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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 7 June 2005


Student Finance

The Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (Bill Rammell): I am announcing today the terms of reference for a review of higher education student finance delivery, which will be conducted by my Department:

The review will also consider the future role of the Student Loans Company in improved delivery arrangements and its status and mission.


Home Oxygen Service

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Jane Kennedy): Following extensive discussion and consultation with healthcare professionals, patients and their representatives, and the oxygen service industry, I am announcing today that four companies have won
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contracts, following competitive tender, to provide the home oxygen service in 10 national health service home oxygen service regions in England. The four companies are Air Products, the British Oxygen Company, Allied Oxycare/Medigas and Linde. This is a five-year contract, with an option to renew for a further two years. The overall annual cost of the new service is some £49 million.

NHS patients will have access to an improved service, including for the first time portable or ambulatory oxygen systems.

There are other improvements offering better choice and access to better services through a range of technically advanced oxygen equipment that will meet the needs of individual patients, with expert advice and support on its use on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis. The new service will start later this year.



The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): Today I am laying a Command Paper before Parliament detailing the Government's response to the report by the International Development Committee titled, "Darfur, Sudan: The responsibility to protect".

Departmental Report

The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): I am today laying before Parliament the Department for International Development's departmental report 2005.


The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): In response to the revised Humanitarian Appeal launched by the Government of Ethiopia on 4 May 2005, the Department for International Development (DFID) will make a contribution of £5 million to assist the poor in life threatening situations. This is in addition to £1 million contributed through UNICEF in response to the initial December 2004 appeal.

This is also in addition to the UK's commitment to provide £70 million over the next three years to Ethiopia's Productive Safety Nets programme, designed to provide predictable support for the estimated 5 million people in regular need of emergency assistance, and to tackle the underlying problems of food insecurity in Ethiopia.