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Afghanistan

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what commitment the Government plan to make at the Tokyo conference on reconstruction in Afghanistan. [29274]

Hilary Benn: At the conference in Tokyo on Afghan reconstruction from 20 to 21 January, the UK announced a significant contribution of £200 million over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. This pledge is in addition to the significant sums that DFID contributes to the World bank, European Union and Asian development banks who will also be channelling funds into Afghanistan over coming years. DFID's share of the European Union pledge alone will be 20 per cent.

Belize

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the relations between her Department and the Government of Belize. [29276]

Hilary Benn: We remain engaged in dialogue with the Government of Belize on a range of issues aimed at supporting and promoting a pro-poor Government agenda. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met with Prime Minister Musa in October 2001 as part of this engagement and DFID officials also continue to have regular contact.

PRIME MINISTER

PIU Energy Report

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Prime Minister if the finding of the PIU report on Energy will be made public; and if he will make a statement. [30188]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mr. Thomas) on 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 816W.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Civil Servants

Ms Atherton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which Government Departments are reviewing the mandatory retirement age for civil servants. [29761]

24 Jan 2002 : Column 1004W

Mr. Leslie: All Departments have reviewed mandatory retirement age for their staff in the light of the "Winning the Generation Game" report from the Performance and Innovation Unit.

Ms Atherton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the (a) time scale and (b) terms of reference for the review of the mandatory retirement age for senior civil servants in his Department. [29760]

Mr. Leslie: The normal retirement age for members of the senior civil service is 60. The main objective of the review currently being undertaken is to produce a model which will provide Departments with a range of options for managing their senior civil servants. These could include opportunities for moving to flexible working patterns as part of a phased retirement process, and mechanisms for retaining staff with strong potential beyond age 60, particularly those with key skills in such areas as project management. The time scale for implementation has not been finalised but will take account of the differing circumstances and staffing structures of Departments.

WALES

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many regulatory impact assessments have been produced by his Department since August 2001; and if he will list those produced (a) following initial consultation with affected parties about the most appropriate methodology for assessing costs and other impacts and (b) which set out full commercial impacts, including profitability, employment, consumer prices and competitiveness, as recommended in "Good Policy Making". [28413]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department has produced no regulatory impact assessments since August 2001.

Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list, by date and subject, the representations he has received in (a) writing and (b) person from (i) the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, (ii) the Welsh Assembly Government and (iii) committees of the National Assembly for Wales regarding the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. [30673]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular meetings with the First Minister and periodic meetings with the Minister for Finance, Local Government and Communities. We discuss a range of matters, including the Spending Review.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list, by date and subject, representations he has made in (a) writing and (b) person to the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. [30672]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I am in regular contact with my Cabinet colleagues on the Spending Review.

24 Jan 2002 : Column 1005W

Regional Regeneration

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what his estimate is of per capita Government public expenditure on regeneration in each of the Welsh regions in financial years (i) 2000–01 and (ii) 2001–02; [26868]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The National Assembly for Wales has responsibility for the allocation and distribution of funds aimed at regenerating areas of Wales, including the Cynon Valley.

Environmental Appraisals

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans his Department has to appraise the environmental implications of its Spending Review submission to the Treasury. [29036]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The existence of the Barnett formula means that I am not required to make a full Spending Review submission.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what equipment has been stolen from his Department since 1 May 1997; and what the approximate value of each item was. [26828]

Dr. John Reid: The information is as follows:


In addition, computer components were reported stolen from official premises. These components were old and of negligible value.

Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those items valued at more than £50 which have been stolen or lost from his Department in each of the last four years. [28004]

Dr. John Reid: On 4 December 1998, a portable computer, valued at £3,000 was reported stolen from an officer's home.

On 7 May 1999, a portable computer and printer valued at £4,500 were reported stolen from official premises.

On 26 May 1999, a camcorder, valued at £500, was reported stolen from departmental offices.

Ministerial Transport

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he last used the railway service in connection with his official duties; what station he left from and what was the destination; and whether it is his intention to make greater use of the railways in future. [28105]

24 Jan 2002 : Column 1006W

Dr. John Reid: I last used the railway service on official duties in late November 2001.

Details of the travel arrangements of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland are by convention not published.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Literacy and Numeracy Test Results

Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement about her Department's inquiry into the premature disclosure of the literacy and numeracy test results in September 2001. [30933]

Mr. Timms: An inquiry into the premature disclosure of the literacy and numeracy test results has been carried out by the Department's security officer, in conjunction with the Department's head of statistics and a representative of the National Statistician.

The inquiry has been unable to establish the source or nature of the leak of the 2001 Key Stage 2 test results. The main reasons for this are:

(a) There appears to have been no leak of a paper or document; the Evening Standard article on 14 September seems to have been based on one or more casual conversations from which the story was constructed; and

(b) Given the significant number of people in the Department for Education and Skills, Ofsted, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the associated contractors and those elsewhere who had access to the information, there is no prospect of identifying the person who provided the relevant information, unless the journalist concerned is prepared to reveal his source or sources.

The inquiry concludes that there is no evidence of a deliberate disclosure from Ministers, officials or advisers in the Department. Indeed, on the limited evidence available, the disclosure seems unlikely to have come from any departmental source.

The inquiry makes a number of recommendations for strengthening the control and management of sensitive information in advance of the advertised day of its disclosure. These are being taken forward.


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