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e-Envoy: Responsibilities

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The e-Envoy's primary responsibility has not changed since Alex Allan was appointed as the Government's first e-Envoy--that is, to meet the Government's aim of making the UK one of the world's leading knowledge economies by getting the UK online. My honourable friend the Minister for e-Commerce and the e-Envoy will continue to report to my right honourable friend the Prime Minister monthly in writing, and quarterly in person, on progress towards the Government's targets.

However, as the noble Lord is aware, the environment in which the next e-Envoy will operate has evolved. The UK, and the global e-commerce environment have changed, becoming more sophisticated; our e-government strategy has developed; and the office of the e-Envoy's structure has altered to support this.

Therefore, the ways in which this overall responsibility will be achieved, and the skills it requires, have developed.

European Union Committee Scrutiny

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Information is not held in the form requested. I have asked my officials to collect the information requested for all government departments. I will write to the noble Lord with the information as soon as possible and will place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Game Meat from USA and Canada: Import Controls

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): EU regulations permit the import into the UK, from the USA and Canada, of wild and farmed game meat from animals of the Odocoileus hemionus species and Cervus elaphus nelsoni for human consumption. Consignments must come from EU approved establishments and must be accompanied by official veterinary health certification, which does not, however, specifically refer to freedom from chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The importation from the USA or Canada of game meat products derived from these animals is not permitted under Community law as there are no EU approved processing establishments. Imports of parts of the animals or materials derived from them (ie. game trophies and hides and skins) may be imported under EU regulations but not for human consumption.

We have been told by the authorities in Canada that elk and mule deer meat are not exported or used in the food chain. There is a depopulation programme in place in respect of those herds affected by CWD. There have been no recorded cases of CWD in red deer in Canada. CWD is present in the USA but is confined to a small geographical region. Six establishments in the USA are approved to export game meat to the UK and they are significantly distant from this region.

Farm Incomes

Lord Randall of St Budeaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will report progress on farm incomes.[HL4840]

Baroness Hayman: We are disappointed to note that predictions for farm incomes for this year suggest a further significant fall of 27 per cent by comparison with 1999. A statistical press release has been placed in the Library of the House.

The Government remain committed to helping farmers through these difficult times. Last December, the Minister announced the Government's long-term strategy for agriculture, which aims to help secure a more competitive and sustainable farming industry, with a stronger market orientation.

This commitment is underpinned by a comprehensive range of initiatives including reform of the common agricultural policy; significant increases in expenditure on rural development and agri-environment schemes; new measures to reduce the burden of regulation on farming; promotion of increased co-operation and collaboration across the food supply chain; and targeted financial support to the sectors in greatest difficulty.

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MAFF Site, Tolworth: Disposal

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the estimated income from the disposal of the Tolworth Toby Jug site which the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food included in their business plan for moving civil servants to Page Street in London; and what is now the agreed price for its disposal.[HL4801]

Baroness Hayman: The business plan for the relocation of Ministry staff from Tolworth to Page Street, London assumed that income from the disposal of the Toby Jug site would be £9 million. The Ministry of Defence subsequently agreed to pay the estimated open market value of the site with vacant possession and valuers put this at £9.6 million.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they decided to stop seeking commercial development opportunities for the Tolworth Toby Jug site of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and to dispose of it to the Ministry of Defence; and what were the consequences of this decision for the cost of moving the civil servants from Tolworth to London.[HL4802]

Baroness Hayman: The Ministry agreed in March this year to transfer the Tolworth Toby Jug site to the Ministry of Defence when it became clear that the latter could not relocate its Tolworth operations by the time that our requirement for the site ceased. The transfer took place on 1 July. Prior to this, discussions had taken place with various organisations which had expressed an interest in acquiring the Toby Jug site but the Ministry had not itself applied for any planning consent. Once the transfer had taken place, these organisations were advised to contact the Ministry of Defence if they wished to continue the discussions. None of this had any effect on the cost of moving civil servants to London.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the estimated cost according to their business plan, and the actual cost, of moving civil servants in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from the Tolworth Toby Jug site to Page Street in London; and from where these funds were obtained.[HL4800]

Baroness Hayman: The estimated cost used in the business plan of moving civil servants from Tolworth Toby Jug to Page Street in London was £92,500. The outturn cost was £92,000. The funding was obtained from within the Ministry's existing provision.

European Union Sugar Regime

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the latest proposals by the European Union Commission on the future of the European Union Sugar Regime, what is their policy towards the future of that regime with particular reference to

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    Commonwealth countries whose economies are largely dependent on secure sugar supplies.[HL4807]

Baroness Hayman: The Government are aware that some Commonwealth countries are concerned about the impact of these proposals on their sugar industries. On the LDC market access proposal the Government are committed to ensuring that the views of the Commonwealth countries are taken into account by the Commission and other member states.

In any case, it is important that Commonwealth countries which are dependent on sugar exports take steps to improve their competitiveness.

Zimbabwe: Government Funding

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funding they have given to Zimbabwe this year.[HL4678]

Baroness Amos: It is expected that the spend for this financial year will be £14 million. The latest figures we have for EC development assistance to Zimbabwe are for 1998 when the EC spent £15.70 million, of which the UK share was 16.7 per cent.

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What monies they have withheld from Zimbabwe this year.[HL4679]

Baroness Amos: In the Zimbabwe Country Strategy Paper of April 1999, we made clear spending could vary from £12 million to £28 million in the current financial year depending on government policies. Currently we expect to spend £14 million.

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What future government funding they envisage for Zimbabwe.[HL4680]

Baroness Amos: Future funding for Zimbabwe is expected to be about the same as this year, approximately £14 million. This could change in response to political and economic developments in Zimbabwe.

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