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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 5 April 1989

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Immigration Appeals

Mr. Darling : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list for each regional appeal adjudicator the number of immigration appeals lodged and awaiting hearing as at 28 February and at the latest available date ; and in each case if he will indicate the average length by time between the lodging of the appeal and its being heard.

The Attorney-General : Appeals to the immigration appellate authorities are not assigned to individual adjudicators at the regional centres. The table indicates the number of appeals lodged and awaiting hearing listing at each regional centre, including Thanet house, on 29 March 1989. The IAAs do not record the number of appeals awaiting hearing on a daily basis and it is not possible to give figures for 28 February 1989.


|c|Appeals against          

decisions of Entry          

Clearance Officers|c|       

|c|Lodged and Awaiting      

Hearing (29 March 1989)|c|  

              |Number       

----------------------------

Birmingham    |245          

Harmondsworth |396          

Leeds         |192          

Manchester    |259          

Thanet House  |500          

Note: The figures above     

refer to the number of      

cases rather than appeals   

because related appeals are 

often dealt with together.  


|c|Appeals against          

decisions of Entry          

Clearance Officers|c|       

|c|Lodged and Awaiting      

Hearing (29 March 1989)|c|  

              |Number       

----------------------------

Birmingham    |245          

Harmondsworth |396          

Leeds         |192          

Manchester    |259          

Thanet House  |500          

Note: The figures above     

refer to the number of      

cases rather than appeals   

because related appeals are 

often dealt with together.  

The average length of time between the lodging and hearing of an appeal, which is the same for all IAA centres, is as follows : (

(a) From receipt of the notice of appeal to despatch to the IAA :-- (

(i) For appeals against ECO decisions--3 to 6 months ;

(ii) For appeals against Immigration Officer decisions--6 weeks ; (

(iii) For appeals against Secretary of State decisions--5 to 6 months.

(b) From receipt of the notice of appeal by the IAA to (i) registration in Immigration Officer and Secretary of State cases--up to 4 weeks ; (ii) despatch of the appeal papers in other cases to both parties' representatives in the UK--4 to 8 weeks.

(c) From receipt of papers by both parties' representatives (in appeals against ECO decisions) to the issue by each party of a certificate of readiness to proceed : this is the hands of the parties and times


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vary from a few weeks to several months and, if no response is received within nine months, the appeal is automatically listed for hearing.

(d) From certificate of readiness to proceed to the hearing date : up to 6 weeks, but longer where the parties request adjournment.

Mr. Darling : To ask the Attorney-General, if the Lord Chancellor has any proposals to amend the rules governing the operation of immigration appeal tribunals ; and what consultations he has held in that regard.

The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor has no proposals at present to amend the rules governing the operation of the immigration appellate authorities. Officials of his Department regularly consult, and are consulted by, officials of the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the operation of the IAAs. These consultations will continue.

Mr. Darling : To ask the Attorney-General how many immigration appeals are currently awaiting hearing ; and what is the average time between lodging an appeal and its being heard.

The Attorney-General : The information requested is as follows : (i) Number of cases waiting to be listed in appeals to the adjudicators against immigration officer/Secretary of State decisions.--48

(ii) Number of cases already listed in appeals to the adjudicators against immigration officer and Secretary of State decisions.--987 (iii) Number of cases awaiting to be listed in appeals to the adjudicators against ECO decisions.--175

(iv) Number of cases already listed in appeals to the adjudicators against ECO decisions.--1,417

(v) Number of cases waiting to be listed in appeals to the immigration appeal tribunal (at the end of February 1989).--150 (vi) Number of cases already listed in appeals to the IAT (at the end of February 1989).--100

The figures above refer to the number of cases rather than appeals because related appeals are often dealt with together.

For the average time between lodging an appeal and it being heard, I refer the hon. Member to my answer to his question on the average time between the lodging and hearing of appeals by adjudicators in the regions.

Child Criminals

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Attorney-General how many cases of victims suing the parents of child criminals were brought to court during each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : The data requested are not available.

NATIONAL FINANCE

National Debt

Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will give the total of borrowings as an addition to the national debt by each Government since 1959 ;

(2) if he will give the total net repayments of national debt for each Government since 1959.

Mr. Lilley : Figures for public sector borrowing and net repayment for each Government since 1959 are given below :


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£ billion                                                       

Period             |Total         |Annual Average               

----------------------------------------------------------------

1959-63            |3.4           |0.7                          

1964-65 to 1969-70 |4.8           |0.8                          

1970-71 to 1973-74 |8.5           |2.1                          

1974-75 to 1978-79 |41.1          |8.2                          

1979-80 to 1988-89 |51.5          |5.1                          

Note:                                                           

Borrowing is shown as positive, however there were net          

repayments in 1969-70, 1987-88 and 1988-89.                     

