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Written Answers

Thursday, 7th March 1996.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their assessment of the economic, social, security and general political situation in Angola and how they intend to respond.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The economic and social situation is very poor. As I explained during my visit to Angola on 19th-21st February, our ability to help will depend on the government's own efforts to improve economic management. I also urged both sides to speed up implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. I welcome the positive steps agreed by President Dos Santos and Dr. Savimbi at their subsequent meeting on 1st March.

US Arms Sales to Greece and Turkey

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the provision of weapons by the United States to Greece and to Turkey over recent years has been within the parameters established in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and whether these provisions have been fully transparent at both the United States end and at the recipients' end, as required by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty limits overall holdings of certain categories of conventional weapons within the area of application and provides for notification, information exchange and intrusive verification. Under paragraph 5(c) of OSCE's Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers, OSCE participating states are committed to exchanging information about national legislation and policies in the field of conventional arms transfers. All NATO countries are fully committed to meeting these provisions.

UN Contributions

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps are being taken within the United Nations in view of the refusal of the United States to pay their mandatory contributions.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A number of proposals on financial reform are being tabled. We strongly support the European Union proposal to tighten the penalties on non-payers, accelerate the

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payment of arrears, reform the scales of assessment and tighten the controls on UN expenditure. In our view, a negotiated solution should respect the principle of capacity to pay.

Dayton Agreement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is to be included in the report from the Secretary General of the United Nations on the Implementation of Annex 1B on regional stabilisation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: In compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1021, the Secretary General is required to submit a report by 12th June on the implementation of Annex 1B to the peace agreement. It is too early to say what will be included in this report, but we expect that it will address issues relating to regional stabilisation, including those on sub-regional arms control covered in Article IV of Annex 1B to the Dayton Agreement.

Negotiations are under way in Vienna under the auspices of the OSCE.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What effect on the status of the Dayton agreements has the relationship referred to in paragraph 10 of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 10.31 (1995), "between the fulfilment by the parties of their commitments in the Peace Agreement and the readiness of the international community to commit financial resources for reconstruction and development", given that these latter resources are forthcoming very slowly, and whether their failure to arrive detracts from the obligation of the parties to fulfil their commitments.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The international community will not provide reconstruction assistance to any party in Bosnia in serious breach of its peace agreement commitments.

Substantial resources are already available for reconstruction following the December conference. Progress on the ground is not, however, dependent solely on funding, but also on factors such as speed of project preparation, co-ordination of implementation capacity and ability to deal with bureaucratic obstacles. The UK is playing its part: an ODA team is currently in Bosnia to consider expansion of the existing utilities rehabilitation programme. Two ODA-funded experts will shortly be taking up post in Prime Minister Muratovic's office to advise on project preparation and donor co-ordination.

A further pledging conference will be held in April.

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Cairngorms: Proposed Developments

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the planning decision on the proposed construction of a funicular installation and large restaurant in the Cairngorms will be taken by the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the reorganisation of local government in Scotland and the consequent replacement shortly of the existing local planning authority, and in view of the time needed to allow the successor local authority to become fully functioning and fully informed.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay): The reorganisation of local government in Scotland is not a factor which my right honourable friend would take into account in reaching a decision on whether or not to call in for his own determination the application for the construction of a funicular railway and associated developments in the Cairngorms.

Diet and Cancer and Heart Disease

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How strong is the evidence for correlation between inadequate diet and the incidence of cancer and heart disease, and what is the annual cost to the NHS of treating each of these conditions.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The relationship between diet and cancer is presently being reviewed by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy. Its report is expected in the autumn. The estimated expenditure in 1992-93 to the National Health Service of treating cancer was £1,300 million.

The relationship between an unbalanced diet, high levels of serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease is strong and consistent and is the basis for the dietary targets in the Health of the Nation to reduce the contribution of total fat and saturated fatty acids in the population's diet. The estimated expenditure in 1992-93 to the NHS of treating coronary heart disease was £800 million.

Low Birth Weight and Ill Health

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What correlations have been identified between low birth weight and subsequent ill health, and where the relevant research has been reported.

Baroness Cumberlege: Associations have been identified between lower birth weight and subsequent disease including cardiovascular disorders, obstructive lung disease and some types of diabetes. These associations have been reported in scientific journals and elsewhere.

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Further research is needed to advance our understanding of these relationships, and the Medical Research Council, funded by my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade, has developed a programme of research to investigate them.


Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of tuberculosis were notified in the past year.

Baroness Cumberlege: The provisional figure for notifications of tuberculosis in 1995 is 6,249.


Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people in the United Kingdom suffer from AIDS, how many are known to be HIV positive, how many are estimated to be HIV positive, what is the average duration from the onset of AIDS to death, what are the medications of choice, what is the annual cost to the NHS of these medications and of hospitalisation for such patients per patient and how many days' work are lost due to this condition, as an annual total.

Baroness Cumberlege: It is estimated that at the end of 1995 there were 3,725 people living with AIDS in the United Kingdom. Since 1984, when reporting began, the cumulative total of diagnosed HIV infections reported in the UK is 25,689. It is estimated that at the end of 1993 there were about 24,000 individuals living with diagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection. It has been estimated that 50 per cent. of AIDS cases survive 18 months or more after AIDS diagnosis. The choice of medication is for the individual clinician and patient to decide. Estimated medication cost per AIDS patient (at 1995-96 prices) is £10,000. The annual average cost of hospital treatment of an AIDS patient is in the region of £21,000 and costs vary from hospital to hospital. We do not have any information on work days lost due to AIDS.

Parliamentary Mail: Delivery to Government Departments

Lord Marlesford asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether he is aware that letters sent to Ministers in their departments from the Palace of Westminster by the internal delivery service are regularly taking more than 24 hours to arrive and whether he will take steps to improve this service.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): Mail which is handed in to the House of Lords' Mail Room for despatch to government departments outside the Palace of Westminster through

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the IDS (Inter-Despatch Service) is collected by IDS at 10.30 and 15.00 on working days.

The IDS undertakes to meet the following delivery targets within the radius of the M.25:

08.30-12.00 (day 1)13.00-17.30 (day 1)
13.00-17.30 (day 1)08.30-12.30 (day 2)

There is a complaints procedure which will be followed if specific examples of late delivery are notified to Black Rod's Office.

A consultancy is currently being let to review existing external and internal mail services throughout the Parliamentary Estate, which encompasses, the Palace of Westminster and the outbuildings. The final report and recommendations are due on 10th May 1996.

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