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Food Bills

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much a typical family would save in reduced food bills if CAP price supports were removed and prices fell to existing world prices, calculated on the same basis as for estimated savings from the Agenda 2000 reforms of the CAP; and if he will make a statement. [160834]

Ms Quin: Published Ministry estimates of total consumer savings from the Agenda 2000 reforms measure the benefits for the year 2008, when the reforms will be fully implemented, against the forecast position in that year had no reform taken place. No estimate has been produced on a comparable basis of the savings that consumers would make in 2008 if all price supports for all commodities were removed.

Departmental Policies (Glasgow, Pollok)

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Glasgow, Pollok constituency, the effect on Glasgow, Pollok of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [160826]

Ms Quin: MAFF does not hold statistical information on a constituency basis relating to the Department's policies. 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 Scotland 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.

Consumers in Glasgow, Pollok 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.

The Government are committed to securing a more economically rational CAP. This will benefit both consumers and taxpayers in Glasgow, Pollok. We aim to redirect public money from agricultural price support mechanisms to rural development measures of benefit to the wider rural community and visitors to the countryside.

One of the most important outcomes of Agenda 2000 was the establishment of the rural development regulation. As agriculture is a devolved matter this is being implemented in Scotland by the Scottish Executive through the Scottish rural development programme

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(SRDP). Over the lifetime of the programme, around £685 million is being invested in agri-environment measures, forestry and the new less favoured areas support scheme. In addition, around £100 million will be spent in Scotland on measures including the processing and marketing scheme and the agricultural business development scheme.

By supporting rural development, including diversification into tourist activities, and by conserving and enhancing the rural environment through support for "public" goods such as biodiversity and landscape appearance, such measures offer benefits to all who visit the countryside.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of senior civil servants in his Department have signed waivers to work voluntarily more than 48 hours a week; and if he will make a statement. [160893]

Ms Quin: Three members of the Department's senior civil service complement have signed such voluntary agreements under the working time regulations. Of these, one has since expired and one other is no longer in force as the individual has left the Department.

Illegally Imported Meat

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what plans he has to improve surveillance of ports to intercept illegally imported meat; [160935]

Ms Quin: As my right hon. Friend the Minister said in his statements of 27 March and 3 May, MAFF is co-ordinating action across Government to ensure that rules on both commercial and personal imports at ports and airports are enforced effectively. In addition, he has also asked the European Commission to give urgent attention to ensuring that the law on personal imports is clear and robust to enable consistent and effective controls across all the Community's borders. No assessment of the annual tonnage of illegal meat smuggled through British ports is available.

Broiler Chickens

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research his Department has undertaken into welfare problems affecting broiler chickens; and if he will make a statement. [160898]

Mr. Morley: We recognise that current systems of broiler chicken production raise a number of animal welfare issues on which more scientific knowledge is needed. This Department therefore continues to fund an extensive research programme into broiler chicken welfare, including projects focusing on key issues such as leg health and stocking densities.

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Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to commission an independent survey of broiler lameness; how many unannounced visits were made by the state veterinary service to broiler units since he received the letter, dated 23 January, sent to him by the chairman of FAWC; and if he will make a statement. [160896]

Mr. Morley: We are currently considering, together with FAWC and the industry, the best way to take forward the issues they have identified on broiler chicken leg health, including the need for an independent survey. Completion of this work has been disrupted by activity on foot and mouth disease. The state veterinary service's programme of animal welfare farm inspections has been similarly disrupted.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what regulations govern breeding procedures for broiler chickens. [160897]

Mr. Morley: In England, the welfare of broiler breeding chickens is regulated by the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000. Separate regulations apply in the devolved Administrations. Supplementary recommendations will appear in a new welfare code of recommendations for chickens and broiler breeders that is currently being finalised.

Dartmoor National Park

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he plans to reopen the Dartmoor national park to walkers and riders; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for its continued closure. [160901]

Ms Quin: The Ministry has issued advice to local authorities on the Foot and Mouth Disease (Amendment) (England) Order 2001 and the Foot and Mouth (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2001. These regulations allow local authorities to prohibit the movement of members of the public on to any land where there may be animals and on to any footpath or right of way within identified areas in their districts, for the purpose of preventing the spread of foot and mouth disease.

The Dartmoor national park is within an infected area, as defined by my Department. Infected areas are revoked only when it is considered that there is no risk of further outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and surveillance has confirmed that the area is free of disease.

We are working with the local authority and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to ensure that the Dartmoor national park is opened to the public as soon as it is safe to do so.

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what targets he has set the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for 2001-02. [161115]

Mr. Nick Brown: I have set the Veterinary Laboratories Agency the following performance targets for 2001-02.




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Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what targets he has set the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for 2001-02. [161117]

Mr. Nick Brown: I have set the Veterinary Medicines Directorate the following performance targets for 2001-02.















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