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Emergency Housing

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will ensures that the Housing Executive continues to make special provision in providing houses in an emergency in Northern Ireland, following consultation on the access to local authority and housing association tenancies paper.

Mr. Tim Smith : The Housing Executive ensure that, in carrying out its responsibilities, priority is given to those in greatest housing need. The consultation paper "Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies" describes the Government's proposals for ensuring fairer access to local authority and housing association tenancies in England. The views of interested parties in Northern Ireland are being sought prior to considering whether changes are needed to the arrangements operating in Northern Ireland.

Health Boards (Rationalisation)

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effects on the health care of the population of Northern Ireland of the rationalisation plans introduced by each of the health boards.

Mr. Ancram : I am not aware of the rationalisation plans referred to. Health and social services boards are expected to produce area strategies every three years which set out how they intend to achieve the objectives set in the Government's regional strategy, the current edition of which covers the period 1992 to 1997. As part of the process of implementing the regional strategy, which is designed to improve the health and social well-being of the population of Northern Ireland, boards are required to assess health and social care needs ; secure the provision of a range of services ; and monitor outcomes. I am glad to say that, as a result, the health care of the people of Northern Ireland continues to improve, with, for example, more people than ever being treated in hospital, fewer people waiting for treatment, infant mortality rates at an all-time low and fewer people dying prematurely from heart disease or strokes.

Rents

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what effect the increase in rents of the Northern Ireland Executive houses has had on the total amount of housing benefit paid to tenants in Northern Ireland for each of the years 1992, 1993 and 1994.


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Mr. Tim Smith : The total amount of housing benefit paid to Housing Executive tenants was £130.8 million in 1991-92, £144.1 million in 1992-93 and is projected to be £156.9 million in 1993-94. The increases in Housing Executive rents in those years were 8 per cent, 9.5 per cent. and 7.75 per cent. respectively. A number of factors affect the total amount of housing benefit paid to Housing Executive tenants and it is not feasible to isolate the impact of rent increases.

Social Security

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his Department's policy in giving social security to those who are suspected of supporting terrorism.

Mr. Ancram : All claims for social security benefits are treated strictly in accordance with the law and awards where there is a valid entitlement.

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to review social security benefits to Mr. Gerry Adams and Mr. Tom Hartley.

Mr. Ancram : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Social Security Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Alec Wylie. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from A. Wylie to Lady Olga Maitland, dated 7 April 1994 : I have been been asked to reply to your recent question on what plans there are to review social security benefits to Mr. Gerry Adams and Mr. Tom Hartley.

I should first explain that information on a person's entitlement to social security benefits, including whether or not they are claiming or getting benefit, is confidential. I am therefore unable to comment on individual cases. However, I can assure you that all claims to benefit are assessed and regularly reviewed by independent adjudication officers, strictly in accordance with social security law and payment is made only where there is a valid entitlement. I hope this letter sets out the position for you.

Irish-medium Education

Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the review into Irish-medium education will be completed ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ancram : Officials have had a number of discussions with Irish language interests over the last year on all aspects of provision for Irish -medium education. I will be carefully considering the issues raised, with a view to reaching decisions before the end of the present school year.

Rented Accommodation

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of rented accommodation in Northern Ireland is provided by the private sector (a) in urban areas and (b) in rural areas.

Mr. Tim Smith : A total of 3.59 per cent. of total occupied housing stock in Northern Ireland is privately rented. A breakdown of this figure for urban and rural areas is not available.


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Hospital Beds

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the number of hospital beds available for use in Northern Ireland for each of the years 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Mr. Ancram : The average number of available beds in Northern Ireland is shown in the table :


                                |1990-91|1991-92|1992-93        

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

Available beds in wards open                                    

  overnight                     |13,488 |12,600 |11,712         

Available beds in dedicated day                                 

  case wards                    |88     |87     |141            

                                |---    |---    |---            

  Total available beds          |13,576 |12,687 |11,853         

Ill Health

Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish details of initiatives taken by his Department to prevent ill health in the communities in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram : The regional strategy for the health and personal social services in Northern Ireland, published in November 1991, emphasises health promotion and disease prevention as the key to health gain. It sets a series of objectives and targets for a number of key areas and risk factors aimed at securing lasting improvements in the health and well-being of the population of Northern Ireland.

