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World Trade Rules

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the proposals put forward by non-governmental organisations in the development and environmental sectors to reform the world trade rules. [15733]

Clare Short: Prior to the 4th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), we undertook extensive consultation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We intend to continue this dialogue.

Hurricane Michelle

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department has offered to the Caribbean countries hit by Hurricane Michelle. [14737]

Clare Short: We have been following closely the impact of Hurricane Michelle. Following an appeal for international assistance from the Government of Honduras, we have approved three proposals from NGO's (Tearfund, Save the Children Fund and Care International UK) amounting to £372,010. The Government of Cuba have not made an official request for international assistance. However, a joint Government of Cuba and United Nations interagency assessment mission to the affected areas is expected to report their findings shortly.

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We await that report. In the meantime we stand ready to assess any appeals for assistance from international organisations or project proposals from NGOs for Cuba.

Doha Conference

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussion there was in Doha about the impact of the patent system on health systems in developing countries; and which proposals for reform she supported. [16063]

Clare Short: The Doha Ministerial discussed the relationship between the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS) and public health; the freedom to determine the grounds upon which compulsory licences for patented drugs can be granted; the right to determine what constitutes a national emergency; the freedom to establish a regime for the exhaustion of intellectual property rights; and how countries with insufficient or no pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity can make effective use of the compulsory licensing provisions.

I welcome and fully support the proposals in the Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health and the World Trade Organisation's (WTO's) effort to ensure the TRIPS Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of public health. I also supported the move to allow Least Developed Countries until 2016 to implement TRIPS provisions with regard to pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the Government are committed to working to help the TRIPS Council find a meaningful solution to help countries with insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector make effective use of compulsory licensing by the end of 2002, as agreed in the declaration.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the outcome of the WTO conference in Doha with respect to developing countries. [16068]

Clare Short: The Ministerial Declaration from the WTO meeting in Doha made strong commitments to the interests of developing countries. The Ministerial resulted in agreement on the need to reduce subsidies and barriers to trade in agriculture, manufacturing and services, which could potentially produce enormous benefits for developing countries. The agreement on TRIPS recognised the need for a flexible interpretation of TRIPS to enable developing countries to protect public health. The challenge now is to ensure that these commitments become a reality.

Generic Drugs

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to encourage increased access of developing countries to generic drugs. [16064]

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Clare Short: Poor people need better access to medicines at affordable prices. We are committed to working with industry and the international community to bring this about.

In many cases, increased access to generic drugs will be the most appropriate way to improve health outcomes. 90 per cent. of the drugs on the World Health Organisation's Essential Drug List are generics. Most tried and tested drugs for TB and malaria, for example, do not have patent protection and can be generically produced. We will continue to work for and encourage increased access to such medicines.

In other cases, essential medicines are covered by patent protection. Such protection is necessary in order to create incentives for research and development into future treatments. We fully support the Doha Ministerial declaration on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and public health and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)'s efforts to ensure the TRIPS agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members' rights to protect public health.

A key aim of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria—to which the UK has pledged US$200 million—will be to finance increased coverage of both patented and off-patent generic drugs and medicines.


Individual Learning Accounts

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the future of individual learning accounts. [18829]

Estelle Morris: On Friday 23 November the Department for Education and Skills called in police to investigate new allegations of fraud and theft involving individual learning accounts. Officers from the Department's Special Investigations Unit had discovered irregularities on Thursday after being contacted by an ILA provider. On Friday afternoon, the ILA programme was shut down immediately, two weeks earlier than the planned suspension from December 7, as set out in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen), on 25 October 2001.

I do recognise the impact this decision will have on learners and learning providers and I am taking steps to keep them informed about developments.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when her Department was first notified of possible fraud related to individual learning accounts. [17484]

John Healey: The first individual learning account provider to have been suspended because of complaints about alleged fraud was on 25 June 2001. The Department, on 11 June 2001, received the first letter in relation to this particular case. From July of this year the Department received an increasing number of similar complaints from individuals and local trading standards officers.

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Pupil Exclusions

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils have been excluded by (a) constituency and (b) local education authority in each year since 1991. [16966]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 22 November 2001]: The available information on permanent exclusions by local education authority area has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Information on permanent exclusions at Parliamentary Constituency level could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The latest permanent exclusions data were published in a Statistical Bulletin "Permanent Exclusions from Maintained Schools, England 1999/2000" on 16 November, copies of which are available from the Library, or alternatively can be accessed from the Department for Education and Skills statistical website statistics

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Departmental Staff

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will estimate the number of staff employed by her Department by region and nation of the UK; and if she will make a statement. [6858]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office on 15 October 2001, Official Report, columns 1009–12W.

Higher Education

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding was given to the higher education sector in each year since 1990 (a) in total and (b) per student; and what the forecasted yearly expenditure is for the next three years. [9592]

Margaret Hodge: The available data for England are shown in the following tables. Universities also receive public funding from the research grants, the national health service and other Government Departments.

Publicly planned funding for higher education institutions in England
£ million(1) (Cash)

HE recurrent grant and contribution to fees £ million3,6793,9764,2914,5594,696
Other funding not included above
Access funds and bursaries2323242728
Grants, loans(2), student support (inc. admin)(3)2,0362,6152,9072,6882,417
Funding per FTE student(4)5,3005,0604,9004,8304,750

£ million(1) (Cash)

HE recurrent grant and contribution to fees £ million4,6054,6644,8105,0035,172
Other funding not included above
Access funds and bursaries2222398287
Grants, loans(2), student support (inc. admin)(3)2,3822,3952,3441,7621,614
Funding per FTE student(4)4,5804,5804,7004,8104,860

£ million(1) (Cash)

HE recurrent grant and contribution to fees £ million5,4555,6645,900
Other funding not included above
Access funds and bursaries9697101
Grants, loans(2), student support (inc. admin)(3)1,5711,6091,655
Funding per FTE student(4)5,0205,1405,290

(1) Unit funding is based on HEFCE/TTA recurrent grant and plus tuition fees, divided by the number of full time equivalent students. It excludes capital, funding for widening access and all student support.

(2) This includes capital to 1997 which was included in the unit funding calculation, and earmarked capital from 1999–2000 which is excluded from the unit cost calculation. It includes funding via HEFCE for research infrastructure, but excludes the funding for research amounting to around over £1 billion from JIF/SRIF.

(3) Resource costs of student loans including hardship loans.

(4) Also includes British Academy and DFES HE Innovations Fund. Outturn figures drop after 1997–98 due to the change from the "old" grant based system of student support to the current loan based system.

(5) Figures are rounded to nearest £10.

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Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how she defines higher education for the purposes of the Government's target for 18 to 30-year-olds experiencing higher education by the end of this decade. [14542]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 November 2001]: This is the first time any Government have set a long-term participation target in Higher Education, so we are currently examining the data to ensure we provide a proper and appropriate base from which to consider progress. We shall shortly announce the results.

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