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Oral Answers to Questions — HIV/AIDS

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th April 2001.

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Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development 12:00 am, 25th April 2001

I have read a summary of the report, and I am afraid that the figures that the hon. Gentleman has just quoted are, unusually, wrong. My Department spent £100 million last year, not £1 million. We shall respond in the normal way; there is obviously some confusion. However, I am happy to confirm that those figures are wrong. We are a leading player in the international system, spend considerably and the budget has been growing. I am sorry that there has been a misunderstanding.

On the written strategy, we already have strategies on improving the health of the poorest people, as the hon. Gentleman knows, including our work on HIV/AIDS. A departmental strategy just on HIV/AIDS is about to be published; to be honest, I threw back the previous one, because it was written in impenetrable jargon which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is a problem in this area of work, if not all others.

May I end with a genuine expression of respect for the hon. Gentleman's fantastic contribution to this area of work and his fine chairmanship of the Select Committee? We shall miss him greatly; I admire and respect enormously the work that he has done.