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Cattle Cull

15. Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on progress being made towards the implementation of the selective cull of cattle in accordance with the Florence agreement. [3734]

Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Government announced on 19 September that they would not proceed for the present with the selective cull of cattle in relation to BSE.

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17. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of the farming unions to discuss the throughput of animals to slaughter under the current cull scheme; and if he will make a statement. [3736]

Mr. Hogg: I meet the National Farmers Union regularly to discuss BSE issues, including the operation of the over-30-months scheme.

Veal Calves

16. Mr. Sutcliffe: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further plans he has to end the transport of live veal calves to the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [3735]

Mrs. Browning: None. However, provisions on directive 95/29 on animal welfare in transit are properly implemented and enforced throughout the Community.

Agricultural Wages Board

18. Mr. MacShane: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the operations of the Agricultural Wages Board; and if he will make a statement. [3737]

Mr. Boswell: After consultation following the last formal review of the operation of the Agricultural Wages Board in 1993, the Government decided broadly to retain the existing arrangements, but these are kept under review.

BSE

20. Mrs Peacock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to ensure that the Government's BSE controls are rigorously enforced in the slaughterhouses. [3739]

Mrs. Browning: The Government have made substantial additional resources available to the Meat Hygiene Service, which is responsible for enforcing the specified bovine material controls in slaughterhouses, to enable it to achieve our objective of full compliance with controls on SBM.

The State Veterinary Service also carries out regular unannounced surveillance visits to all plants handling SBM. This surveillance is now showing a consistently high level of compliance in slaughterhouses.

21. Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the National Farmers Union on matters relating to BSE in the last month. [3740]

Mr. Douglas Hogg: I have received a number of representations from the NFU both at meetings and in writing over this period.

European Fishery Rules

22. Mr. Jessel: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much his Department spent on enforcement of European fisheries rules in the last available year. [3741]

Mr. Baldry: In 1995-96 the Ministry spent some £11 million on monitoring and enforcement of the common fisheries policy on land, at sea and by aerial surveillance.

21 Nov 1996 : Column: 708

Common Fisheries Policy

23. Mr. Michael Brown: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent discussions he has had with EC Commissioner Bonino regarding fish quotas for 1997. [3742]

Mr. Baldry: I have not yet had any discussions with Mrs. Bonino regarding fish quotas for 1997.

28. Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he next expects to meet (a) Commissioner Bonino and (b) other European Union Ministers to discuss the effectiveness of the common fisheries policy. [3747]

Mr. Baldry: I next expect to meet Mrs. Bonino and other European Union Ministers to discuss the common fisheries policy on 22 November.

Dr. Godman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions were held on matters relating to the common fisheries policy and proposals for its modification when he last met his colleagues from other member states of the European Union. [3702]

Mr. Baldry: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris), on 16 October 1996, Official Report, columns 938-40.

29. Mr. John Townend: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what European Union support each of the member states of the European Union has received in respect of their fishing industries in each of the last three years. [3748]

Mr. Baldry: Planned EU expenditure under the financial instrument for fisheries guidance for the last three years as indicated in member states' sectoral plans for 1994-99 is set out in the table. Details of amounts actually received are not readily available.

(Mecu)199419951996
Austria00.400.40
Belgium4.144.144.14
Denmark23.3123.3123.32
Finland04.945.33
France36.8437.2937.72
Germany19.4224.4225.42
Greece21.6721.6721.67
Ireland3.006.208.00
Italy61.1661.1661.16
Luxembourg0.210.340.34
Netherlands9.149.149.21
Portugal25.5926.8130.89
Spain154.13165.28175.92
Sweden08.368.60
UK16.1820.6025.05

Beef Farmers

24. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and food what support he plans to provide to those beef farmers (a) in Staffordshire and (b) elsewhere striving to use non-extensive production methods. [3743]

Mr. Boswell: Beef farmers in Staffordshire and elsewhere may claim support under the livestock schemes run by the Ministry provided that they meet the rules of

21 Nov 1996 : Column: 709

those schemes, including those relating to stocking density. We have no plans to provide additional support specifically to non-extensive producers.

Farm Incomes

25. Mr. Pike: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on projected farm incomes in less favoured areas in the United Kingdom in 1997. [3744]

Mr. Boswell: Following the autumn review of the economic prospects of hill and upland farms, the hill livestock compensatory allowance payment levels for 1997 will be announced on 26 November. Tables showing income levels for cattle and sheep farms in the less favoured areas in the United Kingdom will be deposited in the House Library on that date, these will include forecasts for 1996-97.

Sheep Products Ban

26. Mr. David Evans: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken in respect of the German ban on sheep products from Britain. [3745]

Mrs. Browning: Germany has proposed a ban on the use, in feedstuffs or cosmetics, of brain, spinal cord and eyes from sheep and goats over 12 months of age from France or the United Kingdom.

The Commission has put to the Standing Veterinary Committee a proposal for EU-wide controls and this is under discussion. The UK Government support the Commission in pressing for EU-wide measures and we take an active part in discussions with our European partners. Our objective remains to seek an early agreement on a European basis on this issue.

Livestock Industry Support

27. Mr. Dowd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of his Department's expenditure in 1997 in support of the livestock industry. [3746]

Mrs. Browning: Estimated expenditure, including EU-funded expenditure, in 1997-97 in support of the livestock industry is £2,499 million. Of this £445 million is expected to occur in January-March 1997. An announcement of estimated expenditure in 1997-98 will be made shortly. These figures include expenditure relating to intervention buying, export refunds, private storage aid, premium schemes and BSE measures but not hill livestock compensatory allowances.

Resource Accounting

Mr. Tim Smith: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress his Department is making with the introduction of resource accounting and budgeting; and in respect of which financial year he expects to publish the first set of resource accounts. [4986]

21 Nov 1996 : Column: 710

Mr. Boswell: The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will be introducing its resource accounting system during 1997-98. The Department, in common with others, is preparing to implement resource budgeting in time to form the basis for the 2000 survey. As set out in Cm 2929, the first published resource accounts for the Department and all other Departments will be in respect of 1999-2000.

Sheep and Goats

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to amend the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 1996 to implement fully the requirement of Council directive 92/102/EC that there must be in force a national system enabling the holding of birth to be identified in respect of sheep and goats being moved within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [5402]

Mrs. Browning: There are no immediate plans to amend The Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 1996, but this will be kept under review.


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