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Central Asia

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is providing to the drought affected areas of Central Asia. [135215]

Clare Short: We are taking a regional approach in our response to the drought which is affecting a belt of countries across the whole of Asia. So far we have committed over £5 million for humanitarian assistance in the drought affected countries. Further funds have been set aside to respond to needs in Central Asia specifically. We are currently considering proposals from a number of international agencies, including UN organisations, the Red Cross and international NGOs.

Major Disasters

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the major disasters for which her Department has provided (a) emergency aid and (b) redevelopment support over the last 10 years, indicating the effectiveness of the support given in each case. [135395]

Mr. Foulkes: Over the last 10 years, this Department (and its predecessor) has provided emergency aid in a large number of major disasters and it would take a long time to retrieve the details requested. However, since 1997 this Department has provided humanitarian assistance on more than 80 occasions in over 60 countries. During 2000, DFID has provided speedy and appropriate relief to a number of disasters, including floods in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia, a hurricane in Belize, typhoon and tidal wave in North Korea and droughts in Asia and East Africa. We have also continued to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict in many countries, such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

Where disasters occur frequently or result in prolonged crises, we are increasingly promoting preparedness and mitigation measures as part of longer-term development programmes. This includes analysing common hazards and their impact on poor people, and assessing the effect of recurrent crises on achieving the targets of sustainable international development.

We are working to strengthen the international humanitarian system. For example, we are working with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to improve their preparedness and response to disasters, specifically in poor countries. We are supplying the United Nations organisations such as the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children Fund, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to improve the speed and effectiveness of their responses. We are encouraging the international non-governmental organisations to strengthen standards of assistance for those affected by disasters.

We are working to ensure that the assistance we provide is as effective as possible. To this end it is always based on proper assessment of needs and delivery supervised to prevent the diversion of goods away from those in most need. We only fund reputable agencies or

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NGOs which are already established in the disaster- affected country or have experienced local partners. In addition, we are working in partnership with NGOs to agree minimum standards of assistance.


Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what procedures exist in her Department for a civil servant to report actions which (a) are illegal, improper or unethical, (b) are in breach of constitutional convention or a professional code, (c) may involve possible maladministration and (d) are otherwise inconsistent with the civil service code. [136057]

Mr. Foulkes: Together with the civil service code itself, the procedure to be followed in such circumstances is set out in this Department's staff handbook. Three senior officers are designated as being available to advise staff and to investigate such complaints. Staff have the right to approach them at any time. The procedures also provide for the right to raise such matters with the permanent secretary and, if necessary, with the Civil Service Commissioners. Staff may also be protected by the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.


Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her "Literature Survey on intellectual property rights and sustainable human development" cost to produce. [136634]

Mr. Foulkes: The report "Literature Survey on intellectual property rights and sustainable human development" cost £2,500 to produce.


Sport (Schools)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education and Employment about the promotion of an anti-drugs strategy via the teaching of sport in schools. [134715]

Kate Hoey: My right hon. Friend and I liaise regularly with ministerial colleagues about sport in schools and physical education. The Government are particularly aware of the potential of sport as a tool for educating young people about health and fitness and for helping them to develop a healthy and safe life style, hence initiatives such as Positive Futures, a joint project involving Sport England, the Youth Justice Board and the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit, which aims to help vulnerable children avoid drug misuse and crime through sporting activities.

Free Television Licence

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners aged over 75 years (a) do not own a television, (b) already pay a reduced TV licence fee, (c) live in a household where someone else under 75 pays for the TV licence and (d) will be entitled

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to the free TV licence instead of paying a full TV licence fee at present; and what proportion of all pensioners aged over 75 years this represents in each case. [134537]

Janet Anderson: Based on information provided by the BBC, the answers to the hon. Member's questions are as follows:

Television licences cover households rather than individuals, so presenting the above figures as a proportion of the total number of people aged 75 or over would be misleading. There are an estimated 4.35 million people aged 75 or over in the United Kingdom, all of whom are entitled to benefit from a free television licence, but the estimated number of free licences that will be issued is 3.6 million.

National Lottery

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much National Lottery money has been raised for good causes in each week since May 1997. [134481]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 26 October 2000]: I have placed copies of a table showing weekly payments into the National Lottery Distribution Fund by the lottery operator since the beginning of May 1997 in the Libraries of the House (the figures exclude one-off annual payments).

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the level of returns from the lottery to the good causes in the next licence period. [135903]

Kate Hoey: None; the letting of the next National Lottery licence is a matter for the National Lottery Commission. The Commission has statutory duties to ensure that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety, that the interests of players are protected and, subject to these two criteria, to maximise the returns to good causes.

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact on ticket sales of the selection process for the next lottery operator. [135904]

Kate Hoey: None; Ministers are not involved in the process of selecting the next operator, which is a matter for the National Lottery Commission.

New Opportunities Fund

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he intends to make an announcement about future initiatives in health, education and the environment to be funded by the National Lottery through the New Opportunities Fund. [136809]

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Mr. Chris Smith: On Monday 6 November, I shall be publishing and laying before Parliament a consultation document, "New Opportunities from the Lottery". Copies will be widely available from my Department and through the Stationery Office. I hope that our proposals will receive widespread support and I look forward to receiving views on how best we can take them forward.

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