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Written Answers

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 7 May 1998

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Written Answers

Thursday, 7th May 1998.

Sierra Leone Coup

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have any information on the alleged involvement of Sandline International in the coup in Sierra Leone. [HL1775]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in another place by the Foreign Secretary on 6 May in response to a Private Notice Question tabled by Mr. Michael Howard MP (Official Report, cols. 721–731).

Sudan: Humanitarian Aid

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will consider providing resources to organisations willing to take humanitarian aid to people in need in Sudan in areas not served by United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan. [HL1740]

The needs of the most vulnerable groups are paramount wherever they are in Sudan. Proposals from non-governmental organisations are considered for areas not covered by United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan provided those organisations are experienced at working in complex humanitarian emergencies and are able to work in Sudan without favouring any of the factions involved.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will prevail upon the Government of Sudan to allow access by humanitarian aid organisations to all those parts of Sudan where people are suffering from lack of food and medical supplies. [HL1741]

We take every opportunity to press all parties to the conflict on the need for non-governmental organisations and other humanitarian agencies to have full and unimpeded humanitarian access. This was reinforced by the United Nations Secretary General at the peace talks between the Sudanese Government and the main southern faction which took place in Nairobi on 2–5 May. We welcome the Government of Sudan's recent agreement to allow more relief flights to southern Sudan.

Sudan: Aid Programme

asked Her Majesty's Government:What support they give to Operation Lifeline Sudan; and whether they have increased that support during the current emergency in southern Sudan. [HL1702]

We support Operation Lifeline Sudan through the annual United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal process. We were the first country to respond to the 1998 Sudan appeal when we pledged £4 million in February. Nearly £3 million of this has already been given to the Save the Children Fund, Medecins sans Frontiéres, World Vision and the World Food Programme. In addition, nearly £500,000 million of food aid has been allocated through the EC as well as £1.25 million through the EC's 1998 Sudan programme. We remain ready to provide more and are maintaining close contact with United Nations bodies and international NGOs about future needs.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What food aid commitments they have made for the current year for southern Sudan; and through which international agencies they have made such commitments. [HL1703]

We have already given the World Food Programme (WFP) £1.9 million this year for their programme in Sudan and have also given nearly £500,000 through the EC. We are in contact with the WFP about additional needs which will arise if access to those at risk in Bahr E1 Ghazal improves.

Sudan: Food Needs

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their estimate of the number of displaced people in southern Sudan who are unable to meet their food needs now; and what they estimate that figure will be in six months' time. [HL1704]

The total number of displaced people is difficult to establish as there is constant movement of people. The UN estimate that some 350,000 are affected by the current crisis, with a significant proportion of this group—mostly those displaced by fighting—in need of urgent assistance. The total group being targeted for assistance this year is 720,000. It is impossible to predict how many will be unable to meet their food needs in six months' time.

Bosnia: Arms Industry

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they consider the development, as alleged by Bosnian radio (Sarajevo) on 3 April, by the Turkish government in co-operation with the Bosniaks of a "special purpose [military] industry" in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be in keeping with the purposes of the Dayton Agreement. [HL1623]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

We have no information on the "special purpose [military] industry" to which the noble Lord refers. The Dayton Peace Agreement does not prevent Bosnia and Herzegovina from having an arms industry but we are determined to ensure that all parties meet their arms control obligations. There has been great progress in this area.

Ascension Island: Civilian Flights

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 19 February

(WA 51), what was the outcome of the "round of negotiations … scheduled to take place before Easter" on the subject of opening up Wideawake airfield on Ascension Island to civilian aircraft. [HL1678]

A further round of talks on opening up Wideawake Airfield to civil aircraft took place on 27 March when British and American officials met in Washington. The discussions were productive and both sides agreed on how to carry forward work on an agreement to permit civil use of Wideawake Airfield.

