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Mozambique

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent debt write-off arrangements have been agreed with the Government of Mozambique that cover payments to countries which are in receipt of IMF assistance. [112927]

Miss Melanie Johnson: As my hon. Friend will be aware, at the Chancellor's initiative, the UK will relieve 100 per cent. of Mozambique's outstanding bilateral official debt and will receive no further debt payments from that country.

In July 1999, as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt initiative, bilateral official creditors in the Paris Club agreed to 90 per cent. debt reduction for Mozambique. Two of these creditors are in receipt of IMF assistance. The Government are not a party to the negotiations of other bilateral official creditors which have been encouraged to offer similar levels of debt reduction.

International Monetary Fund

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received concerning the selection of a new managing director of the IMF; and if he will make a statement. [112828]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The usual informal consultations are now under way to appoint a new managing director of the IMF. We expect the Executive Board to reach a formal decision in due course.

6 Mar 2000 : Column: 526W

European Bank for Reconstruction and

Development

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent representations he has received regarding loans by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to the west/east joint venture company, KomiArcticOil; and if he will make a statement; [112427]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development seeks to engage in high quality projects with a strong transition impact. This approach is fully in line with the Bank's mandate and lending policies. All loans are subject to a rigorous review process within the Bank and must be approved by the Bank's Board of Directors, which represents 60 member nations and international organisations, including the UK.

In terms of decisions relating to a change in ownership in a company in which the EBRD has an interest, the Bank reaches its decision based on commercial considerations with proper regard to the integrity and corporate governance standards of the purchaser.

CABINET OFFICE

Information Technology

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans she has to oversee the introduction of major Government IT projects into Government Departments. [112615]

Mr. Ian McCartney: The Cabinet Office is leading a review of the Government's handling of IT projects to identify the pillars that support successful projects to make sure that these are in place from the start in the future.

The first recommendations from this review were announced to the House on 21 February 2000, Official Report, columns 739-40W. These include ways to improve Ministers' awareness of their role in major IT projects and the establishment of a new system to share knowledge about IT projects across Government, so that all Departments have the benefit of the best practice available. These recommendations demonstrate that the Government are committed to taking action to improve performance in the introduction of major IT projects. Further measures to address other aspects of the handling of IT projects will be put forward in due course.

Responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations will be shared between the Centre and Departments, although individual projects remain the responsibility of the Accounting Officer of the relevant Department.

New Public Bodies

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the new public bodies established by her Department since May 1997. [112673]

6 Mar 2000 : Column: 527W

Mr. Stringer: The annual Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies" provides information on a range of public bodies. The 1997 edition lists those public bodies in existence prior to May 1997. The 1998 and 1999 editions lists public bodies in existence in subsequent years. Copies of these publications have been placed in the Library of the House. Copies are also available on the Cabinet Office website (www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/quango).

Departmental Staff (South-West)

Mr. Bradshaw: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff are employed by each Government department and agency in (a) the South-West, (b) Devon and (c) Exeter. [113209]

Mr. Stringer: The number of staff employed in Government Departments and agencies in the South-West, Devon and Exeter is listed in the table. Figures are quoted on a Full-Time Equivalent basis.

Permanent staff in post in the South-West region
Industrial and non-industrial

Department (including agencies)South-WestDevonExeter
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food1,256374356
Cabinet Office1500
Crown Prosecution Service3389261
Customs and Excise95419151
Culture, Media & Sport000
Defence22,8772,660196
Education and Employment2,24756275
Environment, Transport and the Regions1,69914490
Health and Safety Executive/ Commission73160
Foreign and Commonwealth Office000
Health13800
HM Land Registry1,5286940
Home Office253100
HM Prison Service2,814925268
Inland Revenue3,906821304
International Development000
Intervention Board000
Lord Chancellor's Department35800
National Statistics000
Ordnance Survey60157
Registers of Scotland000
Scottish Office000
Scottish Prison Service000
Social Security5,0182,065269
Trade and Industry2358735
Treasury000
Welsh Office000
Royal Mint000
Other Departments
ACAS8200
Charity Commission16100
Central Office of Information1500
Office of the Rail Regulator900
Offer900
Ofsted2611
Ofwat999
Privy Council Office4,69200
Treasury Solicitors7600

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

New Public Bodies

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the new public bodies established by her Department since May 1997. [112657]

6 Mar 2000 : Column: 528W

Clare Short: My Department has established one new public body since May 1997. It is an Advisory Body called the Development Awareness Working Group.

Women's Radio

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list radio projects funded by her Department which aim to disseminate information for women. [112830]

Clare Short: We actively support a range of radio projects that are specifically designed to disseminate development information to women, or which contain women focused information within a more general media for development initiative. Some current examples of such include:

BBC World Service Great Lakes Lifeline Service--Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo--features programmes on women and a soap opera produced by Health Unlimited addressing women's health issues.

Soul City Multimedia (TV, radio and press) project--South Africa/Southern Africa Region--support information on violence against women, rape and HIV/AIDS. Developed in conjunction with the strengthening of the National Network on Violence Against Women.

Others include: Radio Gulu in Northern Uganda; Search for Common Ground radio soap opera in Angola; BBC Education Children in Conflict Radio Service; Project SPEAR emergency radio broadcasting for Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo; Farm Broadcast Unit in Bangladesh, BBC Radio Education for Afghan Children in Afghanistan.

Storm Warnings (Indian Ocean)

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports she has received on the operation of the early warning system for cyclones and tropical storms in the Indian Ocean area; and if she will make a statement. [112698]

Clare Short: The region is serviced by the French Government's Regional Forecasting Centre for Tropical Cyclones based on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar. We also receive regular bulletins on all potentially serious weather situations from the UK Meteorological Office. My officials in London and Mozambique use other monitoring resources available on the World Wide Web including the World Meteorological Organisation and the South African Weather Bureau.

Disasters (Telephone Lines)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make it her policy to establish a single number disaster telephone line for public responses to events such as the floods in Southern Africa; and if she will make a statement. [112744]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 20 April 1999, Official Report, column 471W.

6 Mar 2000 : Column: 529W


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