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Public Expenditure

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's estimates were for (a) identifiable public expenditure and (b) aggregate public expenditure in each year from 1996–97 to 2001–02 expressed as (i) totals and (ii) percentages of gross domestic product, in (A) Scotland, (B) Wales, (C) Northern Ireland, (D) England and (E) the Government Office Regions of England. [144379]

Mr. Boateng: Estimates of identifiable public spending on services by country and region were published in the Corrigendum to Chapter 8 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (CM 5901). Estimates of aggregate public expenditure including non-identifiable spending by region and country are not readily available. Estimates of Gross Value Added by country and region were published by the Office for National Statistics in August 2003.

Public Services (Ethnicity)

Ms Buck: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of a person's ethnicity on their access to public services. [143570]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by hon. Friend the Minister for Race Equality, Community Policy and Civil Renewal gave to her on 15 December 2003, Official Report, column 633W.

Savings Ratio

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the savings ratio was in each year since 1979. [144032]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr Clappison dated 17 December 2003:

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Household saving ratio


The households' series used for these data are for the combined household and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) sectors. The accounts for the household and NPISH sectors are currently combined: separate estimates are not available. The above ratio represents households saving as a percentage of total resources.

Textile Jobs

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many textile jobs there were in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002. [144234]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Keith Vaz dated 17 December 2003:



7. Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development, what plans he has to ban the use of (a) asbestos and (b) materials containing it in projects supported by his Department. [144412]

Mr. Gareth Thomas : Information as follows.

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1. My Department have had in place a policy for non-use of asbestos in the UK for over four years.

2. We have undertaken major refurbishment of both our UK offices during this period and the contracts have explicitly banned the use of any asbestos materials. During the refurbishment works we were able to remove (under controlled conditions) all materials containing asbestos and we are now confident that our UK offices are asbestos free.

3. Where DFID directly engages in building activities overseas, strict measures are taken in dealing with existing materials containing asbestos; and no new construction contains asbestos products.


8. Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what assistance his Department are giving to programmes to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world. [144413]

Hilary Benn: The UK is the second largest bilateral donor of HIV/AIDS assistance to developing countries. Our bilateral funding has increased seven-fold, from £38 million in 1997–98 to more than £270 million in 2002–03. The UK was instrumental in setting up the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and has committed US$ 280 million over seven years to ensure it has long term stability of funding. The Government published its Call for Action on HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day, which emphasises the UK's commitment to AIDS and highlights the need for stronger political direction; better funding; better donor coordination and better HIV/AIDS programmes.

15. James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what action his Department are taking to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Asia. [144420]

Hilary Benn: HIV/AIDS in Asia is a critical development issue. With 7.4 million Asians already infected, we are now seeing the epidemic spreading into previously unaffected areas and countries. If current rates of growth continue, there may be as many as 25 million people infected in India and 15 million in China, by 2010. Infections on this scale are of grave concern. If they continue at current rates and meaningful action is not taken, it is likely that by 2020 Asia will overtake Africa as the centre of the epidemic.

DFID's strategy in Asia is to focus efforts on preventing the further spread of the epidemic. In most countries the epidemic is still concentrated in vulnerable groups, principally sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men. The challenge is to prevent spread into the general population. We have seen some success in Thailand and Cambodia from which it will be important to learn.

In addition to support through mechanisms such as the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, and to e.g. vaccine research, DFID supports major HIV/AIDS control initiatives in eight countries in Asia. Current commitments are in excess of £260 million. Our focus at country level is on support to the development and implementation of effective national AIDS strategies and plans, in partnership with governments, civil

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society, the private sector, and other donors DFID also funds regional cross-border initiatives with vulnerable populations in SE Asia, and advocacy work by the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS.

Land Ownership Rights

9. Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what discussions he has had with British companies about the support they could offer his Department in assisting developing countries to reduce the impediments to formalising land ownership rights for poor people in these countries. [144414]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID has had contact with a range of British companies and other sources of expertise such as government-owned agencies, research organisations, universities and non-government organisations in the context of its work in Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Southern Africa (South Africa and Lesotho). Our contacts range from simple exchange of information to more detailed discussions about implementation of projects. We fully appreciate the skills and expertise that British companies bring to these programmes. We also endeavour to bring in developing country and international experience where appropriate.

Palestinian Human Rights

10. Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the security fence on the humanitarian situation of Palestinians. [144415]

Hilary Benn: The livelihoods of thousands of Palestinians have been drastically affected by the separation of villages from their agricultural land and water resources. The fence fragments communities and isolates people from vital social support networks. Residents are being cut off from schools, universities and medical care. According to the latest Israeli Government projections approximately 210,000 acres, or 14.5 per cent. of West Bank land, excluding East Jerusalem, will lie between the fence and the Green Line. This land is some of the most fertile in the West Bank and is home to 274,000 people. Of those, some 70,000 do not have Israeli residency permits and, as a consequence, may feel it necessary to move east of the fence in order to retain access to basic services.

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