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16 Dec 2003 : Column 830W—continued

Mr. Andrew Smith

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contracts his Department has entered into in the last 12 months with (a) Avient Air and (b) other companies in which Mr. Andrew Smith has an interest; what services have been provided to his Department under these contracts in (i) Sierra Leone and (ii) other countries; what the value of these contracts is; when these contracts were entered into; and if he will make a statement. [142188]

Hilary Benn: We have no contracts with Avient Air. As far as my Department is aware, we have none with any other companies in which Mr. Smith has an interest.

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Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the nature is of (a) food and (b) HIV/AIDS programmes he is funding in Zimbabwe. [143991]

Hilary Benn: At least 5.5 million Zimbabweans will require food assistance in the run up to the next harvest in April 2004. This year DFID is providing support worth £21 million for emergency feeding programmes. This is being channelled both through the World Food Programme's Emergency Appeal and directly to international and Zimbabwean NGOs. This direct DFID support reached 1.2 million people in October 2003, 80 per cent. of whom are children.

HIV/AIDS remains a key challenge for Zimbabwe and kills over 2,500 people each week, while 25 per cent. of the adult population are infected. DFID has committed £27 million for longer term HIV/AIDS programming. This includes the supply of condoms through clinics and private sector outlets, promoting behavioural change and home-based care for the chronically sick.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many internally displaced persons there are in Zimbabwe; and how many Zimbabwean refugees there are abroad. [143990]

Hilary Benn: There is a significant population of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Zimbabwe, mainly due to growing food shortages and the continued farm seizures. This has resulted in the displacement of an estimated one hundred thousand people, predominantly farm workers. However, exact numbers are difficult to assess. The Government of Zimbabwe's reluctance to acknowledge the disastrous effects of the fast-track land reform programme has prevented the humanitarian community from carrying out a comprehensive assessment or establishing recognised IDP camps.

Numbers of documented Zimbabwean refugees are negligible—the vast majority of Zimbabweans fleeing the crisis are classed as migrants. Again, exact numbers of this transient population are difficult to assess, as many are illegal migrants in the sub-region. However, there are believed to be 2.35 million Zimbabwean migrants in the Southern Africa region. The vast majority of these, approximately two million, are in South Africa.

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DFID is providing support to the International Organisation for Migration and also a Zimbabwean NGO working with former farm workers to prevent displacement and provide, humanitarian assistance for displaced people.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether food aid supplies in Zimbabwe have been secured beyond December. [143986]

Hilary Benn: The UN World Food Programme (WFP), who are the principal coordinators for general food distributions in Zimbabwe, have to date secured over 50 per cent. of the funding requested for this year's Emergency Operation (EMOP) in Zimbabwe. This follows recent pledges of US$8 million from the European Union, and £5 million from DFID. This means that food will be available for distribution until mid-February 2004, when there will be a shortage of cereals if further contributions are not forthcoming. A substantial additional pledge is anticipated shortly from the United States.

Despite this funding, the WFP have reduced monthly ration levels in order to accommodate the growing number of vulnerable people, above the level anticipated when the EMOP appeal was originally prepared. This increase in beneficiary numbers is partly due to increased urban vulnerability, as spiralling inflation (now over 500 per cent.) has affected food prices in shops. There is also emerging evidence of up to several hundred thousand people facing crisis in the former commercial farming areas, most of whom are former farm workers displaced by the Government's disastrous land reform programme. Additionally, the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board has proved erratic and unreliable in contributing to food supply and distribution in the country. Donors are monitoring the situation closely, in close consultation with the WFP.


Departmental Administrative Costs

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the administrative costs were for the Department in each financial year from 1996–97 (a) before adjustments for machinery of government changes and (b) after such adjustments. [143122]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 9 December 2003]: The information requested is set out in the following table. the changes have been projected backwards to provide a consistent set of figures for the period requested.

Net administration costs
£ million

1996–971997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04 (planned)
Total Admin Costs before adjustment269244232245254270258252
Machinery of Government changes from 2001-28-25-26-26-26-33-32-32
Machinery of Government changes from 2003 (provisional)00555556
Total Admin Costs after adjustment(8)241219211224233242231226

(8) Figures include Sure Start and the Children and Young People's Unit where appropriate.

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Child Protection Investigations

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which local authorities have instituted child protection investigations with regard to children held in custody or removal centres during 2003. [144024]

Margaret Hodge: The information requested is not held centrally.

Directorate Staff

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many civil servants were employed in the (a) Schools, (b) Lifelong Learning and (c) Youth Policy Directorates in each year since 1997. [141731]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The numbers of civil servants employed in the Schools, Lifelong Learning and Youth Directorates as at 1 April for the years in question so far as the information is available are:

Schools(9)Lifelong Learning(10)Youth(11)
October 20039699060
April 20031,602661376
April 20021,385681336
April 20011,1341,017
April 20001,017
April 1999913
April 1998800

(9) The rise in School Directorate figures over the period is largely a result of additional responsibilities, for example, the creation of Sure Start and Children and Young Peoples' Unit.

(10) Lifelong Learning Directorate was established in May 2000 drawing on staff from the previously existing Employment, Lifelong Learning and International, Further and Higher Education and Youth Training and Operations Directorates.

(11) Youth Directorate was set up in September 2001 with staff from Lifelong Learning and Employment, Equality and International Relations Directorates. In October 2003, Youth Directorate ceased to exist and its responsibilities were transferred to other Directorates within the Department.

Emergency Contraception

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures are in place to ensure that girls aged under 16 are properly supervised when taking emergency contraception. [141893]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 15 December 2003]: NHS provision of emergency contraception is always by a health professional under medical supervision. Health professionals can provide contraception to young people under 16 provided they are satisfied that the young person is competent to understand fully the implications of any treatment and to make a choice of the treatment involved. Health professionals work within an established legal framework which involves assessing the young person's competence to understand the choices they are making and encouraging them to talk to their parents. All professionals are bound by their professional code of confidentiality. A young person's request for confidentiality is respected unless there are serious child protection issues.

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Providing emergency contraception through a range of community outlets aim to increase early access. All health professionals providing emergency contraception are trained to ensure that young women are informed about and encouraged to visit local services that provide regular forms of contraception and condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections.

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