been made in subsidies to European Union growers; and how much do British taxpayers contribute to subsidising the growing of tobacco.

Lord Lucas: The Commission has yet to submit to the Council the proposal required in 1996 concerning the arrangements for the premia and quotas for tobacco production from the 1988 harvest. The UK contributes to the EC budget as a whole and is forecast to contribute about 15 per cent. in 1996 before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account.

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ADAS: Targets

Lord Glenarthur asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What targets have been set for ADAS in 1996-97.

Lord Lucas: The Secretary of State for Wales and my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have set ADAS the following targets for 1996-97:

    to recover 100 per cent. of its costs for advisory services through charges to commercial customers;

    to comply with budgetary controls resulting from the Public Expenditure Survey and the Supply Estimates;

    to reduce the total cost per hour in contact delivery in real terms by 3 per cent.;

    to maintain average debtor days at or better than 53 days;

    to meet 90 per cent. of research and development project milestones;

    to continue to achieve customer satisfaction as measured by customer surveys.

Pesticides Safety Directorate

The Earl of Balfour asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Pesticides Safety Directorate has revised its framework document since its launch as an executive agency on 1st April 1993.

Lord Lucas: The Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) has revised its framework document with effect from 1st April 1996. The revised document, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House, reflects the changes and developments that have occurred since the directorate's launch as an agency three years ago. The changes will help the agency to build upon its record of success in the coming years.

Central Science Laboratory

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the prior options review of the Central Science Laboratory.

Lord Lucas: Following the prior options review of the Central Science Laboratory, the Government have decided to seek the views of independent consultants. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has approached potential consultants and expects to make an appointment shortly.

This further study will consider the options of retention in the public sector as an executive agency, contractorisation and privatisation. It is expected to be completed in October 1996.

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ADAS: Privatisation of R&D Functions

Lord Carter asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make a statement on the outcome of the prior options review of ADAS R&D.

Lord Lucas: Following the prior options review the Government has decided that all of ADAS's R&D functions are suitable for privatisation. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 28th June 1995 that most of ADAS's non R&D functions would be privatised (Hansard, 28th June 1995, col. 696). The ADAS Research Centres will therefore form part of the body to be transferred to the private sector.

My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is now appointing financial advisers to assist us in managing the sale of all the ADAS functions which do not need to be retained in the public sector. The timing of the sale will be decided in the light of their advice.

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