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Guide Dogs and Quarantine

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): All pet dogs including guide dogs must undergo six months in quarantine.

The Advisory Group on Quarantine (AGQ) under the Chairmanship of Professor Ian Kennedy, Professor of Health Law, Ethics and Policy at University College, London, was set up in October 1997 to assess the risk of the introduction of rabies into the United Kingdom under the current policy of quarantine for pet animals and under alternative polices. The group is expected to report this summer or early autumn. A full public consultation on the options available will then be held.

Freshwater Fish: Disease and Live Imports

Lord Onslow of Woking asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Donoughue: In July 1997, the Government issued a consultation paper seeking views on the possible introduction of a scheme under the Import of Live Fish (England and Wales) Act 1980 to prohibit the introduction or keeping of certain species of non-native fish without a licence. There was a generally favourable reaction to the proposals, and the Government are finalising the details of the scheme. The new scheme is not, however, specifically intended to prevent the spread of disease, since fish disease matters are regulated by the European Union's fish health regime, which is implemented in Great Britain by the Fish Health Regulation 1997, as amended.

Bovine Immuno-deficiency Virus

Baroness Carnegy of Lour asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the incidence of bovine immuno-deficiency virus in each of the years 1988 to 1996 inclusive among cattle in:

    (a) the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food South-West Region, encompassing Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire; and

    (b) the rest of England and Wales.[HL2324]

Lord Donoughue: Bovine immuno-deficiency virus is not a notifiable disease and, so far as the Government are aware, has never been confirmed in any cattle herd in England and Wales. A single herd in Cheshire has been investigated for the virus. Initial results suggested that infection might be present, but this diagnosis has not been confirmed following further investigations.

IDA and the World Bank

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will support the World Bank's proposal to defer cash payments to the International Development Association and the Bank's debt relief trust fund.[HL2327]

Lord Whitty: This is one of a range of proposals under consideration as part of a comprehensive review of the World Bank's financial structure and income dynamics, which is designed to assure the long-term financial sustainability of the institution. The UK, along with a number of other countries, has raised concerns over the proposal which could adversely affect the Bank's ability to deliver its developmental mandate to help the poorest countries. The World Bank has been asked for more analysis on the precise impact on the International Development Association (IDA) and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund of such a deferral.

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The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will increase bilateral contributions to the International Development Association in 1999 and 2000 in the event of deferred cash payments from the World Bank.[HL2328]

Lord Whitty: I refer the noble Lord to my reply to his question of today [HL2327]. Until the question of deferred cash payments to the International Development Association (IDA) and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Trust Fund has been fully considered it would be premature to consider the option to increase bilateral contributions to IDA.

Additional Hospital Beds: Recruitment of Nurses

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many nurses will be required to staff the additional 2,000 hospital beds announced by the Secretary of State on 16 June; how these nurses will be recruited; and from what source.[HL2379]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): This is a matter for local employers to determine in the light of local needs and priorities.

NHS: Treatment of "Customers"

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 18 June (WA 151), whether they will ensure that users of the NHS are treated like paying customers and not supplicants: and whether they will issue an instruction to all NHS hospitals that customers should be addressed by their surnames and titles unless the use of the Christian name is desired and sanctioned by the customer.[HL2430]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: We are committed to encouraging a spirit of equal partnership between National Health Service staff, patients, users and carers. The Patient's Charter, which is currently being reviewed, already states that staff should ask patients whether they want to be called by their first or last name and respect that preference.

Defence Estate: Reduction

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to reduce the defence estate in London.[HL2496]

Lord Hoyle: We have been considering the scope for further rationalisation of our property holdings in

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London and elsewhere in the context of the Strategic Defence Review. In continuation of that work, the Ministry of Defence will be drawing up a strategic development plan for the defence estate in the Greater London area. Work on the plan will involve a thorough examination of site values and costs, linked to their condition and utilisation, with a view to identifying opportunities to meet defence requirements more cost-effectively. Any specific proposals for unit moves that may arise from this work will be subject to further study and consultation in the normal way. Existing studies, such as those relating to RAF Northolt and RAF Uxbridge, will be fully taken into account.

Scotland: Forestry Commissioners

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to amend the Scotland Bill as it relates to the forestry commissioners in line with Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Bill.[HL2367]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): We intend that the forestry commissioners should be specified as a cross-Border public authority under an Order in Council made under Clause 83 of the Scotland Bill. Provisions relating to the commissioners will be made by way of subordinate legislation under Clause 84 of the Bill. A draft of this legislation is being prepared and will be made available to Parliament as soon as possible.

Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland): Annual Report

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the annual accounts for each of the last five years of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland); and why they have not acceded to previous Written Question requests to provide this information.[HL2397]

Lord Sewel: The accounts of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland are contained in the association's annual report. I have arranged for copies of the annual reports for 1993-94 to 1997-98 to be placed in the Library of the House. A copy of the accounts for 1996-97 were placed in the Library in April and I wrote to the noble Lord on 6 June enclosing a copy of the accounts for 1997-98. There is no record of any previous request to provide a copy of the association's accounts for the years before 1996-97.

SFO: Disclosure Undertakings

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the letter from Mrs. J. D. Olsen of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on 13 January to

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    Mr. W. B. Willott of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) requesting the DTI not to appeal the judgment of the Licensed Dealers Tribunal in the matter of TWH Management Limited "as there is a real potential disadvantage if it were to fail" was disclosed under the "disclosure" undertakings given to the defendants in November 1996 in the second appeal from the first Guinness trial as required by the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division; and, if not, given the all-embracing nature of the SFO's undertakings to the Court of Appeal, why not.[HL2288]

The Solicitor-General (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Attorney-General exercises statutory superintendence over the Director of the Serious Fraud Office in the discharge of her functions. That superintendence does not extend to operational decisions taken about the disclosure of individual documents by the prosecution in any given case. The noble Lord, if he wishes to pursue this matter, should seek the assistance of the Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

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