Civil Service Staff

Mr. Couchman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the number of staff in post in central Government Departments at 1 January.

Mr. Major : On 1 January 1989 there were 571,649 staff in post in central Government Departments. Of these 500,981 were

non-industrials and 70,668 were industrials.

Paris Club

Mr. Moss : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount of debt which has been rescheduled by creditor Governments in the Paris Club ; and what is the extent of rescheduling by the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lawson : The Paris Club brings together official creditors and debtors, to agree terms for the rescheduling of payments due on officially supported export credits and development loans. During the period 1982-88, the club estimates that it has rescheduled a total of US$83 billion (£48 billion at the current exchange rate). Of this, $56 billion was principal and $27 billion was interest. The United Kingdom share was about £5 billion. In addition, the United Kingdom cancelled £79 million of old aid loans, about £890 million having already been written off in 1978-81.

Investment

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the rate of return required on new investment in the nationalised industries and the discount rate used for appraising investment in other parts of the public sector.

Mr. Major : The Government have reviewed the level and use of discount rates in the public sector. These were last reviewed in 1978. Since then the rate of return in the private sector has risen to around 11 per cent.

In the light of this, the Government have decided to raise the required rate of return for nationalised industries and public sector trading organisations from 5 per cent. to 8 per cent. in real terms before tax. The new required rate of return of 8 per cent. will be an important factor in setting new financial targets, but there will be no impact on pricing during the life of existing financial targets. As at present, the choice of the discount rate to appraise individual projects is a matter for individual nationalised industries or trading bodies to decide in consultation with sponsor Departments and the Treasury. The Government's main concern will continue to be that the industries' approach should be compatible with achieving the required rate of return on the programme as a whole. In appraising whether or not new capital investment projects should be undertaken, proper attention will need


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to be paid to risk. The effect of full allowance for risk will often be implicitly equivalent to requiring a higher internal rate of return on riskier projects.

The Government have decided that the discount rate to be used in the non- trading part of the public sector should be based on the cost of capital for low-risk purposes in the private sector. In current conditions this indicates a rate not less than 6 per cent. in real terms. Risk will be analysed separately and projects (and options) which are more risky will be required to demonstrate correspondingly lower costs or higher benefits.

These proposals will ensure that the appraisal of public projects will be no less demanding in the non-trading sector than in the trading sector, both public and private. In particular, they will provide a comparable basis for the consideration of private participation in public sector activities by taking account of the full economic cost of the public sector option.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Quangos

Sir Neil Macfarlane : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many departmental agencies or authorities have been created since 1979 ; if he will list organisations abolished since 1979 ; and how many personnel his Department appoints to quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations.

Mr. Forth : Since 1979 the following executive non-departmental public bodies have been abolished within the field of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's present responsibilities : British Film Fund Agency

Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust

Furniture Development Council

Metrication Board

National Film Finance Corporation

Price Commission

Additionally, the number of nationalised industry consumer councils has fallen from 43 to 33 in consequence of privatisation. Apart from a restructuring of some of these, no new executive bodies have been created. The particulars of members appointed by the Secretary of State to all non- departmental public bodies for which he is responsible are shown in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies 1988." The staff of executive bodies are appointed by the bodies themselves.

Company Accounts

Mr. Gerald Howarth : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is his policy towards the draft EEC fourth directive and the proposal to exempt small and medium-sized companies from having to lodge their annual accounts with a central registry.

Mr. Maude [holding answer 4 April 1989] : The Department has issued a consultative document on the draft directive amending the fourth company law directive. A copy was placed in the Library of this House in February. We have specifically invited comments on the proposal to permit small companies to make their accounts available at their registered offices rather than having to file them at a central registry. Policy will be determined in the light of responses received.


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TRANSPORT

Quangos

Sir Neil Macfarlane : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations were abolished by his Department between 1984 and 1987.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Three : the disciplinary inquiry under section 471 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1984 ; the honorary medical advisory panel for driving and disorders of the nervous system ; and the air travel reserve fund agency.

