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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The key indicator used by the Government for assessing the overall fiscal impact is the change in public sector net borrowing (PSNB). The measure underlying the excessive deficits procedure of the Maastricht Treaty is general government net borrowing (GGNB). The difference between general government net borrowing on ESA79 and ESA95 bases can be found in the ONS First Release, Government deficit and debt under the Maastricht Treaty, issued on 31 August 1999, ONS (99) 298.
Historical numbers for both PSNB and GGNB can be found in table PSF2 of the ONS Public Sector Finances First Release for October, issued on 18 November 1999, ONS (99) 401. Historical numbers for GDP can be found in the ONS First Release, UK output, income and expenditure, last published on 23 November 1999 ONS (99) 407.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As stated in the Written Answers given on 25 November (WA 15) and 8 December (WA 93), the European Commission decided on 25 June 1999 that the scheme to allow 100 per cent first year capital allowances to small and medium-sized enterprises in Northern Ireland was compatible with the state aid rules under Article 87(3) of the Treaty of Rome (as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam).
In common with any regional aid scheme, expenditure on the purchase of transport equipment (moveable assets) does not qualify for aid under this scheme. Restrictions are also placed on aid for certain activities connected with agriculture and fisheries; in these sectors, 100 per cent first year capital allowances are available only on investments authorised by the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland.
All state aid must be notified to the Commission for approval in advance of its implementation. Article 87(3) EC provides the bases on which the Commission may approve schemes as being compatible with the state aid rules; it does not provide for exemption from the requirement to notify the Commission.
As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary questions on the value of the United Kingdom (UK) mergers and acquisitions industry to the British economy, and how many jobs it sustains.
There is no acquisitions and mergers industry within the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 1992 (SIC92). The activities would therefore be recorded within the activity of other industries.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The consideration of whether or not to include a compensation scheme in government legislation is made on a case by case basis, and takes into account the need to achieve a fair balance between the general public interest in removing the source of livelihood and the interests of the persons whose livelihoods are to be removed.
Baroness Hayman: The Government accept the advice of the Joint Food Safety and Standards Group (JFSSG) on the reported incidents of contamination of French animal feed, which was drawn up in consultation with the chairmen of three independent scientific committees. The practice of adding sewage sludge to animal feed is repugnant to consumers and illegal under Community law. The evidence is that this occurred only in a few sites. The JFSSG will continue to monitor the situation and bring to Ministers' attention any future developments of public health concern which may require action.
Baroness Hayman: The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), to which both the EC and UK (on behalf of certain overseas territories) belong, is the regional fisheries organisation responsible for managing and conserving tuna and tuna-like species, including swordfish, in the Atlantic Ocean. ICCAT has established management measures, including total allowable catches and quotas, for both swordfish and bluefin tuna. These are implemented by the EC.
For bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic, measures were first introduced in 1995 to limit catches to the highest level realised in either 1993 or 1994. In addition, catches were to be reduced by 25 per cent of that level by the end of 1998. For bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic, quota limits were introduced in 1982 and have applied ever since.
For swordfish in the northern Atlantic, catch restrictions were first introduced in 1995 by means of a quota regime. For swordfish in the southern Atlantic, measures were introduced in 1995 to limit catches, for countries catching more than 250 tonnes per year, to the highest level realised in either 1993 or 1994. In 1998, this was replaced by a TAC and quota regime. In addition, ICCAT introduced in 1997, for northern Atlantic swordfish and bluefin tuna, a system of penalties whereby a contracting party which overfishes its quota in one year will have the same amount deducted from its quota in the next. If a quota is overfished in two consecutive years, 125 per cent of the overfished amount will be deducted. The same provision was applied to southern Atlantic swordfish in 1998.
|1992||no quota limit||4,532|
|1993||no quota limit||7,096|
|1994||no quota limit||5,878|
|Swordfish (North Atlantic)|
|Swordfish (South Atlantic)|
1Catch figures taken from ICCAT Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) Report.
Spain has no quota to fish bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic.