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3 Jun 2003 : Column 105W—continued


Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to reduce his Department's underspend in 2003–04 from that of 2002–03. [112778]

Mr. Alexander: The Cabinet Office always strives to operate sound financial management of its resource and capital budgets. A capital underspend is expected in 2002–03 due to unavoidable one-off delays on two major capital programmes. Planned spending for 2003–04 is set out in the Cabinet Office departmental report 2003 (Cm 5926) .

Departmental Running Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the running costs in 2002 were of (a) his Ministers' private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff, and (b) his Department. [105996]

Mr. Alexander: Detailed financial management information is maintained in terms of financial rather than calendar years, figures for departmental running costs for 2002–03 will be published shortly in departmental appropriation and resource accounts.

The running costs of Ministers' Private Offices, the Cabinet Office parliamentary branch and the ministerial Correspondence and Support Team for 2001–02 are shown in the following table:


Number of private officesTotalpaybillTotal other running costsTotal net running costs

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114110]

Mr. Alexander: The published Cabinet Office SR2000 and SR2002 Public Service Agreement (PSA) Target is to achieve a 2.5 per cent. saving per year on administrative resources.

This target cannot be translated into an absolute monetary value, nor an overall percentage of the departmental expenditure limit. We will meet it by managing within the published administration costs limit.

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Government Websites

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment has been made of Government Department websites for (a) access by disabled users, (b) content and reliability and (c) value for money. [115543]

Mr. Alexander: The National Audit Office has conducted an assessment of the accessibility and usability of government websites. The report is primarily focused on encouraging use of the internet by older people and is available online at

The Cabinet Office has published guidelines for government web managers covering accessibility, content, reliability and value for money. These are available online at


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the (a) cost, (b) scope and (c) partnerships created for the latest initiative to increase internet use in the UK. [115541]

Mr. Alexander: In total the Cabinet Office has committed £1 million to the "Get Started" campaign which aims to drive up levels of internet access among key groups such as the elderly, disabled and unemployed. We expect the value of strong partnership activity to at least match our direct investment. As well as being used to publicise the campaign, our investment is supporting a number of voluntary sector organisations to deliver internet access projects for their users.

"Get Started" is a national campaign which was launched on 12 May and will run until 30 June. During the campaign, throughout England, people will be encouraged to visit UK online centres offering free internet starter sessions. The Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly are supporting the campaign by running complementary activity in Scotland and Wales.

Key partners delivering the campaign include: Arriva, BT, BBC, Dixons Store Group, Granada Television, Age Concern, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations, the National Council for One Parent Families, the National Library for the Blind, the Prince's Trust and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps the Office has taken to publicise its Public Service Agreement targets; and at what cost to public funds. [114458]

Mr. Alexander: Information on Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets is published on the Cabinet Office website and included in routine publications such as the Departmental Report, which involves no significant extra cost. No central record is maintained of other publicity costs associated with promoting PSA targets, which could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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Staff Turnover

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of regional variations in staff turnover in his Department. [112762]

Mr. Alexander: The majority of staff in the Cabinet Office, the Central Office of Information and the Government Car and Despatch Agency are located in the South East of England. Turnover is monitored in each organisation as part of the process of planning and reviewing resources.



John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she will make to President Chirac on finding a solution to the problems in the coffee industry at the G8 summit in Evian on 1 June. [113507]

Mr. Morley: Coffee growers have been hit by low prices and deteriorating quality, the result of global over-supply and structural imbalances in the industry. The Government will support efforts to find solutions at the G8 summit and in follow-up work after the summit, notably for poor countries in Africa.

There are a number of possibilities. The UK is already contributing to a sustainable coffee market by helping growers to diversify through its development programme; trying to expand the trade opportunities of commodity-dependent countries, cut tariffs and reduce the negative impact of the CAP. We are promoting foreign investment and good regulatory frameworks, increasing the aid budget to 0.40 per cent. of national income by 2005–06 and advocating more debt relief to highly indebted poor countries. A government-industry working group is currently looking at what more can be done to improve the livelihoods of poorer commodity producers in developing countries. The UK is also actively participating in the work of the International Coffee Organisation to improve the sustainability of the world coffee market.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will provide financial support for the monitoring of the International Coffee Organisation quality scheme; [113504]

Mr. Morley: The Government shares the concern for the way that coffee growers have been hit by low prices and deteriorating quality, largely as a result of global over supply and structural imbalances in the industry.

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The Government's policy on the reduction of supply of and increasing the quality of coffee on the world market is via our membership of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) and our support for the ICO's coffee quality scheme.

The ICO Coffee Quality Improvement programme was approved by ICO Council Resolution 407 on 1 February 2002. The programme commenced on 1 October 2002 and requires that exports of coffee, accompanied by Certificates of Origin, shall comply with minimum standards specified in the Resolution. Exporting members are also required to develop and implement national measures to ensure that no exports of green coffee shall fail to meet the exportable standards. Discussions are currently on going about how the exports of processed coffee should be dealt with.

Exporting members are currently in the process of implementing these measures within their countries. Members will then report to the ICO Council on the measures they have taken to implement the Resolution and inform the Council of any difficulties in this connection. The programme will be reviewed in September 2003.

The European Union is responsible for paying the membership subscriptions of all EU member states at the ICO. The ICO Secretariat administers the Quality Coffee Scheme and part of the subscriptions of member countries is used to monitor the Scheme, primarily by gathering information from exporting members.

In order to strengthen the Quality Initiative the ICO has invited the US, the world's largest coffee consumer, to rejoin the Organisation. The US were Members under the 1983 Agreement, but left in 1993 mainly because at the time it did not wish to support mechanisms which could have a price-regulatory effect. The UK supports ICO's invitation for the USA to accede to the International Coffee Agreement 2001.

The Executive Director has met with the US Administration on behalf of the ICO to encourage them to join and inform the Administration of the ICO's activities, including the one on the Coffee Quality Initiative.

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