Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Veterinary Medicines Directorate: Annual Report and Accounts

Lord Bach asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: We are pleased to announce that the 1998-99 Annual Report and Accounts for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate were laid before

27 Jul 1999 : Column WA165

Parliament on 22 July 1999. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

I should like to congratulate all staff on their achievements during the year.

Faroese Whale and Dolphin Hunting

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they are having with the Kingdom of Denmark to end the indiscriminate hunting of wales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands and surrounding waters.[HL3750]

Lord Donoughue: We recognise the widespread public concern in the UK about the Faroese drive hunts for pilot whales and some species of dolphin. We have made the UK position clear to the Faroese authorities and we shall continue to press them to improve the humaneness of these hunts. This issue was addressed at the Workshop on Whale Killing Methods which preceded this year's International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Grenada. Pilot whales, however, are not covered by the IWC moratorium and it is for the Faroese to decide whether to continue with these hunts.

Organophosphate Pesticides: Institute of Occupational Medicine Report

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish on the Internet the report of the "Epidemiological study of the relationship between exposure to organophospate pesticides and indices of chronic peripheral neuropathy and neuropsychological abnormalities in sheep farmers and dippers" prepared by the Institute of Occupational Medicine.[HL3735]

Lord Donoughue: The Overarching Summary of this research is to be placed on the Internet in due course. In the meantime, copies of the Overarching Summary are available, free of charge, from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD--telephone 01932 338313) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE--telephone 0171 717 6267). Full copies of the report are available from the Institute of Occupational Medicine (telephone--0131 667 5131) at a cost of £132. Copies have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Tobacco Growing Subsidies

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What reduction has been made over the last three years in the British taxpayers' contribution to subsidising the growing of tobacco in European Union countries.[HL3647]

Lord Donoughue: Member States contribute to the EU budget as a whole and not to any particular part.

27 Jul 1999 : Column WA166

The UK's contribution is around 17 per cent. before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account. Subsidies for the last three years under the EU tobacco regime were 1,026 million ecu (£852 million*) in 1996, 998 million ecu (£725 million*) in 1987, and 870 million ecu (£584 million*) in 1998.


    Exchange rates used:


    1996 £1 = 1.204 ecu


    1997 £1 = 1.3758 ecu


    1998 £1 = 1.4887 ecu.

Halal Slaughter

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will specify the procedures that are used in the slaughter of animals for halal meat.[HL3769]

Lord Donoughue: The procedures governing the slaughter of animals for halal meat are a matter for the Muslim authorities. In addition, Schedule 12 to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, as amended, sets down specific safeguards when the halal method is used and animals are not stunned before slaughter. These safeguards deal with the restraint and handling of animals, the condition of the knife and the blood vessels that must be severed. Slaughter by the halal method must be carried out by a licensed slaughterman, in a slaughterhouse.

School Milk Subsidy

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider ring fencing their contribution to the European Union school milk subsidy scheme so that, if the scheme does not continue, the money can be used for a United Kingdom school milk subsidy scheme.[HL3737]

Lord Donoughue: Since the European Commission has not presented a proposal to abolish the European Union school milk subsidy scheme, nor therefore has the Council agreed to such a proposal, it would be premature to consider ring fencing existing funds.

Intervention Board: Annual Report and Accounts

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Intervention Board will publish the 1998-99 Annual Report and Accounts.[HL3874]

27 Jul 1999 : Column WA167

Lord Donoughue: We are pleased to announce that the Intervention Board's 1998-99 Annual Report and Accounts were laid before Parliament on 23 July. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

I should like to congratulate all staff on their achievements during the year.

Agriculture Council, 19 and 20 July

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 19 and 20 July.[HL3875]

Lord Donoughue: My right honourable friend the Minister represented the United Kingdom at a meeting of the European Union Agriculture Council in Brussels on 19 July.

The Council received a report from Commissioner Fischler on the Commission's plans to reform Community feedingstuffs legislation following the dioxin contamination in Belgium. My right honourable friend the Minister welcomed this report and indicated my preparedness to support measures that were effective, proportionate and enforceable in dealing with potential health problems.

A Decision to update the rules on the processing of animal waste to protect against transmissible spongiform encephalopathies was agreed by qualified majority. An extension of certain deadlines under the Zoonoses Directive was agreed by qualified majority.

The Council held a preliminary discussion on a proposal to promote and provide information on EU agricultural products in third countries. The Council agreed to decide on the proposal once further technical work had been completed.

Food Safety Law Enforcement: Cost

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they estimate is the current average annual cost per premises to local authorities enforcing food safety laws, and the average annual cost per premises to the Meat Hygiene Service in enforcing food safety regulations in respect of slaughterhouses and poultry processing plants, without taking into account receipt of any fees paid to them for those activities.[HL3101]

Lord Donoughue: This information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the speech by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 6 July (H.L. Deb., cols. 808-811), why the

27 Jul 1999 : Column WA168

    Government did not alert the Chilean Embassy on Friday 16 October 1998 after they had received inquiries from the police about the diplomatic status of General Pinochet, and after the Chilean Embassy had made enquiries to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the possible arrest of the Senator on that date.[HL3754]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): It would not have been proper to inform the Chilean Embassy. The approach from the Metropolitan Police about Senator Pinochet was confidential.

Kosovo: Russian Deployment

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the context of Kosovo, what assurances they can give that Russia intends to honour the agreement reached at Helsinki in June 1999.[HL3655]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Russian deployment into Kosovo is still in progress. However, the indications are that it is proceeding smoothly, in accordance with the agreement reached at Helsinki on 18 June and the technical arrangements agreed in Moscow on 5 July. Russian companies are already located in the US and German sectors as well as at Pristina airport. We understand that the Commander of KFOR, who is responsible for determining the precise pattern of deployment, is broadly content with progress so far.

Russia has also resumed consultation and co-operation with NATO through the Permanent Joint Council, which met on 23 July for the first time since the NATO air campaign. This agreement was warmly welcomed by the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Ivanov, the Russian Foreign Minister, in their meetings last week.

Gibraltar: Financial Services Administration

Viscount Exmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether responsibility for the administration of financial services in Gibraltar lies with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or with the Treasury.[HL3774]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Overall responsibility for the Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar, lies with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Responsibility for Her Majesty's Government's policy on financial services issues, however, lies with HM Treasury. Both departments therefore work closely together on issues concerning financial services in Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission is responsible for the prudential supervision of the financial services sector in Gibraltar.

27 Jul 1999 : Column WA169


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page