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Teachers

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) regular teachers in the maintained sector in England rose from 394,000 in January 1992 to 419,600 in January 2002, an increase of 25,600. The provisional number of FTE regular teachers for January 2003 is 423,900. The provision of information on teachers in Northern Ireland is a matter for my right honourable and noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn, the government spokesperson on all issues relating to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland: Convictions forTV Licence Avoidance

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many convictions have been successful in Northern Ireland in each of the past five years for the viewing of a television set without a licence.[HL3584]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The number of convictions for installation or use of television without a licence recorded by TV Licensing in each of the past five years was:

YearNumber of convictions
1998822
1999527
2000987
20011,022
20021,448

Gambling

Lord Waddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to introduce legislation to reform the gambling laws.[HL3623]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We will bring forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time permits. We also intend that Parliament should have an opportunity to give our proposals pre-legislative scrutiny and plan to publish draft clauses to that end.

National Heritage Memorial Fund: Quinquennial Review

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the report on the quinquennial review of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.[HL3769]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The review was published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The review is also available on the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk).

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The Government welcome the review, and agree that the National Heritage Memorial Fund should continue in existence, subject to modernisation.

I am pleased to note the review's recognition of the important role of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Pigs: Castration

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why castration of pigs as an excepted operation may be performed within Wales within four weeks but in England within eight days.[HL3522]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Lord Whitty): The amendment contained in the Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) (Amendment) (No 2) (England) Order 2003 implements a provision of the Commission pig welfare Directive 2001/93/EC and changes the Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) Act 1954, insofar as it extends to England only. The provision reduces to eight days the age from which an anaesthetic will be required when castrating pigs. Amendment of the 1954 Act is within the devolved competence of the National Assembly of Wales and will be enacted in Wales in the near future, in order to bring about the same age limit as now applies in England. bjc

Animal Products Imports: Review of Controls

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish a review of controls on the import of animal products for the financial year 2002–03.[HL3728]

Lord Whitty: As required under Section 10A of the 1981 Animal Health Act the Government will publish today a review of controls on the import of animal products for the financial year 2002–03.

Government action during the period led to a threefold increase in the number of seizures of illegal imports of meat and animal products. This improvement was delivered by following three key principles: evidence based policy; investment in enforcement; and securing better public engagement and awareness.

The publication of the results of an assessment of the risks of foot and mouth disease entering the country through illegally imported meat has provided a basis to inform policy and help target enforcement.

Additional resources were provided to existing enforcement agencies pending a review of enforcement structures that resulted in the transfer to HM Customs and Excise of responsibility for prevention of smuggling of these goods. A publicity campaign was run using a variety of methods to capture public attention.

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Looking to the future, the review describes the development of a new enforcement strategy at borders designed to respond better to changing risks and intelligence. Awareness and partnership building will continue both in the UK and in the international arena. Progress on all activities will be closely monitored.

Copies of the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the Defra Illegal Imports website (www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/illegali/).

The total amount spent on the illegal imports programme for 2002–03 was just over £3.7 million.

Livestock Movement Regime

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce the livestock movement regime to apply from 1 August 2003.[HL3731]

Lord Whitty: The Government made a statement on 23 January 2003 Official Report, cols WS21–23, on the risk assessment work carried out following the two independent inquiries into the FMD outbreak, setting out the future work on bio-security and other issues they proposed and announcing their conclusions on the livestock movement regime to be put in place for the spring.

On the condition that the farming industry worked towards improved disease protection and control, the Government announced a move to a six-day standstill for cattle, sheep and goats from March. However, key elements of the regime lapse on 1 August. The future standing arrangements therefore need to be determined now, in the light of the work done since that earlier decision, and other factors. The Risk Assessment

The Government now have two epidemiological reports based on different modelling techniques, an analysis of the costs of an outbreak and an integration report bringing these elements together in a formal cost benefit analysis. These are all independent reports which have been peer reviewed.

The key lessons from this work are:


    the most significant single factor in reducing the size of an outbreak is early detection of disease;


    a 20-day standstill regime does not appear justified on cost benefit grounds unless more than one large outbreak every five years can be expected;


    a six-day standstill cannot be justified on cost benefit grounds alone unless outbreaks are expected more frequently than around one in 12 years (and on some assumptions they would need to be even more frequent);


    however, even if outbreaks occurred only once in 20 years, the six-day standstill is not greatly more expensive than a zero standstill policy; and standstill regimes do effectively reduce the size

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    (and therefore the cost) of outbreaks, especially the more extreme outbreaks such as that in 2001. Other Factors

The Government do not believe that they can determine future arrangements solely on the basis of this cost/benefit analysis. There is a strong case for a standstill as part of the livestock movements regime on precautionary grounds.

The Government's veterinary advisors are clear that a longer standstill is more effective in capping disease outbreaks but a six-day standstill is better than zero days because it reduces the spread of disease and increases the chances of early detection. Any standstill regime would also help protect against the spread of other diseases and foster improved animal welfare more generally. The Decision

The Government therefore support a standstill period as a valuable long-term element in the movement regime. However, the cost/benefit analysis clearly shows that a return to the 20-day standstill for cattle, sheep and goats could only be justified under very unlikely scenarios. The Government have therefore decided that the standing regime from 1 August should be based on a six-day standstill.

The existing arrangements for pigs will continue, except that the arrival of a pig on a mixed holding will impose a 20-day standstill on any other pig on the holding, but only a six-day standstill on any cattle, sheep or goats there. Exceptions

The Government have listened carefully to arguments for specific exceptions to the general arrangements and have made some provisions where necessary. For this reason, an exemption was introduced on 30 May for show animals.

The Government now propose to introduce a further specific modification to the regime to facilitate the autumn sale and trading of male breeding livestock. In future, male breeding rams and bulls may move onto a farm during the period August to November without triggering a general six-day standstill for the farm, so long as it goes into a Defra-approved isolation facility, provided that a six-day standstill applies to all livestock in that facility. Similarly they will be allowed to move from a farm under standstill to a market if placed in a Defra-approved isolation facility for six days beforehand. Similar arrangements will be put in place for goats. The Government believe that this new arrangement strikes the right balance between ensuring that farmers can trade successfully and ensuring that autumn breeder markets do not become a centre of disease spread. Detection and Biosecurity

The Government have made it clear that progress needs to be made to improve detection and biosecurity. They consulted recently on how to achieve this. As a result, from 1 August, there will be a limit of 48 hours for animals staying on market premises. There will also be some minor changes to the

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legislation on empty vehicles leaving markets without first cleansing and disinfecting.

Work on veterinary farm inspections, the presence of vets at markets, cleaning and disinfection at markets, the role of dealers and distance limits will continue over the coming months in the context of the

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Government's animal health and welfare strategy. In particular, we will investigate the proposals for a veterinary presence at markets and the possibility of annual veterinary visits to farms, as part of our draft action plan to take forward animal disease prevention and control in partnership with industry and other key stakeholders. We hope to consult on a draft plan in July 2003.



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