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Mr. Foulkes: Our bilateral support is focused primarily on the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over the past two years, DFID has committed over £200 million to support the development of universal primary education programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. I have just approved DFID support totalling £61 million over seven years for the Malawi Education Sector
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Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which she has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. 
Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which he has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. 
Dr. Reid: The Government are committed to increasing the representation of women in public life. In support of this, the Government have drawn up an action plan for increasing the number of women and ethnic minorities holding public appointments, to which my Department subscribes. The action plan was published on 24 May.
During the period 1 April 1997 to 30 June 1999, 205 women were appointed to non-departmental public bodies in Scotland out of a total of 587 appointments. Women appointees represented 35 per cent. of the total appointments made in this period. 162 women were appointed to paid posts, representing 37 per cent. of all the paid appointments made in that period. Forty-three women were appointed to unpaid posts, representing 28 per cent. of all the unpaid appointments made in the same period.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of correctly presented bills were paid by his Department in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 within 30 days of receipt of (i) goods and services, (ii) a valid invoice and (iii) other agreed payment terms. 
Dr. Reid [holding answer 11 July 2000]: In 1998-99, the Scottish Office, including its executive agencies and associated Departments, paid 97.8 per cent. of valid invoices for goods, services and works within either 30 days or the agreed payment terms. The corresponding figure for the first quarter of 1999-2000 was 97.6 per cent. The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999.
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From that date until 31 March 2000, the Department paid 98.4 per cent. of valid invoices within either 30 days or the agreed payment terms.
Information on the timing of payment in relation to the receipt of goods and services rather than receipt of invoices is not held centrally. Information on other agreed payment terms, which are relatively uncommon, is not held centrally. Payment of invoices from 1 July 1999 by the Scottish Executive is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the policy since 1989 on writing annually to those of his Department's staff who are paying reduced rates of National Insurance contributions, reminding them of the rules governing the payment of reduced rates, as recommended in the Inland Revenue guidance note on reduced rate National Insurance contributions for married women. 
Dr. Reid: The former Scottish Office observed guidance issued by the Inland Revenue that periodic reminders should be issued. A reminder was issued to relevant staff in 1997 and a further reminder will be issued shortly to staff in my Department. The frequency with which reminders are issued is being reviewed.
Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 5 June 2000]: Prior to 17 April, MAFF Ministers held various meetings about GMOs at some of which the issue of GM free seed purity in relation to agricultural production was discussed.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice the Government have received from the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment on the possibility of contamination of seed imports with GM varieties. 
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which organisations the Government informed about the contamination of Advanta rapeseed with GM varieties before 17 May; and on what dates. 
Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 19 June 2000]: The Secretary of the Seed Crushers and Oils Processors Association was informed by my officials on 16 May that the Government would be making an announcement on this matter.
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made of the aquatic environment off the Sussex coast to identify the possible presence of radioactive material emanating from Cap la Hague. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 June 2000]: My Department, until recently, carried out regular monitoring and assessment of the radioactive contamination of marine foodstuffs and environmental indicator materials within the English Channel. This work transferred to the Food Standards Agency on 1 April this year.
The results of this work were published in my Department's report "Radioactivity in Food and the Environment", the last of which was for 1998. The low levels of man-made radioactivity found in the English Channel cannot be attributed with any certainty to particular sources.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on (a) the effectiveness of his Department's no-smoking policy and (b) the proportion of his Department's offices that do not allow smoking. 
Mr. Morley: (a) The MAFF Smoking at Work policy has been in force since January 1994. Indications are that the policy has been successful. Support in the form of courses, videos and other material are available to staff who wish to stop smoking but, to date, no-one has taken advantage of this.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much money the Government have allocated for research into (a) organic farming, (b) biotechnology and genetic modification and (c) agriculture in total in the next three years. 
Mr. Morley: My Department funds a wide and varied programme of research worth over £100 million per annum to support and inform our policies. Current and projected funding levels for my Department's research in the areas specified are:
(6) Research which uses modern biotechnology as a tool. Costs exclude expenditure on genetic modification.
(7) Includes research on genetically modified food and non-food products and to underpin safety assessments of genetically modified organisms in the environment.
All figures are provisional
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and disease diagnosis, biological control techniques, and other means of pest and disease control in plants and animals.
Figures for research spending in 2002-03 and beyond are not yet available. These will be subject to Spending Review decisions, to be announced shortly, and on the outcome of the consultation on a new MAFF Research Strategy to cover the period 2001 to 2005, to be launched later this year.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the decrease in pesticide usage that would result from 30 per cent. of agricultural land becoming organic in the UK. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 June 2000]: It is not possible to calculate a meaningful figure. The use of pesticides varies markedly from crop to crop, and year to year, and the calculation would have to be based on assumptions about the use of the land that was to be converted. In addition, there are a number of pesticides available for use in organic agriculture but little information on the levels of their use. Some organic pesticides are permitted for use at higher rates than are the alternative conventional pesticides. On the other hand, some organic farmers seek to avoid the use even of these pesticides.
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