§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many staff in the Department have been on long-term sick leave in each of the last two years. 
§ Hilary Benn
The number of staff on long-term sick absence was as follows:
1 April 2001–31 March 2002: 39
1 April 2002–31 March 2003: 39
DFID classifies sick absence of three months or more as long term. DFID is working towards a reduction of 23.8 per cent. in sick absence rates from 8.4 days per staff year in 1998 to 6.4 in 2003.