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India

Mr. Khabra: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department has given to the victims of the disaster in the states of Gujarat and Rajastan in India. [121318]

Clare Short: My Department has provided £500,000 to Oxfam for drought relief activities in Gujarat and Rajastan. We are in close contact with other agencies working in this area and also in the drought affected regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We stand ready to respond further to assessed needs.

BP Amoco

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with BP Amoco concerning their investment in Petro China in relation to its plans to operate in Tibet. [121586]

Mr. Foulkes: Neither I, nor the Secretary of State, have had discussions with BP Amoco concerning their investment in Petro China.

Sierra Leone

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the United Kingdom's assistance for security sector reform in Sierra Leone is paid for by (a) her Department and (b) other Government Departments. [121583]

Mr. Foulkes: Assistance provided for security sector reform to date amounts to £1.15 million all of which is to be met by our Department.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's support for security sector reform in Sierra Leone. [121584]

Mr. Foulkes: Security is a top priority for the poor. Without basic security it is impossible for poor people to build a better life and to work their way out of poverty. During the eight years of civil war in Sierra Leone unaccountable armed forces became part of the security problem. Our Department has been working closely with the Government of Sierra Leone, as well as the World Bank and others to support the disarmament and demobilisation programme as well as supporting wider reform in the security sector including reforms to the military and the police force.

12 May 2000 : Column: 489W

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the projects her Department supports in Sierra Leone, indicating the financial support provided to each. [121585]

12 May 2000 : Column: 490W

Mr. Foulkes: DFID has allocated resources in support of the following projects in Sierra Leone:

12 May 2000 : Column: 489W

£ million
Support to the Government of Sierra Leone's National Programme for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration12.4
Emergency support to Lungi Demobilisation Camp1.6
Security Sector Project (SILSEP)1.7
Support to the Commonwealth Police Development Taskforce (includes Police Humanitarian Fund and Public Order support)2.45
Provision of an Inspector General of Police0.25
Military Reintegration Plan (MRP)3.4
Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project12.9
Support to Campaign for Good Governance (Civil Society)0.2
Support for the return of Paramount Chiefs2.0
Law Development Project (incl. Legal Draftsman)2.2
Media Development Project1.1
Governance assistance programme: British Council project management1.1
Support to the President's office0.2
Humanitarian Relief and reconstruction5.0
Budgetary Support for essential services/repayment of debts20.5
Ferry1.5

12 May 2000 : Column: 489W

Pakistan

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations she has received on bonded labour in Pakistan; and if she will make a statement. [121587]

Mr. Foulkes: We receive occasional representations from human rights groups and from individuals.

The Secretary of State's statement to the House of Commons on 10 November 1999, Official Report, column 553W, affirmed the British Government's commitment to the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, both in the UK and overseas. That continues to be our position.

The practice of forced (or 'bonded') labour remains a problem in Pakistan, notwithstanding the existence of legislation there to outlaw it. Therefore, we take every suitable opportunity to remind the authorities of their obligations to uphold the basic rights of all the Pakistani people, particularly the poor and disadvantaged. It is these groups, inevitably, that are most vulnerable to the perils of 'debt bondage' and 'bonded' employment.

Our Department maintains contact with organisations which are active in campaigning, or in acting against such violations of human rights. We stand ready to support their work in Pakistan if worthwhile opportunities emerge. Meanwhile, we are supporting an innovative programme to phase out child labour from the football manufacturing industry in and around Sialkot.

HEALTH

Meat Hygiene Service

Mr. Livsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instruct the Food Standards Agency to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Mead Webber Abattoir at Eardisley, with particular reference to the conduct of the Meat Hygiene Service. [121219]

12 May 2000 : Column: 490W

Ms Stuart [holding answer 10 May 2000]: This is a matter for which the Food Standards Agency is responsible. I understand that a formal complaint has been received from Mead Webber Ltd. about the circumstances surrounding the closure of the abattoir, and that it has been agreed by the Food Standards Agency that an independent investigation will be carried out. The most appropriate way of doing this, acceptable to both parties, is being urgently considered, with a view to it starting as soon as possible.

Medical Treatment Abroad

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have used the E112 procedure to have medical treatment abroad in each of the last five years. [121788]

Ms Stuart: The information requested is as follows:

YearNumber of E112s issued
1995(2)409
1996815
1997859
1998812
1999860

(2) Records incomplete


Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what decision has been taken with respect to Hilary Rowland's chairmanship of the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust; who took the decision; which Ministers were consulted on this decision; and if he will make a statement. [121787]

Ms Stuart: Hilary Rowland, Chief Executive, is on extended leave from her post at the Royal Liverpool Children's National Health Service Trust after what has been an exceptionally demanding period, both for her and for Alder Hey Children's Hospital. During this time, Ms Rowland remains in contact with regional officials at the NHS Executive North West and has their continuing support.

12 May 2000 : Column: 491W

Human Papilloma Virus Testing

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason there has been a delay in the selection of pilot sites for human papilloma virus testing. [121784]

Yvette Cooper: The Department is currently establishing an advisory group, which will oversee the commissioning and running of the pilot sites for human papilloma virus testing and provide expert advice and support on all aspects of the scope of the project. A limited competition exercise will be held in the summer to select the pilot sites, and it is anticipated they will be chosen by the autumn. Testing will begin when preparatory work at each site is complete.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Magistrates Courts

Sir Peter Emery: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate he has made of the savings which will result from closing the (a) Axminster and (b) Exmouth magistrates courts. [121785]

Jane Kennedy: None. Under the provisions of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997 the Axminster and Exmouth magistrates courts are managed locally by the Devon and Cornwall Magistrates Courts Committee. Decisions concerning closure are for that Committee to determine, although a contributing local authority may appeal to the Lord Chancellor against a proposed closure. The procedure for such appeals is set out in section 56 of the Act. In the absence of an appeal the Lord Chancellor has no locus in the matter.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Rifle Thefts

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) rifles minus their bolts and (b) complete rifles were stolen from their civilian owners in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and of these how many were (i) .22 calibre and (ii) full bore. [121259]

Mr. Ingram: The Chief Constable has advised me that the information is not retained in a manner which readily permits obtaining the detail necessary to answer this question without incurring a disproportionate cost.


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