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Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact the decision by Consignia to impose a charge to businesses to deliver letters before 9 am will have on the Universal Service Obligation. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 17 July 2002]: Consignia has not decided to impose a charge of £20 per week to businesses for deliveries before 9 am. The company is currently running pilots of their new Tailored Delivery Service in 14 delivery offices across the country. Under the pilot, customers who receive 20 or more letters on a regular basis will get a delivery before 9 am. Other customers will receive their mail between 9 am and lunchtime. A new, additional service will allow customers who do not receive 20 or more items to choose to pay for a delivery before 9 am. The service will be trialled at £5, £10 and just over £14 per week for the pilots but the Chairman of Consignia has said that the final proposed price will be part of the evaluation of the pilots in consultation with the regulator, the Postal Services Commission (Postcomm), and the consumer body, Postwatch.
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services which are to be provided by Consignia in meeting a universal postal service. This includes a requirement to make at least one delivery of mail every working day to all addresses in the UK except in circumstances that Postcomm considers exceptional. It is for Postcomm to decide whether the new Tailored Delivery Service meets this requirement.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her plans are for (a) implementing the European directive on information and consultation of employees and (b) the review of employment status. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government are today publishing a paper setting out our vision for the future of the UK labour market, one based on the objectives of full employment, diversity and choice, and high productivity. The Government are also publishing a complementary analysis of European labour markets. Modernisation of our employment relations framework is a central feature of delivering this vision.
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Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to modify the public procurement policy so public bodies have to buy local fresh food; what recent representations she has had on this subject; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government's public procurement policy requires all purchases of goods and services to be based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity. Value for money is defined as "the optimum combination of whole life cost and quality (or fitness for purpose) to meet the customer's requirement". Public bodies are also required to comply with the EC Treaty, the EC procurement directives and the UK Regulations that implement them. These are designed to ensure that public procurement is fair, transparent and not used to discriminate by setting up barriers to free trade. Member States reached political agreement on a revised public procurement directive at the Internal Market Council on 21 May. This revised directive maintains the principles set out above.
This policy and legal framework for public procurement not only secures value for money for the taxpayer but also helps to improve the competitiveness of, and opportunities for, our suppliers. It does not, however, permit public sector buyers to restrict their purchases to specific locations or suppliers.
However, it is permitted to specify requirements that might provide the opportunity for local suppliers to make use of their proximity to customers. For example, a requirement for frequent delivery of fresh food would be acceptable provided it was reasonable and not contrived to create an artificial barrier to free trade. In principle a foreign supplier is not denied an opportunity to compete on equal terms by, for example, setting up an operation in Britain. Public bodies can also ensure that their contract specifications do not discriminate against local suppliers. For example, requiring the supply of mangetout throughout the year would necessitate purchases from overseas and deny local suppliers an opportunity to compete. To avoid such difficulties for local suppliers the buying authority can require seasonal vegetables instead.
Issues relating to public procurement policy have also been raised by several respondents, including the organic sector, to the Department's Sustainable Food and Farming Working Together consultation paper. These are also under consideration.
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Ms Keeble: The United Nations estimates that some half a million people are facing starvation in Angola, and that more than a million others are completely dependent on food aid for their survival. Thousands are reported to have died of hunger over the last few months and many more are dying every day.
My Department is deeply concerned about the situation and is providing direct assistance to the humanitarian agencies responding to the emergency. We are continuing to monitor the situation closelya DFID assessment team is visiting Angola this weekend to supplement our information about the situation and help us to respond quickly to further support needs. We are also playing an active part to ensure that the international donor community and the Government of Angola together respond effectively to the urgent humanitarian needs of the Angolan people.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much bilateral aid has been given to Angola over the last 12 months; for what purposes the aid was directed; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: Over the last 12 months DFID has contributed £1.7 million to the 2002 United Nations appeal for Angola to ensure that critical humanitarian needs are met and to assist in the reception areas for ex-UNITA fighters. We have also committed some £2 million to the ICRC and MSF, who are at the forefront of the humanitarian response.
In addition, DFID's development programme to Angola has spent some £2 million pounds over the last 12 months on the Luanda Urban Poverty Programme, which aims to provide the urban poor with improved access to basic services and economic livelihoods. We have also assisted the Government of Angola to consider the case for the World bank to put in place an effective demobilisation and reintegration programme for ex-UNITA fighters.
Ms Keeble: The research undertaken on Strek Plots is of critical importance for the sustainable management and exploitation of Indonesia's forest resources. The plots are under immediate threat from illegal logging. A secondary threat from mining operations is currently the subject of amicable, but unconcluded, negotiations.
DFID is working with the Government of Indonesia to promote a sustainable timber industry, which protects the interests of poor people who are dependent upon forest resources for their livelihoods. We co-ordinate this work closely with other donors supporting the Government's efforts to reform the forestry sector. This includes the European Union with whom we are in regular contact.
The UK Government have recently concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Indonesia that commits us to working together to combat illegal logging. This will help secure the future of the Strek Plots. My officials are currently working with their Indonesian counterparts to finalise an action plan to
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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) if she will list the CDC Capital Partners' offices in the United States; and what the locations of those offices are; 
(3) how many CDC Capital Partners' offices are in non- Commonwealth countries; and if she will list (a) those offices and (b) when they were opened. 
