21 Mar 2005 : Column 525W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 21 March 2005


Civil Defence

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what contingency plans have been prepared for coping with a large scale exodus of people from a city following a terrorist attack. [210891]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have been asked to reply.

It would be in extremely unusual circumstances that mass evacuation would be initiated. In such circumstances the existing evacuation and reception planning by local authorities, police and emergency services would come into play. The new regional resilience teams in the Government offices for the regions would be available to assist with co-ordination of incidents affecting several local authority areas. In London, large scale evacuation planning is co-ordained by the London resilience team.

New Environmental Technologies

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to reform the methodology of regulatory impact assessments in order to reflect more accurately the social and economic benefits of new environmental technologies; and if he will make a statement. [221730]

Mr. Miliband: The regulatory impact assessment (RIA) methodology provides for the assessment of economic, environmental and social impacts. This includes analysing the benefits that may arise from the use of environmental technology as well as any costs to UK industry. Assessments undertaken by Departments should reflect the social, environmental and economic benefits of any relevant emerging technology.

Staff Identity Passes

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the cost of producing a staff identity pass was in the Department on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many staff identity passes have been reported lost or stolen in each year since 1997. [215080]

Mr. Miliband: The average cost of producing a staff identify pass in the Department on the latest date for which figures are available is £8.87. This includes materials and staff costs. Figures on the number of lost or stolen passes are only available from 2003 onwards and are shown in the following table.
21 Mar 2005 : Column 526W

Number of passes

No incidents have been recorded in this period of attempted use of lost or stolen passes.

I regret that the information I gave in a response to the hon. Member on 10 January 2005, Official Report, column 92W, on security passes was incorrect. That response stated that there were 15 passes reported lost in 2004, when there were in fact 20 passes reported lost in 2004. The correct information has been used in response to this PQ.



Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact the Commission for Africa Report will have on (a) delivering funding for development in Africa, (b) ensuring value for money of monies committed from the UK to development projects in Africa and (c) achieving openness and transparency in how the funds are used in delivering the projects. [222667]

Hilary Benn: The Commission for Africa report is a well argued case for the international community and Africa working in partnership to achieve change. One key recommendation is that aid to Africa should be doubled. DFID supports this, the UK is on track to double UK aid by 2010 from levels in 2004–05. The political momentum generated by the report will encourage other countries to increase aid flows and support the International Financing Facility (IFF). DFID will work to enlist maximum international response through our presidencies of the G8 and EU during 2005.

The Commission for Africa report presents a powerful analysis of the most effective ways to ensure that growth in the quantity of aid is matched by increased aid effectiveness. We strongly agree and will be taking further steps to improve the predictability and harmonisation of UK aid, as recommended by the report, so that it will have maximum impact. The report also recommends that aid is untied—which is already the case for UK aid. More effective aid means better value for money for the UK taxpayer.

The report is clear on the importance of donors being held to account for the effectiveness of their aid and recommends the establishment of new mechanisms for monitoring donor performance against clear, time bound and quantifiable commitments. DFID supports this.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the International Finance Facility will work in connection with projects
21 Mar 2005 : Column 527W
funded by the UK and other international parties in Africa; and what type of infrastructure projects he expects will benefit from such funds. [222668]

Hilary Benn: The International Finance Facility is a financing mechanism designed to provide significant extra resources for development between now and 2015. It would be used to finance country-led development processes in the poorest countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world, but will not act as a development bank or aid agency in its own right. Funds from the Facility would be disbursed through existing, effective, multilateral and bilateral mechanisms.

Finance from the International Finance Facility should ensure that aid is used to finance the investments that will help put countries on a sustainable and lasting path to poverty reduction this could include infrastructure. The detailed mechanics of how disbursement decisions would be made would depend on the Facility's Governance Structure, which would be for agreement by donors at the establishment of the IFF.

Aid Initiatives

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has for conflict resolution to address the underlying causes of conflict in countries which are excluded from development and debt initiatives. [222698]

Hilary Benn: DFID carries out the majority of its conflict resolution and conflict prevention work through the Global and Africa Conflict Prevention Pools (GCPP and ACPP respectively), which are supplied by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

The country and regional strategies in the Africa and the Global Pools are based on where the UK can make a contribution to the reduction and resolution of conflict. The trilateral nature of the Pools means that DFID is involved in a small number of countries that are not development priorities for DFID. The vast majority of the Pools' work, however, is in countries where DFID is also engaged in developmental activities and/or debt initiatives.

Grenada/Cayman Islands

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of reconstruction efforts in (a) Grenada and (b) Cayman Islands. [222198]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID maintains close contact with the Government of Grenada, including its new Agency for Reconstruction and Development (ARD), and with other donors. We do so both bilaterally and through a forum which is convened by the United Nations Development Programme which includes the participation of the other major donors. Through these contacts we have responded to the Government of Grenada's requests for budget support and technical assistance for the reconstruction effort and have helped to press other donors to respond in a timely manner.
21 Mar 2005 : Column 528W

The ARD was formally launched on 15 March—albeit somewhat later than originally envisaged. There has been progress in school reconstruction and in the housing sector. In the education sector, funds from the US Agency for International Development, World Bank, European Commission and DFID are being used for a programme of schools' rehabilitation. All children are now back at school.

The Government of Grenada has said that housing reconstruction and financing is a top priority and has committed to a number of initiatives for rebuilding. For priority vulnerable and needy families, as a first phase, it committed to constructing 225 low-income homes at a cost of about £8,000 per home, and providing material assistance for the repair of 1,125 roofs during the same period. The Government are also offering a Soft Loan Facility which provides a maximum loan amount of approximately £8,000 for 10 years with a one year grace period, at an interest rate of 3 per cent. In addition the Venezuelan Government, the US Agency for International Development, and the People's Republic of China have all committed to the construction and repair of homes in Grenada.

Similarly, while not directly involved in assessing the efforts of the Caymanian authorities, DFID continues to monitor progress in Cayman Islands' recovery from Hurricane Ivan. Since our emergency assistance in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, when we quickly contributed relief supplies and helped with the clear-up operation, both the islands' Governor and our Disaster Management Adviser have kept in close contact and provided us with reports. In addition, the Cayman Islands Government have shared with us a damage assessment by the United Nations' Economic commission for the Caribbean and Latin America (ECLAC).

We understand that the pace of recovery, including repairs to housing and essential infrastructure, continues to be strong and that the situation is improving on a daily basis. The Cayman authorities have also announced measures, in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme, to establish a National Emergency Management system and to achieve optimum resilience in the event of any future natural disasters.

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Grenadan Government concerning reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Ivan. [222383]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The Secretary of State met with Prime Minister Keith Mitchell MP on Monday 21 March in London, to discuss progress on the reconstruction efforts in Grenada. DFID officials attended a regular meeting of the Government of Grenada-Donor Community Forum on 9 March, in Barbados. The Chief Executive of the Agency for Reconstruction and Development, Dr. Richardson Andrews, and Senior Officials from the Ministry of Education represented the Government of Grenada at that meeting. DFID officials met with the Permanent Secretary in the Grenadian Ministry of Finance on Thursday 10 March in the margins of the Caribbean Development Bank Board Meeting. All these meetings are supplemented by regular contact between the Government of Grenada and FCO
21 Mar 2005 : Column 529W
officials in St. Georges, and by the continuous monitoring of our programmes in Grenada by DFID staff in the Caribbean office.

Next Section Index Home Page