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Small Business Regulation

Brian Cotter: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the total savings for small businesses that would accrue from those measures listed in the Regulatory Reform Action Plan, which have yet to be implemented. [147606]

Mr. Alexander: The updated Regulatory Reform Action Plan (RRAP), which was published in December 2003, contained over 650 deregulatory measures, many of which will benefit small businesses. Examples of these are highlighted throughout the RRAP. Individual Regulatory Impact Assessments will be produced by the relevant Departments identifying benefits and savings from these measures as appropriate.

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money has been allocated by his Department to Afghanistan in each of the last three years; and how much has been pledged for (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06. [148101]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The table shows the allocations made to Afghanistan by the Department for International Development Afghanistan in each of the last three years and how much has been allocated for financial years 2004–05 and 2005–06.

£ million

FY 01–02FY 02–03FY 03–04FY 04–05FY 05–06
DFID Afghanistan Programme4675. 5555560
Global Conflict Prevention Pool (joint DFID-FCO-MOD)1316.818tba

We also provide about £40 million each year to Afghanistan through multilateral channels like the United Nations and EC.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the financial assistance from his Department to Afghanistan in 2003–04 has been directed towards the long-term development of the country. [148582]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID has allocated £55 million so far to Afghanistan this year, in addition to contributions to the joint FCO-DFID-MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool and various multilateral organisations. £37.5 million of this has been disbursed to date. All of this financial assistance contributes to the long-term development of Afghanistan, including the £8 million we have provided in humanitarian assistance to support returning refugees, health and education.

Street Children

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many street children he estimates there are in each country of Asia. [148130]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: It is difficult to provide accurate data on the overall numbers of street children in Asia or to provide a breakdown by country. Estimates are unreliable and coverage is patchy. According to UNICEF there are roughly about 25 million children estimated to be living on the streets in Asia. However there is no reliable information for many Asian countries. In India the Ministry of Social Welfare estimates that there are between 75,000 and 250,000 street children in Calcutta alone. UNICEF estimate there are 15,000 street children in Vietnam and 16,000 in Sri Lanka.

The fundamental cause of children living on the street is poverty. This is exacerbated by chronic hunger, lack of school places and family conflict. Between 30 per cent. to 50 per cent. of children in South Asia are malnourished. Despite improvements in education provision around 41 per cent. of children drop out of school before they reach the fifth grade. Between 30 per cent. to 55 per cent. of school age children are working. Many of these children are exploited through child labour or are involved in the sex industry. Unless these problems are addressed the problems of street children in Asia will continue to grow.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money has been provided by his Department in each of the last six years to tackle the problem of street children in Asia; what proportion of the money has been spent by whom; and with what results. [148131]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Urban poverty, homelessness, lack of education and the demand for child labour forces children to leave their families and live on the streets in Asia. It is important that these underlying problems are addressed as well as helping street children directly. Our bilateral programmes in Asia aim to alleviate family poverty more generally as a basis for addressing the needs of street children.

Many of our programmes support NGO activities that advocate for the rights of children and work directly with street children. In Bangladesh we are supporting two NGOs to provide informal education to vulnerable working children in urban areas at a cost of £8 million. In Burma we have been supporting a street and working children project with World Vision at a total cost of £450,000. In India we are supporting a local NGO to work with child street vendors and have several other small projects in the pipeline focusing on vulnerable working children in urban areas.

We are providing £1.6 million to Save the Children to work directly with vulnerable children in the Mekong sub region. This project aims to prevent poor rural children being trafficked to urban areas in the region for purposes of sexual exploitation and under age employment. This helps to reduce the potential for these children to end up on the street.

Other DFID activities also contribute directly to addressing the problems of street children. Improving basic education for every child is the main contribution that Asian Governments can make to reducing child

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poverty and indirectly to reducing the numbers of street children. Support to basic education is a major focus of our bilateral programme in Asia and in 2001–02 DFID committed £130 million to support this.

Another example is the £12 million urban poverty reduction project in Cochin in India that has helped to improve basic services for poor families and their children.


Provisional IRA

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the remaining amounts of weaponry and ammunition held by the Provisional IRA. [147042]

Jane Kennedy: This information requested is only available from intelligence sources and in line with Part 2 of The Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, it would be inappropriate for the Government to comment. The Government and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning have consistently made clear that they will continue to pursue complete decommissioning by all paramilitary organisations to ensure that there is a permanent end to paramilitary activity in all its forms.

Crime Statistics (Coleraine)

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the total value of (a) house burglaries and (b) attacks on the person in the Coleraine borough in the last three years; and what additional resources have been made available to address this problem. [145103]

Jane Kennedy: The information is not fully available in the format requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The table sets out the number of domestic burglary and personal robbery offences within Coleraine District Council.

Domestic burglariesPersonal robberies

Depending on its nature, an 'attack on the person' can be recorded separately as a 'violent crime' (a category which also includes all offences against the person, sexual offences) or as an 'offence against the person' (this also includes assaults, intimidation and harassment offences), but a statistical breakdown could be established only at disproportionate cost.

It is not possible to establish the total value of property stolen or damaged, if any, as a result of these offences as there is no requirement for the police to keep a record of individuals' losses or the cost of repairs to properties.

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The police in Coleraine are tackling this type of crime through a number of means including intelligence-led policing and the provision of a full-time analyst dedicated to providing crime pattern analysis and the identification of crime hotspots. Additionally, a local crime team has been initiated and is being supported by a technical support group in respect of specific operations and a property-marking scheme is due to be piloted this year in a particular crime hotspot within the district council area.

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) house searches, (b) arrests and (c) convictions have taken place involving members of Loyalists paramilitary groups in the Coleraine borough in each year since 2000. [145104]

Jane Kennedy: To supply the information specifically with regard to Loyalist groups would incur a disproportionate cost. However, the following table provides details of the number of house searches carried out in the Coleraine borough since 2000. Authorisations were issued to search dwelling houses for munitions, transmitters, scanning receivers and wireless apparatus.

Financial yearNumber of house searches
2003–04 (to 30 September)7

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