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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of bovines untested for tuberculosis; and what steps are being taken to expedite tests. 
Mr. Bradshaw: On 30 September 2005 there were 2,049 herds with outstanding tuberculin tests in Great Britain. Of these, 888 (43 per cent.) were less than one month overdue, 442 (21.6 per cent.) were overdue by 13 months, 299 (14.6 per cent.) were overdue by 36 months, 224 (10.9 per cent.) were 612 months overdue and 196 (9.6 per cent.) were more than 12 months overdue.
Last November we introduced a number of measures aimed at tightening surveillance and reducing the risk of TB spreading to new areas. The recalculation of routine testing intervals will ensure TB testing complies with Commission legislation while offering robust protection. Livestock movement restrictions are now imposed immediately a herd's routine test becomes overdue and a more rigorous and systematic approach to identifying and dealing with potential new TB hot spots is in place. In addition to this, rigorous testing schedules for new and reformed herds have been introduced.
Mr. Bradshaw: According to our latest information: 91 countries permit the import of beef from the UK; 85 countries do not permit the import of beef from the UK; and for 27 other countries the situation is not known.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ban imports of beef from Brazil while the country's cattle are suffering from foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Bradshaw: On 13 October 2005, in line with EU action, the UK banned imports of bovine meat from the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana and Sao Paulo in Brazil due to the foot and mouth outbreak in Mato Grosso do Sul.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish figures for the percentage of the EU budget accounted for by the Common Agricultural Policy for each year from 1984 to 2013. 
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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received on the operation of cross compliance regimes; and if she will make a statement. 
In this first year of operating the cross compliance regime I am aware of the need to understand how the application of the new rules is working in practice. To this end we have put in place a variety of monitoring mechanisms. These include feedback via the consultancy firm running the cross compliance advice service, discussions with farming representatives, informal consultation on the update to the handbook with approximately one hundred stakeholders, as well as views of the inspecting bodies.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average length of time is that dogs have been held under the provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. 
Jim Knight [holding answer given 27 October 2005]: DEFRA's priorities are set out in its Five-Year Strategy, Delivering the Essentials of Life", published in December 2004. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
Jim Knight: Defra uses a competency-based approach to recruitment and selects candidates against both the Defra competences and the specific requirements for the job, using application form and interview.
Once people are in post the primary mechanism for highlighting their skills or competence gaps is the formal performance and developmental discussions that take place between staff and their managers during the year. DEFRA then have a range of learning solutions and developmental initiatives to help people to develop the competences and specific job related skills they require.
Jim Knight: DEFRA is committed to the development of its staff and recognises the importance of key skills, such as numeracy and literacy, in the workplace. Literacy skills are embedded into the various writing skills courses we run and numeracy skills form a key part of training in subjects such as finance.
DEFRA also ensures its employees can obtain learning and development solutions to support the development of literacy and numeracy skills in a number of other ways. For example our Departmental Central Learning Aid Scheme (CLAS) offers 100 per cent. funding to members of staff who wish to do a GCSE level qualification for numeracy, literacy or another key skill area.
We have recently supported employees for whom English is not their first language by funding them on 'English for Speakers of Other Languages' (ESOL) courses. Delegates can take nationally recognised tests at two levels, the higher of which is the equivalent of a GCSE pass at grade A-C. Additionally DEFRA is currently promoting apprenticeships within the Department, which contain specific modules on raising the numeracy and literacy skills of participants.
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