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Drug Rehabilitation

Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many drug detoxification and rehabilitation centres there are in each English county; and if he will make a statement. [107795]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 February 2000]: The information requested is not available centrally. However, agencies offering a range of specialist services for drug misusers are listed in the directory "Drug Problems: where to get help", published in 1998 by the Standing Conference On Drug Abuse (SCODA). I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Library.

Nurse Training

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many single parents are in training to become nurses. [107647]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 February 2000]: The information requested is not held centrally. Of the 23,410 students currently paid a National Health Service Bursary by the NHS Student Grants Unit (SGU), 1,006 (4.3 per cent.) are in receipt of the single parent addition. Older students (those aged 26 years and over), who are also single parents, may opt to receive the older students' allowance rather than the single parent addition, as this may be more favourable.

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students are currently completing an access to nursing course; and how many of those students are single parents. [107648]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 February 2000]: The number of students undertaking an access to nursing course in 1997-98 was 1,038.

No information is held on whether students are single parents.



    Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 'Key Statistics' 1999.

Obesity

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to reduce the levels of obesity in England. [107966]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 February 2000]: We have made heart disease, stroke and cancer key areas of action in our health strategy, "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation". The White Paper indicates the significance of physical activity, nutrition and healthy weight management in reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke and some cancers.

Obesity results from an excess of energy intake over energy expenditure. Therefore, we have spent over £700,000 on healthy eating campaigns aimed at the general population in this financial year. We have also

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spent £9 million over the last three years on "Active for Life" to promote the health benefits of physically active lifestyles. Furthermore, in 1999 we funded the BBC's campaign "Fighting Fat, Fighting Fit" and financed the Faculty of Public Health Medicine's guidance "Tackling Obesity" aimed at primary care health promotion practitioners. The role of obesity in the development of heart disease will also be addressed in the forthcoming National Service Framework on coronary heart disease.

We are now considering further options for improving dietary habits, including increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Correspondence

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter of 23 September 1999 from the right hon. Member for North-East Hampshire regarding a constituent, Mrs. Horton. [108229]

Yvette Cooper: I replied to the right hon. Member on 31 January.

Dentistry

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) of 24 January 2000, Official Report, column 107W, on dentistry, what is the latest date by which he expects to publish the NHS dental strategy. [108639]

Mr. Hutton: The Government's strategy for modernising National Health Service dentistry in England will be published when it is complete and fully reflects all our proposals. We expect this to be soon.

Beta-interferon

Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those trusts and primary care groups which do not routinely pay for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis to receive Beta-interferon when that is the drug recommended by the patients' physicians. [108449]

Ms Stuart: Information about local policies on the treatment of multiple sclerosis is not available centrally. Any such policies should be agreed by the health authorities, primary care groups, trusts and clinicians concerned, and should provide for individual cases to be considered on their merits in the light of the evidence available on different forms of treatment.

We have asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to conduct an authoritative appraisal of the evidence on Beta-interferon, as part of its first work programme. NICE guidance is expected to be issued to the National Health Service by August 2000.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Research Contracts

Dr. Harris: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 6 December 1999, Official Report, column 398W, on

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departmental research contracts, if he will place a copy of the standard research contract in use by his Department in the Library. [107102]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 1 February 2000]: The standard form of contract currently used, by the Lord Chancellor's Department, for the commissioning of research has been placed in the Library. It should be noted that while all the Department's research contracts are based upon this format each individual contract is tailored to suit the research being commissioned.

TREASURY

Debt Relief (Sudan)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taken to link debt relief and the resolution of conflict in Sudan. [108135]

Mr. Timms: To qualify for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, countries must face an unsustainable debt burden beyond traditional debt-relief mechanisms and must establish a track record of reform and sound policies through IMF- and World Bank-supported programmes.

Last year the IMF Board, with UK supporting, agreed to lift the declaration of non-cooperation with Sudan: the first step in the process for the country to get back on track in its relations with the International Financial Institutions. The IMF though stressed that economic development was not possible without peace and urged the authorities to work towards finding a solution. A further review of the country's record under the IMF Staff Managed Programme will take place later this year.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with G7 countries on Sudan's debt problem. [108147]

Mr. Timms: To qualify for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, countries must face an unsustainable debt burden beyond traditional debt-relief mechanisms and must establish a track record of reform and sound policies through IMF and World Bank-supported programmes.

Last year the IMF Board agreed, with UK supporting, to lift the declaration of non-cooperation with Sudan: the first step in the process for the country to get back on track in its relations with the IMF. The next stage in the process will be a further review later this year when the country's record will be assessed with a view to terminating the suspension of Sudan's voting rights.

Gold Reserves

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was (a) the price at which the Bank of England sold gold from the reserves in the past 12 months, (b) the total amount of these sales proceeds which was invested in the purchase of euros and (c) the price at which the euros were purchased. [108293]

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the sterling value was of each of the sales of gold from the reserves at the time of sale in the last 12 months; and if he will list (a) the amount of euros purchased with the resulting funds and (b) the dates of purchase. [108446]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Members to the answers I gave the hon. Members for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) and for Louth and Horncastle (Sir P. Tapsell) on 13 December 1999, Official Report, column 76W.

Haulage Industry

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will commission research on the impact of the provisions of the 1999 Budget on the haulage industry; [108452]

Mr. Timms: Since the last Budget, the Government have been working closely with representatives of the haulage industry and unions through the Road Haulage Forum to assess the competitiveness of the UK haulage industry. The forum has conducted research in a wide range of areas, and will continue to monitor the many factors affecting the competitive position of UK hauliers, including their spending costs and total tax burden. I have attended two meetings of the Forum since July and met members of it on other occasions.

In addition to our discussions in the Road Haulage Forum, we have received a number of representations from the haulage industry and other interested parties across the UK. These will all be given careful consideration in the context of the Chancellor's Budget judgment.


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