Previous Section Index Home Page

8 Jun 2005 : Column 591W—continued

Departmental costs

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the costs of the administration of his Department's offices overseas in the last year for which figures are available. [1590]

Mr. Thomas: The administration costs for DFID offices overseas are as follows:
8 Jun 2005 : Column 592W

2004–052005–06 plans
Europe Middle East Americas inc. Iraq27,41424,400
UK representation in Rome and Paris1,0761,120

1. These figures include costs for London and Scotland based staff.
2. Figures for 2004–05 are subject to final outturn

These figures equate to 2 per cent. of the total programme for 2005–06, compared with DFID's ratio of 5 per cent. for total administration to programme allocation.

The administration expenditure plans are consistent with the commitments DFID made in the spending review; increasing growth in Africa and Asia in line with programme expansion and graduating a number of middle-income countries, based in Europe and the Americas, out of bilateral aid programmes thereby releasing more resources in line with DFID's commitment to spend 90 per cent. of it's bilateral programme in low income countries (LICs).

DFID is committed to reducing administration costs over the spending review period in line with the efficiency review recommendations, by focusing on reducing office support costs and improving delivery.

EU (Trade)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many developing countries trade with the EU. [1857]

Mr. Thomas: The EU trades with developing countries under a range of trade arrangements which offer preferential access to its markets. The most comprehensive of these is the Generalised System of Preferences, which covers some 179 countries and overseas/territories. In 2001, the last year for which data are published, the total exports to the EU from these countries was €361 billion.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the Indian Government regarding AIDS in India; and if he will make a statement. [1858]

Mr. Thomas: On my last visit to India in October 2004, 1 met both the Minister of State for Health and the Head of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). We discussed how best the Department for International Development's assistance to the National AIDS Control Programme could be used and subsequently agreed to extend our support into the highly vulnerable states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Secretary of State also raised the question of domestic funding to the country's HIV/AIDS programme with the Indian Finance Minister when he visited India in December 2004 and was pleased to note an overall increase.

India has an estimated 5.13 million people living with HIV, second only to South Africa in numbers, although prevalence is low, at 0.92 per cent. The epidemic is
8 Jun 2005 : Column 593W
concentrated in six high prevalence states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland) and is overwhelmingly sexually transmitted.

In India, the Department for International Development supports the Government of India's National AIDS Control Programme with £123 million over seven years to March 2007. DFID's support consists of Financial Aid through the Government for Targeted Interventions with high risk groups in eight focus states: Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and most recently Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Targeted interventions are specifically designed to reach out to these hard to reach vulnerable groups where the prevalence of disease is highest (sex workers, men having sex with men, injecting drug users etc.) with innovative programmes to contain the spread of the disease.

DFID also provides a package of Technical Cooperation which funds, among other things, a Sexual Health Resource Centre, mass media campaigns by the BBC World Service Trust and condom promotion strategies in the focus states. Funding also goes to the UNAIDS country office.

Last year, DFID India carried out a review of its support to the Government of India's National AIDS Control Programme to ensure that our support could be re-aligned with the current state of the epidemic in India and with new DFID policy, taking account of the UK HIV and AIDS Strategy "Taking Action" which I launched in India during my visit.

UK Presidency (EU)

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what communication activities are planned in relation to the policy areas covered by his Department during the UK Presidency of the EU; and what budget has been allocated for these activities. [1660]

Hilary Benn: DFID has lead responsibility for one Presidency priority, development with a focus on Africa. A number of communication activities have been planned during the Presidency to provide information on work in this area. Those organised by DFID will include a low-key Presidency launch reception at DFID on 30 June, a short information leaflet and activities related to the Development Informal in Leeds on 24–25 October and a World Aids Day event in London on 1 December.

DFID's communication plans for the Presidency, including these events, have been discussed and agreed centrally with Cabinet Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Planning for these events is on-going so a precise figure for communication activities is not yet available.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the World Food Programme ahead of the visit to Zimbabwe by its Director. [1690]

8 Jun 2005 : Column 594W

Hilary Benn: DFID officials were in close contact with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome, in Harare and with the Regional WFP office in Johannesburg before, during and following the recent visit to the region by James Morris. We expressed concern about what appears likely to become a serious humanitarian situation following recent crop failure in Zimbabwe and have emphasised the need to elicit a clear indication from the Government of Zimbabwe about their need for international assistance, and on what scale. While the political relations between the UK and Zimbabwe governments remain difficult, this would not affect our willingness to provide emergency relief to those in need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe, as long as we are able to do so effectively.

DFID is also assisting the UN to respond to the appalling programme of "urban cleansing" that the Government of Zimbabwe has implemented in recent weeks. They have set up a multi-agency team to provide emergency humanitarian assistance for the estimated 200,000 made homeless, and have strongly condemned the violation of human rights.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria need to be met by the Government of Zimbabwe before the Government will accept a request for assistance with food aid to Zimbabwe. [1821]

Hilary Benn: The Government of Zimbabwe has not asked for international assistance in responding to the recent crop failure. Indeed, President Mugabe has declared that Zimbabwe will import not only 1.2 million metric tonnes (MT) of grain for humanitarian distribution; it will also import 600,000 MT of grain to rebuild the country's strategic reserve. Such imports would more than meet Zimbabwe's food needs. If this situation were to change, the UK would consider a request for humanitarian assistance on the same basis as in other parts of the world—on the basis of humanitarian need, and our ability to provide relief which would reach effectively those in need, without political interference. DFID has been able to do this successfully in Zimbabwe over several years since the on-going humanitarian crisis began in 2001 and would envisage any future UK assistance being provided under the same arrangements.


Common Agricultural Policy

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the 250 largest payments made through the Common Agricultural Policy to farms or enterprises in Northern Ireland for 2003–04, broken down by (a) recipients and (b) amounts received. [2196]

Angela E. Smith: It has been decided that information should be released on all recipients of agricultural subsidy payments under the Common Agricultural Policy in Northern Ireland. This information is currently in preparation and will be made available on 21 June 2005 on the website of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at The information will be presented
8 Jun 2005 : Column 595W
on the same basis as that released by the Rural Payments Agency in England on 22 March 2005, and will enable the largest recipients to be identified.

Next Section Index Home Page