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Developing Nations

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what actions are being taken by his Department to help developing nations to manage their own economies effectively. [17033]

Hilary Benn: Countries can only eliminate poverty, and make lasting improvements in delivery of basic services, if they generate sustainable economic growth. Supporting good economic management is therefore a top priority for development assistance.

Donor assistance is most effective when it supports policies which are developed by the partner government. DFID and other donors therefore encourage partner countries to develop national poverty reduction plans, with a strong focus on growth and on good management of public finances. 70 countries now have plans, or are in the process of preparing them. DFID supports such plans with financial aid, and through the provision of expert advice where countries request this.

Famine Relief

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has given (a) Mali, (b) Bukina Faso and (c) Mauritania for famine relief in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [16908]

Hilary Benn: 175,000 children under the age of five in Mali, and 57,000 vulnerable people in Burkina Faso are receiving emergency feeding with DFID support. DFID sent a humanitarian assessment team to both countries in the second week of August to complement our close monitoring of the regional nutritional crisis and to identify how DFID might best respond. As a result, we have provided $1.2 million (£675,000) to support the relief efforts in the two countries. $1 million is supporting the World Food Programme's (WFP) emergency operation in Mali, and $200,000 to support the Catholic Relief Services' work in Burkina Faso.

These allocations bring the total amount of DFID funding for the countries of the Sahel region, including Niger, to £3.925 million. In Mauritania, nutritional surveys undertaken by partners have not revealed a significant crisis. The WFP has a three year feeding operation there which is funded sufficiently well to cope with the immediate and imminent need. We are actively verifying whether current responses continue to be sufficient in the countries of the region. If we find that this is not the case, we will respond.


Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions he had with the Government of (a) Mexico, (b) Guatemala and (c) El Salvador about providing assistance (i) to the relief operation and (ii) reconstruction to those who have been affected by the recent mud slides; [18251]
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(2) what assistance the UK Government has provided to the countries of Central America following the recent mud slides. [18252]

Mr. Thomas: The impact of hurricane Stan, bringing heavy rains affecting the entire region from Mexico to Costa Rica has led to overflowing rivers, flooding of low-lying areas as well as landslides creating loss of life and severe difficulties for many rural communities in Guatemala and El Salvador. Some communities in El Salvador were also affected by the eruption of the Santa Ana volcano on 1 October 2005.

The worst affected countries are Guatemala and El Salvador. In both countries the National Emergency Response agencies are providing food, water and basic relief items. The European Community Humanitarian Office has already contributed approximately £1.2 million for emergency relief in El Salvador and Guatemala. At present, our focus is in supporting the immediate relief effort. DFID is providing some £460,000 to this, including our share of the European Community assistance.

Oil Extraction

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact on developing countries of the extraction of oil in those countries, in terms of (a) their economies and (b) climate change; and if he will make a statement. [17888]

Hilary Benn: Some developing countries highly dependant on the revenues from oil exhibit high levels of corruption, conflict, environmental degradation and poverty. But this is not inevitable. Oil can and should make a major contribution to poverty reduction and sustained economic growth, if it is managed wisely and the revenues earned used properly and fairly. For this reason, the UK Government set up and now takes the lead on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This provides assistance to countries and companies seeking to increase the transparency of payments by oil, gas and mining companies and revenues received by host governments. Progress has already been made, for example, in Azerbaijan, the first audited reports have been published and are being discussed by the Azeri people.

The causes of climate change are largely due to the use of fossil fuels in industrialised countries. These countries have the primary responsibility to reduce their own emissions of energy related, greenhouse gases and lead by example. The UK is acting to reduce emissions, both nationally and internationally. We have set demanding domestic targets to cut emissions and expand the use of renewable energy and are also working to promote international agreement on a global framework to tackle climate change to follow the Kyoto protocol in 2012. Through our G8 and EU presidency initiatives on climate change, we are promoting a new international dialogue on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development and agreed a range of measures to help developing countries adopt more efficient, lower carbon energy technologies.
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Acute Hospital (North Bristol)

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what land value per acre was assumed by North Bristol NHS Trust for (a) the Frenchay site and (b) the Southmead site in preparing its plans for a new acute hospital in North Bristol; and if she will make a statement. [17035]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 13 October 2005]: The Department does not hold this information. This is a matter for the trust.

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many inpatient beds there were at (a) Frenchay hospital and (b) Southmead hospital in each of the last five years; and how many in-patient beds will be provided at the proposed new acute hospital on the Southmead site. [17036]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 13 October 2005]: The Department does not hold figures for in-patient beds by hospitals. However, figures for North Bristol National Health Service Trust are available on the Department's website at:

Figures for in-patient beds to be provided at the proposed new acute hospital on the Southmead site are not held centrally.

Alzheimer's Disease

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice she has received from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence concerning the availability of drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease on the national health service; and what cost benefit analysis underpinned that advice. [16984]

Jane Kennedy: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its initial advice on drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in 2001. NICE is currently reviewing this guidance. Details of the methodologies used by NICE, including the cost benefits analysis methodology, are available on its website at

Cancer Treatment

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to improve cancer treatment waiting times in East Sussex; and what Government targets have been set for cancer treatment in East Sussex for 2005–06. [17289]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 13 October 2005]: The NHS Cancer Plan sets out our strategy to improve cancer services throughout England, including East Sussex. There are two Government targets for cancer treatment, both concerning waiting times. They are that there is a maximum 31-day wait from diagnosis of cancer to start of treatment, and a maximum 62-day wait from urgent referral for suspected cancer to first treatment. These targets must be achieved from the end of December 2005.
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