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19 Nov 2002 : Column 52W—continued

Southern Africa

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what emergency aid has been provided to Southern Africa in recent months. [80751]

Clare Short: We have made the following bilateral commitments since September 2001 in response to the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa:

Date Country DescriptionTotal # million
September 2001ZimbabweNGO feeding programme4.0
ZimbabweWFP Emergency Appeal3.5
MalawiTargeted Inputs programme3.75
January–May 2002MalawiNGO feeding programmes4.4
MalawiWinter Inputs programme1.2
June 2002ZimbabweWFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation7.0
LesothoWFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation1.56
MalawiWFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation5.0
SwazilandWFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation0.25
ZambiaWFP Regional Emergency Feeding Operation5.0
ZambiaNGO food for work programme1.02
RegionWFP logistical support in Johannesburg regional hub, Lesotho and Zimbabwe0.51
Region SADC vulnerability assessments to improve targeting0.2
RegionIFRC Feeding HIV/AIDS affected people2.5
RegionWHO regional health operation0.13
MalawiTargeted inputs programme6.8
ZimbabweNGO agricultural inputs5.0
ZimbabweWHO essential drugs and medicines2.5
September 2002ZimbabweNGO feeding programme16.0
Malawi/RegionNacala Rail-link4.1
October 2002ZambiaAgricultural recovery through NGO's and FAO1.5
ZambiaImproved nutrition programme1.2
ZambiaSupport to the health sector0.2
RegionOCHA Southern African Humanitarian Information Service0.11
Region Southern Africa Humanitarian Crisis Unit for monitoring and liaison0.5
LesothoLivelihoods recovery through agriculture programme1.0
ZimbabweEpidemic preparedness1.2
ZimbabweImproved nutrition programme1.1
Total since September 2001Humanitarian assistance and recovery programmes81.23

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Breakdown by country since September 2001

Country
Malawi25.25
Zimbabwe40.3
Lesotho2.56
Swaziland0.25
Zambia8.92
Regional3.95

In addition, our contribution to commitments by the European Commission to date is about #21.3 million.

Zimbabwe

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department has detailed contingency plans for delivering food to the people of Zimbabwe in the event of an emergency. [80575]

Clare Short: The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is already an emergency to which my Department has been responding for over a year. To date we have committed more than #38 million for emergency food provision, health care, agricultural inputs, and monitoring. This has been successfully channelled through UN agencies and non-governmental partners.

We are working closely with the internationally mandated organisations to ensure that appropriate contingency plans are in place for a number of scenarios, including the displacement of people. In the event of deterioration in the situation, we will continue to work with agencies already operational on the ground, with the capability, capacity, and access to deliver assistance.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Correspondence

David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 17 October regarding a constituent, ref: 517205. [81071]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 18 November 2002]: I regret that I am unable to trace this letter from the details given. If further information on the constituent's name and address could be forwarded to me, I will be happy to investigate the matter further.

David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 16 September, regarding a constituent, ref: 19031/2. [81094]

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Beverley Hughes [holding answer 18 November 2002]: A reply to the letter was sent on 12 November. I apologise for the delay in replying.

National Asylum Support Service (Liverpool)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress has been made with the inquiry conducted into NASS supervision of Landmark Co. in Liverpool; and what change he proposes to make in relation to NASS. [81100]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 18 November 2002]: The independent inquiry team has completed its investigation and I am expecting to receive the final report shortly. Until I have seen and considered the report I cannot say whether any changes will be made in relation to National Asylum Support Service (NASS).

Police Officers (Nottinghamshire)

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the number of police officers in Nottinghamshire Constabulary's 'B' Division. [80704]

Mr. Denham: The deployment of Nottinghamshire Police officers is a matter for the Chief Constable to determine. At the end of March 2002 Nottinghamshire Police had 2,330 police officers, 55 more than in March 2001. The force also had 1,087 civilian support staff at the end of March, 48 more than in March of last year.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

School Transport

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what quality standards are in place for home-to-school transport; and what changes to these standards (a) have taken place and (b) are planned. [81731]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: LEA contracted home-to-school transport services are covered by Best Value, which was introduced in the Local Government Act 1999 as a means of securing greater value for money from local government services. Best Value is a statutory requirement for local authorities.

Should schools choose to purchase their own transport services DfES has produced the 'Purchasing Guide for Schools' which offers a working guide for

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school managers to help them set high quality standards when procuring and managing school transport contracts.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what funding mechanisms are available directly from his Department to (a) local authorities and (b) other education bodies for improving school transport in order to improve child truancy rates; and what the total amount paid from his Department was for improving school transport in each year since 1992; [81735]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We are currently conducting research into the causes of absence from school in order to fully understand the issues. We are not specifically looking at truancy in relation to home-to-school transport, as previous research has not shown there to be a link. There is no funding directly available for improving school transport in order to improve child truancy rates.

The DfES has spent the following amounts on home-to- school transport since 1992:

Total (# million)Percentage annual rise in expenditure
1992–93293
1993–94288
1994–9531911
1995–963458
1996–9738211
1997–984189
1998–994446
1999–20004859
2000–01(2) 53210

(2) provisional


Classroom Assistants (Ilford, North)

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to improve the (a) pay, (b) training and (c) career prospects of classroom assistants in Ilford, North. [80538]

Mr. Miliband: The pay of teaching assistants is a matter for local authorities and schools to determine. A consultative document XDeveloping the role of school support staff" was published on 22 October, and sets out plans for career routes and the creation of standards and training for a new higher level role for teaching assistants. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Website

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the Department's website is managed internally or externally of the Department. [80593]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: A small core team within the Department for Education and Skills, run the Department's website, including managing a range of

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key partners who provide particular website services, for example: hosting of the website; design and building of new sub sites; user research and site measurement.


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