Aircraft Safety

Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has any plans to require evacuation tests from aircraft to be conducted under conditions where smoke has entered the cabin for all types of aircraft ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if it is his intention to make the installation of a water spray fire suppression system for aircraft, mandatory for all new and existing passenger transport aircraft registered in the United Kingdom as soon as such equipment has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) when he expects the review of British civil airworthiness requirements concerning unobstructed access of exits on Boeing 737 aircraft will be completed ; if the report will be published ; and if he will make a statement ;

(4) if he has any plans to require airlines to remove all passenger seats blocking emergency exits ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : These civil aviation safety regulation issues are wholly the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority. The authority's current position on them is set out in its follow-up action on accident reports (FACTAR) issued on 13 March 1989 in response to the AAIB report on the B737 accident at Manchester, 22 August 1985. I have arranged for a copy of the FACTAR to be sent to my hon. Friend. I understand that the authority will shortly publish the initial report on the research it has undertaken into evacuation requirements.

Bus Safety

Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress on improving bus safety and to reduce the dangers of bus doors to elderly people.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : We are distributing for comment draft regulations which would require all power-operated doors in new buses and coaches to be provided with safety devices to prevent people being trapped in the doors as the bus moves off. If the doors close on to a passenger they will be required to re-open, or release the passenger. A warning light would be required to be fitted to inform the driver whenever the doors were not fully closed.

We hope that these measures will lead to further improvements in the very good safety record of buses and coaches.

The draft regulations also contain amendments to remove unnecessary restrictions on the provision of facilities for passengers in wheelchairs.


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We are also proposing to allow more time for coach manufacturers to bring their designs up to the requirements of ECE regulation 66, the United Nations standard for strength of superstructure. We have already made regulations to adopt this standard as a national requirement with effect from April 1990.

Coach manufacturers have made conspicuous improvements in this area. There has not been a reported death due to roof collapse in Great Britain during the last five years.

Discussions with other member states have shown that it is still uncertain what form the European Community requirements for coach construction will take in the new single market, particularly in this area. In the circumstances we think it is right to postpone our national requirement for three years to give time for the future European Community requirements to become settled.

M1-A1 Link

Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the consequences for the road user and others affected by the M1-A1 link road scheme of the delay which resulted from the challenges in the High Court and the Appeal Court to the orders for the Catthorpe to Rothwell section of the scheme.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The unsuccessful challenge by the Society for the Preservation of the Battlefield of Naseby has delayed progress by about a year. As a result the cost will increase. Benefits to road users, principally journey time savings, valued at about £7 million, will be lost.

The delay has meant that safety benefits have been forgone, of the order of three fatalities and 100 personal injury accidents. Relief from traffic for communities on nearby roads has been postponed.

PRIME MINISTER

Economic Statistics

Mr. Higgins : To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish the report of the review on Government economic statistics ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Following the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee's report on the 1988 Budget, the Government set up an efficiency scrutiny in the Cabinet Office last June to examine the present interdepartmental arrangements for the production of Government economic statistics, and to make recommendations for achieving cost-effective improvements where necessary. The report of this scrutiny is being published today, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

The scrutiny report recommends a large number of specific ways of improving the quality of Government economic statistics, the great bulk of which have been accepted. They will be implemented over the next year under the supervision of the director of the Central Statistical Office. Copies of the action plan relating to these recommendations have been placed in the Library of the House. The report also makes a number of recommendations for changes to the present interdepartmental arrangements for producing economic statistics. In accordance with these, I have decided that from July responsibility for the business statistics office and for all the statistical series for which the Department of Trade and Industry is now


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responsible, and for the retail prices index and family expenditure survey, for which the Department of Employment is currently responsible, should transfer to the Central Statistical Office. The enlarged Central Statistical Office will have greater direct responsibility for the compilation of the national accounts and for the associated data collection from businesses.

As recommended by the scrutiny report, the enlarged Central Statistical Office will become a separate Government Department, responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in due course will also become an executive agency. The director of the Central Statistical Office, as head of the Government statistical service, will continue to have access to me on matters concerning the validity and integrity of Government statistics.

The Government remain committed to reducing the burdens on business involved in the collection of economic statistics. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who has lead responsibility for deregulation policy, will therefore agree with the enlarged Central Statistical Office specific objectives to ensure that the burdens on business are minimised.

These decisions amount to a very substantial programme of work over the period ahead, designed to achieve a significant improvement in the quality and relevance of Government economic statistics.

DEFENCE

Colombia

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when next he plans to meet his counterpart from Colombia ; and what matters will be discussed.

Mr. Sainsbury : My right hon. Friend has no plans to meet the Colombian Minister of Defence.

Meteorological Office (Computer)

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on problems encountered by the Meteorological Office computer bought from Control Data Corporation of Minneapolis.

