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NHS Pay System

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: We have today published the paper Agenda for Change--Modernising the NHS Pay System which gives details of our proposals. Copies are available in the Library.

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Breast Screening Programme

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why women over 65 are not routinely invited for screening for breast cancer in view of evidence that risk increases at that age.[HL955]

Baroness Hayman: The National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) is based on the recommendations of the 1987 Forrest Report. At the time of its publication, the best evidence available suggested that a high proportion of women aged over 65 would not accept routine invitations to screening. That is why current policy does not include them in the routine call/recall programme. However, any woman over 65 can ask to be screened every three years in the same way as women aged 50-64. The benefits and availability of screening for older women are well publicised and the number of women over the age of 64 requesting screening in the United Kingdom has risen from 39,000 in 1994-95 to nearly 67,000 in 1996-97.

The department is funding three pilot studies, due to end in April 2000, to look at the feasibility of extending the screening programme to routinely include older women. The National Screening Committee have recommended that any decision on extensions to the NHSBSP should await the final results from all three studies.

Meat Hygiene Service and State Veterinary Service

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether officials of the Meat Hygiene Service and the State Veterinary Service in the enforcement of their statutory powers, have a duty under common law to act fairly.[HL674]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): I can confirm that officials of the Meat Hygiene Service and the State Veterinary Service have a duty to act in good faith in the enforcement of their statutory powers.

BSE: Number of Cases

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report an updated table showing the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain each week during 1998 and 1999 to date, together with the moving annual total of cases reported in each 52 week period.[HL769]

Lord Donoughue: The following table shows the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain during each week of 1998 and each week of 1999 up to

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1 February, together with the moving annual total of cases reported for this period.


Week numberNumber confirmed each week52 week total reported


Week numberNumber confirmed each week52 week total reported

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The Duke of Montrose asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord Donoughue on 26 January (H.L. Deb., col. 873) and the Written Answer by Mr. Rooker MP on 18 January in the House of Commons (HC Deb., WA 390), whether they would resist any proposal by the European Commission to remove the approval of warfarin for plant protection.[HL813]

Lord Donoughue: The European programme to review active substances used in plant protection products is designed to help ensure that such products do not carry unacceptable risks to people and the environment. To this end, companies wishing to support the continuing use of such substances under review must supply sufficient safety data.

Our understanding is that the data for warfarin have not yet been supplied but that the companies concerned are now drawing them together for submission by July. It is important that this material should be provided quickly so that a full safety evaluation can be carried out. The Government's position will be determined by the data which are presented.

Forestry in England

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funding is to be made available to secure implementation of their objectives for forestry in England.[HL872]

Lord Donoughue: We currently make about £36 million available each year to implement our objectives for forestry in England, of which about £19 million is allocated to the Forestry Commission, about £11 million to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and organisations sponsored by it, and about £6 million to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In addition, local authorities spend about £11 million each year on forestry activities in England.

Rescue Dogs: Quarantine

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the dogs taken to Colombia by British rescue teams to help search for survivors of the earthquake will have to undergo quarantine on their return to the United Kingdom; and if not, why not.[HL908]

Lord Donoughue: Yes. The two dogs in question returned to the United Kingdom on 4 February and are currently undergoing six months quarantine.

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Rhizomania Containment Policy

The Earl of Iveagh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the annual cost to the United Kingdom taxpayer of administering the rhizomania containment policy; and whether this represents good value for money.[HL930]

Lord Donoughue: The Agriculture Departments' expenditure on the rhizomania containment policy is around £200,000 per annum. This is about 0.07 per cent. of the value of the UK beet crop. Substantial yield losses occur on the continent as a result of widespread rhizomania infection and recent trials have shown sugar yield reductions of 53 per cent. - 75 per cent. for commonly grown varieties on infected land in the UK. The Government believe that a programme to restrict the spread of this disease represents good value for money.

South Yorkshire: Economy

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their achievements in South Yorkshire, covering Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley, since May 1997 in the economic field and in the social services areas.[HL773]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Since May 1997, the Government have demonstrated a very significant level of commitment to the regeneration of South Yorkshire. A total of 192 offers of Regional Selective Assistance, worth £18.2 million, have been awarded to businesses in South Yorkshire, which will result in the creation or safeguarding of more than 5,500 jobs. RSA is helping to attract investors such as Ventura to the Dearne Valley, and the Dearne Valley link road, opened towards the end of 1998, further increased opportunities in this former coalfield area.

More than £56 million has been invested in youth and adult training delivered by Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs). This has resulted in young people up to 24 years-old achieving more than 9,000 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and almost 5,000 adult trainees finding jobs.

Approximately £60 million has been allocated to Action Plans in South Yorkshire under the 1997-99 Structural Funds Objective 2 Programme under which the Action Plan partnerships are now bringing forward projects. Projects approved since May 1997 are expected to create over 5,800 new jobs, safeguard over 2,000 existing jobs and lever in an additional £50 million of private sector investment in the county.

In 1997 four single Regeneration Budget (SRB) initiatives in South Yorkshire were offered a total of £19.7 million as part of Round 4. Under existing SRB programmes, £85 million has been paid since May 1997 resulting in over 1,700 new business start-ups, more

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than 1,000 entries to self-employment, over 4,000 jobs created, and almost 9,000 trainees qualified.

The Government have also established a Health Action Zone across Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, Education Action Zones in Barnsley and Sheffield and have now agreed that an Employment Action Zone should be established in Doncaster.

Finally, the Government have received the report from the Coalfields Task Force and have responded positively to all its recommendations. In particular it has announced the establishment of a Coalfields Enterprise Fund and the establishment of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. In addition, the Government have made additional funding available through the Housing Investment Programme to those local authorities within the Coalfield areas. These measures will of course impact on South Yorkshire.

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