Sierra Leone: Detainees

asked Her Majesty's Government:What information they have received from the British High Commission in Freetown about the number of people detained, or charged with offences, arising out of their alleged complicity with the paramilitary regime in Sierra Leone. [HL1655]

In view of the difficulties within Sierra Leone it is impossible for our High Commission staff to compile a full list of detainees. We understand that some 2,000 are being detained, of whom 59 (listed below) have been charged with treason, murder or arson.We have taken every opportunity to raise human rights issues with the Government of Sierra Leone since President Kabbah's return to Freetown on 10 March. Our High Commissioner has emphasised to him the need to restore full respect for human rights, and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Lloyd, raised this very subject with President Kabbah when he took part in a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group mission to Freetown on 31 March.59 People Accused of Treason, Murder and Arson

First Set—Adjourned to 6 May 1998
Victor Foh MP and 21 others
Steven Cathy BioBrother to ex-Head of State, businessman, arms dealer
Gipu Felix GeorgeEx-Director General SLBS
John Ajina SesayFormer Footballer
Denneis Ayodele SmithEx-Producer SLBS
Oliver MensahEx-Presenter SLBS
Mohamed Alikali BanguraUnder SOS Trade

First Set—Adjourned to 6 May 1998

Darlinda Lebbie
Hassan BarrieUnder SOS Energy & Power
Victor BrandonSOS Dev. & Econ. Planning
Dennis K. KamaraUnder SOS Mines
Sheik Abu Bakarr NabieMuslim Priest
Ahmad Charid DurnbuyaAppointed General Manager
N.P.A. by AFRC
Winston Crowther
Sorie Alieu Fofana
Claude V. M. CampbellBarrister
Samuel Sampha Sesay
Umaru Deen SesaySOS Youths & Sports
Bai Hinga Kuraray Bangura
Gibril MassaquoiEx RUF Colonel
Tommy Anthony Patrick
Sheku A. T. BayoSec. to President Kabbah

Second Set-Adjourned to 7 May 1998

Ajibola Manley SpaineAFRC Attorney-General
Dr. Bailar LeighSOS Health
David BanguraUnder SOS Foreign Affairs
Dr. Maltida KingUnder SOS Health
Alhaji Ibrahim KargboEx-Imam, Temne Mosque, Oldfield Street
Saidu Daniel Bangura
Hamid Abdul KamaraEx-Secretary to the Chairman AFRC
Hilton FyleEx-BBC Presenter, FM WBIG +
AFRC Propagandist
Alieu Badara KamaraAFRC Spokesman
Joseph Saidu MomohEx-President of Sierra Leone
Ibrahim Ben KargboJournalist. Appointed Chairman
NCDHR by AFRC
Pastor Victor AjisafieNigerian so-called Clergyman
John Tommy
Eric Kwaku Dixon

Third Set-Adjourned to 8 May 1998

Brigadier (RTD) LymonSOS Internal Affairs
Abdul Salaam WilliamsUnder Secretary for Labour
Dr. Christian KargboBank Governor (AFRC)
Kaifen KallayBank Secretary, Bank of Sierra Leone
Harry Benjamin Alpha
William BanguraEx-Foreign Affairs Officer
Ms Winnifred Cummings
Ms Nancy SteelCity Councillor (AFRC)
Dr. Willie TaylorDir. of Bank of SL
Mr. Edward Akar(Barrister) and Bank Dir., Bank of SL
Ms Mabinti Scott
Abdul K. Sankoh
Ms Mayilla YansanehAFRC Propagandist and State House Official
Alim Jalloh JamboriaChairman, Roads Authority (AFRC)
Samuel Sannie SesayManaging Director Lotto (AFRC)
Lawrence Lamin
Major (Rtd.) Eben Victor Coker
Bishop Alpha Omega Bundu
Mohamed Basiru Savage
Mohamed Daramy
Ibrahim Foday Sesay
Philipson Sankoh
Ms Kainde Bangura

Nigeria

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, if General Abacha is the sole candidate at the forthcoming presidential election, they will consult with other members of the Commonwealth to see if there is any consensus on additional measures which ought to be taken to persuade Nigeria to adhere to the terms of the Harare Declaration. [HL1656]

Both the Commonwealth and the EU have undertaken to consider additional measures if Nigeria has not completed a credible transition to civilian democratic government by October. We are already consulting our Commonwealth and EU partners as well as the US on possible options.

