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Transgenic Salmon

Lord Moran asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The UK Government were fully involved in the discussions that took place in NASCO which resulted in the adoption of the NASCO Guidelines for Action on Transgenic Salmon which

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commit all parties to adopt a precautionary approach to the raising of transgenic salmon.

Lord Moran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any notification has been made to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea by the United States or Canadian governments to release transgenic salmon into open marine or freshwater environments; and, if so, whether the United Kingdom will scrutinise these notifications in detail.[HL2110]

Baroness Hayman: To our knowledge, no such notifications have been made.

Bank Lending to Businesses

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the current figures and what have the figures been over the last 30 years for corporate overdrafts: that is, credit limits for small and large businesses; and[HL2224]

    What are the current figures and what have the figures been over the last 30 years for corporate terms loans: that is, loans by small and large businesses that are repayable by a deadline. [HL2225]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): There are no figures for credit limits if what is meant by that is information on the maximum amount of borrowing allowed under overdraft agreements. Nor are there figures available going back 30 years on the total amount of overdraft and term lending.

However, the following figures, based on returns from Lloyds TSB, HSBC, NatWest, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank, are published by the British Banker's Association. These relate to bank lending to businesses with a turnover under £1 million.

All £ billions at end December.

Overdrafts Term loans
199219.40 199220.10
199316.63 199321.62
199413.85 199422.36
199512.33 199522.92
199611.68 199622.37
199711.39 199722.68
199810.80 199825.17
199910.40 199926.40

Car Sales

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many new cars were purchased by United Kingdom residents in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999; how many motor cars were imported into the

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    United Kingdom in each of those years; and what were the total exports from the United Kingdom of motor cars in each year of the same period. [HL2138]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The available information is given in the table below:

UK Private New Car Sales and Overseas Trade in Motor Cars 1995-99
thousands

YearPrivate New Car SalesUK ImportsUK Exports
19959131,167806
19969351,314954
19971,0001,5491,039
19981,0281,6061,032
19999141,6961,125

Notes:

Private new car sales are defined as motor cars sold to private individuals for their own private use.

Trade data refer to all motor cars defined by code 782.1 of the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), Revision 3.

Sources:

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

HM Customs & Excise.


National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999: Family Exemption

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 7 April (WA 11), in the absence of a definition of family in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999, what criteria are used by Inland Revenue officials in deciding whether particular individuals for whom exemption from National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 is sought are members of a family. [HL2151]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Inland Revenue officials will use the ordinary dictionary definition of 'family' when coming to a judgment regarding the appropriate application of the exemption, as is the normal practice when a word is not specifically defined in legislation. This has not caused any problems for enforcers. If problems do arise in establishing whether certain individuals count as family members, each case will be judged on individual merits. Any dispute would be resolved by an employment tribunal or court in the normal way.

Women in Economic Development: Conference

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

    Which Ministers represented the United Kingdom at the second Mediterranean conference on women's participation in economic and social life, at Brussels on 25 March; what issues were discussed; and what action they have agreed to undertake as a consequence of this conference. [HL2055]

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The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Euro-Mediterranean Conference on the Promotion of Women in Economic Development held in Brussels on 24 and 25 March 2000 brought together 150 delegates from public, private, university and associate sectors from the European Union and their Mediterranean partners. As such, this was not a meeting to which Ministers were invited.

Personal Service Providers: IR35 e-forum

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether as of 14 April all the messages posted to the e-envoy's e-forum on IR35 express objections to the Government's policy in this area.[HL2117]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): No. A range of views has been expressed since the e-forum was launched in January, some critical of Government policy in this area and others expressing support.

Slaughter Processes and Brain Tissue Dispersal

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in their view, the study by Mackey and Derrick, Contamination of deep tissues of carcasses by bacteria present on slaughter instruments or in the gut (Journal of Applied Bacteriology 1979 Apr; 46(2): 355-66), and the study reported in the Lancet in September 1996 by Tam Garland, demonstrate that brain material becomes spread through the whole carcass of an animal after stunning.[HL1889]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Neither study, in our view, demonstrates that brain tissue becomes spread through the whole carcass of an animal after stunning. The work by Mackey and Derrick concerns contamination by bacteria and does not relate to brain tissue. Garland reported only the finding of brain tissue in the vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lungs following the use of a stunning device which injects air at high pressure into the cranium. This device is not used in United Kingdom abattoirs.

NHS Trusts: PFI Agreements

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In relation to all Private Finance Initiative agreements initiated on behalf of National Health Service Trusts since 1 April 1998, what has been the average period of time between identifying a

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    preferred bidder and reaching "financial close"; how many such agreements have been so concluded; and how many have not yet been concluded.[HL2100]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Information on the initiation date and the date of the selection of preferred bidder is not held centrally for Private Finance Initiative schemes with a capital value below £10 million.

Two PFI schemes with a capital value of over £10 million given approval to proceed since 1 April 1998 have reached preferred bidder stage. Neither of these schemes has reached financial close. The date of selection of preferred bidder and their target dates for financial close are shown in the table:

PFI schemeDate of selection of preferred bidderTarget date for financial close
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust31 March 2000September 2000
West Middlesex University Hospitals NHS Trust18 February 2000August 2000

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many Private Finance Initiative projects currently in negotiation on behalf of National Health Service Trusts are currently at the "preferred bidder" stage; (b) how many of these have been at the "preferred bidder" stage for more than 12 months; and (c) what is the longest period for which any of the projects mentioned in (a) have been at the "preferred bidder" stage.[HL2099]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Information on the date of selection of preferred bidder is not held centrally for schemes with a capital value of below £10 million.

Fourteen Private Finance Initiative schemes with a capital value of over £10 million have reached preferred bidder stage and are currently still in negotiations. These are as follows:

PFI schemeDate of selection of preferred bidder
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust31 March 2000
West Middlesex University Hospitals NHS Trust18 February 2000
Hull and East Yorkshire NHS TrustDecember 1999
Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS TrustAugust 1997
Newbury NHS TrustJuly 1998
Newham Community Health NHS TrustDecember 1998
Newham Healthcare NHS TrustJune 1999
Northumbria Healthcare NHS TrustAugust 1997
Redbridge Healthcare NHS TrustAugust 1998
Surrey Hampshire Borders NHS TrustJuly 1996
Thames Gateway NHS TrustOctober 1995
Southampton Community Health Services NHS TrustFebruary 1997
Portsmouth Healthcare NHS TrustJuly 1996
University College London Hospitals NHS TrustOctober 1996



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