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Member states contribute to the EU budget as a whole and not to any particular part. Our contribution is about 17 per cent before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account. Note: * using an exchange rate of 1 ecu = £0.67128.
Lord Donoughue: In circumstances where there is suspicion of E.coli 0157 in food, powers already exist in the Food Safety Act 1990 not only to investigate the food business concerned but also to trace back to collect evidence of its presence on farm whether in the animals or elsewhere.
In practice, the farming community generally co-operate fully with staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food where on-farm investigations are needed. However, the Government will amend the Zoonoses Order 1989 to include E.coli 0157, or any other zoonotic organism, should it become necessary.
When they expect to be able to respond to the recent report of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee on Vitamin B6.[HL2726]
Lord Donoughue: The Government will consider the results of the consultation exercise on its proposals on restrictions on the sale of Vitamin B6, together with the report of the Agriculture Select Committee, before deciding how to proceed. An announcement on the Government's policy will be made as soon as we are in a position to do so.
Lord Donoughue: The Government received 50 responses to its consultation exercise on its proposals on dietary supplements containing Vitamin B6. The responses are currently being analysed and summarised. Copies of those from respondees who have not requested confidentiality will be placed in the Library in due course.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Her Majesty's Government remain committed to the 1996 EU Common Position on East Timor: the EU's aim is to contribute to the achievement by dialogue of a fair, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor, which fully respects the interests and legitimate aspirations of the Timorese people, in accordance with international law.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government have on a number of occasions, most recently at the European Council in Cardiff on 15-16 June, called for the release of Xanana Gusmao. In his capacity as representative of the Presidency of the European Union, the Minister of State, Mr. Fatchett,
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Under our Presidency of the EU, Troika Ambassadors in Jakarta visited East Timor (27-30 June). This mission was in support of the UN process of searching for a fair, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the problem. The outcome of the visit is being discussed with EU partners under the Austrian Presidency of the EU. We remain in close contact with the UN, particularly the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for East Timor, Ambassador Marker, and the government of Portugal on this issue.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The new EU/Iran dialogue will be comprehensive, covering issues of both mutual interest and areas of concern. The 23 February General Affairs Council conclusions defined these concerns as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, human rights and Iran's attitude to the Middle East peace process.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): During the debate in another place on 22 June, my honourable friend the Minister of State (Mr. Michael) referred to the interdepartmental working group set up to look as a matter of priority at further safeguards needed to prevent those unsuitable from working with children and to
The need to protect vulnerable 16 and 17 year-olds from abuse of trust was discussed at length in the debate on 22 June. The working group will look carefully at the concerns expressed. Issues to be considered will include: the definition of a position of trust; the scope of occupations to be covered; the definition of those to be protected; the kind of behaviour to be prohibited; existing safeguards and possible new mechanisms for prohibiting such behaviour, including a possible new criminal offence. Any proposals will relate to the need to protect both boys and girls and will take account of issues such as avoiding the criminalisation of the younger partner in a relationship based on abuse of trust.
On the issue of preventing those unsuitable from working with children, the working group's programme of work will include: how working with children can be defined; how to define those unsuitable to work with children; existing and potential safeguards to prevent unsuitable people working with children; a possible new offence to support the safeguards; and the possible establishment of a central register of those unsuitable to work with children, including questions of quality assurance, access, scope and cost.
The working group will also take into account the report of Sir William Utting's review of safeguards for children living away from home and the Government's response to this review, which is expected to be published by the Ministerial Task Force later this year. In particular, consideration will be given to those recommendations dealing with choosing the right staff.
The working group, which will be led by the Home Office, will hold regular meetings during the autumn and is tasked to make recommendations by the end of December. Other departments involved include: the Department for Education and Employment; the Department of Health; the Welsh Office; the Charity Commission; the Crown Prosecution Service; and the Lord Chancellor's Department. The group will also look at how best to involve outside organisations in the work. The group's recommendations will relate to England and Wales, but representatives from the Scottish and Northern Ireland Offices will also be involved.
Whether they consider that a sufficient number of Home Office Presenting Officers are employed to meet the demands of the appeal system for immigration and asylum cases.[HL2640]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: On 10 July 1998, 96.6 staff were employed. There is a temporary shortage of Presenting Officers in London and the South East, which has arisen as a result of recruitment constraints within the Home Office. This is now being actively addressed.
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