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10 Oct 2005 : Column 47W—continued

European Contractors

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the contractors based in other EU member states that are providing services to his Department. [15447]

Mr. Hain: None.

Freedom of Information

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests have been answered by the Department; and in how many cases (a) information was wholly exempted, (b) information was partly exempted and (c) the requests were answered in full. [14961]

Mr. Hain: The Department for Constitutional Affairs publishes quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcomes of requests. These reports cover all Departments of State, including the Wales Office.

The first of these updates, covering the period January to March, was published on 23 June 2005 and can be found on both the DCA website at and in the House Library. The next bulletin is due in the autumn of this year. An annual report is also to be published in early 2006.

Special Schools

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many special schools there are in Wales (a) in total and (b) in each constituency. [13296]

Mr. Hain: There are 43 special schools in Wales. A list of such schools follows. This is broken down into parliamentary constituency areas:
AberavonBriton Ferry Special School
Alyn and DeesideYsgol Belmont
Alyn and DeesideYsgol Y Bryn
Blaenau GwentPen-Y-Cwm Special School
Brecon and RadnorshireYsgol Penmaes
BridgendHeronsbridge School
BridgendYsgol Bryn Castell
CaernarfonYsgol Pendalar
CaernarfonYsgol Hafod Lon
CaerphillyTrinity Fields Special School
Cardiff CentralThe Hollies Special School
Cardiff NorthThe Court Special School
Cardiff NorthMeadowbank Special School
Cardiff South and PenarthAshgrove School
Cardiff South and PenarthYsgol Erw'r Delyn
Cardiff WestRiverbank Special School
Cardiff WestWoodlands High School
Cardiff CentralTy Gwyn Special School
Cardiff NorthGreenhill Special School
ConwyYsgol Coedmenai
ConwyYsgol Y Gogarth
Cynon ValleyMaesgwyn Special School
Cynon ValleyPark Lane Special School
DelynYsgol Delyn
LlanelliHeol Goffa Special School
Merthyr Tydfil and RhymneyGreenfield Special School
MonmouthMounton House Special School
MontgomeryshireYsgol Cedewain
NeathYsgol Hendre Special School
Newport WestMaes Ebbw School
PontypriddYsgol Ty Coch
Preseli PembrokeshirePortfield Special School
Preseli PembrokeshireYsgol Rhydygors
RhonddaRhondda Special School
Swansea EastPenybryn Senior Special School
Swansea WestYsgol Crug Glas
TorfaenSchool, Sebastopol
Vale of ClwydYsgol Tir Morfa
Vale of ClwydYsgol Plas Brondyffryn
Vale of GlamorganYsgol Maes Dyfan
WrexhamSt Christopher's School
Ynys MonYsgol Bont

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Telephone Inquiries

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what facilities his Department has to deal with telephone inquiries in (a) Welsh, (b) Scots Gaelic and (c) Irish Gaelic. [14700]

Mr. Hain: In accordance with the Welsh Language Act 1993, the Wales Office has a Welsh Language Scheme. Under the terms of the scheme, the switchboard serving our Cardiff office answers with a bilingual greeting. If the caller wishes to speak Welsh, the operator will try to connect the call to a Welsh speaker who can deal with the inquiry. If no Welsh speaker is available and able to deal with the inquiry, the caller will be given the choice of a Welsh speaker ringing back, or continuing the call in English. If the caller rings on one of our direct lines but the person taking the call cannot speak Welsh, he or she will try to transfer it to a suitable Welsh speaking colleague. Again, if no-one is available, the caller will be given the choice of a Welsh speaker calling back, or continuing the call in English. There might be times when there is no Welsh speaker available who can answer the query in full, especially if it is complex or specialised. In these cases, the caller will be given the option of discussing the matter in English or writing to us in Welsh—in which case, they would receive a written reply in Welsh. The switchboard serving our London headquarters may not have Welsh speaking staff. If they receive a call from someone wishing to speak Welsh, the operator will explain that he or she cannot speak Welsh but will offer to try to connect the caller to a Welsh speaker within the department. If none of our Welsh speakers was available, the operator would explain that this was so and offer the caller the option of continuing the conversation in English, or of leaving their details so that a Welsh speaker could ring back later. We have no facilities for dealing with telephone inquiries in Scots Gaelic or Irish Gaelic.
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the UK is providing for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. [15507]

Hilary Benn: At the Tokyo Conference in 2002, the UK pledged £200 million over five years in development assistance to Afghanistan. At the Berlin Conference in March 2004 this pledge was increased to a total of £500 million over the same time period; by mid-2005, £360 million of this had been spent.

DFID's Afghanistan programme for 2005–06 will channel £90 million in development assistance into the country. This programme focuses on three areas of work:

During President Karzai's recent visit to the UK (July 2005), DFID committed to provide £200 million to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund between 2005 and 2008. This fund supports the operating costs of the Government. The UK is the largest contributor to this fund. DFID has also agreed to begin planning with the Government of Afghanistan to draw up a long-term development partnership between the two Governments.

DFID has also channelled around £160 million to Afghanistan through the European Community, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much (a) financial, (b) material, (c) personnel and (d) other aid the UK Government (i) pledged, (ii) committed and (iii) delivered to Afghanistan following the drought in 2000. [15556]

Hilary Benn: Following the South Asia drought of 2000, DFID committed £3.53 million specifically to Afghanistan. Of this, £3.51 million has been fully utilised. This included: £2.2 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food assistance; £0.9 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through the British Red Cross Society; £0.2 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for emergency relief for internally displaced persons; £0.1 million to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to provide emergency shelter for people displaced by the drought and conflict; and £0.4 million to the WFP to provide food assistance to over 60,000 refugees in Pakistan who had arrived from Afghanistan. In addition, DFID provided regional assistance including £2 million to the WFP for of which £1.25 million was allocated to Afghanistan.
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DFID also provided £3 million to the Afghan Government's drought appeal in September 2004 to provide drinking water to populations most in need; to rehabilitate water sources such as karezes (surface catchments) and shallow wells; and to target food distributions to the rural vulnerable in the most severely affected districts.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms he plans to put in place to ensure aid agreed at the G8 Summit directly benefits the African people. [15508]

Hilary Benn: The G8 agreed that additional resources will be focused on low income countries which are committed to growth and poverty reduction, to democratic, accountable and transparent Government and to sound financial management. Where this is the case, it should be up to the country concerned to decide how best to use resources to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are focused on reducing poverty, improving people's access to education, health, water and sanitation.

The G8 agreed on the importance of an effective monitoring mechanism to track progress and to help ensure delivery on the ground. Prime accountability is from each Government to its own citizens and Parliaments. At country level, mechanisms for monitoring and review will be strengthened. Internationally, the G8 agreed to strengthen the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) so that it can monitor progress effectively. This will be done on the basis of a joint action plan, which we hope will be agreed at the next meeting of the APF in April 2006.

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