Firearm Certificates

Sir Jerry Wiggin : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total sum received in Northern Ireland for (a) firearm certificates and (b) shotgun certificates during 1993 or the most recent year for which figures are available.

Sir John Wheeler : In Northern Ireland, the possession of any firearm, including a shotgun, requires a firearm certificate. In 1993, the total sum received for firearm certificates was £1,118,484. It would not be possible to provide a separate figure for the cost of those firearm certificates relating solely to shotguns without incurring disproportionate cost.

Roads

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he last discussed with the Scottish Office the road networks within Scotland leading to the Port of Stranraer and facilitating access to the ports of Belfast and Larne in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Tim Smith : There have over the years been several discussions with the Scottish Office at official level about the road networks in Scotland which provide access to the Scottish ports serving Northern Ireland. There has been no recent discussion at ministerial level.


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WALES

Departmental Spending

Mr. Sweeney : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will estimate how much his Department spends in each parliamentary constituency in Wales.

Mr. Redwood : Expenditure by the Welsh Office is not held on this basis.

Hospital Closures

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what considerations led him to collect centrally information on hospital closures.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : My right hon. Friend needs to satisfy himself that public consultation on hospital closures takes place in accordance with current guidelines. To monitor this, health authorities in Wales are providing information on planned hospital closures and major service changes. All hospital closures objected to by community health councils are referred to my right hon. Friend for decision.

Planning Policy Guidance

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy that PPG 13 applies to Wales.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Planning policy guidance note 13, "Highways Considerations in Development Control", remains extant in Wales. It is under review and my right hon. Friend will be issuing revised guidance for Wales.

Engagements

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many engagements he has fulfilled in Wales since he became Secretary of State ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : Since I have been Secretary of State for Wales I have attended 222 events in Wales to date, which include official and political engagements.

Staff Commission

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements he has made for the establishment of the shadow staff commission for Wales.

Mr. Redwood : The Local Government (Wales) Bill currently before Parliament provides for the creation of a Staff Commission to advise on the steps necessary to safeguard the interests of staff and other personnel implications of local government reorganisation in Wales. The Staff Commission has been set up in shadow form today. The members are :

Sir Richard Lloyd Jones (Chairman)

Peter Bennett

Michael Roger Towers

Eleri Wynne Jones

Kevin Crowley

The commission will be funded by grant-in-aid payments. Parliamentary approval to this new service will be sought in a summer supplementary estimate for the tourism, roads and transport, housing, other environmental services, including civil defence, arts and libraries and


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health and personal social services, Wales vote--class XV, vote 5. Pending that approval, expenditure estimated at £150,000 will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund.

M4 (Congestion)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to introduce traffic management proposals to deal with congestion at the Tredegar Park interchange on the M4.

Sir Wyn Roberts : An improvement scheme, jointly funded with Gwent county council, is programmed to commence in September this year, with completion by February 1995.

Rents

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total sum of rents referred to the rent registration service for the last year for which figures are available and the total sum of rents determined as reasonable for housing benefit subsidy for the same period.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : The total sum of rents referred in 1992-93 was £113.8 million. The total sum determined as reasonable for housing benefit subsidy was £98.9 million.

School Closures

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the schools in each education authority which have been considered for closure under the Education Act 1933.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Since 1 January 1994, local education authorities have published proposals under the Education Act 1980 to close the following schools :

Tynyfelin Primary (Clwyd)

Blaenau Primary (Dyfed)

Llanddeusant Primary (Dyfed)

Mynachlogddu Primary (Dyfed)

St. Felix RC Primary (Gwent)

Maendy Primary (South Glamorgan)

Careers Service

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he will announce his plans for the implementation of the new arrangements for the delivery of the careers service in Wales.

Mr. Redwood : I am publishing today a draft prospectus setting out the suggested approach to be taken in the provision of the careers service in Wales from April 1995. This is to inform those who may wish to provide the service about my intention to invite bids through open competitive tendering.

