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Written Answers

Tuesday, 29th February 2000.

Milk Development Council

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the proposed increase of 60 per cent in the maximum levy chargeable by the Milk Development Council is justifiable in the present state of farming; and whether they will ask the National Audit Office to examine the finances of the council.[HL1102]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Levy payers voted in favour of the increase when they were polled last autumn. The books of the Milk Development Council are always open to National Audit Office inspection. We see no need to ask it to undertake any specific examination.

E.coli 0157 Poisoning Outbreaks

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list, for each outbreak of E.coli 0157 in the last 10 years the origin of which has been traced to a particular farm:

    (a) the food product or other vector involved;

    (b) the size of the farm; and

    (c) whether the farm employed organic methods of food production.[HL1111]

Baroness Hayman: There were 24 outbreaks of E.coli 0157 poisoning traced to farms between 1991 and 1999. Of these, 12 were associated with animal contact, 11 with the consumption of dairy products, and one with environmental exposure. It has not been possible to provide the further information requested from the records of these outbreaks in the time available. I will write to the noble Lord on this matter as soon as possible.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme: Expansion

Earl Peel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the additional funds recently arranged by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for increased spending on the Countryside Stewardship Scheme will result in a wider targeting of the scheme nationally or simply an increase within the present target areas.[HL1139]

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Baroness Hayman: In the current application round, we expect to see many more applicants accepted into the scheme, both within existing target areas and elsewhere. Then in the autumn, as normal, the number and extent of these target areas will be reviewed in the light of future funding available.

Diazinon-based Sheep Dips

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any other chemicals are used as stablisers to prevent the development of TEPP and SULPHOTEPP in products containing diazinon as their active ingredient; and, if so, what they are.[HL1089]

Baroness Hayman: All diazinon-based sheep dips contain a stabiliser. The formulation of any authorised veterinary medicinal product is commercially sensitive and may not be revealed except with the agreement of the marketing authorisation holder. All veterinary medicinal products, as formulated, must satisfy statutory criteria of safety, quality and efficacy.

Pigmeat Labelling

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their plans for Honest Labelling include the labelling of pigmeat and pigmeat products from European Union countries with words to the effect that "This product has not been produced in accordance with current United Kingdom animal welfare regulations"; and if not, why not.[HL1014]

Baroness Hayman: No.

The Government favour positive labelling to highlight the advantages of British quality and animal welfare standards. Consumers who wish to support these standards tell us they actively choose foods that are marked as British. Following concerns that such labelling can sometimes mislead, we have consulted a wide range of interested parties and issued tough new guidance to industry and enforcement authorities. These make clear the need to ensure that country of origin markings on food labels do not mislead consumers about the true origin of the ingredients that have been used. We have also appointed a "verification officer" to work with industry bodies to identify cases where products are being sold at retail or catering level which may mislead the consumer into believing they contain pork of British origin when in fact it is imported. The verification officer's action has already had some impact on the labelling practices of retailers and at least two sets of misleading labels have already been withdrawn by two different retail groups.

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Welfare standards vary across the Community, although all products must comply with EU rules. The Government fully support the NFU initiative to develop a kitemark to help consumers identify quality assured products.

Film and Television Working Conditions

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 14 February (WA 131-132), which of the issues identified in the report A Survey on Working Conditions in the Film and Television Industry published in December 1999 by Women in Film and Television are being taken forward by the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting.[HL1114]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My honourable friend the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting has written to the main film and broadcasting organisations, including those representing employees and independents, to seek their views on the issues raised in the Women in Film and Television survey on working conditions in film and television. Once she has their responses, she will have further discussion with the Minister for Women and WiTF on how to progress matters.

Rough Sleeping

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Whitty on 15 February (WA 142), whether rough sleeping is permitted (a) outside No. 10 Downing Street or (b) along Victoria Street, SW1.[HL1104]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Although it is not against the law to sleep rough, the Government think that it is wrong for anyone to have to sleep on the streets. We are currently putting in place a comprehensive package of measures to achieve our target of reducing rough sleeping by at least two-thirds by 2002. Efforts will be focused on those areas with the highest concentrations of rough sleepers, including Victoria Street, SW1.

Access to Downing Street is restricted for security reasons.

Newspaper Licensing Agency: Photocopying Charges

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Under what statutory authority the Newspapers Licensing Authority charges organisations for photocopying press articles; and whether the legislation distinguishes between photocopying for

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    internal use by an organisation's staff and sending copies to outside persons; and[HL1112]

    What statutory provision exists for the Newspaper Licensing Authority to make exemptions for charities from charges for photocopying press articles; and, if any, what is the statutory definition of a charity for this purpose.[HL1113]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Copyright law, as stated in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, provides protection for all original literary works, including press articles, and making copies of a work is one of the acts restricted by copyright. Some limited photocopying of all or part of a copyright work may fall within the scope of one or more of the exceptions to copyright and so would not need the licence of the copyright owner--for example, the exceptions covering fair dealing with a work for the purposes of research or private study, criticism or review, or the reporting of current events and the exceptions covering use of copyright works in judicial proceedings or statutory inquiries. No copyright exceptions are specifically directed at charities, so there is no statutory definition of what constitutes a charity in copyright law. Otherwise, statute does not distinguish between copying, including photocopying, for different purposes, leaving rights' owners and users free to negotiate appropriate royalties for a particular use, including use by charities.

The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) is a private organisation established by some owners of copyright in press articles to license photocopying collectively. Collecting societies like the NLA benefit both copyright owners who might otherwise find it difficult to license use of their work and users who might otherwise have to approach many different copyright owners for licences. However, in recognition of the monopoly position that collecting societies may hold, the terms and conditions offered by any collective licensing society can generally be referred by licensees or prospective licensees for independent adjudication by the Copyright Tribunal, a body established by the 1988 Act for this purpose.

Human Rights Joint Committee

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked the Leader of the House:

    How the proposed terms of reference of the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be approved.[HL1083]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The terms of reference of the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be determined by orders of this House and another place.

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