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12 Dec 2002 : Column 462Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions her officials have had with representatives of (a) British water companies and (b) Water UK on water retention around the Nile basin. 
Clare Short: DFID have not held discussions with UK companies specifically on the Nile Basin. However, DFID is also supporting a range of initiatives to encourage private sector involvement to improve access to water and sanitation, while ensuring that services are provided at an affordable price to the poor.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the governments of those countries through which the River Nile flows on effecting a common policy towards water use. 
Clare Short: DFID has agreed to support the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which encompasses the 10 riparian countries in a programme of dialogue and benefit sharing for the protection and development of the waters of the Nile. DFID has joined World bank facilitated discussions with riparian countries and a number of bilateral donors. DFID has pledged #3.3 million in support of NBI.
Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her timetable is for airport development on St. Helena; what the prospects are for private sector co-funding; and whether decisions will have been made by 1 July 2003. 
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Dawn Primarolo: We have looked carefully at issues for the insurance market following the appalling attacks of 11 September 2001. Following a review the Pool Re scheme is being extended to enable insurers to offer terrorism insurance for commercial property damage and business interruption against a wider range of risks.
John Healey: In discussions with fellow finance ministers, the IMF and the World Bank, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is championing a new International Finance Facility (IFF) to finance the investment needed to tackle world poverty. The EU and US have pledged $50 billion that is needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
John Healey: The Government are committed to supporting the work of voluntary and community organisations. Following the cross cutting review of the role of the voluntary and community sector in service
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delivery, the Spending Review 2002 settlement for the Active Community Unit is #188 million and an additional #125 million has been allocated for futurebuilders. Following recent Budget changes, including the Budget 2000 Getting Britain Giving tax package, the value of tax incentives for charities are now worth around #2 billion a year. The Strategy Unit is consulting on improving the legal and regulatory framework for the sector, and the Chancellor and Home Secretary recently published a discussion document setting out how the Government intend to continue to promote a culture of giving and volunteering.
17. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Treasury was consulted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister before the Office's response to the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee's Report, the New Towns: Their Problems and Future. 
18. Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the director of Mapeley Steps Contactor Ltd. to discuss the maintenance of accommodation occupied by Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise are responsible for the accommodation they occupy under the contract with Mapeley for serviced accommodation. The Chancellor has, therefore, not met the directors to discuss these matters.
20. Mr. Swire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he received in advance of the pre-Budget report on Government policy and UK competitiveness; and if he will make a statement. 
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Promoting enterprise by modernising the UK's business tax regime, and promoting an entrepreneurial culture
Supporting science and innovation through the Government's comprehensive science strategy, and announcing two complementary reviews into business innovation and university-business links
Improving UK skills through measures to support the expansion and improvement of the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, and by expanding the employer training pilots to improve work force skills
Promoting investment by reforming the planning system.
Providing R&D tax credits to all companies, which will overwhelmingly benefit manufacturers, who undertake most of the UK's business R&D.
Creating venture capital funds in every English region providing #270 million (including up to #8 million of Government funding) for investment in small firms with high growth potential.
Establishing the Small Business Service to ensure that the interests and concerns of small firms are properly reflected in Government policy and programmes.
Strengthening the Regional Development Agencies (RDA), whose key role is promoting business efficiency, investment and competitiveness.
Establishing regional centres of manufacturing excellence in every region of England and Wales.
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