Turkey: Human Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps they will take, in collaboration with other members of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, to persuade Turkey to invite the United Nations Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to visit the country; and whether the remarks made by the United Kingdom Presidency at the Commission regarding compliance with United Nations mechanisms in the context of Algeria's failure to invite the Rapporteur apply

pari passu in the case of Turkey. [HL1657]

Her Majesty's Government will raise the issue of the outstanding invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions to visit Turkey in the course of our bilateral contacts with the Turkish government.The EU view, set out by the UK Presidency at the 54th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights under Item 3, that it is incumbent upon all member states of the United Nations to co-operate fully and without conditions with the procedures and mechanisms of United Nations bodies applies equally to all countries.

Armed Conflict: Recruitment Of Children

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their view on the proposal made by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict that recruiting children under the age of 15 into the armed forces or fighting groups, and causing them to take part in hostilities, should be made a war crime; and whether they will raise this matter at the plenary meeting on the International Criminal Court in June. [HL1658]

It is the view of the Government that, in armed conflicts, recruiting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or, in internal armed conflict, armed groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities constitutes a war crime. At the last meeting of the Preparatory Committee on the International Criminal Court we lobbied in support of the proposal that these acts should be included among the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. We will continue to do so.

Estonian Nationals: Belgian Visa Requirements

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why Estonian officials travelling to Brussels need to have visas and when this restriction on one of the "five plus one", negotiating entry into the European Union will be abolished. [HL1659]

It is for the Belgian Government to determine its visa requirement for nationals of third countries not on the EU Common Visa List, such as Estonia.Estonian nationals do not require visas to visit the United Kingdom.

Europe Day

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they intend to fly the European flag from government buildings and in Parliament Square on Europe Day. [HL1749]

On Europe Day, 9 May, the European flag will fly, alongside the Union Jack, from government buildings and in Parliament Square.Flying the European flag on Europe Day reflects the important position which the UK holds for the six months of the Presidency and emphasises the Government's confidence in its role in the EU.

Provisional Driving Licences

asked Her Majesty's Government:On the most recent five-year period for which details are available:

  • (a) how many provisional driving licences were issued; and
  • (b) what was the number of Highway Code booklets sold. [HL1638]
  • The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
    (Baroness Hayman)

    :(a) provisional licences issued were as follows:

    • 1993–94: 836,574
    • 1994–95: 842,591
    • 1995–96: 900,334
    • 1996–97: 814,162
    • 1997–98: 852,667

    (b) Highway Code booklets sold nationwide were as follows:

    • 1993: 2,047,896
    • 1994: 887,568
    • 1995: 841,288
    • 1996: 1,117,393
    • 1997: 926,637 (Figures provided by The Stationery Office)

    In addition DVLA sold the following number of copies of the Highway Code:

    • 1992–93: 610,343
    • 1993–94: 438,510
    • 1994–95: 418,096
    • 1995–96: 467,160
    • 1996–97 April-December: 333,518

    Vehicle Recall System

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied with the current operation and success rate of the vehicle recall system for safety checks operated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; and whether they have any intention of bringing together all interested bodies to review that system. [HL1743]

    Safety recall campaigns are launched in accordance with Codes of Practice agreed between the department and representative bodies of the motor industry. I am satisfied that the codes work well, but the success rate of individual recall campaigns is carefully monitored and the codes themselves are kept under review.

