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6 Jul 2005 : Column 467W—continued

Textile Imports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effect of imports from textile companies from China on the future of the textile industry in England. [9123]

Alun Michael: No specific assessment has been made of the effect of textile companies in China on the textile industry in this country but the likely impact of the ending of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement has been known for 10 years with a four stage phase out of quotas agreed as part of the GATT Uruguay Round. The UK cannot compete on low wages and the focus of UK manufacturing, including textiles, depends on raising investment, and applying science and innovation, best practice and skills to create better and more competitive products.

We are working in partnership with industry, trade unions, regional development agencies, and other stakeholders to deliver the Government's Manufacturing Strategy launched in May 2002, and reviewed in 2004. It sets out the actions needed to create a high value, high skill manufacturing sector capable of introducing new products and processes into our economy and creating new markets to deliver a boost to our prosperity.

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in his Department in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [7872]

Alan Johnson: Data on absences relating to work-related stress is not collected separately in my Department. However, our counselling service provide detailed monitoring of the cases they deal with and since September 2003 25 staff have approached them for advice on work-related stress.

We are committed to maintaining a safe working environment for staff and reducing absences caused by any sickness or injury. The Department provides advice, including medical advice, and counselling services and training events that help both managers and staff tackle stress. These services are provided to help deal with a
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wide range of concerns and it is not possible to disaggregate the cost of those helping to alleviate work-related stress.



Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on UK involvement in the creation of the new Infrastructure Consortium for Africa. [9262]

Hilary Benn: DFID convened a meeting in London on 5 May to discuss the creation of an Infrastructure Consortium for Africa. Senior level representatives attended from the G8, the African Union, The New Partnership for Africa's Development, the African Development Bank, The Economic Community for West African States, the World Bank, and the European Commission.

They recognised that infrastructure in Africa is key to accelerating growth, reducing poverty and promoting regional integration, and agreed the proposal for the establishment of an Infrastructure Consortium. DFID is working closely with other agencies on plans for a Consortium secretariat. Further details will be discussed at the inaugural meeting of the Consortium, with possible additional participants, to be held on 6 October 2005.

Asian Tsunami

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the (a) progress and (b) impact of his Department's aid to countries affected by the tsunami. [9983]

Mr. Thomas: Progress with the humanitarian relief effort following the Asian tsunami last December has gone well. A detailed breakdown of DFID's humanitarian relief spending can be obtained in the document entitled A breakdown of DFID's Immediate Relief Response to the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami" which has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The reconstruction phase of recovery is under way and progress is now being made, although it will take several years to complete. DFID has allocated £65 million to meet reconstruction needs. From this allocation I recently announced that £31 million has been committed to the Multi Donor Trust Fund in Indonesia, of which £6 million has so far been paid out. A further £5 million has been committed for technical assistance in Indonesia to help ensure timely, accountable and equitable provision of reconstruction assistance and rebuilding of livelihoods. A total of £2 million has been committed to Sri Lanka to help speed up implementation of reconstruction programmes and to ensure equitable distribution of assistance, and £3 million to India to provide technical assistance aimed at ensuring effective, transparent and equitable programming of tsunami reconstruction efforts. The remaining £24 million of the £65 million allocation for reconstruction has not yet been committed.
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To assess the impact of this assistance, DFID humanitarian advisers will be undertaking a series of monitoring missions to affected countries during the summer to evaluate the effectiveness of the support provided with UK Government funds. The fact that much of DFID's relief and recovery assistance is being channelled through traditional partner organisations, including NGOs, should further ensure the funds are spent effectively. The National Audit Office is also undertaking a tracking study of DFID's relief and reconstruction response.

The impact of reconstruction spending will be assessed once the £65 million of allocated money is fully programmed and spending has commenced.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government is taking to assist non-governmental organisations, with particular reference to Oxfam, who have been charged customs duties to import four-wheel drive vehicles, necessary to carry supplies to victims of the December tsunami. [7731]

Mr. Thomas: DFID officials in Sri Lanka have been working closely with Oxfam to help them clarify the tax liability for vehicles imported to support their tsunami relief programmes. Oxfam subsequently discussed the issue with the Minister of Finance in Sri Lanka and I am pleased to say have received a refund of the duty paid.

The Oxfam case is not unique. A number of other NGOs face similar demands. While we recognise the Government of Sri Lanka's wish to maintain the integrity of its tax system, and to maximise revenue, we are concerned that the current regulations are not clearly articulated to importers, and nor are they consistently applied. As a result there are delays in getting goods and materials to needy communities. DFID and the international community have been working with the Government of Sri Lanka and NGOs to improve this situation. During my visit to Sri Lanka in June I specifically raised the import tax issue with the Secretary to the Treasury and asked that he issue comprehensive guidance. DFID staff in Colombo will continue to monitor.