A formal invitation to interested organisations to submit bids for the provision of the careers service will be issued shortly.

Foresty Commission Land

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list by county, hectarage and location the Forestry Commission land sold in Wales since 1 July 1993 where (a) access agreements have been concluded and (b) access agreements have not be concluded, and the price of each piece per hectare.


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Mr. Redwood : The areas of forest land in Wales sold by the Forestry Commission since 1 July 1993 are shown in the following table, which also includes those where an access agreement has been concluded. The price paid per hectare is only given where the purchaser has agreed that such information can be made public.


County and name of          |Area              |Price (£s)        |Access                               

property                    |(hectares)        |per hectare       |agreement                            

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

Clwyd                                                                                                   

Bryndethol                  |7.00              |1,900             |-                                    

Bryn y Pys                  |76.00             |-                 |-                                    

Cambrian Quarry Wood        |19.00             |-                 |-                                    

Coed Esgyufa                |6.00              |1,700             |-                                    

Coed Galltegfa              |2.00              |-                 |-                                    

Crown Wood                  |0.40              |-                 |-                                    

Graig Wen                   |13.00             |-                 |-                                    

Llwyngelli                  |10.00             |-                 |-                                    

Maes Mynach                 |10.00             |800               |-                                    

Rhydygasseg                 |6.00              |-                 |-                                    

Travellers Inn (road                                                                                    

  improvement)              |0.50              |4,300             |-                                    

Worlds End                  |84.00             |1,300             |-                                    

                                                                                                        

Dyfed                                                                                                   

Allt Cae Ffynon Wen         |3.00              |1,600             |-                                    

Allt Cilfrychen and Goredig |27.00             |-                 |-                                    

Allt Cwm Tywyll             |5.50              |1,900             |-                                    

Allt Hafod Wen              |8.00              |1,500             |-                                    

Allt Penlan Fach            |4.00              |-                 |-                                    

Allt Pistyll Dewi           |33.00             |-                 |-                                    

Allt Pwll Priddog           |19.00             |-                 |-                                    

Allt y Down and Allt Pant                                                                               

  Lleuci                    |16.00             |-                 |-                                    

Allt y Gwydre               |14.00             |-                 |<1>-                                 

Brist Coed                  |5.00              |-                 |-                                    

Cae Sarah                   |4.00              |2,300             |-                                    

Careg Fadog Wood            |6.00              |-                 |-                                    

Cefn Eithin                 |7.00              |-                 |-                                    

Coed Cae Sara               |5.00              |1,200             |-                                    

Coed Cwm Llwfog             |15.00             |-                 |-                                    

Coed Newydd, Gwastad        |48.60             |-                 |-                                    

Coed Weddus                 |4.00              |2,800             |-                                    

Cresselly Big Wood          |48.00             |-                 |-                                    

Cwm Bran Wood               |8.00              |4,100                                                   

Cwm Croiddur Wood           |7.00              |-                 |-                                    

Cwmfran Fawr                |3.00              |3,100             |-                                    

Cwmffrwd (pt)               |0.50              |-                 |-                                    

Cwm Gwachel                 |15.00             |-                 |-                                    

Factory Wood                |3.00              |-                 |<1>-                                 

Gelli Cefn y Rhos           |7.00              |1,700             |-                                    

Glebe Farm Woods            |17.00             |1,600             |-                                    

Hafod Iwan                  |32.00             |900               |-                                    

Llanerch Alder Carr         |2.40              |800               |-                                    

Maespant                    |7.00              |2,100             |-                                    

North Wood                  |27.00             |1,300             |-                                    

Quarry Wood                 |7.00              |-                 |-                                    

Rhosgeler                   |9.00              |-                 |-                                    

Taldrum                     |5.00              |-                 |<1>-                                 

Tan y Lan                   |32.50             |-                 |<1>-                                 

Tan yr Allt                 |7.00              |-                 |-                                    

Wenallt Fawr                |17.00             |1,800             |-                                    

Ystrad Einion Lea Mine      |3.80              |-                 |-                                    

                                                                                                        

