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Genetically Modified Organisms

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the level of Government funding is for the application of (a) genomics and (b) genetic modification to the needs of British agriculture. [153371]

Mr. Nick Brown: Funding by MAFF in 2000-01 for genomics research and development is £11 million and for genetic modification research and development, including risks to the agricultural environment from genetic modification, is £3.4 million.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he received a report from the Canadian authorities on the causes of the Advanta seed contamination last year. [153229]

Mr. Nick Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 March 2001, Official Report, columns 345-46W.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will publish the report his Department has completed on the review of separation distances for GM field trials. [153224]

Mr. Nick Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 8 March 2001, Official Report, column 345W.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the Government advise the removal of flower heads from current winter and imminent spring trials as a precautionary measure. [153233]

Mr. Nick Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 5 March 2001, Official Report, columns 56-57W.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the GM sugarbeet trials scheduled for this year involve expense on the part of the Government. [153230]

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 27W

Mr. Nick Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 1 March 2001, Official Report, column 724W.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has been briefed on the report "Elements of Precaution" from the Royal Society of Canada into genetically modified crops; and if he will make a statement. [153239]

Mr. Nick Brown: The report covers various aspects of the regulation of food biotechnology and was written specifically for the Canadian authorities. The recommendations in the report therefore reflect the existing regulatory system in that country. The European Union has a very stringent control regime for GM crops and food, one which gives a clear priority to safeguarding public health and the environment.

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with reference to the GM oilseed rape trials being held in the UK for Aventis, what proportion of the seeds produced by each of the trials of a Fl hybrid oilseed rape will be sterile; in which of the trials the barnase gene and barstar gene will be present in the oil seed rape to be grown; if the barnase and barstar genes involve terminator technology; and which of the trials involve seeds which are sterile. [157261]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 April 2001]: GM oilseed rape hybrids produced by Aventis are currently being trialled under the Farm Scale Evaluation programme and for National List and other research purposes. The hybridity system is the same in each case. Each plan carries separate genes that encode for male sterility (barnase) and fertility restoration (barstar) respectively. The seed produced by these plants is viable and therefore terminator technology is not involved. Detailed technical background on this type of oilseed rape is given in a paper by the Advisory Committee on Releases on the Environment entitled "Environmental Risks of Herbicide-Tolerant Oilseed Rape--A Review of the PGS Hybrid Oilseed Rape." This is available at www.environment.detr.gov.uk/acre.

Civil Servants (Salary Increases)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the average percentage increase in salaries of non-industrial civil servants, excluding members of the Senior Civil Service, was in his Department for 2000-01. [152800]

Ms Quin [holding answer 14 March 2001]: Since 1996 MAFF has had delegated authority for negotiating pay settlements. For the 2000 pay round, the core MAFF settlement included Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

MAFF applied performance related awards in 2000-01 which linked pay awards to job performance on an individual basis. It is therefore not possible to provide a single average percentage increase. Pay awards to satisfactory performers were within the range of 3.2 per cent. and 11.75 per cent. The higher awards also included changes to the pay structure and additional payments to the best performers. Unsatisfactory performers received no performance pay award.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 28W

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is also responsible for other Executive Agencies with their own negotiating remits. I have asked Chief Executives to respond direct with information on their pay settlements.

Letter from Steve Edwards to Dr. David Clark, dated March 2001:





Letter from Professor P. I. Stanley to Dr. David Clark, dated March 2001:




Letter from Peter Greig-Smith to Dr. David Clark, dated March 2001:



Bovine TB

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures he is introducing to remove dead badger carcases from holdings. [154032]

Ms Quin [holding answer 16 March 2001]: The survey of badger carcases for bovine TB, announced on 7 November 2000, included provision for the collection of badger carcases from farms in badger culling trial areas in Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. These arrangements have been temporarily suspended following the redirection of State Veterinary Service resources to foot and mouth disease control. In its response to the report of the independent Husbandry Panel the Government recognised the need for more practical guidance for farmers on how to dispose of badger carcases. They are considering how this may be met.

