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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Following the Strategic Defence Review, the Chief of Defence Logistics organisation was established, and the MoD is currently looking at possible locations for its headquarters. A number of sites in the UK are under consideration, including RAF Brampton/Wyton.
Some tasks currently undertaken by Headquarters Logistics Command at RAF Wyton/Brampton will be absorbed by the new headquarters. Consequently, the future use of some parts of the Brampton/Wyton site would need to be reviewed, should the new headquarters be located elsewhere. There are a number of other logistics organisations based at RAF Wyton/Brampton which we are not planning to relocate.
Lord Gilbert: The 1999 Report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body has been published today. Copies are available in the Printed Papers Office and the Library of the House. We are grateful to the Chairman and members of the Review Body for the work they have put into them.
In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government made it clear that public sector pay settlements would need to be fair, affordable and consistent with targets for public service improvements we have set. The new arrangements announced in the CSR for the Pay Review Bodies were designed to ensure a closer and more effective link between pay settlements, departmental expenditure limits and service delivery targets. Under these new arrangements, the AFPRB now reports to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence, as responsible Departmental Minister, as well as to the Prime Minister. The Terms of Reference of the AFPRB were revised to ensure that, in making their recommendations, they took into account four key considerations set out in the CSR:
We are satisfied that these recommendations take account of the four key considerations and will support the Services' strategies to achieve full manning. The additional cost of this settlement will be contained within the MoD's expenditure limits announced in July and we will continue to meet the objectives and targets set out in Public Service Agreements. This is in line with the Government's prudent and disciplined approach to public spending and its commitment to delivering high quality public services and low inflation.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The draft Food Standards Bill will be scrutinised by a Select Committee of members of the House of Commons specially constituted for this purpose.
Lord Donoughue: My right honourable friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State for Wales have decided not to stop the sale of raw cow's drinking milk in England and Wales. However, they intend to introduce tighter checks to benefit consumers who choose to drink raw cows' milk.
The new measures will include increasing the frequency of official microbiological sample testing of raw cow's drinking milk at production premises to four times a year and increasing the frequency of official
Raw milk producers will continue to pay for official checks, and we will be putting in hand arrangements to extend the scope of enforcement at production holdings. In addition, we intend that on-farm caterers will no longer be exempted from the charges for microbiological sample testing, and also that the full costs of inspection and sample testing will be recovered. This will necessitate changes to the relevant regulations, and in due course we will issue draft regulations for public consultation.
There is already a requirement to label raw cow's drinking milk with a public health warning. We will be putting into place arrangements to ensure that this is given greater prominence. In addition, these arrangements will also require that labels on retail packaging, and notices displayed at on-farm catering premises, must include the Chief Medical Officer's advice, which is that children, pregnant women, elderly people and those who are currently unwell or have chronic illness should not consume raw cow's milk.
We emphasise in the strongest possible terms that the industry is responsible, and remains responsible, for the production of safe food. Producers of raw cow's drinking milk must ensure that it is produced to the best hygienic standards.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is a non-departmental public body established by Royal Charter under the Science and Technology Act 1965 which takes its own decisions on policy, strategy, and what research to support, operating within a broad framework of guidance and supervision by government. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is accountable to Parliament for the activities of the council and determines the broad policy framework within which the council operates. He is supported by myself as Science Minister and the Director-General of Research Councils and the Office of Science and Technology (OST). Further details of the formal relationship are set out in the Management Statement and Financial Memorandum between the BBSRC and OST, a copy of which is available in the Library.
On 27 October, the Secretary of State announced the allocation of the Science Budget to the Research Councils, including the BBSRC, and indicated the broad areas of activity to which he would wish the
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The regulation of telecoms operators is a matter for Oftel. The Government and Oftel considered the importance of being able to trace nuisance calls carefully before the launch of the Calling Line Identification (CLI) service in 1994. The possibility of barring CLI (by dialling 141 before the number) was introduced for those people who do not wish to have their number released for legitimate reasons, which may relate to the protection of their privacy, and which may be personal. However, in order to protect customers against nuisance callers who withhold their CLI, the police do have the ability to trace nuisance calls, by formally requesting the details from the telecoms operator from whose network the calls were made.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): The UK Government are discussing the reform of the Structural and Cohesion Funds with other member states and the Commission. We will continue to press for an outcome that gives a fair deal to all parts of the UK.
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