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30 Jun 2005 : Column 1675W—continued

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to implement the recommendations of the 2002 review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. [4680]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Government response to the 2002 review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, was published in April 2003.

The Government accepted the majority of the review's recommendations and proposes to legislate as soon as there is an appropriate parliamentary opportunity.

UK-US Data Transfer

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the memoranda of understanding governing the exchange of information between the UK and US (a) governments and (b) law enforcement agencies. [4676]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office does not hold a comprehensive list of all agreements with the United States, and law enforcement agencies can negotiate memoranda of understanding with other countries on their own initiative.

Young Offenders

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes have been committed on school premises by persons under 18 years in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by category of offence. [5825]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 20 June 2005]: The Home Office recorded crime statistics do not separately identify those offences which took place on school premises and so the information requested is not available.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the target is of the Youth Justice Board for the number of hours a week young offenders should spend in education; and how many juvenile establishments met this target in (i) 2002–03 and (ii) 2003–04. [4496]

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Fiona Mactaggart: The targets for education in the custodial establishments for juvenile offenders with which the Youth Justice Board had contractual arrangements or service level agreements in 2002–03 and 2003–04 were as follows:



The Youth Justice Board reports performance against target as follows:


Apart from one centre for a period in September, all secure training centres met the target.

There are no centrally-collected data relating to educational performance of local authority secure children's homes or the contracted-out young offender institution in 2002–03.


All secure training centres met the target.

There is no centrally-collected data relating to educational performance of local authority secure children's homes or the contracted-out young offender institution in 2002–03.


Aid Missions

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what provision the Government have made to continue aid missions in countries without British embassies. [7007]

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Hilary Benn: DFID uses a number of management arrangements to administer its overseas aid programmes. A limited number of aid programmes are managed from the UK, while the majority are managed from offices in the country concerned. DFID Country Offices may be co-located with a British Embassy or High Commission, or may operate from stand-alone premises, depending on local circumstances. Were an Embassy to close in a country where we are already operating, we would review management arrangements. However, our aid programmes are not contingent on the presence of a British Embassy. Examples of countries where DFID operates successfully, but where there is no British Embassy, are Nicaragua and Kyrgyzstan.

Computer Crime

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many cases of computer (a) hacking, (b) fraud and (c) theft his Department recorded in each year since 2001–02; and for each year, on how many occasions computer systems have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (i)within and (ii) outside his Department. [7185]

Hilary Benn: The numbers of cases of computer hacking, fraud and theft in DFID were as follows:

DFID computer systems were accessed illegally by computer hackers from outside the Department on one occasion in each of the years 2003–04 and 2004–05.

Debt Relief

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what bilateral and multilateral discussions have taken place regarding debt relief for (a) Bolivia, (b) Guyana, (c) Honduras, (d) Lao People's Democratic Republic and (e) Nicaragua. [6939]

Mr. Thomas: There have been extensive bilateral and multilateral discussions on debt relief for these countries. Most recently, both the Chancellor and I met President Jagdeo of Guyana to discuss debt relief among other issues.

Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras, the Lao People's Democratic Republic (LAO PDR), and Nicaragua are all classified as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). They are therefore eligible for the debt relief being provided to HIPC countries that have demonstrated their commitment to poverty reduction. Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras and Nicaragua have all successfully completed the HIPC process. As part of this, their progress in reducing poverty and implementing economic reforms was discussed a number of times at the World Bank and other financial institutions. The Lao PDR is not opting for debt relief at present, so no such discussions have taken place.
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Recently, G8 Finance Ministers agreed a further debt relief initiative which, when agreed by the Boards of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank, would cancel up to $55 billion worth of debt stock for 38 countries. Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras and Nicaragua are among 18 countries that would qualify for this assistance immediately. The proposal will be discussed at the World Bank and the IMF Annual Meetings.

Education (Millennium Development Goal)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of progress towards the Millennium Development Goal to provide universal primary education in Africa. [5693]

Hilary Benn [pursuant to the reply, 23 June 2005, Official Report, c. 1134W]: There was a factual error in the final sentence of my original response. DFID has committed to providing £1.4 billion to education globally over the next three years, rather than to Africa alone as stated.

Everything but Arms Agreement

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the remit of the Everything but Arms agreement is; and what assessment has been made of its effectiveness. [5621]

Hilary Benn: The Everything but Arms initiative (EBA) is the EU scheme to give all least developed countries duty and quota free access to the EU market for all products, except armaments. The scheme was introduced in February 2001. Three products, however, were deemed sensitive enough for the EU not to open its borders to them immediately. Full, unrestricted market access for these products—sugar, rice and bananas—is being phased in gradually and will be completed in 2009.

There have been several assessments of the effects of the scheme, including by the World Bank who concluded that the impact of EBA has been relatively limited, partly because the vast majority (some 99 per cent.) of EU imports from the LDCs are in products that the EU had already liberalised, and the complete removal of barriers to the key remaining products, rice, sugar and bananas has been delayed. There is a group of the LDCs for whom EU trade preferences on existing exports are not significant since these exports are mainly of products where the normal rate of duty is already zero. Export diversification is the key issue for these countries. For other LDCs, EU preferences have the potential to provide a more substantial impact on trade.

However, the World Bank assessment shows that only 50 per cent. of EU imports from those eligible LDCs, who are not from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping, actually request preferential access to the EU. The prime reason for this low level of utilisation would appear to be the rules of origin—how or where a product can be produced in order to qualify for a preference. This is because in many cases, the criteria are set so that in practice an LDC must produce a product entirely within its borders, including any inputs or components, in order to qualify for preferential treatment. This requirement is beyond the
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production capacity of most LDCs, and indeed does not reflect modern business and production patterns, where components or other inputs such as yarn or fabric are imported from the most competitive sources wherever they may be. The World Bank, and indeed many others, recommends more simple and liberal rules of origin to enhance the impact of EU trade preferences both in terms of improving market access and in stimulating diversification towards a broader range of exports. We have already seen this effect in certain African exports to the US, and some Asian exports to Canada.

The EU is currently reviewing its Rules of Origin, with a view to changing them. Building on the evidence available, the UK will be pressing to ensure that the changes better reflect current business practices and support, rather than hinder, the operation of preference schemes and the economic development these schemes are intended to stimulate.

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