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Maternal Mortality

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the rate of maternal mortality from (a) acute respiratory infection, (b) diarrhoeal disease and (c) measles, as a proportion of total mortality in those refugee camps to which her Department provides assistance. [38643]

Clare Short: Maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organisation as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy from causes related to or aggravated by pregnancy. The leading global causes of maternal mortality are severe bleeding, infection, unsafe abortion, eclampsia and obstructed labour. It is estimated that there are 585,000 such deaths throughout the world per year. However, the death of a

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woman due to causes such as acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea disease and measles is classed as an adult death and we do not have data on adult female mortality for these causes.

Nuclear Smuggling

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aspects of the support her Department gives under the (a) Tacis, (b) Phare and (c) other assistance programmes to Eastern European and former states of the Soviet Union, are aimed at combating the smuggling of nuclear materials from these countries to (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) the EU. [38724]

Clare Short: The Phare and Tacis programmes (to which we contributed about 14.6 per cent. of their total

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expenditure of 1,750 mecu in 1997) contain nuclear safety programmes which have been used to provide advice to countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the safe handling and storage of nuclear materials, including specific provision of a nuclear materials accountancy system in the region. Assistance from Phare and Tacis has also helped to improve border controls in the region, and should have had an indirect effect on smuggling of nuclear materials into the EU. Other multilateral institutions, such as the EBRD, to whom we contribute, have some activities in the nuclear safety sector; details are not immediately available to us. Assistance in this sector is not a priority for my Department's bilateral programme of technical assistance.



Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of his officials attended conferences (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) overseas; and how many and what percentage made (i) oral and (ii) written contributions to the matters under discussion in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [31181]

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Mr. Tom Clarke: In the period 1 March 1997 to 28 February 1998, 113 of my officials attended conferences in the UK, with 18 attending conferences overseas. Forty four made oral contributions and 17 made written contributions.


Primary Care

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from GPs on the effect on the incomes of GPs of participating in primary care groups; and if he will make a statement. [39287]

Mr. Milburn: We have regular meetings with all primary health care representative bodies, and the income of general practitioners participating in primary care groups is just one among a number of issues discussed. These issues will continue to be discussed, and guidance on various financial matters will be issued in the summer. These professional bodies are supportive of this Government's initiative to develop a new National Health Service, modern and dependable.

Public Spending

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the growth in public spending between 1997-98 and 1998-99 on health and social services in England relative to the previous three year period. [38259]

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

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Government expenditure on health and personal social services (England)

£ million
199-95 outturn1995-96 outturn1996-97 outturn1997-98 estimated outturn1998-99 plans
Cash growth over previous year1,8121,3329101,5261,828
Percentage growth over previous year (cash)

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Dead Patients

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines exist concerning the length of time for removing a body from a bed in a public general ward when a patient is believed to have died. [39371]

Mr. Milburn: This is a matter for local determination. However, I would expect deceased patients to be removed from public general wards sensitively and as soon as possible.


Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses were recruited by each NHS trust and how many nurses left each trust (a) through retirement, (b) to work for a nursing agency and (c) for other reasons in (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) 1997-98. [39302]

Mr. Milburn: Information about the numbers of nurses joining and leaving National Health Service trusts is collected by the Office of Manpower Economics. A summary of the results of the Office of Manpower

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Economics survey is published each year in the report of the review body for nurses, midwives and health visitors, copies of which are in the Library.


New Deal

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the national roll-out of the New Deal. [38257]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Although it is early days, the national roll-out of the New Deal has seen an encouraging start. In the first week 2,435 Gateway interviews were held.

A good indication of how New Deal has been received is that over 2,600 young people have asked for early entry. This builds on good results from the twelve Pathfinder areas.

Government Funding (Essex)

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the total amount of

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Government funding allocated to Essex County Council for the purposes of education for 1998-99; and what amount the Council has budgeted to spend. [36486]

Mr. Byers: Government support for education spending is provided mainly through the education SSA system but these are not recommended levels of expenditure. Essex's education SSA for 1998-99 is some £497 million--an increase of some £27 million or 5.8 per cent. I understand that Essex budgeted to spend some £475 million on education in 1997-98, £5 million more than the SSA for education (allowing for local government reorganisation) and has budgeted to spend some £494 million in 1998-99 which is £3 million less than its education SSA.

Training and Enterprise Councils

(Greater London)

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the economic development initiatives currently being funded by training and enterprise councils in Greater London from their accumulated reserves; and if he will make a statement. [38372]

Dr. Howells: The information requested is given in tables, copies of which I have placed in the Library.


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to amend the Social Security (Students) Regulations 1998 to allow students who for bona fide reasons take time out from their studies to have access to state benefits. [39021]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Financial support is already available for higher education students who take time out from their studies owing to illness. In England and Wales, the Mandatory Awards Regulations provide that when a student is ill, the Local Education Authority (LEA) must continue to make payments under the award for 28 days. If a student remains ill after 28 days, the LEA has discretion to continue payments. Where a student has been absent from the course through illness for 28 weeks, he or she may apply for Income Support. At this point, the LEA support would be expected to cease. In England and Wales, the LEA also has discretion to continue support for other bona fide reasons.

In Scotland, students who are necessarily absent from their course owing to illness, but who intend to resume as soon as circumstances permit, may continue to receive maintenance from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) so long as they remain enrolled on the course.

We are considering what further action we might take on support for students forced to take time out from their studies.

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the expected debt on graduation of a student entering a three-year undergraduate course in the autumn of 1998 under (a) the Government's student tuition fees proposals and (b) the Dearing Committee's proposals assuming receipt of a full maintenance grant; and if he will make a statement. [39328]

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Dr. Howells: The maximum amount that a student can borrow will depend on the place of study, as well as the student's and his or her parents' or spouse's income. Under the Government's proposals, a student completing a three-year course outside London which began in 1998 and who took out the full loan available each year might expect to have borrowed a total of £9,355 in 1998 prices. The comparable figure under the Dearing Committee's proposals would be £8,083, assuming full implementation in 1998/99. Repayments under our proposed system will be made only when a graduate's income exceeds £10,000 a year and the level of repayments will then be linked directly to the individual's income above that amount. A graduate with an income of £17,000 per annum, for example, would make weekly repayments of about £12 a week.

Students and their families will be expected to contribute no more up front to the costs of their higher education under our proposals than they would under the current arrangements. Our proposals will ensure that students have access to the funds which they need while they are studying while generating substantial additional resources for investment in higher and further education.

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