Mr. Sainsbury : There have been some delays in commissioning the ETA -10 super-computer, caused by difficulties in the performance of its data packages. However, recent demonstrations show a satisfactory improvement, and the current intention is to phase the new computer into service starting in May 1989.


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St. George's Barracks, Sutton Coldfield

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when it is planned for military use of St. George's barracks, Sutton Coldfield, west midlands, to cease ; and what present plans he has for its disposal.

Mr. Neubert : The major occupant of St. George's barracks, Sutton Coldfield is the Army personnel selection centre, which is to close in April 1990. There is, however, a continuing requirement to accommodate military units in this area and we are examining the need to retain most of St. George's barracks for this purpose.

WALES

General Practitioners

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give for general practitioner practices in Wales the following information : (a) the difference between the highest and lowest referral rate to hospital, (b) the highest and lowest cost per patient for prescribed drugs and (c) the highest and lowest percentage of general practitioner prescribed drugs which are tranquillisers.

Mr. Peter Walker : The information is not readily available in the form requested. I shall write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

Potato Marketing Board

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received from residents of Pembrokeshire in response to his review of the future of the Potato Marketing Board.

Mr. Peter Walker : Two.

Milk Quota

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what movement into and out of Wales of milk quota has taken place in each of the past five years in both litres and percentage terms.

Mr. Peter Walker : Movement of quota in and out of Wales as recorded by the Milk Marketing Board in each of the past five years has been as follows :


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Year                  |In                 |Out                |Net gain or loss   |Gain or loss as                        

                                                                                  |percentage of total                    

                                                                                  |quota in Wales                         

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1984-85               |+0.4m litres       |-0.1m litres       |+0.3m litres       |+0.02                                  

1985-86               |+2.4m litres       |-4.5m litres       |-2.1m litres       |-0.1                                   

1986-87               |+7.0m litres       |-23.1m litres      |-16.1m litres      |-1.1                                   

1987-88               |+10.6m litres      |-18.9m litres      |-8.3m litres       |-0.5                                   

1988-89 (to 16 March) |+7.0m litres       |-11.1m litres      |-4.1m litres       |-0.3                                   

HEALTH

Geriatric Beds

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the hospitals with long-stay geriatric beds, and the numbers of such beds provided by each district health


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authority within the Trent regional health authority ; if the scale of provision is under review ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : The information on bed numbers is not available in the form requested and for that reason the


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table relates to beds in general wards for elderly patients. I understand the region is currently reviewing its strategy for the provision of services for the elderly.


|c|Average daily available beds, general wards<1> for elderly patients,|c|                      

|c|Trent Regional Health Authority, 1987-88|c|                                                  

District Health Authority                   |Average daily available                            

and Hospital                                |beds                                               

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North Derbyshire                                                                                

Bolsover Community Hospital                 |10                                                 

Whitworth Hospital                          |24                                                 

Bakewell and District War Memorial Hospital |13                                                 

Scarsdale Hospital                          |45                                                 

Walton Hospital                             |138                                                

Penmore Hospital                            |60                                                 

Newholme Hospital                           |49                                                 

Cavendish Hospital                          |51                                                 

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |390                                                

                                                                                                

South Derbyshire                                                                                

Derby City Hospital                         |60                                                 

Ripley Hospital                             |24                                                 

St. Oswald's Hospital                       |63                                                 

Ilkeston Community Hospital                 |14                                                 

Babington Hospital                          |99                                                 

Manor Hospital                              |160                                                

Derbyshire Royal Infirmary                  |59                                                 

The Grove                                   |70                                                 

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |549                                                

                                                                                                

Leicestershire                                                                                  

Leicester General Hospital                  |201                                                

St. Mary's Hospital                         |74                                                 

St. Luke's Hospital                         |52                                                 

Framland Hospital                           |36                                                 

Catmose Vale Hospital                       |42                                                 

Groby Road Hospital                         |89                                                 

Regent Hospital                             |65                                                 

Glenfield Community Hospital                |166                                                

Bosworth Park Infirmary                     |63                                                 

Hinckley Sunnyside Hospital                 |38                                                 

Blaby Hospital                              |20                                                 

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |844                                                

                                                                                                

North Lincolnshire                                                                              

John Coupland Hospital                      |42                                                 

Louth County Hospital                       |49                                                 

St. Georges Hospital                        |202                                                

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |293                                                

                                                                                                

