§ Mr. Wilshire
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has reached a decision on the future of the BBSRC's agriculture and plant sciences institutes; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Lang
Prior options reviews have been completed of the Institute of Arable Crops Research, the Institute of Grassland and Environment Research, the John Innes Centre and the Silsoe Research Institute. I am satisfied that the functions of these institutes are needed and that they should retain their separate existence.
They are currently constituted as distinct legal entities with charitable status but are regulated by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Their staff are members of the research councils pension scheme and BBSRC carries contingent liability for staffing. They are consequently subject to public sector financial controls.
I have concluded that full independence from the public sector, with the greater freedom this will provide the institutes to direct their own affairs, would be a desirable option which merits further consideration. This will therefore by the subject of further work led by the Prime Minister's adviser on efficiency, Sir Peter Levene. The institutes would remain eligible to compete for research funding from BBSRC and other public sector funders. 
§ Mr. Ingram
To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to make an announcement on the current review of the research establishments under the control of the BBSRC.
§ Mr. Ian Taylor
[holding answer 21 May 1996]: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade announced the timetable for the reviews on 26 January 1996, Official Report, columns 421–23.
Four BBSRC institutes were included in the first tranche of reviews. These were the Institute of Arable Crops Research, the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, the John Innes Centre and the Silsoe Research Institute. I expect an announcement on the outcome of these reviews to be made shortly.
Four further BBSRC institutes were included in the timetable. The reviews of the Babraham Institute, the Institute for Animal Health and the Roslin Institute are due to be completed by the end of July 1996. The review of the Institute of Food Research is due to be completed by the end of December 1996. Announcements on the outcome of each of these reviews will be made as soon as possible.