    Climate Change Research

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their present information about circulation changes between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans; whether they accept that these changes could result in the climate of Europe becoming similar to present day Labrador; and to what they attribute these changes, revealed in recent studies by the Natural Environment Research Council. [HL1719]

    Recent work at the Southampton Oceanography Centre suggests that the amount of water flowing south of Greenland, part of which comes from the Arctic, has declined in the 1990s to about half its level between 1958 and 1991. This may well be part of a natural cycle, but we do not rule out the possibility that it is a longer-term change, perhaps due to human influences. The attribution of these changes is the subject of current and proposed research programmes by the Natural Environment Research Council.My department is funding computer modelling of climate at the Hadley Centre to investigate this possibility and its effect on the climate of Europe. While climate models suggest that global warming due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations may weaken the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, this seems unlikely to be sufficient to cool the climate of North West Europe; indeed, most models predict a net warming here in response to increasing greenhouse gases.

    Jubilee Line Opening

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the planned opening of the entire Jubilee Line Extension in spring 1999 will involve the simultaneous opening of all stations on the line between Green Park and Stratford; and, if not, whether they will give their estimates of the date of opening of each station on the line. [HL1628]

    LT's intention is to open all the Jubilee Line stations simultaneously when the line as a whole opens in spring 1999.

    Cryptosporidium In Drinking Water

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have completed the review of the implications of the failed prosecution of South-West Water in relation to the outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in the Torbay area in 1995. [HL1774]

    We have concluded that there is a case for increased monitoring at water treatment plants that are most at risk of releasing cryptosporidium into drinking water supplies. We propose therefore to begin consultations on amendments to the regulations on drinking water quality to require continuous monitoring of the treated water to detect cryptosporidium at such plants. If this monitoring detects the presence of the organism at an unacceptable level, the Drinking Water Inspectorate will consider prosecution of the company. There would be a new criminal offence of failing to treat water to adequately remove cryptosporidium oocysts. On conviction in a Crown Court, the offence would carry a penalty of an unlimited fine. The intention is to encourage the operation of water treatment plants in line with best practice, which should prevent cryptosporidium in drinking water causing illness. A copy of the consultation paper on the proposals has been placed in the Library of the House.

    Wto: Precautionary Principle

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the World Trade Organisation is required to adopt the precautionary principle in all its procedures; and if not, whether they will take steps to ensure that it does. [HL1624]

    The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (the SPS Agreement) permits WTO members to take provisional measures where relevant scientific evidence is insufficient, providing the measures are not otherwise inconsistent with the agreement. The application of the precautionary principle was confirmed recently in the WTO Appellate Body's ruling on the "beef hormones" dispute settlement case.

    Acpo: Administration And Licensing Of Firearms Sub-Committee

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 22 April

    (WA 216), whether they will give the dates in the last 12 months on which members of the Association of Chief Police Officers Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee attended the Home Office working group on:

  • (a) the Reference Panel on Historic Firearms:
  • (b) the Firearms Forms; and
  • (c) the Approved Club Criteria;
  • and whether they will give the names of all committee members attending, and any others present at each of these meetings. [HL1649]

    Details of those attending each meeting of the working groups (including members absent) for each date on which the groups met are set out below:

    The Historic Firearms Reference Panel
    6 May 1997
    Mr. Widdecombe (Chair)Home Office
    Mr. BarrettHome Office
    Deputy Chief Constable BennetFife Constabulary
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police
    Mr. LobbNorthamptonshire Police
    Mr. McCollCambridgeshire Constabulary
    Mr. MilnerRegistered Firearms Dealer
    Mr. PennImperial War Museum
    Mr. PitcherLondon Proof House
    Dr. RoadsHistoric Arms Rescue
    Mr. WarlowForensic Science Service
    Mr. WoodendMinistry of Defence Pattern Room
    Mr. Worth (Secretary)Home Office

    12 September 1997

    Mr. Widdecombe (Chair)Home Office
    Mr. BarrettHome Office
    Deputy Chief Constable BennetFife Constabulary
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police
    Mr. LobbNorthamptonshire Police
    Mr. McCollCambridgeshire Constabulary
    Mr. MilnerRegistered Firearms Dealer
    Mr. PennImperial War Museum
    Mr. PitcherLondon Proof House
    Dr. RoadsHistoric Arms Rescue
    Mr. WarlowForensic Science Service
    Mr. WoodendMinistry of Defence Pattern Room
    Mr. Worth (Secretary)Home Office