South Lincolnshire                                                                              

Boston General Hospital                     |21                                                 

Holbeach Hospital                           |22                                                 

Pilgrim Hospital                            |80                                                 

Grantham and Kesteven General Hospital      |93                                                 

Gables Hospital                             |42                                                 

Welland Hospital                            |58                                                 

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |315                                                

                                                                                                

Bassetlaw                                                                                       

Retford and District Hospital               |56                                                 

Bassetlaw District General Hospital         |75                                                 

                                            |--                                                 

    Total                                   |131                                                

                                                                                                

Central Nottinghamshire                                                                         

Forest Hospital                             |71                                                 

Newstead Hospital                           |35                                                 

Victoria Hospital                           |115                                                

Newark Hawtonville Hospital                 |95                                                 

    Total                                   |315                                                

                                                                                                

Nottingham                                                                                      

Nottingham City Hospital                    |181                                                

Basford Hospital                            |104                                                

Nottingham General Hospital                 |138                                                

Highbury Hospital                           |77                                                 

University Hospital                         |109                                                

    Total                                   |609                                                

                                                                                                

Barnsley                                                                                        

Barnsley District General Hospital          |96                                                 

Mount Vernon Hospital                       |173                                                

    Total                                   |269                                                

                                                                                                

Doncaster                                                                                       

Doncaster Royal Infirmary                   |20                                                 

Fullerton Hospital                          |34                                                 

Tickhill Road Hospital                      |136                                                

Conisborough Hospital                       |100                                                

Montagu Hospital                            |21                                                 

    Total                                   |310                                                

                                                                                                

Rotherham                                                                                       

Rotherham District General Hospital         |34                                                 

Wathwood Hospital                           |69                                                 

Badsley Moor Lane                           |163                                                

    Total                                   |265                                                

                                                                                                

Sheffield                                                                                       

Northern General Hospital                   |351                                                

Chapeltown Nursing Home                     |34                                                 

St. Georges Hospital                        |95                                                 

Coleridge House, Northern General Hospital  |14                                                 

Lodge Moor Hospital                         |142                                                

Nether Edge Hospital                        |191                                                

    Total                                   |827                                                

<1> Excluding wards open during day only.                                                       

Trent RHA

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the average times for the following operations in the Trent regional health authority (a) hip replacements, (b) knee replacements, (c) hernias, (d) cataracts, (e) ear, nose and throat, (f) varicose veins and (g) gynaecological ; what were the figures for five and 10 years ago ; if he will also list the average waiting times for (a) to (g) above for the initial out-patient consultation after a general practitioner referral and the comparative figures for five and 10 years ago ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Such information as can be provided without incurring disproportionate cost is given in the table. Information on waiting times of out-patient referrals is not available centrally, and the hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the Trent regional health authority, who may be able to help further.


|c|Estimated median interval in weeks between the time a         

patient<1> was|c|                                                

|c|placed on the waiting list and admission for treatment to an  

NHS|c|                                                           

|c|hospital in the Trent RHA area, 1979-87/88.|c|                

Specialty            |1979      |1984      |<2>1978-88           

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Ear, Nose and Throat |18        |15        |8                    

Gynaecology          |8         |6         |5                    


Operation                 |1979     |1984     |1985               

------------------------------------------------------------------

Total hip replacement                                             

 and other                                                        

 arthroplasty of hip      |42       |35       |25                 

Inguinal hernia operation |19       |8        |11                 

Operations on eye lens                                            

 (mainly for cataracts)   |19       |18       |16                 

Operations on veins                                               

 (mainly for varicose                                             

 veins)                   |26       |19       |20                 

<1> Ordinary admission-waiting list cases only.                   

<2> Latest available year.                                        

AIDS

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he intends to take in the light of the minute, "Diet and HIV infection", of 23 February 1988, sent by Dr. P. Dewis to all regional senior medical officers.

Mr. Mellor : Claims for help with the costs of special diets are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any evidence that the routine needs of people with ARC are any greater on the first day of their diagnosis than six months into their infection.

Mr. Mellor : There is no precise and generally agreed definition of the so-called AIDS-related complex (ARC). The natural history of HIV infection includes clinical signs and symptoms which tend to relapse and remit. The needs of people who have the virus will vary from individual to individual over time.

HIV

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department recommends to those people with HIV in order that they protect their immune system.

Mr. Mellor : People who know themselves to have HIV antibodies should seek advice from their doctors, on an individual basis, on the steps they can take to maintain their health.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Vietnam

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will undertake to help strengthen trading links and improved aid flows between the European Community and Vietnam, in the event of a major withdrawal of troops by Vietnam from Kampuchea in 1989.


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