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AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Meat Imports

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many meat inspectors were in place at points of entry for imported meat products in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000 and (e) 2001. [152380]

Ms Quin: This information is not held centrally. All meat imported from third countries into the UK must enter at designated UK Border Inspection Posts (BIP) where it is subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at the BIP are the responsibility of the local authority. Central Government have no powers to instruct the local authority over the number of inspectors. However, the BIP has to be approved by the Commission, whose inspectors conduct periodic inspections and who have to be satisfied that the inspection services are adequate. If they are not, the approval of the BIP may be suspended.

Meat produced within the EU may circulate freely in the single market, and is not subject to border checks. It is subject to checks at the point of destination within the UK. The Meat Hygiene Service has been instructed to step up levels of inspection at cutting plants and cold stores, to ensure that any increased volumes of imports (which could arise from the effects of the foot and mouth crisis) can be checked for the necessary health marks and correct documentation.

Arable Farming

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the (a) average income and (b) public subsidy was for arable farmers in England for the last year for which figures are available. [152851]

Ms Quin: The latest year for which figures are available is the year ended February 2000. The average net farm income for cereal farms in England for that year was £11,700 and the average total direct subsidy payment was £37,000. The average net farm income for general cropping farms was £8,000 and the average total direct subsidy payment was £31,500. The total direct subsidy excludes the additional support farmers receive from the consumer, through maintenance of EU agricultural prices above world levels by the CAP.

Hill Farmers

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 26 February 2001, Official Report, column 501W, on hill farmers, what elements combine to give a subsidy of £24,400 per farm. [153536]

Ms Quin: I am sorry that there was an error in my answer of 26 February 2001, Official Report, column 501W, giving the total of £24,400 as the subsidy. The correct average total subsidy paid to full-time LFA cattle and sheep farms in England in 1999-2000 was

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£29,400. This is made up of £25,400 per farm in livestock subsidies, £3,500 per farm in environmental subsidies and £500 per farm in crop and other subsidies. The rest of the answer remains correct.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 26 February 2001, Official Report, column 501W, on hill farmers, what the subsidy is for a typical hill farm in England arising from the EU. [153537]

Ms Quin: Less than half per cent. of direct subsidies paid to full-time LFA cattle and sheep farms in England in 1999-2000 did not arise from EU legislation. Although some subsidies such as BSE payments and hill farm compensatory allowances are part funded nationally, they are still part of the CAP.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Departmental Policies (Truro and St. Austell)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Truro and St. Austell constituency, the effects on Truro and St. Austell of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154538]

The Solicitor-General: The Truro and St. Austell constituency falls within the geographical area covered by the Devon and Cornwall Area of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In November 1999, in line with national policy, this area of the CPS, in liaison with the police and the East and West Cornwall Magistrates courts which cover that constituency, introduced procedures based on the Narey proposals. This means that all adult defendants charged with a criminal offence in Cornwall should make their first appearance before either Truro or Bodmin Magistrates court within eight days. This is in line with the Government's policy of speeding up and modernising the criminal justice system.

On 18 December 2000, the Cornwall office of CPS Devon and Cornwall finalised its structure in line with proposals in the Glidewell Review. This represents a policy of more effective working between the police and prosecutors. A CPS Crown Court Unit based in Truro deals with serious crime at Truro Crown court. The CPS has set as a goal the better handling of serious cases in the interests of justice and the victims. A fast-track procedure began on 15 January 2001 throughout England and Wales. It ensures that offences which can only be tried in the Crown court normally come before a judge within eight clear days of their first hearing in the Magistrates court.

The CPS together with other agencies has been working to speed up youth justice, particularly persistent youth offenders. The time taken for persistent youth cases has fallen in the CPS Devon and Cornwall area from 141 days in 1997 to 65 days in the third quarter of 2000. All these changes illustrate the Government's successful policy of speeding up the criminal justice system.

Actions and policies of the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office effect the hon. Member's constituency only indirectly.

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EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Higher Education

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people (i) in England and (ii) from north Somerset (a) entered and (b) completed higher education courses in each of the past five years. [149901]

Mr. Wicks: The available information is shown in the table. Prior to the reorganisation of local government, north Somerset was included within Avon local education authority and therefore cannot be identified separately prior to 1997-98.

Entrants and completers from higher education courses(21) in HE institutions
Thousand

1995-961996-971997-981998-991999-2000
Entrants
Postgraduates:
England(22)104.6105.8106.0109.7110.7
North Somerset(23)n/an/a0.40.40.4
Undergraduates:
England(22)374.2366.2378.0376.0389.6
North Somerset(23)n/an/a1.51.31.1
Qualifiers
Postgraduates:
England(22)50.252.855.457.659.1
North Somerset(23)n/an/a0.20.30.1
Undergraduates:
England(22)222.6225.5225.0231.9233.8
North Somerset(23)n/an/a0.70.80.8

(21) Full-time and part-time courses excluding the Open University.

(22) Students studying in institutions in England.

(23) Students whose normal home residence is in north Somerset.


Logos and Branding

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much has been spent by his Department on departmental and agency logos and associated branding since 1 May 1997. [152644]

Mr. Wills: Development of departmental logos and branding often takes place as part of the development of advertising and publicity campaigns and costs are not easily separated out. However, where logo or brand development can be isolated, expenditure since May 1997 was:


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Modern Apprenticeships

Mr. Gorrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will take steps to enable young people above the age of 16 years to benefit from modern apprenticeships. [154402]

Mr. Wicks: Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) are an important part of the new vocational framework for young people in England. Many more young people will benefit from MAs as a result of an entitlement we are introducing to a place for those who have the necessary aptitude, ability and enthusiasm for work-based training. As an aid to this, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor recently announced plans for an expansion of MA places in England, from 220,000 this year, to 320,000 by March 2004. In addition, both my Department and the Learning and Skills Council will continue to promote MAs, to ensure that Careers Companies and the new Connexions Service are able to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the opportunities MAs offer.


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