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Committee Mandates

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the mandate of the Standing Committee on agricultural research is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) was set up under Article 43 of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In order to meet the aims of the Common Agricultural Policy, SCAR advises the Commission on co-ordination and promotion at Community level of agricultural research activities undertaken in the member states. SCAR met twice (19 June 2002, 11 March 2002) over the last 12 months for half-day meetings on both occasions. UK representation is normally the Head of Research Policy and International Division in DEFRA with supporting staff, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). This cost of this work to the public purse of DEFRA is about £8,500 per annum, including staff time and travelling expenses. SCAR has been examining in particular the development and implementation of the proposed new Framework Programme 6 for collaborative EU research, technology and development in those areas within its competence and interest. The papers of SCAR meetings are available on www.europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture. An annual report on the working of committees such as SCAR was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February (Com (2001) 783 Final). The UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions to be accessible through its website.

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