HC Deb 16 October 1996 vol 282 cc945-6W
Mrs. Bridget Prentice

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total expenditure on new buildings and premises by his Department and its agencies; and if he will indicate the square footage of new office space purchased or newly rented in each of the last five years. [41152]

Mr. Boswell

The information is as follows:

New buildings and premises (including specialised buildings)
1991–92 25,042,934
1992–93 20,303,048
1993–94 27,631,496
1994–95 42,176,564
1995–96 49,969,517
New office space
1991–92 17,190.10
1992–93 1,199.74
1993–94 10,579.35
1994–95 6,528.73
1995–96 18,445.76

Mr. Luff

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to impose a reciprocal ban on the import of beef from any country that bans the import of British beef until such time as that country's Government can satisfy him that its cattle herds are entirely free of BSE. [23148]

Mrs. Browning

[holding answer 28 March 1996]: I very much regret that my hon. Friend has had to wait so long for a reply.

Member states of the EU have power to take interim protective measures under article 9 of Council directive 89/662/EEC pending the adoption of EU legislation where there is an outbreak of disease in the territory of another member state.

The United Kingdom has asked the Commission to adopt Community-wide controls on the removal of specified bovine offal from cattle carcasses.

All fresh meat imported into the UK, whether from other member states or third countries, must have been produced in accordance with harmonised Community rules laid down in Council directive 64/433/EEC. In addition, the Fresh Meat (Beef Controls) Regulations 1996 prohibit the sale for human consumption of all bovine meat derived from bovines which, at the time of slaughter, were more than 30 months old. This measure applies to all bovines slaughtered on or after 29 March 1996, whether in the UK or overseas, other than those born, reared and slaughtered in those third countries listed in the schedule to those regulations, and those aged between 30 and 42 months from herds registered under the beef assurance scheme. The list of countries is confined to those where the Government are satisfied we can import beef without risk.

The imposition by the UK of any unreasonable barriers to trade would be contrary to our World Trade Organisation commitments. It would not therefore be appropriate for us to take retaliatory action in respect of those countries which have imposed a ban on exports of beef from the UK in advance of the general prohibition on exports introduced under Commission decision 96/239/EC of 27 March.

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