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Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure that aid and assistance given to the Colombian Government is used for the purposes for which it is intended. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID does not provide money directly to the Colombian Government, but does so through its contributions to the European Commission, the Inter America Development Bank and the World Bank. DFID reviews their project proposals through its participation in the bank boards and relevant EC committee. All these institutions have monitoring systems to ensure appropriate use of the aid. We also provide assistance to British NGOs in Colombia to enable them to support local civil society organisations.
Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support has been offered to (a) the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and (b) the United Nations Mission to the Congo to increase the effectiveness of (i) border and customs controls and (ii) airspace monitoring. 
Hilary Benn: At the request of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) transitional Government in 2004, DFID facilitated a review of the DRC's customs operations by Crown Agents UK. This year, the DRC Government has indicated a willingness to follow up the report in terms of improved border and customs controls. DFID is considering supporting this. We are also considering further options for DFID's engagement in this area, for example through supporting the French and EC on the development of a customs reform programme focused on border points in Katanga and Ituri.
We have encouraged the Mission des Nations Unies au Congo (MONUC) to increase border and airspace monitoring as far as their resources allow given current priorities for MONUC action (supporting the elections, and tackling the Front Democratique pour la
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Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) in the east and other armed groups in Ituri). The UK's contribution to MONUC through UN assessed contributions in 2005 is estimated to be £48 million, as well as six personnel in key positions. We have regularly lobbied at the UN Security Council for an increase in MONUC's capacity, particularly in the run up to the elections.
Mr. Thomas: UK development assistance to India has been rising steadily since 2000, in response to the scale of the poverty challenge and the positive environment for poverty reduction and development.
|Gross UK assistance to India|
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effects of locust plagues in West Africa; and what steps his Department has taken to tackle problems caused by locusts in West Africa. 
Hilary Benn: DFID has not made its own assessment of the 2004 locust infestation, but an independent review of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional control operation is being planned and will include an assessment of the appropriateness of the technical response, which will be important for the preparation of future campaigns. DFID provided £1.5 million to the operation, which covered Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Chad.
Fortunately, cold weather in North Africa earlier this year has helped to diminish breeding capacity so there has not been a repeat of the large swarms seen in 2004, but we will of course, continue to monitor the situation carefully. The FAO recently stated that the risk in the Sahel this year is low.
In Southern Africa and the Horn, DFID is pioneering longer-term safety net programmes as a means of combating structural, predictable hunger. We hope that the lessons emerging from these experiences can provide pointers to steps that could be taken in West Africa by Governments and development donors.
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James Purnell: We have secured agreement on the text of the main body of the film co-production agreement with India, and I hope to sign this at the next appropriate opportunity. Further, more detailed, provisions will then have to be agreed, signed and ratified before the agreement can be brought into force; we aim to have this completed in spring 2006.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what projects based in the London borough of Brent have received National Lottery funding; and how much was received in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Caborn: In the borough of Brent there have been 574 Lottery awards made to recipients, some of whom received multiple awards. In 2004, 74 awards, worth a total of £5.9 million, were made in Brent. A list, which has been placed in the Library, has been derived from the Department's Lottery award database, which is searchable at www.lottery.culture.gsi.gov.uk, which uses data supplied by the Lottery distributors.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will announce the results of the review of the tax treatment of betting exchanges announced in his Budget of March 2004; and if he will make a statement; 
John Healey: As set out in the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report published at Budget 2004, we are committed to settling a fair and equitable tax treatment for betting exchanges and their clients and we are working in close consultation with the betting industry. Any further announcements will be made in due course in accordance with the normal Budget process.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average income of each decile of earnings has been in each year since 199697; and what the real terms annual growth in income of each decile was between 199697 and the latest date for which this information is available. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the average income of each decile of earnings has been in each year since 199697; and what the real terms annual growth in income of each decile was between 199697 and the latest date for which this information is available. (16358)
Currently average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Prior to 1998 average earnings were estimated from the New Earnings Survey (NES), and are provided for full time employees on adult rates of pay whose pay was unaffected by absence during the pay period. This is the standard definition used for ASHE and NES tables. The ASHE does not collect data on the self employed and people who do unpaid work.
Table 1 attached below contains statistics on earnings from the NES from 19861998 and from ASHE for the years 19982004. In table 2, the figures from table 1 are expressed in 2004 prices by uprating with the Retail Price Index (RPI).
The ASHE, carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a one per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes, but because of its sampling frame, it has difficulty capturing data on people with very low pay. It is therefore likely to under-represent relatively low paid staff earning below the tax threshold.
|Growth Rate percentage(9)||14.9||12.9||13.0||12.5||12.7||12.9||13.4||14.6||16.5|
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