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Winter Fuel Payments (Renfrewshire)

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if the Winter Fuel Payments for the winter of 2000-01 have been made to all those eligible in Renfrewshire; and if he will make a statement. [152420]

Mr. Foulkes: Around 1 million people across Scotland have benefited from Winter Fuel Payments this winter. Automatic payments, where entitlement was established, were made before Christmas 2000.

In some cases, people have to make a claim for the Payment. All payments in respect of successful claims determined by 9 November 2000 were also made before Christmas 2000. Claims that were determined after 9 November and before 15 January are due to be paid during the first two weeks in March. The Department of Social Security will be making further payments in April 2001 and again in June 2001.

The Department of Social Security identified early on that there might be difficulties in relation to areas with tenement buildings. In some cases, there may not be individual flat numbers and the customer may not have supplied a postcode. This could mean that the correct payments might not be made. The Department of Social Security have addressed this issue. Their practice now is to look at all known tenement cases on an individual basis and pay the correct amount due, taking into account whether anyone else can be identified as living in the same household.

People with any queries about their Winter Fuel Payment should contact their local Benefits Agency office.

Salmon Anaemia

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what (a) direct and (b) consequential loss was sustained by salmon farmers between 1997 and the latest date for which data are available as a result of the implementation of destruction orders following outbreaks of infectious salmon anaemia. [152327]

7 Mar 2001 : Column: 268W

Mr. Foulkes: In 2000 Hydro Seafoods GSP reported to the Competition Commission, in the context of the inquiry into the proposed acquisition by Nutreco, that exceptional costs of more than £18 million in 1997 and 1998 arose from the outbreak of ISA. We have no comparable information for other companies.

From 1 July 1999 fisheries was devolved and is a matter for the Scottish Executive. I understand that in recognition of the importance of the salmon farming industry to the rural economy in Scotland, £9 million has been made available through Highlands and Islands Enterprise to assist companies directly affected by ISA to regain their previous level of trading. Grants of £2.9 million and £1.4 million have been approved and are under consideration respectively. The scheme will remain open until Spring 2002.


Council of Europe and WEU

Mr. Ernie Ross: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the latest information bulletin on the activities of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of Western European Union covering the period May to October 2000. [152843]

The Prime Minister: I have done so today.

US National Missile Defence

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister if his joint communique with the President of the United States and his subsequent statement to the press represent a change in the Government's policy towards potential US plans for National Missile Defence. [151856]

The Prime Minister: No. We continue to share US concerns about the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and we recognise the role that missile defence can play as one part of a strategy to deal with it.

Arms Control and Disarmament

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister if he discussed strategies for reducing and eliminating the threat from weapons of mass destruction through arms control and disarmament during his recent meetings at Camp David with the President of the United States. [151858]

The Prime Minister: President Bush and I discussed a range of issues including the growing threat from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and the need for common efforts to counter this. As made clear in our joint statement, arms control and disarmament will continue to be important elements of our strategy to combat this threat.