    17September 1997

    Mr. Widdecombe (Chair)Home Office
    Mr. BarrettHome Office
    Chief Inspector MorrisSouth Wales Constabulary
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police
    Mr. LobbNorthamptonshire Police
    Mr. McCollCambridgeshire Constabulary
    Mr. MilnerRegistered Firearms Dealer
    Mr. PennImperial War Museum
    Dr. RoadsHistoric Arms Rescue
    Mr. WarlowForensic Science Service
    Mr. Worth (Secretary)Home Office

    The Forms Working Group

    19 February 1998

    Mr. BarrettHome Office
    Mr. WorthHome Office
    Mr. MoffatFife Constabulary
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police
    Sergeant JohnsonMerseyside Police
    Mr. McCollCambridgeshire Constabulary
    Ms RogersSouth Wales Constabulary
    Mr. CarterDirector, The Gun Trade Association Ltd.
    Mr. Ewing OBENational Rifle Association
    Mr. HarrimanAssociation British Shooting Sports Council
    Mr. PhillipsOffice of Legislative Affairs
    Mr. MalbonThe Sportsman's Association
    Mr. PennImperial War Museum/Muzzle Loaders Association

    The Clubs Criteria Working Group

    21 April 1997

    Mr. BoneHome Office
    Mr. BottomleyHome Office
    Mr. CourtneyMuzzle Loaders Association
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police
    Mr. EwingFirearms Consultative Committee/National Rifle Association
    Mr. HoareBritish Shooting Sports Council/Firearms Consultative Committee/National Rifle Association
    Mr. PennFirearms Consultative Committee/Muzzle Loaders Association
    Mr. TolleyWest Mercia Police
    Mr. Worth (Secretary) (apologies were received from Mr. Lodge, Scottish Office)Home Office

    17 November 1997

    Mr. Barrett (Chair)Home Office
    Mr. CourtneyMuzzle Loaders Association
    Superintendent DuncanGrampian Police

    Mr. EwingFirearms Consultative Committee/National Rifle Association
    Mr. HoareBritish Shooting Sports Council/Firearms Consultative Committee/National Rifle Association
    Mr. GroothuisFirearms Licensing Officer,
    Hampshire Constabulary
    Chief Inspector TalbotHampshire Constabulary
    Mr. Bottomley (Secretary) (apologies from Mr. Fruin, Home Office and Ms McGlynn, Scottish Office)Home Office

    Nhs Trusts In Wales

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress has been made with the reconfiguration of NHS Trusts in Wales since publication of the finalised Project Plan in September 1997. [HL1664]

    Since the issuing of the Project Plan in September 1997 health authorities in Wales have worked with their local NHS trusts to consult a wide range of interested parties on the optimal configuration of trusts for their areas. Proposals were submitted by the five health authorities at the beginning of February 1998. After considering these and other proposals, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Win Griffiths) announced on 30 March 1998 a new shape of NHS trusts for Wales on which he intends to consult. Work is currently in hand on the production of consultation documents and he expects to be in a position to start formal consultation in June.

    Wales: Hospital Waiting Lists

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How hospital waiting lists in Wales currently compare with similar lists in May 1997. [HL1665]

    As reported by Welsh health authorities, the number of Welsh residents waiting for a hospital out-patient appointment increased by 9 per cent. from 100,100 on 30 April 1997 to 109,300 on 28 February 1998, and the number of Welsh residents waiting for admission to hospital for in-patient or daycase treatment increased by 10 per cent., from 65,900 on 30 April 1997 to 72,500 on 28 February 1998.