BBC Journalists

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding has been awarded to BBC journalists through the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Department for International Development travel bursary fund in each year since 2000. [9269]

Mr. Thomas: Since 2000, BBC journalists have been awarded a total of £45,584 in funding through the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association/DFID travel bursary scheme.


(23) No funding.

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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department takes to employ Iraqis in development work in that country. [8430]

Hilary Benn: DIFD recognises the importance of the involvement of Iraqi individuals, private sector companies and civil society organisations in the reconstruction of their country. We employ Iraqi people wherever appropriate, and stress to other donors and contractors the importance of employing Iraqis on their reconstruction work.

DFID's offices in Baghdad and Basra employ local staff to help manage our programmes, and Iraqi advisers assist in the implementation our Political Participation

and Civil Society Funds. Through these funds, DFID helps to finance the work of Iraqi civil society organisations.

DFID's reconstruction programme in southern Iraq also employs Iraqi nationals. For example the Emergency Infrastructure Programme employed 3,000 workers on water supply projects in Basra. DFID consultants have established a database of southern Iraqi companies and experts, which is used by DFID and other donors to identify local capacity to undertake development work. DFID's new £40 million infrastructure project will offer sub-contracting opportunities for Iraqi engineers and construction workers. A DFID-funded employment programme has contracted 1.6 million days for work on local improvement projects.

United Nations agencies working in Iraq, to which DFID is contributing financially, largely employ Iraqi individuals, companies and non-governmental organisations to implement their reconstruction projects.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in the reconstruction of (a) schools and (b) hospitals in Iraq. [8432]

Hilary Benn: A number of donors are assisting the Iraqi Ministry of Education in school reconstruction projects in Iraq and considerable progress has been made. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is undertaking a countrywide programme which has so far rehabilitated over 2,510 schools. United Nations agencies are also carrying out school rehabilitation projects in Baghdad and southern Iraq. The World Bank has agreed an emergency school construction and rehabilitation project to finance the rehabilitation of about 140 schools and the construction of new buildings for about 110 schools which currently have unsafe or overcrowded facilities. The UN and World Bank projects are being financed through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, to which DFID has contributed £70 million. The UN, the World Bank, and USAID are also assisting with the provision of essential educational supplies, including textbooks and furniture.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health is leading on the rehabilitation of health services in Iraq, working closely with international agencies including the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Ministry of Health reports
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that more than 75 hospitals and nearly all the primary care clinics which were damaged or looted during and after the 2003 conflict have been rehabilitated. Further work to construct and rehabilitate hospitals in Iraq is under way, and health services are gradually improving. More than $1 billion has been pledged by donors in support to the health sector. United States agencies are renovating 20 hospitals and constructing a new Paediatric Hospital in Basra, and the Japanese Government is funding the rehabilitation of 11 general hospitals. The World Bank has agreed a $25 million emergency health and rehabilitation project to finance the rehabilitation of emergency services in 12 hospitals. This is being funded from the International reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, managed jointly by the UN and World Bank, to which DFID has contributed £70 million.

Despite this considerable investment, it will still take several years for Iraq's education and health sectors to recover fully from the underinvestment and poor
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management of Saddam Hussein's regime, and approach the standards of service expected in developed countries.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the multilateral organisations providing aid and assistance to Iraq to which the UK Government have contributed since January; and how much was contributed to each organisation. [8433]

Hilary Benn: Since January 2005, the Government have contributed £358,573 to the United Nations Environment Programme and £10,000,000 to the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement for assistance in Iraq.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the contracts won by UK firms since January for reconstruction work in Iraq, broken down by value. [8436]

Hilary Benn: DFID-funded contracts for reconstruction in Iraq which have been won by UK firms since January 2005 are as follows:

Contract title and name of companyCurrent contract value
World Bank Co-ordination Adviser (Enterplan Ltd.)142,938
Emergency Public Administration Programme (Adam Smith International Ltd.)677,175
Interim Iraq Security Sector Support—Ministry of the Interior (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)2,260,800
Deputy Security Manager, Baghdad (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)107,440
Southern Iraq Employment and Services Programme (MOTT Macdonald Ltd.)529,544
Procurement of Accommodation Units for DFID projects (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)99,535
Emergency Response Fund (PA Infrastructure and Development Services (UK) Ltd.)427,548
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme—Procurement Specialist (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)182,132
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme (PA Infrastructure and Development Services (UK) Ltd.)2,200,380
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme (Enterplan Ltd.)3,251,010
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme Preparation (Enterplan Ltd.)151,032
Public Financial Management Reform (Adam Smith International Ltd.)1,038,568
Project Manager—Installation of Accommodation Units (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)30,880
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme—Senior Adviser to Ministry of Electricity (The Crown Agents for Overseas Government and Administrations Ltd.)301,990

Many UK firms have won contracts for reconstruction work in Iraq which have not been funded by the UK Government. British companies are not required to report details to the Government of such work.

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