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Libraries

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the quality of annual library plans which have been submitted to his Department. [158231]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Overall, the quality of Annual Library Plans has much improved since they were introduced in 1998. I see this as a very positive development, indicative of the increased importance that library authorities are attaching to their duties. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that for the first time more authorities have been assessed as providing 'good' plans than submitting 'satisfactory' plans. In 2000, 73 library authorities were rated as 'good', 71 plans were 'satisfactory', and only five were rated as 'poor'; we found none to be unacceptable. I am taking steps to help the five authorities rated as 'poor' improve their position.

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 252W

My right hon. Friend published a report on last year's Annual Library Plans in January, and copies of the report, "Appraisal of Annual Library Plans 2000, Report on Outcomes and Issues", have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies of the report can also be obtained freely from my Department (write to Andy Birleson, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur street, London SW1Y 5DH; or telephone on 0207 211 6128; or email to [email protected],gov.uk.) In addition, the report can be accessed via the Department's website www.culture.gov.uk.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Magistrates Courts (London)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many disabled people serve as justices of the peace in courts covering the Greater London area; and if she will make a statement. [158516]

Jane Kennedy: No figures are currently available on the number of people with a disability who serve as justices of the peace. However, following an equality audit of the procedures and practices surrounding the appointment of lay magistrates last year, my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor plans to conduct a survey of existing magistrates later this year to find out how many classify themselves as having a disability.

CABINET OFFICE

Civil Servants (Waivers)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of senior grade civil servants in each Department have signed waivers for (a) working time rights and (b) other social chapter rights; and if she will make a statement. [158328]

Marjorie Mowlam: Information on the proportion of senior civil servants who have, under the working time regulations, entered into voluntary agreements to work more than 48 hours a week is not held centrally. It could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Social chapter rights do not give rise to waivers in other circumstances.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Advertising (Outside Agencies)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those occasions since 1 May 1997 on which his Department has used outside agencies for (a) rebranding and (b) advertising purposes; what the costs were; and if he will make a statement. [156272]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 30 March 2001]: British Trade International, which reports jointly to FCO and DTI Ministers, has employed outside agencies for branding and advertising purposes. Its two operating units are Trade Partners UK and Invest UK (formerly the Invest in Britain Bureau).

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 253W

(a) Trade Partners UK: established in May 2000, it has used outside agencies for (i) branding on one occasion, and (ii) advertising on two occasions. The costs were:

£

BrandingAdvertising
1999-2000250,000350,000
2000-0101,400,000

(b) Invest UK: it has used outside agencies for (i) rebranding on one occasion, the work being spread over three years, and (ii) advertising on numerous occasions, largely overseas, to market the United Kingdom as an inward investment location. The costs were:

£

BrandingAdvertising
1997-9801,225,000
1998-99145,0001,187,000
1999-200095,0001,344,000
2000-01140,0001,536,000

In 1998, the FCO employed outside agencies as part of a £1 million publicity campaign to reduce the number of ticketless fans travelling to France for the World Cup finals and to explain what consular services were available.

Later this year, we will be launching a public awareness campaign to encourage British travellers to be better prepared when travelling overseas. We have appointed an outside agency to undertake this work. The cost of public relations activity, which is to include press and radio advertising, will be £255,000.

The FCO has also used outside agencies to assist with routine advertising in the domestic press for recruitment purposes. There have been about 200-250 recruitment campaigns. It would involve disproportionate costs to establish a breakdown of expenditure.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Animal Vaccination

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is his Department's policy that animals must be slaughtered following all forms of vaccination in order to regain disease-free status for the United Kingdom. [158382]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The recent European Commission decision (2001/257/EC) authorises the vaccination without slaughter of cattle in specific areas in the UK. A copy of the decision has been placed on the MAFF website http://www.maff.gov.uk/.

The Government are considering using vaccination as part of the strategy for controlling foot and mouth disease (FMD). Scientific and veterinary advice is that a limited programme of vaccinating cattle in north Cumbria, and possibly north Devon, is justified as a means of protecting animals. These animals would not be compulsorily slaughtered and could work out their normal economic lives.

