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Foot and Mouth Disease: Veterinary Assistance

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Hayman: The Ministry wrote to all regional Animal Health Offices on 23rd February 2001, with the request that they contact all veterinary practices in each division to see if they had any staff to assist with the foot and mouth outbreak. In addition, advertisements for temporary veterinary surgeons have been placed on the MAFF website and in the journal The Veterinary Record. Requests for assistance have also been made through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Financial Support to Farmers

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether financial support referred to in the statement by Baroness Hayman on 9 April (H.L. Deb., col. 1013) extends to those farmers who are restricted from selling their animals either under the 30-month scheme, or because the lambs have cut second teeth.[HL1786]

Baroness Hayman: The measures referred to in my statement make no general provision for paying compensation to farmers for losses resulting from their inability to enter cattle into the Over Thirty Month Scheme or to have their cattle slaughtered for human consumption before they reach 30 months of age. The Government are keeping the position of producers affected in these ways under review. In the meantime, cattle of all ages may be entered into the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme if the circumstances are appropriate.

British Beef: Export to France

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the benefit for the United Kingdom from a favourable resolution of the court case against France for its failure to allow the import of British beef.[HL1801]

Baroness Hayman: A favourable resolution should enable British beef to be exported to France; which was our most significant export market prior to the 1996 export ban. It would also reinforce the message to consumers in other countries that beef produced under the Date-based Export Scheme is as safe as any in the world. This should benefit the export trade once current restrictions due to foot and mouth are lifted.

MAFF Disease Emergency Control Centre: Hours of Operation

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will arrange for Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food personnel to be

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    available at Page Street until at least 10.30 pm every evening to cover the shift system being operated by veterinarians in foot-and-mouth diagnosis and slaughter.[HL1772]

Baroness Hayman: The two shifts currently operated by veterinary staff in the Disease Emergency Control Centre (DECC) at Page Street are from 08.00-16.00 hours (early shift) and 13.00-21.00 hours (late shift). Administrative personnel are on hand to support the vets at Page Street through both shifts. A duty veterinary advisor is available at other times outside the shift system.

Farm Subsidies

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total of the annual subsidies paid to United Kingdom farmers:

    (a) through the Common Agricultural Policy: and

    (b) otherwise.[HL1695]

Baroness Hayman: Expenditure on CAP measures in the UK was, on average, £3.4 billion per annum during the period 1996-97 to 2000-01. This includes expenditure on direct payments and market support measures. The latter are not necessarily paid direct to farmers. This figure excludes the additional support farmers receive from the consumer through the maintenance of EU agricultural prices above world levels by the CAP. During the same period, expenditure by UK agricultural departments on other support to agriculture was, on average, £178 million per annum.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total cost to the United Kingdom taxpayers of:

    (a) the Common Agricultural Policy; and

    (b) other mechanisms which support United Kingdom farmers.[HL1696]

Baroness Hayman: Between 1996 and 2000, the UK contributed, on average, £10.6 billion to the EU budget. Over the same period, the Common Agricultural Policy represented, on average, 48 per cent. of total expenditure from the EU budget. Expenditure by UK agriculture departments on other support to agriculture was £178 million, on average, between 1996 and 2000.

Rod Fishing Licences

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many national fishing licences were sold during the last year: in the categories: (a) salmon, (b) trout and (c) coarse fishing; what prices are

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    being charged for the 2001 season, and from which outlets; and whether there are any changes in the qualifications for a licence.[HL1641]

Baroness Hayman: The provisional numbers of national rod fishing licences sold in 2000-01 were:

    (a) salmon and sea trout;29,549

    (b) coarse fishing (including non-migratory trout)1,075,434

    (NB there is no separate trout or coarse fish licence)

The cost of the various types of licences for the 2001-02 season are:

Licence typeMigratory SalmonidsCoarse and Trout

These licences can be obtained from all post offices in England and Wales and some on the Scottish border, as well as from some larger fisheries. Licences may also be obtained by telephone (0870 1662662) or via the Internet (

Anyone can buy a national licence. The criteria for eligibility for concessionary licences are unchanged, although the price of a licence has been halved for junior anglers.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Grazing on Set-aside Land

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the foot and mouth emergency and the desirability of minimising movements of stock, they will immediately lift restrictions on grazing of livestock on set-aside land in cases where stock are in need of keep and no other suitable grazing is available in an adjacent or nearby field.[HL1572]

Baroness Hayman: Restrictions on set-aside land were lifted on 16 March 2001. The European Commission agreed to our request for a derogation from Arable Area Payment Scheme rules to allow set-aside land to be used for grazing, without loss of aid payment. This applies where no alternatives are available due to movement restrictions resulting from the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

National Minimum Wage: Hospitality Sector

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of the statistics in the British Hospitality Association 2001 Contract Catering

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    Survey, what has been the impact of the introduction of the national minimum wage in the hospitality sector.[HL1604]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Employment in the United Kingdom has grown by over 430,000 since the introduction of the minimum wage. The number of jobs in the hotel and catering sector--which includes a high proportion of low paid jobs--increased by 14,000 between March 1999 and September 2000. The independent Low Pay Commission's third report found no adverse effects on the economy or employment; in fact employment had increased in a range of service industries.

The Government recognise that for some employers the national minimum wage presents a challenge. We will be working through the Small Business Service and the trade associations to ensure that firms in this sector are able to make the necessary adjustments to manage the changes arising from minimum wage increase due in October.

Post Offices: Horizon Programme Installation

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether all post offices have been successfully equipped with a modern, online electronic platform. [HL1614]

Lord Sainsbury Of Turville: I understand from Post Office Network that the main Horizon programme has now been completed with the successful installation of the system in over 17,500 outlets (98 per cent of all post offices). There remain a small number of outlets (approximately 300) where there are special factors involved, but Post Office Network plans to complete installation in all but 50 of these remaining outlets by June, with any outstanding installations to be done as quickly as possible thereafter.

Worktrain Internet Service

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that the search engine does not recognise the word "Internet" but returns the error message "Internet has not been recognised. It may be mis-typed or not in our dictionary. Please type in different job title." [HL1621]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Worktrain is an important new service on the Internet, providing information about jobs, training and careers. It was launched by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment on 8 March 2001.

Users can search for jobs by selecting from a list of different types of work or specify a job in their own words. At present the word "Internet" is not included

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in the job titles listed, as relatively few job vacancies in related work are held by the Employment Service. However, the searching system is being enhanced to include additional words which people frequently use and the word "Internet" will be added shortly.

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