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Development Assistance

John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will produce a timetable for raising UK official development assistance to the UN target of 0.7 per cent. of GNP. [68818]

John Healey: The Government remain fully committed to the UN 0.7 per cent. oda/GNI target. The Chancellor announced in the Spending Review that UK official development assistance as a proportion of Gross National Income will rise to 0.40 per cent. in 2005–06, from a level of 0.33 per cent. in 2003–04 and 0.26 per cent. in 1997, taking the ratio to its highest level since 1981. As a result, the UK will exceed the average EU target for oda/GNI of 0.39 per cent. by 2005–06 and be more than double the current G7 country oda/GNI average of 0.18 per cent. and current OECD ratio of 0.22 per cent.

The UK will continue to use international meetings, such as G7/8 meetings, and bilateral meetings to encourage other partners to follow our lead.

Global Poverty

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the steps he is taking to reduce global poverty. [68769]

John Healey: In recent months, the UK Government have been at the forefront of efforts to mobilise the international community to tackle global poverty by promoting a global new deal between developed and developing countries—a new development compact building the foundations for a virtuous circle of debt relief, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

This effort focused on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, ensuring all children can attend school, and dramatically reducing child and maternal mortality rates.

Pledges from the US and the EU made at Monterrey in March will, from 2006, raise an extra $12 billion each year for achieving the MDGs with—following the G8 summit in Kananaskis in June—possibly half or more of these funds going to Africa.

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Furthermore, following the outcomes of the Spending Review 2002, announced by the Chancellor today, the UK has increased its aid commitments to developing countries from 0.33 per cent. of national income in 2002–03 to 0.4 per cent. by 2005–06. This is the largest ever rise in UK aid, and a 93 per cent. real terms increase since 1997, which makes clear the Government's commitment to the United Nations 0.7 per cent. target. The increase means the UK's aid to national income ratio will be more than double the current G7 country average, and far ahead of the current OECD average of 0.22 per cent. In addition, the Department for International Development has announced, for the first time, a £1 billion annual bilateral programme for Africa by 2005–06.

On debt relief an extra $6 billion is being provided so far this year—taking the total to $62 billion across 26 HIPCs. At the G8 summit, leaders agreed to fund the financial shortfall in the HIPC Initiative, pledging an extra $1 billion. In return for good governance, prudent new borrowing and sound debt management, the G8 will take action to secure the participation of all creditors, and ensure a robust exit from debt.

The UK Government have endorsed the World bank's education fast tracking initiative, launched in May 2002, which provides the first focused financing framework for achieving the Education for All goals. In addition, at the G8 summit in June, Heads of Government agreed to increase significantly bilateral assistance for countries that have demonstrated a strong and credible policy and financial commitment to these goals. In the coming months the UK will work to take forward this agreement and urge other donor Governments and the multilateral development banks to join our renewed effort to ensure that, by 2015, every child can go to school.

Just as the UK Government are committed to significantly increasing investments in education, so too we should accelerate support to build universal and equitable health care systems. The UK is encouraging the World bank, UN agencies and other donors to work together to ensure that developing countries with credible policy commitments have the resources necessary to strengthen health systems. In 2002 the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria was launched. To date more than $1.9 billion has been pledged to the fund, of

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which the UK has committed $200 million over five years. And in addition to on-going commitments to combat these three killer diseases, the G8 Heads of Government have committed to provide sufficient resources to eradicate polio by 2005. The UK has also introduced a tax credit to encourage companies to increase research and development into vaccines and medicines for the prevention and treatment of malaria, TB and those strains of AIDS which predominantly affect people in developing countries.

In the months ahead and at the annual meetings of the IMF and World bank in October, the UK will press for further joint action in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.


Departmental Waste

Sue Doughty: To ask the Prime Minister what proportion of waste produced in his Office was (a) recycled, (b) composted and (c) re-used, broken down into (i) paper, (ii) plastics, (iii) aluminium cans and (iv) other in each year since 1997; what plans there are to increase these proportions; and if he will make a statement. [65691]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 11 July 2002, Official Report, columns 1100–01W.

Future of Farming and Food

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received about implementing the recommendations of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food; and if he will make a statement. [69572]

The Prime Minister: I have received over 100 letters this year about farming, including ones on the recommendations of the Policy Commission report on the Future of Farming and Food. I have also hosted a seminar with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sir Donald Curry, key industry and other players, to discuss how we can deliver the recommendations of the commission.

The Government's discussion document, "Sustainable Food and Farming: Working Together", invited views on how to take forward the Policy Commission's recommendations. Responses will help inform the construction of the new strategy for food and farming, to be launched in the autumn.

This strategy will announce details of the policy measures that we will put in place to deliver the vision identified in the Policy Commission's report. Today's spending review settlement demonstrates our commitment to this vision. It invests £500 million in sustainable farming, including a programme rising to £200 million in 2005–06 with which to address the report's key recommendations. And it allows for the rolling out of the proposed broad and shallow agri-environment scheme, financed through increased modulation and Exchequer matched funding in 2005–06.

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Performance Targets

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the performance targets that her Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are required to meet, apart from those set out in the public service agreements for 1999–2002 and 2001–04; and if she will specify for each target (a) who sets it and (b) who monitors achievement against it. [60459]

Mrs. Liddell: My Department sponsors the Boundary Commission for Scotland. The Scotland Office has no public service agreements and no additional performance targets have been set for the Commission.


Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what assessment she has made of the benefits of access to broadband services for Scotland; and if she will make a statement; [61795]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government believe that the roll out and adoption of broadband across the UK can make an important contribution to delivering social and economic benefits. In "UK Online: The Broadband Future", published in February 2001, the Government set a target for the UK to have most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005. The Scottish Executive are taking forward the roll out of broadband in Scotland and have published "Connecting Scotland: Our Broadband Future", which aims to make broadband connections more affordable and available.

Basle II

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions she has had with the Treasury about the effect on the Scottish financial sector of the current terms of Basle II. [66091]

Mrs. Liddell: I have regular discussions with Treasury Ministers on a wide range of issues.

The Treasury are closely following the on-going discussions on the Basle II Accord which has yet to be finalised and I am kept informed of developments. The Treasury are aware of the potential impact on the financial industry, including that of Scotland, when Basle II is transposed into an EU directive. The UK will negotiate to ensure that the directive is flexible, effective and proportionate.

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