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 254W

Chapter 2.1.1 of the OIE International Animal Health Code contains guidelines on the steps to be taken to regain FMD-free status in various circumstances.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will hold a briefing for hon. Members representing areas affected by the foot and mouth outbreak on the contingency plans by his Department to combat, control and exterminate the disease; [154923]

Ms Quin [holding answers 22 and 30 March 2001]: Contingency planning for foot and mouth disease is carried out by the state veterinary service and the Ministry's animal health group on an on-going basis. There is no specific planning committee, nor is it possible to list officials who have attended contingency planning meetings. Ministers have not attended any contingency planning meetings between 1 May 1997 and the state of the current outbreak.

The northern region of the state veterinary service has 'lead region' responsibility for the foot and mouth contingency plan. All regional and animal health divisional offices will have been involved in regular exercises to test the contingency plan.

There are no plans to hold a specific briefing on the foot and mouth contingency plans for hon. Members representing areas affected by the current outbreak. However, all hon. Members have received regular situation reports and have been advised where they can obtain further information, for example from the Ministry's website http://www.maff.gov.uk/. A daily update on the disease is placed in the Libraries of the House, and a mechanism has been put in place to ensure hon. Members are informed directly as soon as a case is confirmed in their constituencies.

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 255W

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what homoeopathic expertise his Department has access on the use of homoeopathic borax in the prevention of foot and mouth disease. [157706]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The Veterinary Products Committee gives advice to Ministers with respect to safety, quality and efficacy in relation to the veterinary use of any substance or article to which provisions of the Medicines Act may apply. The Advisory Board on the Registration of Homoeopathic Products offers advice to Ministers on the registration of homoeopathic products, whether for the treatment of humans or animals. However, homoeopathic products for the treatment of food producing species are not covered by the registration scheme and are subject to the requirement to obtain a marketing authorisation.

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he has received on the use of homoeopathic borax in the prevention of foot and mouth disease. [157705]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 April 2001]: My officials have been in correspondence with the Dean of the Faculty of Homoeopathy in London on the use of the homoeopathic product borax.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will issue guidance on restocking to farmers whose stock have been culled as a result of foot and mouth. [156489]

Ms Quin: Guidance on restocking, for farmers whose animals have been slaughtered as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak, is currently being prepared and has been discussed informally with industry organisations.

This guidance currently under discussion would require that no animals susceptible to foot and mouth disease may be brought on to an infected premises until at least 21 days have elapsed since the final cleansing and disinfection procedures have been completed. Animals for restocking can be introduced only from areas not subject to restrictions in relation to foot and mouth.

Animals introduced to the premises will be subject to regular veterinary clinical inspection, with the frequency of inspection depending on the species. Sheep and goats will also be subject to serological testing. Restrictions will be lifted only when it has been shown that none of the animals has developed any clinical signs of foot and mouth.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the manufacturers, stockists and distributors of protective clothing currently (a) supplying and (b) working (i) for and (ii) on behalf of (A) his Department and (B) agents of Government in relation to the foot and mouth epidemic who were contacted (x) by his Department and (y) on his Department's behalf before 19 February; [156412]

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 256W

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 March 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 23 April 2001, Official Report, column 50W, in connection with a number of related questions.

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Baldry: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he expects that sheep belonging to Clive Hawes at Blankney Estates, Blankney, Sleaford, Lincolnshire will be slaughtered; and on what basis the compensation will be paid; [155923]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: It is not practicable or appropriate to comment on the position of individual applications under the various schemes in operation to meet the needs of farmers during the foot and

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 257W

mouth outbreak. Every effort is being made to minimise delay in paying farmers in respect of animals slaughtered under foot and mouth measures.

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what trials he proposes to establish the effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy borax in the foot and mouth disease outbreak. [155117]

Ms Quin [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The onus for providing evidence that supports the need for research into the effectiveness of borax against foot and mouth disease lies with the manufacturer. Products that are presented for the treatment or prevention of disease in animals, or which have that function, must be authorised under the terms of the Marketing Authorisations for Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulations 1994 before they can be legally sold or supplied in the United Kingdom. This ensures that such products are properly assessed and are demonstrated as being safe, of consistent good quality and effective when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The manufacturer of any such products may apply for such authorisation. No such application has been made for borax.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the viability of the foot and mouth virus in vacuum-packed meats. [156661]

Ms Quin [holding answer 2 April 2001]: The viability of the foot and mouth disease virus in meat depends on the treatment and preparation of the meat, and on the presence of bones. The drop in pH during rigor mortis generally kills the virus in meat, but viable virus can be found in the bone marrow and lymph glands. Vacuum packing does not affect the viability of the virus.


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