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12 Jan 2005 : Column 533W—continued



Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on his policy towards funding crop sprayer aircraft in support of the Afghan Government's poppy eradication programme. [207097]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The Government of Afghanistan's stated policy is not to use aerial methods to eradicate opium poppy crops. DFID supports this policy position and have no intention of using DFID funds to support aerial crop spraying in any form.

DFID does, though, provide significant assistance to the counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan, mainly through our support to the provision of alternative livelihoods.


Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage and deletion of e-mails; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. [206740]

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. DFID has had a clear policy on the retention of significant e-mails on subject files since 1997. E-mails which record significant information or form part of a decision or policy development must be printed and placed on the relevant registered file. These files are retained in line with disposal schedules agreed with the National Archives, which have not been reviewed during the last 12 months.

Insignificant e-mails and those of short term importance are deleted when no longer required and e-mails remaining in staff mailboxes are deleted after 90 days. This position has recently been re-stated in an e-mail policy approved in November 2004. The policy will be revised in 2005 to comply with electronic document and records management.

Further e-mail guidance is available on the National Archives website at:

Iraqi Interim Authority

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what assessment he has made of the joint proposal of the Iraqi Interim Authority and the International Monetary Fund to cancel the food ration to Iraqi families and to replace it with a conditional cash payment; [207522]

(2) what discussions he has had with (a) the Iraqi Interim Authority and (b) the International Monetary Fund over their joint proposal to cancel the food ration to Iraqi families and to replace it with a conditional cash payment. [207521]

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Hilary Benn [holding answer 11 January 2005]: The Government of Iraq has said that it is committed over the medium term to enhancing the effectiveness of social safety nets in Iraq by moving from a food ration system, which handed out virtually free food to the entire population of Iraq, to a cash distribution system targeted at the poor and unemployed. The aim will be to help domestic agriculture, encourage private trade and remove price distortions, at the same time as ensuring that families in need are properly safeguarded. The details have yet to be determined, and are expected to be followed up by the Iraqi Transitional Government after the forthcoming elections. DFID supports the reform in principle. DFID staff and advisers will continue to maintain contact with the Iraqi authorities, and with interested international organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Food Programme, to ensure that the interests of poor and vulnerable families in Iraq are protected.

Mozambique Floods

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid has been given by the UK Government to the reconstruction in Mozambique following the floods of 2000 setting out (a) the amount of monetary aid and (b) the amount of resources and materials which have been sent to the area. [207808]

Hilary Benn: DFID provided £37 million to Mozambique in direct response to the floods of 2000. This was composed of £10 million in additional budgetary assistance to the Government of Mozambique, £7 million for the reconstruction of the north-south highway and a total of £20 million channelled through United Nations agencies and NGOs to meet a range of emergency needs, including food assistance, helicopter operations, provision of water and sanitation and logistical support. DFID continues to be an important supporter of Mozambique's development more broadly and our aid programme has grown from £22 million per year in 2001–02 to £47 million in 2004–05.

Tsunami Relief Appeal

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the UK Government's financial contribution towards the Tsunami relief appeal will come from the contingency fund. [207737]

Hilary Benn: The UK Government have so far allocated £75 million as an immediate humanitarian response to the Tsunami disaster. The initial £50 million comprised £20 million drawn from DFID's humanitarian reserve, and £30 million from its central contingency reserve. The remaining £25 million, announced on 10 January, is being met through additional provision from the Treasury's reserve. None of this funding has been taken from our existing development programmes.
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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the nature of European Development Fund support for Zimbabwe. [207125]

Hilary Benn: Since 2001, the EC has suspended normal development assistance in Zimbabwe and has redirected its assistance to those sectors that directly support the population. The main areas of intervention under the European Development Fund (EDF) are in humanitarian assistance, health, education and community development sectors. Humanitarian assistance focuses on food security and targets support to rural vulnerable households, through seed and fertiliser packs and small-scale irrigation schemes. The health programme contributes to the availability of safe blood and the supply of essential drugs. The education programme provides school improvement grants and the community development support is mainly for micro projects, involving small grants to communities along similar lines to the UK Government's small grant scheme.


Teachers (Hertfordshire)

Claire Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers were employed in Hertfordshire schools in (a) 1995 and (b) 2004. [207572]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: There were 9,070 regular teachers (full-time equivalent) in the maintained schools sector in Hertfordshire local education authority in January 1995, compared to 9,820 in January 2004.

Capital Investment (Dagenham)

Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what capital investment her Department has made in the Dagenham constituency in the last five years. [207161]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The following table includes the capital allocations made to the Dagenham constituency in the last five years.

The figure of £39,925,000 in 2002–03 includes a Private Finance Initiative allocation of £35,000,000.

Foreign Languages

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the take-up of modern foreign languages at Key Stage 4 following the declassification of modern foreign languages as a foundation subject. [207559]

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Mr. Stephen Twigg: The changes to the statutory curriculum at Key Stage 4 were only introduced from September 2004, so no assessment of take-up of modern foreign languages has yet been made.

The changes have been introduced to enable schools to offer more choice and flexibility to their pupils, facilitating the introduction of new types of learning—something which proved difficult within the constraints of the previous requirements.

A joint letter from myself and the National Director for Languages was sent earlier this year to all Chief Education Officers reminding them of the statutory requirements at Key Stage 4 and asking them to monitor the situation and promote modern foreign languages within their authority.

While we anticipate a temporary decline in the number of pupils choosing to follow a course in modern foreign languages at Key Stage 4, the introduction of an entitlement to study languages at Key Stage 2 together with the implementation of the Key Stage 3 Modern Foreign Languages Framework—which has already had a positive impact on attitudes and achievement—will engage and enthuse more pupils to continue to learn languages from age 14 into adulthood. By providing opportunities other than the traditional GCSEs and A-levels, we are giving more accreditation opportunities which we hope will motivate more learners to study languages at Key Stage 4.

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