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12 Jan 2004 : Column 519W—continued


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had since 17 September 2003 with representatives of the United States Administration on the impact of US subsidies to domestic cotton producers on cotton producers in West Africa. [146587]

Hilary Benn: EU and US cotton subsidies are among the clearest examples of trade distortion by OECD countries. Failure to address them satisfactorily was a key issue behind the collapse of WTO talks at Cancun. Four West African countries (with support from European donors including the UK) presented an initiative at the WTO calling for the end to developed country subsidies, and compensatory support to developing country cotton producers who are negatively affected by them in the meantime. US subsidies are the largest, but recent research supported by my Department and the EU Directorate General for Development shows EU subsidies also affect West Africa because of market structures.

Reform of the EU's own support to its cotton sector is currently being discussed in Brussels. While these discussions continue, DFID has not had direct contacts with the US administration on the issue. The UK is pressing for more significant reform of the EU cotton regime than is currently proposed, both as an end in itself and also to help push the US to address their subsidies.

Departmental Relocation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department work in (a) the West Midlands and (b) North Staffordshire. [146916]

Hilary Benn: None.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what plans he has to establish procedures for assessing the impact of possible relocation of staff in his Department to the regions; and if he will make a statement; [146931]

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Hilary Benn: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which the Chief Secretary to the Treasury gave on 12 January 2004, Official Report, column 516W.

General Affairs and External Relations Council

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many meetings of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the EU have taken place since his appointment; and how many he has attended. [147343]

Hilary Benn: Since my appointment as Secretary of State for International Development on 5 October 2003, there have been three meetings of the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) of the EU and one Informal Meeting of EU Development Ministers on 24 October.

Two GAERCs each year have a 'development' session. I attended the last such session in November 2003. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, represented the UK at the Italian Presidency's Informal Meeting in October, while I was in Madrid attending the Iraq Donor's Conference. For your information, I have listed the dates of all the GAERCs that have taken place since my appointment:

Leak Inquiries

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list occasions on which his Department has conducted an inquiry into alleged leaks from members of staff since 1997; and if he will list the occasions on which the names of those persons accused of leaking information from his Department have been made public (a) by the Government and (b) by way of another source. [146941]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Since 1997 DFID has investigated four suspected leaks. In line with exemptions 1(a) and 7(b) set out in Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, it has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on the outcome of such inquiries in order to safeguard security and investigative arrangements.

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Recruitment Advertising

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been spent on recruitment advertisements in the press, broken down by publication, by (a) his Department, (b) quangos under the Department and (c) non-departmental Government bodies under the Department (i) in the last year and (ii) since 1997. [145804]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development expenditure on recruitment advertising in the calendar years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 is shown in table A as follows:

DFID advertises in specialist and professional publications according to the specific nature and requirements of each vacancy. This includes placement

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of adverts in overseas and developing country publications. DFID uses a wide range of publications and to list all the details would incur disproportionate cost. As a result, table B as follows indicates the main publications where we have incurred the largest expenditure.

Figures for 1997, 1998, and 1999 are not available.

Table A—Total DFID advertising expenditure per calendar year—from calendar year 2000 onwards

Year (£)

Table B—Publications where main DFID advertising expenditure has been incurred—per calendar year—from calendar year 2000 onwards

British Medical Journal13,10411,2911,8054,56630,766
Computer WeeklyNil14,7794,23922,37241,390
Daily MailNil14,430Nil8,54022,970
Economist/Economist website324,850572,793471,561381,1411,750,345
Ethnic Media Group titles3,3087,36510,99849,32670,997
Evening StandardNil18,109Nil11,76229,871
Far East Economic ReviewNil19,6619,038Nil28,699
Financial Times18,95435,326Nil1,97456,254
Guardian and website and Weekly196,426234,577149,499171,274751,776
Herald and Sunday Herald8,81825,9839,72932,45376,983
New Civil Engineer13,18712,81030,6344,34460,975
New Scientist9,95445,75329,50427,448112,659
Police Review18,054Nil3,10214,44835,604
The TeacherNilNil1 1,2895,35716,646
Telegraph (Daily and Sunday)21,50147,4981 1,07424,127104,200
Times and Sunday Times31,941Nil44,17917,97894,098
Times Educ Supp and Higher Educ Supp16,90214,13026,54112,30469,877
Total by year680,1741,082,397827,560789,4143,379,545

South Africa

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions the British Government have had with the South African Government regarding proposals for land reform in South Africa; and what advice his Government have given President Mbeki and his Government on this matter. [146841]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development and the High Commission in Pretoria are in regular touch with South Africa's Department for Land Affairs. Land reform is a vital element in the transformation of South Africa after the apartheid era, and potentially offers important economic opportunities for poor people. We welcome the Government of South Africa's commitment to a transparent, accountable and legal process of land reform—through restitution to previous owners of land acquired under pre-1994 legislation, through supporting purchase of agricultural land by previously disadvantaged groups, and through reform of communal land tenure arrangements in the former homelands. To support the Government of South Africa in increasing the pace of land reform, DFID committed £2 million in 2002 to provide technical support to the Department of Land Affairs, and to support a public consultation process on the Communal Land Rights Bill.

Sustainable Development

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how his Department's bid to the forthcoming government spending round will contribute to the United Kingdom's objectives on sustainable development. [146838]

Hilary Benn: Poverty reduction and sustainable development are closely inter-linked since development will only be sustainable if it tackles problems of global poverty alongside pressures on the environment. DFID policies and programmes therefore support sustainable economic and social development at both global and country levels. Resources provided as a result of the forthcoming Spending Review will enable us to continue these efforts. We will be developing plans for the next Spending Review period over the coming months.

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