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21 Nov 2002 : Column 248W—continued


Burma (Refugees)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much humanitarian assistance her Department provides for refugees in Burma. [80564]

Clare Short: The situation for internally displaced people/refugees in Burma remains extremely vulnerable. Many of these people have taken refuge in remote,

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inaccessible and politically sensitive areas, making it difficult to conduct any detailed humanitarian assessment of their situation. This financial year 2002–03, we have committed humanitarian assistance amounting to #2 million for both refugees and internally displaced people within Burma. This included funding through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Burmese Border Consortium and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Magistrates Courts (Greater Manchester)

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the UK Government and other key donors are taking to address the shortfall in funding to the Afghan Government for promoting Afghanistan's recovery. [78215]

Clare Short: The international donor community has now disbursed $1.3 billion of the $1.8 billion pledge for 2002; of this, a total of $200 million has been paid into the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, which is used by the Afghanistan Transitional Administration to meet recurrent costs and finance the most pressing of reconstruction requirements. Recent payments into the fund mean that the ATA now faces a far smaller potential budget deficit this financial year than was originally feared but my Department is continuing to work closely with other donors to help ensure budget requirements are fully met. In addition, I recently approved a contribution of $20 million in support of Afghanistan's arrears clearance with the major international financial institutions, and am confident this will enable the Asia development bank and world bank to finance the implementation of substantial reconstruction initiatives in the near future.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the UK Government and other donor countries are taking to address the shortfall in funds to the WFP and UNHCR in Afghanistan. [78216]

Clare Short: We understand that UNHCR and WFP programmes for 2002 for Afghanistan have been well-resourced so far (to the order of 90 per cent. and 75 per cent. respectively). So far in the current financial year, the UK has contributed 4 million and 2.2 million respectively to UNHCR and WFP programmes.

Overall needs for emergency support are being revised in light of the increasing number of returned refugees and in anticipation of the coming winter. A consolidated appeal is due to be launched at the Afghan Support Group meeting in December, in Oslo. The basic emergency needs will come under the human capital pillar of the National Development Framework, for which the Afghan Government has determined it will allocate 45 per cent of all external funds received.

We have now committed 65 million to Afghanistan for the current financial year (the original allocation was 40 million). We will consider future support in light of the Transitional Assistance Programme for Afghanistan and the priorities set out in the National Development Framework, in consultation with the Afghan authorities.

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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the assistance given by her Department to increase the provision of clean water to the people of Malawi. [82688]

Clare Short: My Department operates the largest bilateral donor programme in Malawi (70 million in 2002–03). Our focus is on health, education, governance and sustainable livelihoods. We have no involvement in the water sector.

Ministerial salaries

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the annual cost was of Ministerial salaries in her Department in (a) 1997–98 and (b) 2001–02. [60943]

Clare Short: The levels of Ministerial salaries are recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body. From May 1997, in this Department there was one Cabinet Minister at an annual salary of #43, 991 and one Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at an annual salary of #23, 623. From June 2001, for the same two posts, the respective salaries were #68,157 and #26,835.

Overseas Development Assistance

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has made to other international donors regarding the untying of overseas development assistance. [80948]

Clare Short: The international community has this year untied financial aid to the least-developed countries. We welcome this, but we want other donors to follow the UK example and untie all development assistance for all countries. As the largest block of development finance, Europe should give a lead. The Commission have tabled proposals for further untying which I welcomed at this week's Council meeting. We want to see a clear timetable for future progress.

Pharmaceutical Sales

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans her Department has to increase world pharmaceutical sales (a) to the developing countries and (b) to Africa. [80557]

Clare Short: The Government are working to bring about increased supplies of essential medicines to developing countries, in a way which is sustainable and

predictable and ensures they reach the poorest.

The Government will shortly be launching the report of the UK's high level working group on access to medicines. The report is a result of a year's collaboration between representatives of UK industry, WHO, WTO, The European Commission, a developing country and international foundations. It outlines an approach intended to facilitate voluntary differential pricing of essential medicines for the poorest developing countries-and all of sub-Saharan Africa-as the international operational norm. The UK is committed to working with others to take the report's recommendations forward as a matter of urgency. The

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report complements ongoing work in the context the Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and public health, and it also emphasises the importance of sustainable financing and reliable health and supply systems. The UK has already pledged $200 million over five years to the Global Fund to Fight TB, AIDS and Malaria (GFATM), and has committed over #1 billion since 1997 to strengthen developing countries' health systems. The Government have also introduced tax incentives to encourage longer-term development of new medicines to treat AIDS, TB and malaria in developing countries.

Staff Costs


Mr. Bercow: (Buckingham): Asked the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of the Departmental expenditure limit for 2002–03 will be accounted for by staff costs; what the figures were for 2001–02; and if she will make a statement. [61027]

Clare Short: Spending on staff from DFID's Administration Costs was #41 million in 2001–2, which was 1.3 per cent. Of the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL). On the same basis, spending in 2002–3 is forecast to be around #45 million, or 1.3 per cent of DFID's DEL. We expect spending on staff to rise over the next Spending Review period but at a significantly slower rate than the Departmental Spending Limit

Zimbabwe (Food Aid)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her strategy is for delivering food to vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe when the Government of Zimbabwe obstructs food aid. [80574]

Clare Short: My Department has provided over #38 million in humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe since September 2001. This has included food assistance through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and through non-governmental organisations. There has been relatively little obstruction in these operations that cover more than half of the country's 57 districts and continue to expand.

If obstruction does occur, we work closely in support of the United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator and the World Food Programme in engaging with the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the obstruction is dealt with and the distribution of food resumed as quickly as possible. For example, Save the Children UK has now obtained written clearances to resume its feeding programme in Binga.


Mr Peter Jewell

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, when the Lord Chancellor intends to reply to the letter dated 3 September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr Peter Jewell. [81712]

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Yvette Cooper: A reply was sent on 19 November 2002. My right hon. Friend wrote originally to the Home Secretary. The letter was then passed to the Lord Chancellor for reply in late October.

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