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Written Answers

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 22 February 1984

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Written Answers

Experiments On Live Animals

asked Her Majesty's Government:For what purposes (other than medical, dental, veterinary and legislative) experiments are carried out on live animals by the Department of Health and Social Security, the Ministry of Defence and other Government departments; and

  • (i) how many experiments have been conducted on live animals in each of the last five years by:
  • (a) the Department of Health and Social Security and
  • (b) the Ministry of Defence and
  • (ii) how many of these experiments were conducted for medical or legislative reasons.
  • The information available is not kept in precisely the form requested in these Questions. I am writing to the noble Lord.

    Badgers: Infected Females And Cubs

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Advisory Committee on Badger Control has recommended that suckling females infected with bovine tuberculosis should be destroyed along with the cubs where possible, and without the cubs otherwise; what is being done about this; and if implemented whether suckling cubs are to be left to die in the setts.

    I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave him on 31st January. The arrangements for the release of lactating females detailed in that reply reflect the advice of the Consultative Panel on Badgers and Tuberculosis.

    Metropolitan County Councils

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What consequences on resources and staff of the Civil Service the abolition of the Metropolitan County Councils will have.

    Until detailed decisions have been taken in the light of the consultations on the proposals set out in our White Paper (Cmnd. 9063), it is not possible to say what the consequences will be for Civil Service manpower and resources. No useful purpose would be served in making estimates until those decisions have been taken.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will give details of "the heavy and unnecessary burdens on ratepayers" (mentioned in Cmnd. 9063, page 5) which were in the possession of the Government at the time of publication of the White Paper.

    Our White Paper makes it clear that we are proposing to abolish a superfluous tier of local government with its attendant bureacuracy and that the authorities concerned have consistently overspent, with inevitable consequences for their ratepayers.

    Fuel Subsidies: Industrial Competitiveness

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What representations they have made to the EEC regarding the substantial fuel subsidies granted by certain countries in the Community to the textile, paper-making and cement industries and whether they are aware of the effect on the competitiveness and exports of such industries which has resulted in closures of hundreds of plants.

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy
    (The Earl of Avon)

    The Government are aware of the effect of energy costs on the competitiveness of particular industries. We have pressed the Commission to investigate the energy pricing policies and practices of all member states, and this is now in train. The Government are also campaigning, through our recently established Energy Efficiency Office, for an increased awareness of the savings available to industry through improving energy efficiency; and are aiding the development of energy management techniques which can lead to dramatic savings.Comparisons of international energy prices are difficult: exchange rate movements, for example, can change the picture rapidly. However evidence collected in recent years by the NEDC, CBI and Government, including last month's CBI Survey of European Industrial Energy Prices, indicates that UK energy prices are generally in line with those elesewhere in Europe. Energy costs are not the sole determinant of industrial success—Japan for example faces particularly high energy costs. Nonetheless, Government take seriously industry's concern to enhance its competitiveness and, together with the energy industries, have taken a number of measures in recent years: for example the average level of industrial electricity prices has not increased since April, 1982, while prices in Europe have been rising, and the Electricity Council is recommending an industrial tariff standstill for 1984–85, so that prices will increase only as a result of the normal operation of the fuel price adjustment clause; BGC has also extended the freeze on industrial contract gas renewal prices to April, by which time their prices will have been frozen for two whole years.

    Northern Ireland: Expenditure Allocations

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much money they have allocated to Northern Ireland in 1983–84 and, within that amount, how much do they apportion for conservation in comparison with money for the Sports Council and the Arts Council in relation to Northern Ireland separately.

    Our latest forecast of expenditure in 1983–84 for which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is responsible is £3,799 million. Of this, the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland plans to spend some £8.3 million on conservation-oriented projects such as country parks, nature reserves, pollution control, historic buildings and monuments, and general environmental improvements. Many of the activities of government departments in Northern Ireland also include elements of conservation; for example, the Department of Agriculture's fisheries and forestry programmes and the Department of Education's support for museums but separate figures are not available. The grants to the Northern Ireland Sports and Arts Councils in 1983–84 were £914,000 and £2,675,000 respectively.