Clare Short: CDC has offices in the United States in Miami (Latin America regional office), Houston (for GlobeleQ power fund) and Vienna, Virginia (India representative office). In the last three years, in addition to the three offices in the United States, CDC has opened in Beijing, Lagos, Mexico City, Cairo and Singapore.
CDC has offices in 10 non-Commonwealth countries. They are: Bolivia (1997), the People's Republic of China (2000), Costa Rica (1978), Cote d'Ivoire (1987), Cuba (1997), Egypt (2000), Indonesia (1971), Mexico (2000), Thailand (1971) and the United States (all three US offices opened in 2000).
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) target, (b) current and (c) projected rate of return on CDC Capital Partners' investments is, by sector, in (i) sub-Saharan Africa, (ii) South Asia, (iii) Latin America, (iv) Asia-Pacific and (v) China. 
Clare Short: CDC will seek to make a rate of return on an individual investment commensurate with the associated risk involved. This will vary across sectors and geographies. Information about the target, current and projected rate of returns for individual investment is commercially sensitive.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on CDC Capital Partners' scheme for assessing the environmental impact of its investments. 
Clare Short: Each new deal investigated by CDC is given a risk rating for health and safety, environmental and social issues. A formal environmental impact assessment is carried out by independent consultants, and an environmental management plan is put in place, where there is perceived to be a high risk of the investment potentially having a significant environmental impact (as may be the case with mining, cement manufacture, and projects involving large construction sites). Otherwise the deal team will review the possible environment impact of investments as part of its due diligence exercise and, if any specific areas of concern are identified, external appropriate consultants may be brought in to advise on these specific issues. CDC reviews any environmental concerns arising from existing investments via a formal investment valuation review every six months and through its Business Principles Unit.
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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what meetings she had with CDC Capital Partners' executives in April; what was discussed; and if she will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what CDC Capital Partners' stock options are held by (a) each executive director, (b) each non-executive director, (c) each office director and (d) other mid-level executives. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development by how much CDC Capital Partners' net debt increased in 2002; to whom the debt is liable; and at what interest rate in each case. 
Clare Short: At the start of the year CDC Group plc had net cash of £207 million and loans due to the Department of International Development (DFID) of £755 million, producing a net debt figure of £548 million. At 30 June 2002, the net cash was approximately £225 million and loans due to DFID remained at £755 million. The loans due to DFID are interest free.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will describe CDC Capital Partners' criteria for assessing human rights conditions in the countries in which it invests. 
Clare Short: CDC has developed a framework for assessing the human rights conditions in the countries in which it invests. This is informed by reference to international, governmental and NGO sources. CDC does not make investments in countries which are subject to UN sanctions. Specific issues may also be highlighted during due diligence into possible investments. The decision on whether to make a particular investment in a certain country will also be determined in part by whether acceptable labour practices will be able to be pursued and the investment will result in a positive benefit for the wider community.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the years of CDC Capital Partners service of (a) the chairman, (b) the Chief Executive, (c) each member of the Board of Directors and (d) each member of the Management Committee. 
Clare Short: Information about the background and length of service of Directors and other members of the Management Committee was published in CDC Group plc's annual report for 2001. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what CDC Capital Partners' criteria are for sustainability by (a) sector and (b) country; and what steps are followed to (i) approve and (ii) reject investments. 
Clare Short: Sustainability in the context of private sector investment combines a judgment about both an investee company's commercial viability and about social and environmental responsibility, so that the investment
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is not at the expense of people and the environment. This applies across investments in all sectors and countries. In the power sector, renewable energy sources are not always an option but CDC's strong preference is for cleaner fuels and every plant is committed to operating to international environmental standards.
All potential investments are subject to a social and environmental review, whether internally or by external consultants. I refer the hon. Member to the reply to Question 67366 at columns 44950W. Any social or environmental concerns are fully investigated and any necessary action plans put in place before the investment is made.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what representations her Department has received regarding CDC Capital Partners' investments in African smallholders since 1997; 
(3) what representations her Department has received regarding CDC Capital Partners' procedures for measuring the (a) infrastructure and (b) employment effects of its investments; 
(4) what representations have been made to her Department concerning hours worked per month by CDC Capital Partners' executives since 1997. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) if she will list the rate of return on each CDC Capital Partners' investment, broken down by sector, since 1997; 
Clare Short: In the current market conditions, the Government do not believe that it will be possible to sell a majority of CDC's shares in the near future at a price that represents good value for the development assistance programme. We are therefore exploring alternative ways to achieve the objective of the public-private partnership, to mobilise increased investment for the benefit of poorer developing countries.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) CDC Capital Partners' senior executives regarding the future tax position of CDC Capital Partners. 
Clare Short: Extensive discussions took place in 1998 and early 1999 about the future tax position of CDC. Provisions for the future tax treatment of CDC were set out in Schedule 3 of the Commonwealth Development Corporation Act 1999.
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