    Identity Card Scheme: Costs

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they accept the estimate of the previous government that it would cost £600 million to introduce a national identity card scheme; if so, whether they will set out the components of this estimate; and whether they are prepared to invite competitive tenders for the introduction of such a scheme. [HL1686]

    This figure was given in the 1995 Green Paper, Identity Cards: A Consultation Document, as the previous Government's broad estimate of the cost if there were to be a compulsory identity card scheme for all adults. This was derived from the unit cost of issuing passports, which at the time was £13 per head, and the estimated adult population of 46 million.We accept this figure as a benchmark cost. However, whether or not to introduce any form of national identity card scheme is first and foremost a question of public policy. We have no current proposals to introduce one, and it would not therefore be appropriate to commission an up to date costing exercise or to invite tenders.

    Venture Trust: Applecross Project

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What are their plans for the future of the Venture Trust project at Applecross in Scotland. [HL1725]

    We are committed to funding the Venture Trust's Applecross project until 31 March 1999. Funding beyond that date will depend upon the outcome of an evaluation of the project which is to be carried out later this year.

    Europol: Consultation On Draft Protocol

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What consultation they carried out with police or judicial authorities and any voluntary organisation concerned with the liberty of citizens, prior to publication of any draft convention or protocol relating to Europol; and to whom was any response received made available. [HL1670]

    Representatives of the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Criminal Intelligence Service are included in the United Kingdom delegation to the Europol Working Group, the European Union forum in which these matters are initially discussed. The draft text of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities for Europol, its directors and staff, was first deposited for United Kingdom parliamentary scrutiny, together with an Explanatory Note, on 17 March 1997. An updated text and Note were submitted on 12 May 1997. The final draft and related Note were tabled for scrutiny on 14 August 1997. There followed correspondence between Ministers and Justice.Copies of the correspondence were sent to the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Communities.

    Europol: Management Board

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Who at present constitute the managing board of Europol; and to whom is any United Kingdom person so appointed responsible (a) within the European Union and (b) the United Kingdom. [HL1667]

    The management board of Europol will not be appointed until the convention comes into force, which is expected to be in autumn this year. No United Kingdom appointment to the management board has yet been made. Any such appointee will be responsible to the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom. The management board as a whole will be responsible to the Council of Ministers.

    Maritime Volunteer Service: Formal Recognition

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Royal Navy will give formal recognition to the Maritime Volunteer Service. [HL1776]

    In line with the Royal Navy's policy of fostering links with maritime organisations in the civilian community, they have today formally recognised the Maritime Volunteer Service, MVS. This recognition reflects the contribution of the MVS to the education and training of young people in nautical skills. The Royal Navy will advise the MVS on various maritime matters, including RN career opportunities. The Royal Navy's closer association with the MVS will also contribute to the Government's "New Deal" initiative by enriching the pool of training opportunities in the community, thus assisting young people to gain employment.

    Northern Ireland: Prosecution Of Terrorist Acts

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they intend to continue to bring to justice those responsible for terrorist acts connected with Northern Ireland subsequent to the recent agreement on Northern Ireland. [HL1579]

    The RUC will continue to investigate all crime in Northern Ireland, including terrorism, and bring those responsible before the courts.

    Eating Disorders

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What has been the incidence per year of eating disorders in the United Kingdom since 1980 recorded by (a) age and (b) region. [HL1674]

    Information on incidence of eating disorders is not available centrally, but some information on the number of people treated as hospital in-patients for various types of eating disorder is available; this will be placed in the Library.

    Complementary And Alternative Therapies

    asked Her Majesty's Government:In the light of the widespread and growing use of complementary and alternative therapies, what is their view about the need for more research into their safety and effectiveness. [HL1688]

    The need for more research into the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative therapies is recognised and is being addressed through the National Health Service and other research and development programmes.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether it will be open to the primary care commissioning groups proposed in the White Paper The New NHS to include complementary therapies in the range of treatments provided to NHS patients. [HL1690]

    Primary care groups will provide a direct means by which general practitioners, their primary care team and community nurses, working in co-operation with other health and social care professionals, will lead the process of securing appropriate, high quality care for local people. This process may include complementary therapies where the primary care group decides that such treatment is appropriate.