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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the Ministry of Defence concerning charges for services relating to the relief operation following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. 
Hilary Benn: I have not had discussions with the MOD concerning charges for services relating to the relief operation following the Indian Ocean disaster. I am content that the costs which were agreed in advance, are competitive with commercial rates and are based on marginal costing.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost to his Department is of hiring (a) a UK military helicopter and (b) an equivalent private helicopter for a period of (i) one day, (ii) one week and (iii) one month to provide relief support in the Indian Ocean region. 
Ministry of Defence (MOD) helicopters were not used to provide direct relief support on behalf of DFID in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean disaster, but Lynx helicopters were used to transport naval personnel from HMS Chatham to Sri Lanka. The chartering of helicopters is usually quoted in a rate per flying hour. The Super Puma helicopters chartered by
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DFID for use by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) do not have an exact UK military equivalent; however the MOD quote a figure of approximately £732 per flying hour for a Puma while the civilian charter quote a figure of approximately £1,981 per flying hour for a Super Puma. The carrying capacity of a Puma is 5,510 lbs, while the carrying capacity of a Super Puma is 9,920 lbs.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost to his Department is of hiring (a) a UK military plane and (b) an equivalent commercial plane to deliver an equivalent consignment of aid from London to (i) Indonesia, (ii) Sri Lanka and (iii) Thailand; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: To date, no single route has been served by both a military and a civilian plane on DFID's behalf. Calculations of costs per task are based upon the flying time between the two locations. There are other variables such as airport handling charges but these would be common to both military and civilian charter or repositioning costs. In comparing costs of military and civilian aircraft carrying out similar tasks with the same payload, the best comparator is the rate charged per flying hour. For the C-17, tasked by DFID to transport relief items to countries affected by the Indian Ocean disaster, the MOD quoted an hourly flying rate of approximately £1,975.
There are no direct civilian equivalents of military aircraft and payloads are different, but the approximate rate for the civilian aircraft Antonov 124 is £4,225, £795 for the Ilyushin-76 and £483 for the Antonov 12. The C-17 has a payload of 75 tonnes; the Antonov 124 has a payload of 120 tonnes, the Ilyushin-76, 40 tonnes and the Antonov 12,15 tonnes.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will break down by project the activities to support all objectives in Annex B of the Resource Budget of the 2004 Annual Report; if she will provide a similar breakdown for the 2003 Annual Report; and if she will estimate the corresponding expenditure for each year until 200708. 
[holding answer 28 February 2005]: Irefer the hon. Member to Chapter 2 of the same document which provides a more detailed breakdown of how the money is to be spent and to the subsequent chapters which describe the plans in detail. The 2004 Annual report includes earlier years and plans to 200506. Detailed plans beyond that date have not yet been finalised. Annex B and Chapter 2 present figures on slightly different bases as Annex B includes expenditure with the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) and Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) whereas Chapter 2 refers only to DEL. Within the figures in Annex B the Teachers' Pension Scheme is totally in AME as is the Educational Maintenance Allowance scheme from 200304 onwards. The small balancing
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activity to reconcile to the AME total shown in Annex B is in Further Education, Adult Learning and Skills and Lifelong Learning 'Other'.
The Department does not account on a project basis, the majority of programmes are delivered through partners such as LEAs, NDPBs and other grant recipients and it is their responsibility to control delivery.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidency of the EU the (i) Socrates Committee and Erasmus and Comenius subcommittees and (ii) Tempus Committee met; when and where these meetings took place; which UK Government expert was present; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: (i) The Socrates Committee met once during the Italian presidency, twice during the Irish presidency, and once during the Dutch presidency. The meetings took place on 67 November 2003, 1213 February 2004, 1718 June and 1112 November 2004 and all were held in Brussels. The meetings were attended by officials of the Joint International Unit (JIU) of my Department and the Department of Work and Pensions. The Socrates schools sub-committee did not meet during the Italian presidency, and met once during each of the Irish and Dutch presidencies. The meetings took place on 4 June 2004 and 8 November 2004 in Brussels and were attended by officials from JIU, and a representative of the British Council in its role as UK National Agency for part of the programme. The Socrates Higher Education sub-committee met on 2324 October 2003, 12 June 2004 and 29 October 2004. The meetings were attended by officials from JIU, and a representative from UK Socrates-Erasmus Council as the UK National Agency for Erasmus.
(ii) The Tempus Committee did not meet under the Italian presidency, and met once during each of the Irish and Dutch presidencies on 3 February 2004 and 13 July 2004 in Brussels. The meetings were attended by officials from my Department and, on 3 February 2004, by a representative from the UK Socrates-Erasmus Council.
I refer the hon. Member to the series of Command Papers on the prospects for the EUCm6174 laid in April 2004, Cm6310 laid in September 2004 and Cm6450 laid in February 2005, which cover the periods of the above presidencies and are available on the FCO website at: www.fco.gov.uk/commandpapers.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch Presidency of the EU the EC-United States of America Joint Committee met; when and where these meetings took place; what UK Government expert was present; and if she will make a statement. 
The EU-US Task Force met on 18 July 2003 in Rome, 27 October 2003 in Washington, 14 January 2004 in Dublin, 2 March 2004 in Washington, 23 March 2004 inBrussels, 6 May 2004 in Brussels, 26 May 2004 in Brussels, 14 July 2004 in Brussels and 26 October 2004 in
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Brussels. The Senior Level Group met on 25 September 2003 in Brussels, 12 November 2003 in Washington, 10 February 2004 in Brussels, 3 June 2004 in Brussels, 25 June 2004 in Dromoland 28 September 2004 in Washington and 6 December 2004 in Brussels. The presidency of the day represents other member states at these meetings and as such there were no British officials present at these meetings. Further information may be found at www.fco.gov.uk/commandpapers.
The scheme is mainly funded through a national lottery grant with additional funding from the local primary care trust and social services department. The Department for Education and Skills funds Home Start UK at a national level but does not fund individual local schemes. Home Start UK's regional consultants coordinate Funding, Strategic Planning and Financial" workshops and an annual regional forum to update schemes on current practice and available funding opportunities. Additionally, funding updates are provided at quarterly regional and six monthly chair's meetings.
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