Movement Licences

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if distance of travel is a relevant criterion in assessing the case for granting movement licences to slaughter; and where such movements cover local authority boundaries whether all relevant authorities are consulted by the issuing authority. [154079]

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 29W

Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The legislation put in place to allow livestock movements direct to slaughter does not specify a maximum period or distance, but only allows movement under licence as long as it does not require a scheduled stop.

Where these journeys cross local authority boundaries, the issuing authority is not required to consult other relevant authorities.

Departmental Policies

(Newbury and West Berkshire)

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Newbury constituency, the effects on Newbury and west Berkshire of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154568]

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 30W

Ms Quin [holding answer 20 March 2001]: MAFF does not hold statistical information on a constituency basis relating to the Department's policies. Information on land use, crop areas, livestock numbers, and labour on holdings in England by parliamentary constituency has been produced from 1 June 1999 Annual Agricultural and Horticultural Census. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. Information from the 1 June 2000 census will be available shortly and also placed in the House Library.

As many of the Department's policies flow from measures agreed within the framework of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, statistical data are normally available on a UK or England basis. Farmers in the UK receive approximately £3 billion per year in direct CAP payments. This does not include the significant additional costs to consumers as a result of CAP price supports which keep EU prices above prevailing world prices. The value of direct CAP payments to the average farmer is set out in the table.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 29W

Average subsidies received by full time farm businesses, England 1999-2000

£000
Crop subsidiesLivestock subsidiesAgri-environmentOther(3)Total direct subsidies
Cereals34.22.31.00.137.8
General cropping28.82.40.60.031.8
Horticulture0.20.00.10.20.4
Pigs and poultry2.21.40.10.03.6
Dairy2.84.90.80.08.5
LFA cattle and sheep0.425.43.30.229.3
Lowland cattle and sheep1.710.61.80.014.1
Mixed21.410.71.70.033.8
All types14.86.41.20.122.5

(3) Includes capital grants and any other miscellaneous grants. These reflect a combination of nationally funded and partly match funded schemes.

Notes:

1. HLCA payments to hill farms are included under livestock subsidies.

2. The figures show direct subsidy payments; they do not include allowance for the financial benefit of prices supported above world market levels under the CAP.

Source:

Farm Business Survey


23 Apr 2001 : Column: 29W

In addition to CAP direct payments, farmers in the UK are benefiting from £1.35 billion in short term financial relief since 2 May 1997.

This includes £785 million in agrimonetary compensation worth some £4,800 per average arable farmer, £3,200 per average dairy farmer, £1,400 per average sheep farmer, and £1,140 and £3,800 per average farmer for agrimonetary compensation related to the Beef Special Premium Scheme and Suckler Cow Premium Scheme respectively.

Since May 1997 the Government have more than doubled expenditure on agri-environmental schemes in England. We now have more than twice as much land covered by Countryside Stewardship agreements and we have increased the funding of organic conversion from £571,000 in 1997-98 to £12 million in 2000-01 and £18 million in 2001-02. Full time hill farmers in England will be in receipt of some £6,360 on average following the introduction of the Hill Farm Allowance Scheme this year. This compares with £4,048 under the Hillstock Livestock Compensatory Allowance in 1996-97.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 30W

Farmers in Newbury can benefit from schemes available under the England Rural Development Programme, which is backed by funding of £1.6 billion over the period 2000-06. Three of the schemes within this programme--Rural Enterprise, Processing and Marketing, and Vocational Training--have a budget of around £190 million and are being operated on a regional basis; each region has its own allocation. These allocations are set out in the England Rural Development Programme.

Consumers in Newbury will benefit from the Agenda 2000 reforms of the CAP in the form of reduced food bills, with the average saving for a typical family rising to £65 a year by 2010.


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