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Written Answers

Monday, 22nd January 2001.

Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will report as to when the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme will open for applications.[HL438]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The Ongoers element of the Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme was today opened for applications and will remain open for six months. This announcement completes the delivery of a further component of the Government's Action Plan for Farming. The scheme will make a significant amount of money available to the UK pig industry; a sector that has suffered over the past two years. While market conditions have improved recently, the scale of the debt incurred over those difficult times continues to be a major restraint on the industry's ability to prepare itself for the future. The Government's restructuring scheme will go some way towards remedying that situation.

The aim of Ongoers is to help pig producers reduce costs, overcome any competitive disadvantages and restore long-term viability to their businesses. It will achieve this by providing an interest rate rebate on loans linked to an agreed business plan.

Phase one of the scheme--Outgoers, was opened on 4 December 2000 and since then over 1,500 application forms have been sent out in response to telephone and e-mail requests.

Illegally Obtained Assets Lodged in UK

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are attempting to freeze funds placed with British financial institutions by each of the following and their families:

    (a) President Marcos of the Philippines;

    (b) General Mobutu of Zaire;

    (c) President Duvallier of Haiti;

    (d) Mr Saddam Hussein of Iraq;

    (e) General Abacha of Nigeria;

    (f) Mr Milosevic of Yugoslavia until their rightful ownership can be established; and if so, of what amounts.[HL253]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Her Majesty's Government remains committed to assisting designated foreign countries which request the freezing of illegally obtained assets, but it can only act when it receives a valid request. Such requests, once they have been submitted to the Home Office, are

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processed expeditiously, and passed to the appropriate authorities for execution. Additionally, the Home Office is working with the Department for International Development to strengthen arrangements to enable overseas governments to pursue claims to evidence and assets more effectively. This was announced in paragraph 67 of the recent White Paper Eliminating World Poverty (Cmnd. 5006).

Requests for assistance in criminal matters are confidential communications between two states, and in normal circumstances I would neither confirm nor deny that the Home Office has received any such requests relating to the subjects listed, except in the case of General Abacha. I must emphasise that it is not appropriate to provide a warning of likely asset freezing, since this might enable the assets to be moved. However, in recognition of the public interest in these particular cases, I can, exceptionally, state that no request has been received in respect of the other parties listed.

There has, however, been widespread press coverage of the request the Home Office has received from Nigeria for freezing of funds in relation to General Abacha. For further information relating to this request, I refer the noble Lord to the reply Lord Bassam gave Lord Moynihan on 2 November 2000, Official Report, col. WA 111. I should add that the position remains as it was at the time of that answer, and we are still awaiting clarification of the matters referred to therein.

European Court of Human Rights: Appeals from UK Judgments

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many appeals against judgments of United Kingdom courts were registered with the European Court of Human Rights in each year since 1975; and how many cases remained to be determined at the present time.[HL80]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The number of registered applications to the European Court of Human Rights involving the United Kingdom in each year since 1975 is as follows:

    1975: 202

    1976: 148

    1977: 149

    1978: 98

    1979: 100

    1980: 103

    1981: 136

    1982: 205

    1983: 153

    1984: 133

    1985: 112

    1986: 138
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    1987: 140

    1988: 145

    1989: 220

    1990: 235

    1991: 201

    1992: 221

    1993: 203

    1994: 238

    1995: 413

    1996: 473

    1997: 448

    up to 31.10.1998: 330

    from 1.11.98 to 30.11.2000: 1,062 (under the new single European Court of Human Rights)

There are currently 883 registered applications concerning the UK in process.

EU/NATO Security and Defence Policy

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the decisions reached at Nice for European security and defence policy seamlessly and coherently lock into the wider framework for defence and security already in place as part of NATO.[HL300]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Yes. The Nice European Council endorsed the view that the EU would act where NATO as a whole was not engaged; that NATO remained the basis of the collective defence of its members; and that the development of the Common European Security and Defence Policy

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would contribute to the vitality of the Transatlantic relationship. The EU proposed a strategic partnership with NATO for crisis management. NATO has welcomed this proposal and agreed to work to finalise permanent EU/NATO arrangements without delay.

Gulf Veterans: Mortality Comparison

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the latest figures for mortality rates amongst (a) Gulf veterans and (b) the comparison group.[HL437]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Peer reviewed scientific data comparing the mortality of UK Gulf veterans to an era group of service personnel who did not deploy to the Gulf were published for the first time in the Lancet on 1 July 2000. An update to these figures was provided by the Ministry of Defence to the House on 20 July 2000. The Ministry of Defence has undertaken to continue to monitor the mortality of both Gulf veterans and the era group and will publish updated figures on a regular basis. The figures as at 31 December 2000 are shown in the table.

Overall, in the period 1 April 1999 to 31 December 2000 the mortality of UK Gulf veterans was only slightly greater than that of the control group. The number of Gulf veterans dying from disease-related causes is rather less than for the control group, whereas the number of Gulf veterans dying of external causes is rather higher than for the control group. The Ministry of Defence will conduct a more detailed analysis of road traffic accident, to establish whether there are any underlying trends that might help explain this excess.

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Deaths to UK Gulf veterans (Note: 1) 1 April 1991-31 December 2000
Causes (coded to ICD-9) (Note: 2)

ICD ChapterCause of deathGulfEraMortality Rate Ratio
All deaths4774661.03
All cause coded deaths4684571.04
I-XVIDisease-related causes1682080.82
IInfectious and parasitic diseases321.52
IIIEndocrine and immune disorders140.25
VMental disorders8110.74
VIDiseases of the nervous system and sense organs741.77
VIIDiseases of the circulatory system60790.77
VIIIDiseases of the respiratory system951.82
IXDiseases of the digestive system6120.51
IV, X-XVIAll other disease-related causes5140.36
EXVIIExternal causes of injury and poisoning3002491.22
Railway accidents414.04
Motor vehicle accidents109851.30
Water transport accidents414.04
Air and space accidents25171.49
Other vehicle accidents020.00
Accidental poisoning9120.76
Accidental falls861.35
Accidents due to fire/flames010.00
Accidents due to natural environmental factors221.01
Accidents due to submersion/suffocation/foreign bodies1562.53
Other accidents31261.21
Late effects of accident/injury020.00
Suicide and injury undetermined whether accidental85801.07
Injury resulting from the operations of war340.76
Other deaths for which coded cause data are not yet available99
Overseas deaths for which cause data are not available23


1. Service and Ex-Service personnel only.

2. World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th revision, 1977.

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