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Dog Identification

Ms Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how he intends to carry forward the recommendations of the Dog Identification Group on the permanent identification of dogs. [141619]

Mr. Hill: The Dog Identification Group Report was submitted to me in September. After careful consideration, and discussions with my colleagues in the devolved Administrations, and in other Government Departments which also have responsibilities for dogs, I have decided to put the DIG recommendations out to consultation so that all those with an interest in dogs can make their views known. The Group has recommended a voluntary scheme for the permanent identification of dogs by either microchip or tattoo. The Report will be published tomorrow and copies will be laid in the Libraries of both Houses. The Report will also be put on the DETR website. The consultation will run until 31 March 2001.

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Disability Rights

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made in response to the transport recommendations of the Disability Rights Task Force report "From Exclusion to Inclusion". [141620]

Mr. Hill: As my hon. Friend the Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities announced on 20 November 2000, Official Report, column 39W, the Government hope to be in a position to publish a formal response to the DRTF report as a whole around the end of February 2001. My Department has been considering the proposals as they relate to transport.

The Government have already made significant progress in implementing the transport provisions of the DDA. This has been achieved largely as a result of wide discussions with the transport industries and disability organisations. This process of consultation has resulted in regulations setting standards of access for rail vehicles and regulations applying similar standards to buses and coaches. I also recently laid before the House regulations which will place taxi drivers under a duty to carry guide, hearing and other assistance dogs.

I have asked my officials, building on the work that has already been undertaken, to discuss the DRTF recommendations widely with industry and with disability organisations. Our goal will be to find ways in which we can take forward the recommendations to deliver further improvements in access and mobility to disabled people without compromising the viability of industry.

Class 460 Trains

Mr. Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what amendment has been made to the exemption order for the fleet of new Class 460 trains introduced into service by Gatwick Express in respect of any of the provisions of the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 1998; and if he will make a statement. [141621]

Mr. Hill: We have received a further application from Gatwick Express relating to their Class 460 trains. This seeks to amend the original Order by extending existing exemptions. The exemptions have been discussed with our statutory advisers the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. An exemption Order relating to the exemption of these trains has been laid in Parliament.

The exemptions will not prevent disabled people from using the new trains. Indeed, we believe that their introduction will make a significant contribution to improving mobility opportunities for disabled people.


Iraq (Exports)

Mr. Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what goods, subject to strategic export controls, have recently been approved for export to Iraq. [141390]

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Mr. Hain: Following consultation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry recently approved a licence to export 12 electronic exploders, controlled under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, as amended, to the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for use in demining activities in Iraq under the UN Oil for Food Programme. The export of these goods to Iraq has been approved by the UN Sanctions Committee.


Performance and Innovation Unit

Dr. George Turner: To ask the Prime Minister what additional projects are planned for the Performance and Innovation Unit; and if he will make a statement. [141302]

The Prime Minister: I have asked the Performance and Innovation Unit, in close collaboration with the Treasury, to undertake a project on the future role of Government in making loans to individuals and businesses. The project will develop a framework for assessing future initiatives involving loans, and will also examine the scope for improving the administration of loans. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury will be the Sponsor Minister for this project, which will report by autumn 2001.


Pig Industry

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the pig industry restructuring scheme will open for applications; and if he will make a statement. [141512]

Mr. Nick Brown: On 4 December, I was able to announce that the Outgoers element of the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme was open for applications. This announcement delivers a further component of the Government's Agricultural Strategy. It was particularly pleasing to announce the opening of phase one of a scheme that will make a significant amount of money available to the UK pig industry; a sector that has suffered terribly over the past two years. While market conditions have improved recently, the scale of the debt incurred over those difficult times continues to be a major restraint on the industry's ability to prepare itself for the future. The Government's restructuring scheme will go some way towards remedying that situation.

The European Commission has confirmed that it is content with the Outgoers part of the restructuring scheme. As promised, this first phase was opened as soon as possible after receiving that confirmation. I am confident that formal clearance from the Commission for both phases of the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme will be obtained later this month.

The aim of Outgoers is to reduce pig breeding capacity in the UK by 16 per cent. compared to what was available in June 1998 in order to allow the British pig industry to begin its necessary restructuring. Discussions with the UK

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pig industry are continuing on Ongoers and we hope to be in a position to open this second phase of the restructuring scheme early in the new year.


Acceptance of Pleas

Mr. Anthony D. Wright: To ask the Solicitor-General

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when the Attorney General's guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas by the prosecution in criminal proceedings will be published. [141514]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General is publishing his Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas by the prosecution in criminal proceedings today. A copy of the Guidelines is being placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. These documents can also be found on the website for the Legal Secretariat to the Law Offices at

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