Gwent                                                                                                   

Barbadoes Hill (land at)    |0.50              |8,000             |-                                    

Graig Syddi                 |28.00             |-                 |<1>-                                 

Luggas Wood and Youngs                                                                                  

  Grove                     |15.00             |-                 |-                                    

                                                                                                        

Gwynedd                                                                                                 

Braich Blaen Tafolog        |28.10             |-                 |-                                    

Bro Cymner (land at)        |0.02              |-                 |-                                    

Conwy Falls Fish Pass       |0.70              |7,500             |-                                    

Irby Plantation             |4.00              |-                 |-                                    

Parc Main                   |5.00              |-                 |-                                    

Tyn y Coed                  |16.50             |500               |-                                    

                                                                                                        

Mid Glamorgan                                                                                           

Fochriw to Deri (main                                                                                   

  sewer imp.)               |0.30              |1,700             |-                                    

Llanbradach (colliery road) |0.01              |50,000            |-                                    

                                                                                                        

Powys                                                                                                   

Craig yr Henffordd          |7.50              |2,500             |-                                    

Cwmbach/Cwmcoch             |44.00             |-                 |-                                    

Gribin                      |21.00             |3,600             |-                                    

Gwern y Bwlch Fach          |2.00              |3,100             |-                                    

Nant Ffridd Fawr            |13.00             |3,100             |-                                    

Sprigs Wood                 |6.00              |50                |-                                    

Stocking Wood               |8.00              |2,000             |-                                    

Waun Fawr                   |18.00             |3,100             |-                                    

<1>Areas of land where an access agreement has been concluded.                                          

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set out his target for the sale of Forestry Commission land in Wales in the current year and for the next five years.

Mr. Redwood : As announced in Cm 2514, "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1994-95 to 1996-97 for the Departments of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Forestry Commission", table 13.12, the commission plans to sell 15,000 hectares of forest land in Britain in each of the next three years. The proportion of this that will be sold in Wales will depend on the state of the market, particularly the demand for forest land in different parts of Britain, but the commission estimates that it will be in the region of 15 per cent. As yet, no firm plans have been made for sales in future years.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION

Indonesia

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what United Kingdom aid policy considerations underlie the changes in allocation of aid to Indonesia over the last 10 years.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The main considerations that have influenced allocations over the past 10 years include Indonesia's effective macroeconomic management and capacity to make good use of development assistance.

Burundi

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current state of security in Burundi ; and how it is affecting the delivery of aid by British relief organisations.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : There have been outbreaks of fighting in and around Bujumbura. However, we understand that aid operations are continuing with relative freedom.

Uganda

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Treasury about the development implications of the continuing debt crisis in Uganda.


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Mr. Lennox-Boyd : By long-standing convention, discussions of this nature between Departments are confidential.

Iraq

Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the amount spent on aid to Iraq (a) directly and (b) through international agencies in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The following is the information :


United Kingdom bilateral and multilateral official development  

assistance to Iraqis 1984-93                                    

                |Multilateral   |Iraqi people<2>                

                |agencies<1>                                    

                |£ million      |£ million                      

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

1984            |0.04           |-                              

1985            |0.04           |-                              

1986            |0.09           |-                              

1987            |0.07           |-                              

1988            |0.09           |-                              

1989            |0.31           |-                              

1990            |0.13           |-                              

1991            |4.80           |30.35                          

1992            |N/A            |2.33                           

1993            |N/A            |5.24                           

<1>Estimates of United Kingdom share of official development    

assistance channelled through multilateral agencies. Such       

estimates are not yet available for 1992 and 1993.              

<2>There is no bilateral official development assistance to the 

Government of Iraq. The amounts recorded as flows to Iraq are   

humanitarian assistance provided through United Nations         

agencies and NGOs to Iraqi citizens.                            

St. Helena

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of the project to develop a sustainable environment and development strategy for the island of St. Helena.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In 1993 a team comprising representatives from the royal botanic gardens, Kew and the International Institute for Environment and Development was contracted by the Overseas Development Administration to visit St. Helena with the objective of identifying and developing an environmental strategy for the island. Following the visit the consultants produced a report entitled "The St. Helena Sustainable Environmental and Development Strategy and Action Plan". The Government of St. Helena have been giving detailed consideration to the report's recommendations, and are expected to respond in the near future.

