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6 Mar 2000 : Column WA121

Written Answers

Monday, 6th March 2000.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the total budget of the Crown Prosecution Service has been accounted for by the case of General Pinochet.[HL1173]

The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The final figures are not yet available. At this stage, the actual CPS expenditure on counsels' fees, interpreters, and travel and subsistence costs, plus an estimate of its internal costs, totals £417,257 in the year 1998-99. This equates to 0.13 per cent of the CPS's budget for that year.

For 1999-2000, figures for actual CPS expenditure, plus an estimate of internal costs, suggests that, as at 18 February 2000, the CPS had spent a total of £181,232 on this case. This figure equates to 0.05 per cent of the CPS's budget for this financial year.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Crown Prosecution Service has had meetings with Salvador Allende's political secretary, Joan Garces, about General Pinochet; and whether the CPS is meant to act simply as an agent of the Kingdom of Spain.[HL1174]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Crown Prosecution Service acted as agent for the Kingdom of Spain in the proceedings against Senator Pinochet. In that capacity, a CPS lawyer and counsel attended in Madrid to receive instructions from Judge Baltasar Garzon Real, to inspect documentation and to advise on the extradition proceedings. In the course of so doing, the CPS lawyer and counsel attended meetings with Judge Garzon Real at which Dr Joan Garces was present. Dr Garces was present in his capacity of a lawyer acting for victims and families of victims interested in the Spanish proceedings. Representatives of other victims were also present.

Sheep Dipping and "Crutching"

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the recommended period of time between dipping sheep in organophosphorus or synthetic pyrethroid sheep dips and "crutching" of the animals by professional shearers prior to slaughter.[HL1307]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): There is no specific recommended period of time between dipping sheep and "crutching" (removing the fleece around the

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posterior) prior to slaughter. However, the Sheep Dipping Leaflet AS29 rev2 recommends that:

    "in the weeks that follow dipping, dip residues remain on the sheep. If you have to handle them, wear coveralls and wellington boots. It is also good practice to wear good quality synthetic rubber disposable gloves. If the sheep are wet you should also wear waterproof trousers and coat."

The Health and Safety Executive advise that the use of such personal protective equipment would be feasible for an operation such as crutching.

MAFF: Modernisation Programme

Baroness Young of Old Scone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for taking forward work on the modernisation of public services.[HL1315]

Baroness Hayman: Like all members of this Government, we are committed to delivering efficient and responsive modern public services that provide excellence for the many, and not just the few. This department has published a booklet on what it has done and is planning to do to take forward the Government's long-term programme of reform to modernise the public service. These plans, which will evolve over the coming months, will lead to changes in the way MAFF does its business. Copies of this booklet, MAFF's Part in Modernising Government, have been placed in the Library of the House.

Modernising Government gives MAFF an opportunity to deliver better services to our many customers. We will make the most of this opportunity.

Organic and GM Crops: Separation

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

    Whether they have resolved the issue of acceptable distances between genetically modified and organic crops.[HL1244]

Baroness Hayman: Separation distances between GM and other crops have been set out by the industry group SCIMAC in the light of scientific knowledge and longstanding experience in maintaining the purity of certified seed. The organic sector have expressed concern that these distances will be insufficient to protect their interests. My department has promoted a dialogue between the organic and GM sectors to try to resolve this issue. A series of discussions has taken place already and further meetings, including an examination of technical issues, will take place shortly.

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National Seed List and GM Seed

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

    If they decide at the end of February to place genetically modified seed on the National Seed List, what account they must take of representations following such a decision.[HL1247]

Baroness Hayman: The Seeds (National Lists of Varieties) Regulations 1982 (as amended)--the National List regulations--require Ministers to publish proposed National List decisions. Proposals are published in the Plant Varieties and Seeds Gazette, usually at the end of each calendar month. The Gazette may be obtained from Tactica Solutions at London Digital Print Centre, 11 Steedman Street, London SE17 3AF. Telephone 0171 740 4019. The National List regulations prescribe the representations procedures that apply to such proposed decisions. Regulation 22 requires that Ministers give notice of proposed decisions in the Gazette and that a period of not less than 14 days be allowed for affected persons to submit written representations and/or apply for a hearing conducted by a person appointed by Ministers. In practice, to cater for postal delays, a period of 18 days is generally allowed for the submission of written representations and/or a request for a hearing. Ministers may not make a final decision about the addition of a variety to the National List until they have considered the evidence submitted to a hearing and any written representations.

Council Housing Stock

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many local authority council dwellings there were in the housing stock in England at 1 April 1997, 1998 and 1999.[HL1229]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Information reported by local authorities in their annual Housing Investment Programme returns about housing stock in their ownership is as follows:

Number of dwellings at 1 April


Figures include all properties owned by the authority, including those awaiting repair or sale and those situated outside their area.


DETR Housing Investment Programme (Operational Information) returns.

Road Haulage Forum

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the terms of reference of the recently announced Road Haulage Forum[HL1231]

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The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Road Haulage Forum was set up at the end of March 1999 to look into the competitivement of the UK haulage industry. While competitiveness issues remain at the heart of its work, I have expanded its remit in recent months and it is now also looking at other matters of importance to the industry, including better enforcement, improving business professionalism, and lorry track and environmental costs.

Pensioners' Christmas Bonus

Baroness Barker asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the value of the Christmas bonus paid to pensioners if it had been uprated annually since introduction by (a) prices, (b) earnings and (c) the higher of prices or earnings; and how much it would cost to uprate it to these levels.[HL1224]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is in the table.

Christmas bonus annually uprated byValueAdditional cost
The higher of prices or earnings£128.15£1,625m


1. Values are for the year 2000-01 ie bonus payable at Christmas 2000.

2. The Retail Prices Index (all items) has been used, as published by the Office for National Statistics.

3. Average Earnings Index Whole Economy (Non-Seasonally Adjusted) has been used, as published by the Office for National Statistics.

4. Values are rounded to the nearest 5 pence at each uprating date.

5. Costs are rounded to the nearest £ million and are in 2000-01 prices.

Baroness Barker asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much was spent on the Christmas bonus for pensioners in 1999.[HL1225]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The estimated total expenditure on the Christman Bonus in 1999 was £137 million.

    Notes: 1. Figures are consistent with projections of DSS Annually Managed Expenditure published in the November 1999 Pre-Budget Report. 2. Expenditure rounded to the nearest £ million. 3. Christmas bonus is paid to people who meet the qualifying conditions, including people under State pension age.

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