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Palestinian Schools

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the Palestinian Authority's decision to close the schools under their control. [137502]

Clare Short: We understand that the Palestinian Authority closed its schools for security reasons but that most of them have now re-opened. This is entirely a matter for the Palestinian authorities.

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid Her Majesty's Government have spent on Palestinian education and schools in each of the last six years. [137500]

Clare Short: UK development assistance for Palestinian education since 1995-96 has totalled £3,371,925. This

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includes support to the Palestinian Authority and NGOs. Available information on annual expenditure is as follows:


In addition the UK has provided a total of £47,278,000 to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency, mainly as contributions to the Agency's core budget. This is used to provide education, health and welfare services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza and neighbouring countries. Our annual expenditure has been:

Year£ million


Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department makes available to Uganda to prevent mother to baby transmission of HIV. [137942]

Clare Short: We do not currently provide direct funding for the specific prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (MTCT) in Uganda. Steps are being taken to establish a programme for dealing with MTCT, led by UNICEF, working closely with the Ministry of Health, the Uganda AIDS Commission and the UNAIDS theme group, of which the Department for International Development is an active member. We are also providing over £2 million in support this financial year to a variety of AIDS related projects and programmes throughout Uganda.

Sierra Leone

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department spent in development and aid in Sierra Leone in (a) 1999 and (b) so far this year; and what the financial support spent on war. [138018]

Clare Short: Development expenditure by the Department for International Development in Sierra Leone in 1999-2000 amounted to £29,914,000. Development expenditure for Sierra Leone so far this year totals £13,645,000. Final expenditure figures will not be available until next summer. Development funds have not been used to support the war against the Sierra Leone rebel factions.

HIV/AIDS (Caribbean)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement

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on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and the support the UK is providing to local health organisations there. [137737]

Clare Short: Recent reports indicate that HIV prevalence in the Caribbean is now second only to sub-Saharan Africa. The Caribbean also has the highest AIDS incidence rate in the Americas. HIV/AIDS is already the leading cause of death in the 15-44 age group within the region.

We are supporting the work of the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We are funding the second phase (£713,564) of a project aimed at the Prevention and Control of AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. This focuses on strengthening the management of public health information strategies for HIV/AIDS, cost-effective STD/HIV/AIDS case management, and improved surveillance systems for STDs and HIV/AIDS within Caribbean countries.

We are currently examining what further support should be provided to a CARICOM-sponsored regional plan of action for tackling HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, as presented at a regional conference held in Barbados in September.


Human Rights Commission

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what attempts are made by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to identify or assess the perceived (a) political and (b) religious affiliation of persons seeking assistance from the Commission; [136520]

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Mr. George Howarth: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission which is an independent body. I have therefore asked the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to write to the hon. Member. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.


Ministerial Directions

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 October 2000, Official Report, columns 73-76W, on ministerial directions, if he will place in the Library the text and supporting documentation of the directions made by Ministers in his Department in 1998 and 2000; and if he will make a statement. [137299]

Mr. Caborn: I have considered this request under the terms of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and concluded that providing this information would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion within government. The request therefore falls within the term of exemption 2 of the Code of Practice.

Oil and Gas Directorate

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to (a) relocate his Department's oil and gas directorate employment to Aberdeen and (b) create additional oil and gas jobs, indicating where the jobs will be located. [137336]

Mrs. Liddell: My Oil and Gas Directorate maintains offices in both Aberdeen and London, reflecting operational needs. There are no plans to change this.

In the last three years the number of posts located in Aberdeen has risen from 56.3 to 72.3; a further 14 posts have been transferred from my Department to the Inland Revenue's Aberdeen office. This reflects our policy of maintaining a substantial operational presence in Aberdeen. The future staffing of Oil and Gas Directorate is currently under review.

SMEs (Wales)

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small and medium enterprises failed by constituency in Wales and England in the last 12 months. [137716]

Ms Hewitt: There are no official statistics on the number of small and medium enterprise failures by constituency.

When a County court hears an insolvency petition they allocate the case to the nearest Official Receiver's office. It is the location of the Official Receiver's office that is recorded, not the location of the business.

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There were 5,037 insolvencies in England and Wales from 1 October 1999 to 30 September 2000, the latest 12 months available.

ADSL Services

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will require suppliers of ADSL services to specify to consumers a maximum and minimum expected contention ratio; and if he will make a statement. [138328]

Ms Hewitt: Contention ratio is one of a number of fundamental quality of service parameters used to specify ADSL service products, as are other parameters such as data rates and throughput. It is generally accepted that service quality and cost are related and this is certainly true for ADSL services.

It is likely that contention ratio information will be provided by ADSL service suppliers as part of their service contract with the customers and indeed customers may well request this information if it is not readily available. It is also expected that ADSL service suppliers will offer customers a choice of throughput offerings so that customers will be able to choose which quality performance offering best meets their needs.

It is therefore for market forces to determine which services consumers are likely to demand and what price consumers are willing to pay for such services based on the overall service quality package.

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