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10 Jan 2005 : Column 50W—continued

Stolen Property

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the property belonging to her Department that has been (a) stolen and (b) reported lost in each year since 1997, broken down by type of article. [206374]

Mr. Caborn: All losses and thefts of property are reported annually to Her Majesty's Treasury and thefts are also recorded as security breaches. Records of thefts and losses prior to 1998 are no longer available.
£
1998(5507180011)1,350
19990
20000
2001(5507180012)1,823
2002(5507180013)3,200
20030
2004(5507180014)0


(5507180011) Lap top computer
(5507180012) Personal computer, PC ancillaries
(5507180013) Computer equipment
(5507180014) To date


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many civil servants from her Department have (a) faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft, (b) been charged with theft and (c) been dismissed following theft allegations in each year since 1997. [206404]

Mr. Caborn: No civil servant in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft since 1997.

TV Licence

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what process she monitors the effectiveness of television licence compliance measures; and if she will make a statement. [206911]


 
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Estelle Morris: Since 1991, the BBC has had responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the television licensing system. The Director General of the BBC is deemed to be the BBC's Accounting Officer for these purposes and as such is accountable to the National Audit Office (NAO) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the collection and enforcement arrangements, which were reviewed by the NAO and PAC in 2002.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not have formal procedures for monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of the BBC's licence fee activities. However, the Department believes it is essential that the BBC funding arrangements represent value for money and we shall consider this subject in detail as part of BBC Charter Review.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many complaints were received in (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04 relating to the pursuit of those who do not have a television but who receive letters or visits demanding that they pay for a licence. [206912]

Estelle Morris: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport receives a considerable volume of correspondence about the television licensing system, including complaints about various aspects of TV Licensing's administrative and enforcement activities. However, the Department's correspondence records are not held in such a way as to permit detailed tallies of specific types of complaint.

Video Violence

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what the outcome was of the cross-departmental meeting held in the week beginning 6 December concerning violent video games; [206220]

(2) what initiatives the Government plan to take with regard to control of violent videos. [206221]

Estelle Morris: On 10 December, DCMS officials, along with those from DTI and the Home Office, met representatives of the computer games industry, the retail trade, the Video Standards Council, the mobile phone industry, the Local Government Association, the Trading Standards Institute and the British Board of Film Classification, to discuss ways in which the selling of violent computer games could be better regulated.

The meeting explored possible improvements to the labelling and packaging of such games and the training of retail staff selling games. Further discussions are being held with interested parties on those and a range of other issues, including strengthening the enforcement regime of illegal sales.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the results have been of research undertaken by the Government concerning media classification and violent video games. [206222]

Estelle Morris: DCMS is commissioning a review of extant research to determine whether there is a link between playing violent video games and real-world
 
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behaviour. The last such Government study was carried out by the Home Office in 2001, the results of which were inconclusive.

Working Time Regulations

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials working in ministerial private offices in the Department have worked more than a 48 hour week at any time in the last 12 months for which figures are available; how many of those had signed a waiver under working time regulations; and what percentage these figures represented of the total in each case. [204147]

Mr. Caborn: The Working Time Regulations provide workers with the protection of a limit of an average of 48 hours a week working time. This is not an absolute cap of 48 hours in any one week. This average is normally calculated over a 17-week reference period, although this can be longer in certain situations (26 weeks) and can be extended by agreement (up to 52 weeks). Workers may choose to work more than 48 hours per week over this reference period by signing an opt-out agreement, but employers cannot force a worker to sign an opt-out, and workers cannot be subjected to detriment for refusing to sign an opt-out. 11 staff in the Department's ministerial private offices have signed an opt-out agreement.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Bangladesh

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when Maxwell Stamp plc are due to report to him on progress in delivering the Chars Livelihood Programme: concept and management in Bangladesh; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library. [206161]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Maxwell Stamp plc started the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) in July 2004 following approval by the Government of Bangladesh. A substantive report on progress, including its management, is expected a year later by August 2005. Maxwell Stamp plc is now preparing an action plan to adapt the CLP, which was prepared two years ago in 2002, to the current situation in the Chars. The action plan will take account of recent developments in the Chars and ensure that the programme meets current needs.

DFID will conduct an independent annual review of the programme by the end of November 2005 and a copy of the report will be available on request.

Central Africa

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much (a) monetary aid and (b) food aid was provided to each country in Central Africa by (i) EU member states, (ii) the EU, (iii) the US and (iv) the UK, with the aim of relieving the humanitarian and social burden of refugee populations from the host nation in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [206325]


 
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Hilary Benn: Current available data do not allow a complete answer to this question. Many donors, including DFID, provide a significant part of their support to humanitarian agencies either as un-earmarked contributions, or on an Africa-wide basis, which does not lend itself to being broken down by specific Central African countries. Additionally, agencies often target refugees as well as other vulnerable groups within one single operation, making it difficult to isolate the support to refugees.

DFID channels the majority of its monetary support to refugee operations through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Globally, (including Central Africa), from 1997 until 2004, DFID contributions to the UNHCR have totalled £145 million. For the same period, US contributions have totalled £1.2 billion, EC contributions have totalled £350 million, and EU member state contributions combined (not including UK contributions) have amounted to £1 billion. Of the £26 million provided to the UNHCR in 2003, £15 million (57 per cent.) was unearmarked but certainly contributed to the Central African operations, a further £1 million (4 per cent.) was earmarked for general Africa operations, and an additional £1.5 million (6 per cent.) was specifically earmarked for operations in Chad and the DRC.

From 1997 until 2003, DFID also channelled a further £11 million of support to non-UN agencies operating in support of refugee programmes across the Central and Great Lakes Regions of Africa.

For food assistance to refugees, DFID channels the majority of its funding through the World Food Programme (WFP). Again, it is not possible to disaggregate this support accurately by specific countries. However, from 1998 until 2004, DFID support to the WFP globally has totalled £300 million, and DFID is currently the WFP's fourth largest donor. For the same period, US support to the WFP has totalled £3.8 billion, EC support has totalled £650 million, and combined EU member-state contributions (not including the UK) have amounted to £920 million. As a Central African example, 2004 contributions to the WFP's feeding programme for Sudanese refugees in Chad have seen the UK commit £2.2 million compared to the US contribution of £16 million, the EC contribution of £1.4 million, and the non-UK EU member state contributions totalling £4.3 million.

Meeting the food and non-food requirements of refugee populations in Central Africa remains a humanitarian priority for DFID. In addition, DFID actively promotes local acceptance of refugees by channelling parallel support to host populations and refugee-affected areas. And ultimately, DFID supports the search for durable solutions for refugee populations, promoting and facilitating voluntary repatriation when conditions in the country-of-origin permit. At the same time, DFID also prioritises similar standards of assistance to Internally Displaced Persons.

Additional information on other donor contributions to refugee operations in Africa can be found on the websites of the UNHCR (www.unhcr.ch), the WFP (www.wfp.org), Reliefweb (www.reliefweb.int), the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
 
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(www.state.gov/g/prm/), and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) (http://europa.eu.int/comm/echo/index_en.htm).


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