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David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of official departmental Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contribution. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID produced its own card this year. There was no contribution to charity included in the production costs.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost was of purchasing official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: In 2003, DFID paid £4,597.78p for 6,000 cards. In 2004 DFID paid £2,211.36p for 7,000 cards. Both these costs include envelopes and delivery charges.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many official Christmas cards were sent out by his Department in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; 
(2) what the cost of postage was for official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: In 2003, DFID produced 6,000 cards. In 2004 DFID produced 7,000 cards. Quantities of cards are sent to DFID teams on request. This covers staff based in UK HQs and offices overseas. As individual teams have been responsible for sending out cards to stakeholders and contacts the cost of obtaining the information required by this question would be disproportionate to the end result.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his target time is in 200405 (a) to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) for the officials in his office to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The target time for reply to all correspondence received by DFID from Members of Parliament and the public is 15 working days; in line with the target time prescribed by Cabinet Office. Information on the departmental handling of correspondence from Members of Parliament/Peers is published annually by the Cabinet Office. The 2003 annual report is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many credit cards for official expenditure are held by his Department. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
DFID holds 27 official credit cards in the UK. These are mainly used for the purchase of low value items under the Government Procurement Card arrangements.
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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage of documents and the use of shredders; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) continues to implement well-established policies and procedures for the review and disposal of files in accordance with its administrative needs and the Public Records Acts.
Paper files for which there is no longer a business need, and which are not of historical interest, are destroyed in accordance with disposal schedules agreed between DFID and the National Archives. Material which is protectively marked is shredded, in line with the policy outlined in DFID's Security Manual, which is itself derived from Her Majesty's Government's Manual of Protective Security. This policy has not changed in the past 12 months.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much financial assistance will be allocated for his Department's strategy for meeting the needs of HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children; and how much of this will be allocated to (a) civil society organisations in developing countries, (b) international relief organisations and (c) budget support for developing country governments. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas: In the UK's AIDS Strategy "Taking Action", published in July 2004, DFID stated that we will commit £150 million to meet the needs of orphans and other children, particularly those in Africa, made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
On 16 December, I detailed how the £150 million would be spent at the Global Partners Forum on Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Washington. A copy of the speech is available in the Library of the House. The following table shows how the £150 million will be allocated.
|Through DFID African country programmes||85|
|Through DFID Asian country programmes||4|
|To be programmed||15|
Of the £44 million of support to be delivered through UNICEF, £38 million will support activities in Africa, £5 million will support UNICEF's global-level work, and £1 million for work in Asia. The remaining £15 million will be programmed as needs emerge.
Part of the money that goes through DFID country programmes may take the form of budget support to governments to advance their national OVC plans through health and education sectors, social protection programmes and working with civil society.
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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 13 December 2004 to the hon. Member for Tooting (Tom Cox), Official Report, columns 81920, on Iraq, what the source was of his information that water was supplied to remaining civilians in Fallujah by Iraqi and multinational forces; and how his Department's advisers made their estimate that only about 1,500 civilians remain in Fallujah. 
Hilary Benn: UK officials in Iraq maintain close contact with the Iraqi interim Government (IIG), and with representatives of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), who reported that forces had supplied water to the civilians remaining in Fallujah. In addition, the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the US Marines report that they had stockpiled supplies of water and other essential items, prior to military action. There is also an MNF-I Civil Military Operations Centre in Fallujah, which is helping to co-ordinate provision of essential supplies to civilians. Visits by DFID advisers confirm that water tankers have been operating in Fallujah, supplying the needs of the residents who remain.
DFID advisers are working closely with the Iraqi Interim Government Fallujah Core Group, which is responsible for co-ordinating humanitarian work in and around Fallujah. The estimate that 1,500 civilians remain in Fallujah was reached after visits to the city by DFID advisers, members of the Iraqi Ministry of Health, and British military officials. The IIG Fallujah Core Group and a UN Emergency Working Group are also monitoring the location and condition of Fallujah's displaced citizens. They have been able to estimate numbers both outside and inside Fallujah through assessment visits to the surrounding area.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what role was played by CDC in the Seychelles gas turbine project; and whether his Department has conducted investigations into it. 
Hilary Benn: In 1993, the CDC provided a £1.8 million loan facility to the Seychelles Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) in connection with the upgrading of the Victoria A Power Station on the island of Mahe. The facility was used to purchase a gas-turbine electrical generator. CDC's role was solely that of financier.
DFID has not conducted any investigation into this matter.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many civil servants from his 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. 
Mr. Gareth Thomas:
The Department for International Development (DFID) considers theft to be gross misconduct as set out in its Discipline
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Procedures, the maximum penalty for which, if the case is proven following a duly instigated investigation and disciplinary meeting, is dismissal and the possibility of criminal proceedings. Details of this procedure are contained in DFID's Staff Handbook, available to all staff. The following table sets out all disciplinary cases in DFID relating to theft since 1998 as provided to HM Treasury.
|(a) Disciplinary proceedings||(b)|
Charged with theft
DFID employs both civil servants and staff appointed in country in its overseas offices. Figures include staff from both categories.
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