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Defence Support Vehicle

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Defence Support Vehicle offered by MAN ERF UK Ltd. will be compatible in joint operations with US forces. [192371]

Mr. Ingram: The Support Vehicle fleet is required to comply with a wide range of standard NATO interfaces, to ensure that the vehicles are compatible with, and capable of operating alongside, all NATO allies including the USA. The evaluation undertaken by the Defence Procurement Agency has demonstrated that the vehicles proposed by the Support Vehicle Preferred Bidder, MAN ERF UK Ltd., fully satisfy this requirement.


Middle East

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Department is taking to combat hunger and malnutrition in the Middle East. [193745]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: World Bank figures show that overall around 15 per cent. of children under the age of five in the Middle East and North Africa show some signs of malnutrition. According to the UN's Human Development Report, around 33 per cent. of Yemen's total population, and 27 per cent. of Iraq's population was undernourished in 2000. Figures for Palestinian refugees are also high.
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In Yemen, the only low-income country in the region, DFID's programme is directed at supporting the Government's Poverty Reduction Strategy, which includes social protection. The European Commission's programme of around €15 million a year has as its main element support for long-term food security. Approximately 17 per cent. of all EC funding (including humanitarian) is attributed to DFID's budget.

This year, DFID has contributed £12.35 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees, some of which is used for food aid. Since the start of the Intifada in 2000, the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has provided €118 million of aid to vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and elsewhere in the Middle East, assistance that has included food, health care and water and sanitation.

In Iraq, the Public Distribution System (PDS) for food has provided a basic ration for more than 60 per cent. of the population since 1991. After the end of Saddam's regime in 2003, DFID helped to re-establish the PDS. Evidence from a UNDP survey undertaken in spring 2004 suggests that stunting and chronic malnutrition remain unacceptably high. DFID's assistance through organisations such as WHO and UNICEF is helping to address this problem. In the longer term we are working on economic reform in Iraq, including reform of the PDS, which takes into account the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society. DFID has also been planning a programme of work on social protection mechanisms to complement work on economic reform, which will benefit poor people.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to meet humanitarian needs in Sudan. [193814]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Since 1991, DFID has contributed over £200 million of humanitarian assistance to Sudan. The humanitarian support that DFID has provided for Sudan has included food, water, sanitation, primary health care and shelter.

DFID's Country Engagement Paper for Sudan includes, as one of its key objectives to meet life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian, recovery and re-integration needs. We match our humanitarian programme to assessed need, recognising that needs are not likely to reduce in the near future. DFID is working with other donors to ensure that Sudan's needs do not go unnoticed or unsupported. We are therefore providing support through non-governmental organisations, and international organisations like UNICEF; and in areas like Red Sea, Unity and Upper Nile states.

DFID is particularly concerned about the situation in Darfur, where 1.5 million people have been displaced and a further 200,000 have fled to Chad. In response to the crisis in Darfur, we have committed £62.5 million of humanitarian assistance since September 2003.
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In addition, DFID is engaged in ongoing high level and operational dialogue with the Government of Sudan and our humanitarian partners on the crisis in Darfur, to improve security, increase access and maximise the effectiveness of the international humanitarian response. We are also lobbying other donors to contribute more to the crisis in Darfur.


Analogue Switch-off

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions her Department has had with (a) video cassette recorder manufacturers and (b) their industry representatives regarding analogue switch-off. [193680]

Estelle Morris: When the analogue signal is switched off, viewers will be able to continue to use their analogue VCRs for recording digital programmes, but will not be able to record one digital channel while watching another.

We are working with key industry stakeholders, including video cassette recorder (VCR) manufacturers and their representatives, as part of the work of the Digital Television Project, to find ways of enabling viewers to have the full functionality which they enjoy with their VCRs today. Already a number of recording products are available which offer this capability.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the private finance initiative arrangements in which the Department is engaged; what the total cost of each arrangement is (a) over its lifetime and (b) in each year of its operation; and how the arrangement appears in the Department's public accounts. [193985]

Mr. Caborn: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not itself entered into any PFI or PPP contracts. The Royal Parks Agency (RPA), which is an executive agency, has entered into three PFI or PPP contracts.

In all of these arrangements there were no costs to the RPA.

In the Department's public accounts the leasehold of Pembroke Lodge is included within the total for Land and Buildings, at a value of £770,000. The rent which is received under all three arrangements is recorded under income from rents.
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Sport Direct

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what services Sport Direct provides in (a) York and (b) Yorkshire. [192425]

Mr. Caborn: The Department is not aware of a programme called Sport Direct that operates in the York and Yorkshire region.

Sports Councils

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the annual Exchequer grant aid awards to the Great Britain Sports Council were in each year since 1974, separately identifying grants to the governing bodies. [194461]

Mr. Caborn: The Exchequer grant in aid figures for the Great Britain Sports Council covering the period 1977–78 to 1996–97 are shown in the following table.
Great Britain Sports Council


The grant-in-aid figures for 1974–75, 1975–76 and 1976–77 and grants to governing bodies since 1974 are not available.

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