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Performance-related Pay

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the results of the recent LSE study into performance-related pay in the Civil Service; and if he will make a statement. [3660]

Dr. David Clark: The LSE study into performance-related pay looks at only one Department, that of the Inland Revenue. The study was sponsored by the Public Services Tax and Commerce Union and covers perceptions about performance management and performance pay amongst 1,200 of the Inland Revenue's 55,000 staff. The study is not yet complete and has not been released. I am therefore unable to comment on it at this stage. If the study does raise issues of general staff concern, the Inland Revenue, as a good employer, will discuss these with the staff and trade unions involved.

HEALTH

NHS Spending (Managers' Salaries)

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of NHS spending is absorbed by managers' salaries. [3700]

Mr. Milburn: The information requested is given in the table:

1995-96
Salaries and wages--General and senior managers£789,507,000
As percentage of total salaries and wages5.28 per cent.
As percentage of total revenue expenditure3.30 per cent.

Source:

Financial returns of health authorities and National Health Service trusts.

Notes:

(5) Information is provisional.

(6) Salaries and wages figures are based upon gross costs and include Employers National Insurance and Superannuation costs.

(7) The figures given are for hospital and community health services only. Family health services authorities and other health bodies are excluded as comparable figures are not collect centrally.


Obesity

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for tackling levels of obesity and obesity-related illnesses in the United Kingdom. [3515]

Ms Jowell: Tackling obesity is a particularly challenging problem. "The Health of the Nation" target is to reduce the percentages of men and women aged 16 to 64 who are obese 6 per cent. for men and 8 per cent. for women by 2005. However in 1995 15 per cent. of men and 16.5 per cent. of women were obese, highlighting the gravity of the problem. Obesity is a long-term problem and needs a long-term strategy. We will continue to

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support the action on obesity and obesity-related illness initiated by the Nutrition Task Force and the Physical Activity Task Force which addresses:


We also recognise how important a balanced diet is for giving young people a healthy start in life. This is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has recently proposed the introduction of nutrition standards for inclusion in school meals contracts.

Fluoridisation

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about fluoridisation of water; and if he will make a statement. [4063]

Mr. Milburn: None.

Asthma

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for health what was the incidence of asthma (a) in the Colchester parliamentary constituency and (b) nationally in each year since 1987. [4178]

Ms Jowell: According to the available data provided by North Essex Health Authority, the number of in-patient finished consultant episodes for asthma, for people whose home address was in Colchester, was as follows:


1996-97 is a forecast figure as data are only available until end of February 1997. Nationally, there are no comprehensive data on the number of people with asthma.

According to data collected by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the mean weekly incidence of new GP episodes of asthma per 100,000 population in England for each year since 1987 was as follows:


Food Additives

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of food additives in use in the United Kingdom are (a) proven and (b) suspected animal carcinogens, teratogens or both; and if he will make a statement. [2635]

Ms Jowell: Food additives are not included in permitted lists unless there is a technological need for them and they are considered safe-in-use. Currently, a

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number of regulations made under the United Kingdom's Food Safety Act 1990 control the use of food additives, which are approved through the European Commission's Scientific Committee for Food (SCF). Safety is the paramount consideration and positive evidence of this, including the results of specified toxicological tests, is required before approval is given. Known human carcinogens or teratogens are not permitted for use as food additives.

It is not possible to give a percentage of additives which may have been suspected of being carcinogenic or teratogenic in animals, nor are internationally agreed classification systems available that permit the categorisation of food additives as proven animal carcinogens or teratogens.

Research into food additives is kept under constant review and if any adverse evidence should come to light the SCF would be asked to reconsider their advice.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Jubilee 2000

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has received from Jubilee 2000; and if she will make a statement. [3807]

Clare Short: Jubilee 2000 have been in touch with me on a number of occasions, most recently on 11 June, when I met representatives of the Debt Crisis Network to discuss their latest proposal for reducing the debts of the poorest countries.

I welcome the efforts of the Debt Crisis Network, and other non-governmental organisations, in raising awareness in the UK and elsewhere of the debt problems faced by many developing countries. We share a common objective--the eradication of poverty in developing countries. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt initiative, which aims to reduce the debts of qualifying countries to affordable levels, will play an important part in helping to achieve this. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I shall be pressing for early and flexible implementation of this initiative in the appropriate fora, such as this week's G7 Summit in Denver.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Tom King: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time persons employed by her Department and its agencies are paid (i) less than £4 an hour, (ii) less than £3.50 an hour and (iii) less than £3 an hour. [4197]

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Clare Short: The table provides the figures requested:

Numbers earning less than £4.00 per hourNumbers earning less than £3.50 per hourNumbers earning less than £3.00 per hour
Full-time2721Nil
Part-time31Nil

Kenya

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what development assistance is being provided by the government to Kenya in the current year. [4040]

Clare Short: Development assistance is being provided for a range of activities, in particular those which will improve access by the poor to essential health services and basic education and increase incomes of smallholder farmers and the urban poor. Support for the Government of Kenya's economic reform programme is also being provided to fulfil a commitment made by the previous British Government. Total bilateral aid expenditure is expected to be about £30 million in the 1997-98 financial year.

Women (Rights and Status)

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the progress made in respect of the rights and status of women since the 4 UN World Conference on Women in 1995. [3755]

Clare Short: The Beijing Conference was a landmark for gender equality. We are building on the progress previously noted in the development section of the UK's National Report published by DfEE last November, copies of which were placed in the Library of the House. We assess and address inequalities between women and men, girls and boys in relation to all the strategic objectives established in the Beijing Platform for Action. Progress has included more systematic tackling of gender inequalities as part of all our development co-operation activities. We have also increased the number of focused initiatives to enhance women's empowerment and strengthened our dialogue with multilateral organisations. I will outline future plans in my speech at the Commonwealth Institute later this month.


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