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Written Answers

Wednesday, 14th June 2000.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 8 June (WA 173), what type and make of cars are used by the Law Officers' Department.[HL2825]

The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My department has no vehicle pool. I do not include any vehicles supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 8 June, what type and make of cars are used by the Welsh Office.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The only cars used by the Wales Office are provided for ministerial use by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. In the event that another vehicle is required, it would be hired for a specific occasion.

Armed Forces Pay Review Body: Recommendations

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recommendations have been made by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body in respect of the pay of medical and dental officers in the Armed Forces.[HL2763]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Armed Forces Pay Review Body has made recommendations on the pay of medical and dental officers in the Armed Forces. Consistent with the awards recommended by the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body, and to maintain comparability with the salary scales of NHS doctors, the Review Body recommends that all medical and dental officers should receive a general 3.3 per cent increase in basic pay. The Review Body also recommends a number of additions to the pay scales for consultants and general medical practitioners to reflect additional payments already agreed for comparators in the NHS. In addition, Service medical and dental officers receive the same rate of X-factor as combatants, which increased by 1 per cent from 1 April 2000.

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The Government have decided to accept the Review Body's recommendations and these will be payable in full from 1 April 2000.

Persistent Young Offenders

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made to fulfil their manifesto pledge at the 1997 general election to halve the time between arrest and sentencing for persistent young offenders.[HL2701]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): In 1996, the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders was 142 days. The Government are committed to halving this by March 2002. We are making continuing good progress--the national average had fallen to 108 days in 1999.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which actions and decisions, authorised under Parts I, II and III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, by any member, employee or agent of the Government, or any agency thereof, are not subject to review by any of the commissioners mentioned in Part IV of that Bill.[HL2704]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: There is no commissioner review of actions or decisions of the Secretary of State under Clauses 12 or 13 relating to the maintenance and costs of the capability to intercept communications; of Clause 15, which sets out the additional safeguards to be observed in relation to certificated warrants; of Clauses 16-18; of judicially authorised access to decryption keys under Clause 46; or of the Secretary of State's decision to propose subordinate legislation under the Bill.

GM Contamination of Oilseed Rape Seed

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that, in notifying the Government on 17 April of the genetically modified contamination of certain oilseed rape seed, Advanta had effectively put the issue in the public domain.[HL2622]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): No. Advanta initially informed the Government in confidence that some of their seed stocks might contain GM seed. During the Government's subsequent investigations it became clear that the issue must be placed in the public domain.

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Cod Fishing Ban

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, within European Union rules, they are permitted to make payments to fishermen as compensation for damage to their businesses caused by the imposition of the ban on cod fishing in the North Irish Sea.[HL2640]

Baroness Hayman: Council Regulation 2792/1999 allows member states to use funds from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) to grant compensation to fishermen and owners of vessels for the temporary cessation of activities, including circumstances in which a plan is introduced for the recovery of resources threatened with exhaustion. Member states have to set out in their programmes of aid, which must be approved by the Commission, those measures allowed by the regulation which they will implement. The majority of any such funding would have to be funded by the UK taxpayer.

No provision currently exists and the Government have not included this kind of compensation in the programme which has been submitted to the Commission. Compensation could not be justified for conservation measures made necessary because of a serious decline of cod stocks to which the fishing industry may have contributed by overfishing. It is hoped that the emergency measures being taken to promote stock recovery in the Irish Sea will in the longer term help to protect the livelihoods of those fishermen affected by the current prohibitions. No

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other country affected by this temporary closure has made compensation available.

Fishermen who are unable to fish due to the closure of a fishery may be entitled to claim jobseeker's allowance.

Pig and Poultry Installations: Pollution Control

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much progress has been made in reaching an accurate assessment of the number of pig and poultry installations which are subject to regulation under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.[HL2620]

Baroness Hayman: Recent work undertaken by the Environment Agency has estimated that there are 1,400 poultry installations and 435 pig installations which would currently be subject to IPPC.

Computer Virus: Impact on GovernmentIT Systems

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When copies of the report on the impact of the "love letter" computer virus on government IT systems will be placed in the Library of the House.[HL2834]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Copies of the report have today been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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