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Lord Warner: It is not possible to provide information regarding all government-owned institutions that operate as commercial contract research organisations as this information is not held centrally.
The Health Protection Agency carries out a wide range of relevant research, some of which is in accordance with contracts placed and funded by pharmaceutical companies. The role of the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in ensuring the safety and efficacy of biological medicines involves some contractual research work with pharmaceutical companies. The National Health Service also undertakes work for pharmaceutical companies under contract. The Department of Health is currently funding research at over 40 per cent of universities in England. Information on which of these universities also carry out work for agrochemical or pharmaceutical companies is not held.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is funding research in the current financial year at around 270 individual organisations. Of these, Defra's main contractors are mostly government-owned or sponsored (for example Defra's own science agencies, research council institutes, universities). As far as is known, all the research contractor base operate commercially as well as providing services to Defra, but information is not held on these commercial activities.
Lord Warner: The North West Development Agency (NWDA) and the Government Office for the North West (GO-NW) are involved in ongoing discussions about support for the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The level of support that the NWDA feels able to offer is a matter for the agency. GO-NW is looking at the business plan for the school with a view to considering how European structural funds can most effectively and appropriately be used to support the project.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport did not specifically consult any sporting bodies before changes to the Working Holidaymaker scheme came into effect. The Home Office undertook a public consultation and received three representations from sporting bodies against the proposals.
While it was not considered at the time that sport warranted an exemption, the department is working with the Home Office to review the impact of the Working Holidaymaker provisions on sports on this country. This includes our current consultation with a variety of sporting bodies about the scheme.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government's strategy to tackle gun crime in the United Kingdom includes the creation of a strategic tasking and co-ordination group involving HM Customs and Excise, the police and other enforcement agencies, under the overall chairmanship of the Association of Chief Police Officers. As part of this initiative the National Criminal Intelligence Service is providing Customs with enhanced and updated intelligence assessments.
Customs have also contributed to a United Nations panel of experts whose role is to formulate an international standard for the marking of firearms. This will assist UK enforcement authorities to trace the origin of firearms used in crime. Where such firearms have come from illicit sources, Customs will be able to use this information to improve their risk assessment and targeting activity.
Customs continue to work closely with the UK's intelligence agencies on international illegal arms trafficking in readiness for the implementation on 1 May of new controls on trafficking and brokering under the Export Control Act 2002.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The amount collected in 2002 by the UK as tariffs under the EU common external tariff on imports of goods into the UK from non-EU countries was published in table 12.2 of National StatisticsUK National AccountsThe Blue Book 2003, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. £9.5 million of this amount was collected in EU anti-dumping duties.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): We are aware that the numbers of cormorants breeding in Britain have risen over the past 25 years, particularly inland, albeit from a very low base. The number of cormorants wintering in Great Britain shows recent signs of stabilisation, following increases during the 1980s.
Defra (then Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) carried out a three-year programme of research to ascertain the impact of fish-eating birds on fisheries. The research covered the population and movement of cormorants, their feeding ecology, case studies of the impact of cormorants on fisheries and management methods. Among other things, this work concluded that cormorants were a problem for specific fisheries rather than a general problem. The results were disseminated to the angling and conservation community through a seminar in 1999. Copies of the research reports are in the Libraries of the House.
Defra's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science is currently researching the potential use of fish refuges to reduce damage to inland fisheries by cormorants. The results should be known in September 2005.
In addition to the research reports the department produces an annual report on the number of licence applications under Section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 received and dealt with by Defra. This report can be viewed at http://defra. gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/Reports.htm
Lord Whitty: The Government recognise that the UK honey bee population is an important resource for the pollination of cultivated crops and wild plants. The value of commercial crop pollination by bees has been estimated as between £120 million and £200 million per annum.
Lord Whitty: The Forbes report reviewed the criticisms of serving civil servants in the report of the BSE inquiry. Its main recommendation, that disciplinary action should not be taken against any civil servant, was reported in the Government's interim response to the BSE inquiry in February 2001. The report refers to named individuals and internal advice and it would therefore not be appropriate for disclosure under Exemptions 2 and 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Lord Whitty: We have just reached agreement with former fur farmers about the level of compensation they will receive under a new compensation scheme. The farmers have accepted that the scheme takes account of all losses suffered by them.
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