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Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Donoughue: Scrapie in sheep sustains itself in the flock by sheep to sheep transmission without exposure to contaminated feed. It has done so for hundreds of years. Some cases of scrapie do therefore occur in sheep at under three years of age, even though they have not been exposed to feed containing mammalian meat and bone meal.

It is possible that, if BSE is present in the national flock, it might behave the same way, but be clinically indistinguishable from scrapie. There is as yet no evidence that BSE is present in the national flock or that BSE can transmit from one sheep to another like scrapie but we are continuing to survey scrapie cases for BSE and are studying the possibility that BSE experimentally introduced into sheep could maintain itself in the flock as scrapie does.

Common Agricultural Policy: Reform

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to advance reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy during the period of the United Kingdom's presidency.[HL55]

Lord Donoughue: The European Commission is expected to present its proposals for further reform of the CAP in March. The Government will take forward discussion of these proposals in Council as far as possible during the UK presidency.

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they will take to consult farmers throughout the United Kingdom about any planned reforms of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.[HL56]

Lord Donoughue: The Government will seek the views of farming organisations and other interested parties on Commission proposals for CAP reform as soon as they have been published and at appropriate points in the subsequent Council negotiations.

Anthrax: Inoculation Policy

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to inoculate servicemen against anthrax.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The measures being taken at any particular time to protect our forces against biological warfare (BW) agents are based upon the prevailing operational circumstances and the latest threat assessments. For example, in 1990-91 UK troops participating in the Gulf conflict were immunised against anthrax and plague as part of the measures taken in response to Iraq's assessed BW capability. The Government have no current plans to immunise all UK service personnel against anthrax as standard practice.

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Crown Dependencies: Financial Regulation

Lord Stone of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for a review of financial regulation in the Crown Dependencies.[HL258]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My right honourable friend has today invited the Home Office and the Island Authorities to carry out a review of the financial legislation and regulatory systems in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The purpose of this review is to assess the contribution made by the current laws and systems to the economic and social well-being of the Islands themselves, and the United Kingdom.

The review will be conducted by Mr. Andrew Edwards, formerly of Her Majesty's Treasury, who will work alongside the Constitutional Unit of the Home Office and the Island Authorities. It is expected to take about six months. Its terms of reference are: Objective

To review with the Island Authorities their laws, systems and practices for:

    (i) regulating banking, insurance and financial services business and collaborating with overseas regulators;

    (ii) deterring, investigating and punishing financial crime, including money laundering and fiscal offences, particularly cases with an international dimension;

    (iii) Registering companies;

    with a view to assessing the contribution which they make to the economic and social well-being of the Islands themselves and of the United Kingdom. Areas to be Covered

The review will cover the following main areas:

    (i) Financial Regulation and International Regulatory Co-operation

    Description and assessment of the current legal and institutional arrangements for licensing, supervising and regulating the full range of financial business, including banks, investment banks, other credit institutions, insurance companies, investment services companies, bureaux de change, international business companies and company registration agents and accountants and lawyers carrying on financial business (e.g., providing custody services or investment advice);

    Examination of practical implementation of these activities and the resources devoted to them, in relation to the number and size of firms regulated and the nature of the business;

    Arrangements for the regulatory authorities to share their own confidential information with overseas regulatory authorities, and vice versa;

    Arrangements for the authorities to obtain other confidential information to assist overseas

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    regulatory authorities with their investigations and vice versa.

    (ii) Financial Crime (a) Money Laundering each Island's money laundering legislation; the number of suspicious transactions reports received in each Island each year and how these are dealt with; arrangements for collaboration between the Island Authorities and overseas authorities including the sharing of suspicious transactions reports; (b) Criminal Investigations collaboration between the Island Authorities and overseas authorities in investigating suspected financial crime (including fiscal offences); the willingness or otherwise of the authorities to secure prosecutions; (c) Assets and Confiscation collaboration between the Island Authorities and overseas authorities in tracing, freezing or confiscating assets held by suspected or convicted criminals based overseas.

    (iii) Company registrations

    each Island's legislation, systems and practices for registering companies. Consultation and Comparisons

In undertaking these tasks:

    (a) to have regard to other examples of offshore regulatory laws, systems and practices, such as Gibraltar and other United Kingdom dependencies;

    (b) to consult Her Majesty's Treasury and others as necessary.

Deaths in Custody

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will order an inquiry into deaths in custody of the police, the Prison Service, the Armed Forces and the special hospitals, with a view to reducing the number of cases of unlawful, accidental or self-inflicted deaths.[HL9]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Every death in custody--whether the person is in the custody of the police, the Prison Service, the Armed Forces or the high security hospitals--is treated very seriously and is fully investigated to establish, amongst other things, whether there are any lessons to be learnt to prevent further deaths. All deaths in police custody are notified to the Police Complaints Authority, which supervises the investigation of all deaths where there has been a formal complaint and any evidence of suspicious circumstances.

For any death in Prison Service custody, it is normal procedure for a full internal investigation to be conducted in confidence.

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In the case of a death of a high security hospital patient, a full investigation is undertaken where there appears to be any possibility of untoward circumstances.

All deaths of members of the Armed Forces, whether in custody or not, are thoroughly investigated by a Board of Inquiry.

The circumstances of detention by the separate services differ significantly and the Government doubt that an inquiry covering all these services would produce useful results.

The Government are anxious to do everything possible to prevent deaths in custody. Current relevant reviews are:

    (i) A study by the Home Office Police Research Group of all deaths in police custody since 1990, which should assist in identifying common factors in the causes of deaths.

    (ii) A proposed thematic review by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons on suicides in prisons, reporting with recommendations to the Home Secretary.

Methods of Restraint used in Custody: Exhibition

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will seek to stage an exhibition of restraint devices and procedures used by the police, the Prison Service, the armed forces and the special hospitals, using models or dummies, in the Upper Committee Room Corridor of the Palace of Westminster.[HL10]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government would be pleased to give its consent to an exhibition being staged by a Member of Parliament with suitable representation from the relevant organisations.

Derelict Sites: Planning Control

Lord McCarthy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will issue guidance to local planning authorities on how they can use their planning powers to help prevent dereliction.[HL256]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): We have, today, published Circular (02/98), which provides guidance to local planning authorities on the practical measures that they can take to help prevent land in their area becoming derelict.

The circular also brings local planning authority's attention to new regulations, the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Regulations 1997(SI 1997/3006). These give powers to local

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planning authorities to place a charge on land in order to help them recover the costs incurred in clearing sites under the derelict land provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1990.

We believe that local authorities and developers will welcome these regulations and the advice in the circular as positive measures to help prevent and tidy up derelict sites.

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