Aid and Trade

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) of 24 February, Official Report, column 390, if he will list the total aid received by each country on a per capita basis.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The information requested is contained in table E1 of the Overseas Development Administration's British Aid Statistics 1988-89 to 1992-93. A copy is available in the Library of the House.


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Banana Producers

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, what is his policy in respect of the EC providing a special package of aid to Latin American banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Kingdom has agreed to support some assistance to Latin American producers for diversification and development.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, what discussions he has had with Directorate-General VIII about the possibility of the EC providing a special package of aid to Latin American banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have had discussions with Commission staff about how the Community should respond to the needs of all banana producers.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, what representation he has received from other EC member states on the possibility of the EC providing a special package of aid to Latin American banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : None.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, if he will outline the amendments suggested by the United Kingdom to the EC proposal for aid to traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The amendments suggested by the United Kingdom will ensure funds are used to help sustain the economic viability of the industry and to promote restructuring.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, what discussions he has had with Directorate-General VIII on the amendments suggested by the United Kingdom to the EC proposal for aid to traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific banana-producing countries ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The amendments suggested by the United Kingdom are under discussion with Commission staff.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248, what discussions he has had with (a) the Prime Ministers of the Windward Islands Governments, (b) the Windward Islands Banana Growers Association and (c) the four individual banana growers' associations of the Windward Islands on the amendments made by the United Kingdom to the EC proposal for aid to traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific banana- producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : My noble Friend Baroness Chalker of Wallasey has had several discussions about the EC


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proposal and the proposed United Kingdom amendments to it with the Prime Minister of Dominica, who was speaking on behalf of the Windward Island Governments. Our development division in the Caribbean is in close contact with WINBAN and the Banana Growers' Associations. Indeed, the amendments we have proposed are based on such discussions.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 248 , what discussions he has had with other EC member states on the amendments suggested by the United Kingdom to the EC proposal for aid to traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : If the Commission agrees to incorporate the United Kingdom amendments, the revised proposal will be discussed by all member states in a working group of the EC council of Ministers.

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report , column 248 , what discussions he has had with the Commission about the likely date on which the EC aid package will be available to traditional African, Caribbean and Pacific banana-producing countries.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The ACP will be able to claim compensation for losses in the second half of 1993 as soon as the package is approved by the Council of Ministers.

Aid (Military Sales)

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to introduce legislation amending the Overseas Development and Co-operation Act 1980 to make explicitly illegal any direct or indirect linking of aid to sales of military equipment ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Overseas Development and Co-operation Act 1980 sets out the legal basis for the aid programme. It does not cover any specific areas of aid policy. We do not see any need to amend the Act to cover arms sales links. It is the Government's clear policy not to link the aid programme to arms sales.

HEALTH

Hospital and Community Health Services

Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the per capita allocation to hospital and community health services to inner London health authorities for 1993-94 ; and what are the equivalent figures for (a) Birmingham, (b) Newcastle, (c) Manchester, (d) Liverpool and (e) Leeds.

Dr. Mawhinney : It is the responsibility of regional health authorities to allocate resources to districts and information held on the total resources allocated to district health authorities in 1993-94 is not available centrally.

Expenditure Statistics

Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much is spent per capita in health services for residents in (a) London, (b) Birmingham, (c) Manchester,


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(d) Liverpool, (e) Leeds, (f) Newcastle and (g) in England as a whole ; and what proportion is spent on treatment (i) in hospital and (ii) by community services, excluding the element of cost which is attributable to medical education and research.

Dr. Mawhinney : The table gives per capita spend for 1992-93, the latest year for which expenditure data are available. The figures include non-cash-limited family health services expenditure in addition to expenditure on cash-limited hospital and community health services. Expenditure by district health authorities as purchasers of hospital and community health services is not separately identifiable in the information collected by the Department.

The figures will include some element of expenditure on research and medical education.


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