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Lord Bassam of Brighton: As each application for asylum is considered individually, it is not possible to specify grounds for every Sri Lankan application refused during 1999 where torture was an issue; these will have been given in the individual reasons for refusal letters.
An asylum seeker's testimony of torture, and any medical evidence which may be supplied, is taken very seriously and weighed by the caseworker in the context of all the available evidence. If it is decided to refuse an application in which torture is alleged, the letter giving the reasons for refusal will explain how the medical evidence has been considered in relation the other evidence available and, if applicable, why the caseworker disagrees with the conclusion given in the medical report.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend, the Home Secretary, has today placed in the Library a consultation paper on the regulation of R18 videos. As your Lordships will be aware, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary and I were extremely disappointed with the High Court decision, on 16 May, which dismissed the British Board of Film Classification's application for judicial review in respect of appeals against its decision not to classify seven sexually explicit videos in the R (restricted) 18 category--which are available only in licensed sex shops. The Government maintain a firm commitment to the protection of children from unsuitable sexually explicit material and, in the light of the recent judgment, publishing a consultation paper which examines a number of options to improve the safeguards for children from possible exposure to videos classified in the R (restricted) 18 category. The paper also proposes measures for modernising and strengthening the recruitment and appointment procedures of the Video Appeals Committee.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Milk production in the UK, as in other EU member states, is constrained by the milk quota system. The UK's quota allocation in the 1998-99 quota year was 14.590 million tonnes before additional levies became payable. Actual production for the same period was 14.625 million tonnes.
In the calendar year 1999, the total milk available for use in the manufacture of drinking milk and milk products was 14.662 million tonnes in milk equivalent terms. Production of milk and milk products in the UK comprises products made from both domestically produced and imported milk.
The utilisation of milk for liquid consumption in 1999 is forecast at 7,111 thousand tonnes, 48.5 per cent of which was home produced. The position for other products is more complicated as they are more amenable to international trade. The table below shows data for production, import and export of the major milk products and the amounts available for use on the home market.
|Butter||Cheese||Cream||Condensed Milk||Full cream powder||Skimmed milk powder|
|Total new supply||199||584||199||139||20||57|
|Change in stock||11||1||--||1||0||-11|
|Total domestic use||188||584||199||138||20||68|
Baroness Hayman: A reduction in the volume of timber produced by Forest Enterprise would not have a significant effect on prices, as the prices obtained by producers of coniferous timber in the United Kingdom are very strongly linked to the prices of imported timber. This is because the United Kingdom imports about 85 per cent of its timber requirements. The end users of timber grown in the United Kingdom would simply switch to using imported timber if UK timber was not available at a competitive price. We therefore have no plans to ask Forest Enterprise to reduce the volume that it produces.
Baroness Hayman: Changes to the Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS) which will apply in 2001 will be set out in the 2001 up-date to the 2000 explanatory guide to the AAPS which will be sent to all arable farmers later this year and will be placed in the Library of the House.
Baroness Hayman: MAFF will provide compensation in the form of interest to farmers who received late payment of their 1995 claims under the Arable Area Payments Scheme for the reasons highlighted in the Seventh Report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration for Session 1999-2000. As agreed with the ombudsman, and in line with common practice across government departments, the compensation payments will be subject to a de minimis level of £50. MAFF has a full list of all the AAPS applicants that were affected, and work is in progress to calculate the compensation to which they are entitled. When that work has been completed the applicants will be notified of the amount of compensation to which they are due. There is no need for individual farmers to apply to the Ministry for payment.
Baroness Hayman: Organic status is not awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Producers, processors and importers of organic food are registered by private sector inspection bodies approved by UKROFS and, in a limited number of cases, by UKROFS itself. The inspection bodies, of which seven have been approved, must apply standards no less than those required by UKROFS. In general UKROFS standards are now set by Community legislation which is negotiated in the usual way. For organic crop products the UKROFS standards comply with those laid down by Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91. For organic livestock and livestock products, existing national standards drawn
Baroness Hayman: The Forestry Commission does not have a specific budget for research on the Asian Longhorn Beetle, but last year it spent £17,000 working with overseas researchers, particularly in China and the USA, where extensive research is being undertaken on the beetle. The commission is not carrying out its own research, nor is it contributing financially to overseas research.
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