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Agriculture

Mr. Watts: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the financial contribution the agricultural industry made to the British economy in each year from 1996 to 2000. [156265]

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 March 2001]: The contributions of the agricultural industry in the United Kingdom to the whole economy are shown for the last five years in the table.

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Agriculture's contribution to total economy
Percentage of Gross Value Added (current prices)

YearPercentage
19961.5
19971.2
19981.0
19990.9
2000(18)0.8

(18) Provisional

Source:

MAFF: Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2000


Mr. Watts: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average state subsidy per job is in the agricultural industry. [156267]

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 March 2001]: Support to the agricultural sector is provided via market support and direct aid mechanisms, rather than subsidies based on the number of farm workers. The value of total public expenditure on agricultural support in the UK in 2000-01 is roughly equivalent to £5,700 per farm worker or £9,400 per full-time worker equivalent. These figures include both EU and nationally funded expenditure.

Fishing

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide a package of aid for the English fishing industry in similar terms to that operated in Scotland. [156461]

Mr. Morley: The Government share with fish catching and processing organisations the goal of a sustainable, viable future for the sea fish industry. We are taking firm action to address the long term needs of the industry. A key priority is to protect our fisheries resources for the future. In close partnership with the fishing industry we are taking a lead in the EU in establishing the recovery plans for key stocks such as cod and hake. We will continue to take this work forward seeking an appropriate combination of measures to provide for stock recovery.

At the same time we must address the future direction and priorities of the industry. We all seek a sustainable industry which is economically profitable and which uses environmentally sustainable practices. The Government are ready to support and encourage the industry in pursuing these aims.

In response to cases put to the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland the devolved Administrations have announced plans for measures to tackle the problems faced by their sectors of the fishing industry.

The industry in England has equally put its case to us and we have concluded that a package of measures to assist the adjustments needed is appropriate.

Accordingly, we are making available £6 million for additional assistance in England to assist restructuring in the fishing industry. We will be consulting the industry about the precise form this assistance should take. The funding has been secured from savings redeployed from elsewhere in the fisheries budget and will apply in 2001-02 only. The appropriate mechanisms for securing a better balance between fishing effort and the stocks

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available in future years will be decided in the light of discussions at EU level on the structural policy for 2002 and beyond.

We also aim to help the adjustment of the industry through the various grants already announced and we are pleased that today we are also launching the fisheries structural fund grants scheme (FIFG) for England. Application forms will be available from my Department shortly. We have already committed £6 million to this EU scheme over the coming three years. In addition there is the separate £5 million fund for fisheries in Cornwall.

The main aims of the structural grants are to promote the adjustments which are needed across the sea fish industry. They will encourage fishermen to improve the quality and thus the value of the fish they catch, by careful handling at sea and on land. There is grant aid to promote the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly fishing methods, through the purchase of suitable gear. Grants are also available for innovation in the processing and marketing of fish onshore.

There is an important role for the provision of advice to the industry in responding to the situation of low fish stocks by developing their operations in viable and sustainable ways, and grant aid is available for projects to provide this support to encourage the introduction of best practice.

A priority for all in the industry is a better safety record at sea. We are making new training courses available across England as announced on 22 March; they will be free to fishermen, funded by £1.5 million FIFG and MAFF grant over three years. We strongly urge all fishermen to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Furthermore, we recognise the strength of the case for helping coastal communities which may be affected by restructuring of the industry. Other measures are therefore being announced by DETR to assist fishing regions in providing support for retraining and regeneration.

Looking further ahead, the recent Green Paper on the future of the Common Fisheries Policy issued by the European Commission opens up opportunities for us to secure major changes in the way fisheries policy works in future. The Government will be consulting on this in detail with the fishing industry and other interests with the object of developing an approach which secures an economically and environmentally sustainable future to meet the needs of all with an interest in the industry in the UK. Meanwhile, the various measures we are applying will be addressing the range of problems faced by the industry.

CABINET OFFICE

Consultants

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much the Government spent on work from outside consultants in each of the past five financial years; what expenditure is planned for the 2001-02 financial year; and if she will make a statement. [153407]

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Mr. Ian McCartney: The value of contracts let by my Department with outside consultants in each of the last four financial years is as follows:

Year£
1997-986,415,000
1998-992,499,000
1999-20001,825,000
2000-01(19)2,540,000

(19) First three quarters


The other information requested is not held centrally.

Tourism Industry

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will request the Regulatory Impact Unit to carry out a study of ways in which the level of regulation on businesses in the tourism industry can be reduced. [156330]

Mr. Ian McCartney: The independent advisory body, the Better Regulation Task Force, published on 29 June 2000 its report on the cumulative burden of regulation on the hotel and restaurant industry, "Tackling the Impact of Increasing Regulation--A Case Study of Hotels and Restaurants". A copy of the report is available at: http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/TaskForce/ Programme9900.htm. In the Government response to this report, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that it would set up a hotel and restaurant industry group to monitor progress on streamlining regulation affecting the hotel and restaurant industry sector. The full text of the response is available at: www.culture.gov.uk. The Regulatory Impact Unit will continue to work closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and others to ensure that forthcoming regulations do not impose unnecessary burdens on tourism or other businesses.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Community Legal Service

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what directions the Lord Chancellor plans to issue covering the budgets and scope of the Community Legal Service. [156868]

Mr. Lock: The Lord Chancellor has today issued three directions. The first is a budget direction for the CLS, as required under section 5 of the Access to Justice Act 1999. The budget for 2001-02 includes the following provisions:





The second direction brings a number of tribunals into the scope of the CLS by allowing advocacy services to be funded. They are the VAT and Duties Tribunal; the General and Special Commissioners of Income Tax; and

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the Protection of Children Act Tribunal. In the first two, the Lord Chancellor's decision is based on the need to provide representation where the interests of justice require it, because of the potential for the exercise of the tribunals' power to be interpreted as analogous to the imposition of criminal penalties. In the third, his decision is based on the overwhelming importance to applicants of being allowed to challenge decisions to place them on the Protection of Children Act List and List 99.

The third direction revises the circumstances in which cases that are normally excluded from scope can be funded. The main changes from the Lord Chancellor's first direction, made in April 2000, are:






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