Previous Section Index Home Page

20 Apr 2004 : Column 446W—continued

Pensioner Incomes

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate for (a) 1979, (b) 1996–97 and (c) 2002–03 the number of individual pensioners living in households with income below 60 per cent. of median income after housing costs; and of these how many were (i) men and (ii) women. [166250]

Malcolm Wicks: The requested information is provided in the table.
Number of pensioners (millions) living below 60 per cent of contemporary median income (After Housing Costs)

YearMaleFemaleAll Pensioners

20 Apr 2004 : Column 447W

Chemical Leak (Rhodia)

Mr. Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the Health and Safety Executive to report on the chemical leak of 3 November 2003 at the Rhodia Group Chesterfield site; and if he will make a statement. [165641]

Jane Kennedy: HSE will be completing its investigation into the chemical release at Rhodia in the next few weeks, and then determining what further action it will take. I have asked the Health and Safety Executive to keep you informed of developments on this matter, and as to what means of public reporting will be used.

Pensioner Benefits

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the assumptions on uprating of benefit, referred to in Note 5 to the Answer of 3 November 2003, Official Report, columns 470-2W, on pensioners' benefits, were. [166647]

Maria Eagle: The current policy on uprating of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA) and Carers' Allowance (CA), to which I referred in note 5 to the written answer I gave to the hon Member on 3 November 2003, Official Report, columns 470-2W, is that these benefits are uprated in April each year in line with the movement of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) over the 12 months to the previous September. This policy is applied when estimating expenditure on these benefits for future years, using the latest HM Treasury medium term assumptions for the annual movement of the RPI up to 2006–07, and an assumption of an annual movement of the RPI equal to 2.58 per cent for the long term (beyond 2006–07).



Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date he was first informed that the former deputy legal adviser in his Department, Ms Elizabeth Wilmhurst, did not agree that the use of force against Iraq was lawful. [165684]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 19 April 2004]: We do not comment on individual cases or any legal advice individual officials may have given. Information concerning Government legal advice is exempt from disclosure under exemptions 2 and 4(d) of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has now submitted all relevant papers to the Immigration Appellate Authority in the case of Mr. M. A., husband of Mrs. S. A., if Aylesbury (refs.
20 Apr 2004 : Column 448W
A1146799; ISB/566943; TH/25294/2002); what the expected timescale of the appeal is; and if he will make a statement. [166640]

Mr. Mullin [holding answer 19 April 2004]: I have written to the hon. Member.

St. Helena

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received about the development of an airport on St. Helena; and if he will make a statement. [162912]

Mr. Rammell: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received representations from one of the parties who expressed an interest in the development of air access for St. Helena.

Evaluation of the four expressions of interest and outline proposals, received in response to the international invitation issued in April 2003, concerning the possible development of air access to St. Helena, is now complete. I also refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (Gareth Thomas) on 19 April, Official Report, column 1WS.


Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the formation of the new government in Guinea in March. [166588]

Mr. Mullin: On 23 February, President Conte announced the appointment of the former Foreign Minister Francois Fall as Prime Minister. On 2 March he announced a further round of ministerial changes, with five new additions to the Cabinet.

The British Government, and the EU more broadly, are concerned at issues of governance and human rights in Guinea. EU article 96 negotiations have started. Under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement the EC is able to take appropriate measures, such as the suspension of aid, against Africa, Caribbean and Pacific states who fail to meet their obligations regarding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Human Rights (Africa)

Mr. Chidgey : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the importance of human rights in relation to economic growth and development in African countries. [166589]

Mr. Mullin : There is an increasingly clear link between respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic norms on the one hand, and stability, prosperity and progress on the other. We believe that a stable environment where human rights and the rule of law are respected creates the best conditions for economic growth and the reduction of poverty in Africa. We also consider that protection and promotion of human rights such as access to education, healthcare, and justice can have a direct impact on future economic development and can help African countries meet the
20 Apr 2004 : Column 449W
Millennium Development Goals. In this respect, since 1998 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has funded over 60 human rights projects worth more than £6 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. We also support initiatives such as the Africa Peer Review Mechanism of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, which aims to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to agreed standards of political, economic and corporate governance.

Illegal Drugs Tade

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the UK spent on reducing the illegal drugs trade in (a) South Africa, (b) Eastern Europe and (c) Central Asia in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this expenditure on the trade in drugs. [166874]

Mr. Rammell: There are no figures available for total UK spending on UK efforts which contribute towards reducing illegal drug trade in the areas mentioned. Spending by a range of Government Departments on matters such as the alleviation of poverty, law enforcement co-operation and other areas may all directly or indirectly contribute to the reduction in the illegal drugs trade and cannot be calculated precisely. Information is however available in respect of specific funds within the responsibility of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The UK Drugs and Crime Fund (DCF) is administered by the FCO. Its remit is to support project work aimed at reducing the threat to the UK caused by drugs and serious crime overseas. Colombia, Jamaica, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey are currently the highest priority countries for drugs funding from the DCF.

Since financial year 1999–2000, £36,779,926 has been spent world-wide on drug related projects, of which £17,416,886 was spent in Latin America and the Caribbean, £5,593,246 in Eastern Europe and Turkey and £10,072,530 in Central Asia. DCF projects have contributed directly to significant seizures of drugs and helped improve the skills and equipment of law enforcement partners overseas.

The elimination of the threat to the UK from the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan is a top priority for the Government. Some 95 per cent. of the heroin reaching the UK originates in Afghanistan. The Afghan Government has set the objective of eliminating opium cultivation there by 2013 and the UK has committed £70 million over three years to support implementation of this strategy, part of which comes from the DCF but the remainder from other sources of FCO and other Government Department funding.

Next Section Index Home Page