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Lord Geddes: My Lords, following on from the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Masham, can the Minister bring the House up to date on progress on the project to restrict the number of badgers in various parts of the country?
Lord Whitty: My Lords, an ongoing series of tests under the so-called Krebs trials will be completed in 2006. Until that point, we will not have the full picture of how the different methods of control or non-control of badgers impact on the spread of the disease. Those trials are ongoing.
Lord Plumb: My Lords, the Minister has told us on so many occasions that this whole question is under review. The Krebs trials go on and on. Does he not accept that this whole business is now completely out of hand? We were told by vets only yesterday that 30 per cent of badgers are believed to be carrying TB.
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That is spreading far and wide right through the country, especially the south-west. There are herds of 1,000 cattle, because people cannot move them. When bull cows are born, they are immediately shot because they cannot be moved. That is a disastrous situation and I appeal to the Minister through this House that action be taken and that we do not hear again that the Krebs trials are going on and on without being given any result or information about what is happening.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right: it is the most serious animal health problem that faces this country. For many dairy cattle farmers, it is a disastrous situation. But it is also true that fewer herds are under restriction now than last year; that the testing system has caught up and overtaken the backlog; and that therefore the situation is not out of control, as he puts it. It has already spread far too far, but we do like to make our policy on a scientific basis. The Krebs trials will show the scientific basis for any further action. As for badgers, badgers do not move from Somerset to Cumbria; it is cattle or personnel movements that have spread the disease long distances.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): My Lords, the Government support and desire a British Grand Prix at Silverstone. We understand that commercial negotiations are continuing between the British Racing Drivers' Club and Formula One Management to reach an agreement to secure the British Grand Prix on the 2005 Formula 1 calendar. Discussion on behalf of government about the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone continues to be facilitated, where appropriate, by Derek Mapp, chairman of the East Midlands Development Agency.
Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, the ongoing negotiations that the Minister mentioned, taking place rather publicly, are damaging to the reputation of the British motorsport industry, which will be further damaged by the possible loss of 1,000 highly skilled jobs at Jaguar Racing and Cosworth. Is it not now time for Her Majesty's Government to take a more direct role to limit any further damage and demonstrate that this country is committed to and capable of hosting world-class sporting events, such as the British Grand Prix?
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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I certainly agree that the negotiations have been taking place rather publicly. I have been reading the press coverage for some time and the situation is not very satisfactory. However, despite reports of their death yesterday, they are ongoing. This morning, Sir Jackie Stewart is reported as saying that the fat lady has not sung yet. As to whether the Government should take a more direct role, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Astor, is not suggesting that we should be a party to commercial negotiations between Formula One Management and the British Racing Drivers' Club. That would not be appropriate or legitimate. We are helping to secure the interest, which he rightly points out, of the importance of motor racing to our economy.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, motor racing is a comparatively rich sport and it would not be appropriate for Sport England to put money directly into motor racing at the expense of grass roots sport, for example.
Viscount Falkland: My Lords, although it is sad and rather puzzling that Mr Ecclestone and Mr Mosley have not concluded an agreement for the continuation of the Grand Prix with the BRDC, that, as the Minister said, is a commercial negotiation that he cannot enter into. However, are there not two other matters that must concern us? Those are, first, the amount of public money that has been given to the BRDC, which, I think noble Lords will agree, is being sensibly used to improve access to Silverstone; and the second, as the noble Lord, Lord Astor, said, is engineering excellence, which goes beyond Jaguar and which has developed in and around Silverstone over many years. That is internationally renowned and employs many expert people, but could be in jeopardy if the Grand Prix was removed from Silverstone, even to another part of the United Kingdom.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I acknowledge that moneyabout £8 millionwas given to accelerate the A43 bypass around Silverstone. That money was not given to the British Racing Drivers' Club, it was money for a bypass that is used by local people and for all the other motorsports events that take place at Silverstone. As for the point about the motorsport engineering industry, that is why the Department of Trade and Industry set up a motorsport competitiveness panel and development board and is, as I said, working to secure the continuation of that valuable industry.
Lord Laidlaw: My Lords, are the Government aware that Formula One Management has already been paid the enormous sum of 93 million dollars by IPG when it gave up its contract to run the British Grand Prix? In
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demanding an additional 13.5 million dollars per annum, escalating at a compound 10 per cent per annum, the promoter, Formula One Management, is effectively asking to be paid twice for the same event. Is there any way that the Government can pressure the promoter to be paid once only to run that event?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I understand that the negotiations are very difficult. I do not think that they would be helped if the Government took a position on any of their commercial aspects.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I can only answer as I did to the noble Lord, Lord Laidlaw: it would be neither desirable nor appropriate for this Government to comment on commercial aspects of negotiations to which they are not party.
Lord Grocott: My Lords, we will, with the leave of the House, have a Statement repeated later today. The Statement, on UK forces in Iraq, will be repeated by my noble friend Lord Bach. It is difficult to say precisely when it will come, but it will be repeated immediately after the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill, which we hope to take as close to 1.30 p.m. as possible.
Clause 1, Schedule 1, Clauses 2 to 13, Schedule 2, Clauses 14 to 16, Schedule 3, Clauses 17 to 38, Schedule 4, Clauses 39 to 50, Schedule 5, Clauses 51 to 53, Schedule 6, Clauses 54 to 61, Schedule 7,
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Clause 62, Schedule 8, Clauses 63 to 66.(Baroness Andrews.)
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