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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received concerning planned job redundancies at BAE military manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 February 2001]: Since the announcement by BAE Systems concerning restructuring was made on 10 January 2001, my Department has received a number of representations. At the time of the announcement the company said that it was not in a position to state how their cost reduction measures would effect each site within their business or impact upon employment. We have asked the company to keep us informed, and are monitoring the situation closely.
Mr. Spellar: We have concluded the internal phase of our Review of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and I hope to make an announcement shortly on arrangements for public consultation on the resulting proposals.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual expenditure incurred at RAF Fylingdales has been in each year since 1997; and if he will indicate under which budget heading in his Department's expenditure plans the investment in Fylingdales is listed. 
Mr. Hoon: The annual expenditure incurred at RAF Fylingdales for each year since 1997 was some £12 million for 1997-98, £11 million for 1998-99 and £13 million for 1999-2000. It was charged to the Strike Command Top Level Budget, details of which can be found in the relevant year's Supply Estimates for the Ministry of Defence, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will take steps to suspend the import of French beef until French herds are proved to be BSE-free; and if he will make a statement; 
The FSA has examined the issue of the safety of beef from France. Dr Christl Donnelly of Imperial College, London has made an assessment of the risks to the consumer from BSE arising from imports of French beef. The results were published in "Nature" on 14 December 2000. The study concluded that if the United Kingdom's over-thirty-month (OTM) rule is fully enforced there is virtually no risk from BSE in French beef imported into the UK. If the OTM rule is only 75 per cent. enforced, then risks posed by British and French meat sold in the UK would be the same. The FSA estimates that OTM enforcement levels in the UK are above 75 per cent.
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In these circumstances, the FSA concluded that a ban on the importation of beef from France would not be proportionate to the risk and could not therefore be justified. Nevertheless, the FSA is keeping the position under constant review, taking account of the latest available scientific and other information. The FSA will issue revised advice whenever necessary.
Ms Stuart [holding answer 8 January 2001]: The Government are advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that its decision not to recommend a ban on the importation of beef from France is based on two key regulatory requirements, namely the controls on specified risk materials (SRM), and the over-thirty-month (OTM) rule, and on a scientific assessment of the risks of BSE associated with French beef.
European Union rules, which took effect from 1 October 2000, now require the removal of SRM from beef carcases in the country of origin, and United Kingdom legislation prohibits the import of beef containing SRM. The OTM rule prohibits the sale for human consumption of beef from animals over the age of thirty months at time of slaughter. This rule applies equally to beef from cattle that are slaughtered in the UK (with minor exceptions) and to imported beef (again with minor exceptions).
The scientific assessment of the risks of BSE to consumers in the UK arising from French beef was given in a study by Dr. Christl Donnelly of Imperial College London. The results of that study were published in "Nature" on 14 December 2000. The study concluded that if the OTM rule is fully enforced there is virtually no risk from French beef imported into the UK. If the OTM rule is only 75 per cent. enforced, then risks posed by British and French meat sold in the UK would be the same. The FSA estimates that OTM enforcement levels in the UK are above 75 per cent.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) membership, (b) duration, (c) itinerary and (d) cost were of the recent Food Standards Agency mission to France to investigate BSE controls. 
Ms Stuart [holding answer 8 January 2001]: The Food Standards Agency has advised that the delegation from the agency which met officials of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to discuss BSE controls in France comprised David Statham (Director of Enforcement), David Noble (then Director of Legal Services), Chris Lawson (then Head of Meat Hygiene Division), Peter Hewson (Head of HQ Veterinary Team), Leonie Austin (then Head of Media Relations), Jane Downes (Acting Director of Veterinary Services, Meat Hygiene Service) and David Carruthers (Head of the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy food safety branch). The delegation was accompanied by David Barnes (First Secretary (Agriculture)) from the British Embassy in Paris and an interpreter.
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The delegation arrived in Paris on the evening of 28 November 2000, stayed overnight at the Hotel Saint James and Albany, and then travelled to the Agriculture Ministry at 251, rue de Vaugirard, arriving at 8.30 am. After the conclusion of the meeting at about 11.30 am, the delegation returned to the British Embassy and from there departed from Paris that afternoon.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those animals besides cattle and sheep, which are being investigated by the Food Standards Agency for the presence of BSE and TSEs. 
Ms Stuart [holding answer 11 January 2001]: I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that it does not carry out any surveillance for BSE or other Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in any animals, apart from cattle aged over thirty months entering the food chain. The testing of any other animals for the presence of these diseases is a matter for the Agriculture Departments.
It is illegal to import beef with any SRM attached. Where imported beef with SRM attached is discovered, it is seized by the relevant enforcement authorities and either destroyed or returned to the supplier, depending on the circumstances involved. Following the discovery of remnants of spinal cord in a number of consignments of beef imported recently from Germany, the FSA has instructed the Meat Hygiene Service and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland to ensure that all consignments of beef imported from Germany are now inspected in licensed meat plants. The FSA has also written to local authorities to advise them that all meat plants under local authority supervision which are likely to receive consignments of German beef should be subject to further random checks, in which any beef from Germany should be inspected.
The OTM rule prohibits the sale for human consumption of beef from animals over the age of thirty months at time of slaughter. This rule applies equally to home produced and imported beef, with the exception of beef from 14 specified non-EU countries with no history of BSE. In November 2000 the FSA instructed local authorities and the Meat Hygiene Service to step up their OTM rule enforcement checks in respect of imported beef. The responses from the enforcement authorities show a high level of compliance with the OTM rule.
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