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Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will assess the evidence for proscribing Supporters of Sharia under the Terrorism Act 2000; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Blunkett: Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000 applies only to those terrorist organisations which are 'concerned in terrorism' as defined under Section 3 of the Act. Decisions to proscribe and deproscribe are and will continue to be taken only after the most careful consideration and on the basis of the best possible security and other appropriate advice. Any evidence which my hon. Friend feels would be of assistance in aiding the process should be supplied to my Department immediately.
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Mr. Blunkett: None. However, the police, who are responsible for the investigation of any alleged illegal activity, have been meeting regularly with their United States counterparts to discuss a range of issues including those companies or organisations where concerns have been raised.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many refugees have sought to enter the UK from (a) Iran, (b) Iraq and (c) Afghanistan since January; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: It is not possible to provide information on how many refugees have sought to enter the United Kingdom in any given period, because some refugees arrive clandestinely and subsequently claim asylum in- country rather than claiming on arrival at United Kingdom ports, and because not all attempts to enter the United Kingdom are successful. Information on the numbers of applications for asylum to the United Kingdom in 2001 from nationals of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan is provided in the table.
All data are provisional, exclude dependants, and are rounded to nearest 5.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will estimate the total annual running costs for buildings used, owned or rented by his Department for each nation and region of the UK, and estimate the average cost per sq m for properties used by his Department as a whole, and by region and nation of the UK. 
Mr. MacShane: Within the UK, the FCO currently occupies, or partly occupies, seven properties, all located in England. The total internal letting area for these is 90,000 sq m. Total running costs (including the capital charge) in 200001 were £22.4 million. Average cost per sq m was £249.
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those British citizens held in foreign jails for which consular support has been requested, by (a) name, (b) country of imprisonment and (c) date of imprisonment. 
The welfare of British nationals in prison overseas is one of our key concerns. Although we cannot get prisoners released, we do whatever we can to ensure their human rights are protected. We work closely with NGOs and human rights organisations to ensure that their rights are respected.
Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for South-West Surrey concerning variations in levels of revenue funding for hospices. 
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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 October 2001]: We have met three companies in the light of the points made in the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's provisional appraisal determination and are planning further discussions.
Mr. Hutton: At the end of August 2001, 1,076 patients had been waiting more than 26 weeks for an out-patient appointment after being referred by a general practitioner to a hospital trust in Lancashire. This represents a 41.3 per cent. reduction compared with August 2000. Plans are in place to eliminate all over 26-week waits by the end of March 2002.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information or guidance he has issued during the past two months to NHS trust chairmen on (a) the purchasing of health care from other EU countries and (b) employing staff from other EU countries on short-term contracts; 
(3) what negotiations he has had during the past two months with suppliers of health care in other EU countries offering to treat patients abroad. 
Mr. Milburn [holding answer 15 October 2001]: On 12 July the European Court of Justice ruled on joined cases C-157/99 Geraets-Smits and Peerbooms and case C-368/98 Vanbraekel that some hospital services may fall within EC single market rules if they are provided for remuneration.
Following this ruling, the Government announced that National Health Service commissioners will be able to commission care for NHS patients from providers in other member states of the European Union, as part of their wider efforts to reduce waiting times.
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I have not had any negotiations with suppliers of health care in other EU countries offering to treat NHS patients. Officials in the Department have met several organisations which provide or arrange treatment in other member states of the European Union.
The decision to treat NHS patients in mainland Europe will be made locally as part of normal NHS commissioning arrangements. The Department has not signed any contracts and is not aware of any contracts that have been signed by primary care trusts or health authorities. The Department is working closely with NHS managers and clinicians in Portsmouth, East Kent, West Sussex and East Surrey to offer patients the option of going to other European countries for procedures. Lessons learned from these areas on the legal, clinical and quality issues involved in sending NHS patients abroad for treatment will inform guidance, which will be sent out to the service later this year.
The recruitment of staff from the EU is an important part of the Department's recruitment and retention strategy and we are currently undertaking a range of initiatives, including the recruitment of doctors and nurses from Spain and doctors through our global recruitment campaign. A Code of Practice on International Recruitment was launched on 12 October which sets out for the NHS guidelines on the ethical and effective recruitment of staff from abroad.
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