|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) expenditure and (b) administrative costs of each regional industrial development board were in each year since their creation; and what the estimated costs are for 200506. 
The regional industrial development boards (RIDBs) are advisory and do not incur any expenditure. Appointments to RIDBs are unpaid but members have an entitlement to claim expenses. Some modest administration costs are incurred within the RDAs arranging and holding periodic meetings. Further administration costs are also borne by the
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1039W
Government offices (GOs) in the course of processing appointments. The most recent estimate of annual costs is as follows:
Meg Munn: Using the Women's Minister's Network meetings I have had discussions with Ministers from the Department of Health about a number of issues concerning women and health and look forward to continuing this dialogue when we meet again.
Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many air miles were accrued through departmental ministerial travel in 200405, broken down by Minister; how many were (a) foregone and (b) donated to charity, broken down by charity; and whether air miles accrued by officials were required to be (i) foregone and (ii) given to charity. 
Ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the 'Ministerial Code' and Travel by Ministers'. Guidance for Ministers on the use of air miles is set out in the 'Ministerial Code'. The guidance makes clear that air miles should be used only for official purposes or else foregone. However, if it is impracticable to use the benefits for Government travel, there is no objection to Ministers donating them to charity if this is permissible under the terms of the airline's scheme and the charity is one chosen by the airline. Similar rules are in place for officials.
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1040W
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what monitoring arrangements his Department has in place in respect of the administrative performance of the Ombudsman Service; and what the (a) average and (b) target time is for (i) launching and (ii) concluding an investigation from the date of receipt of an application. 
The Parliamentary Ombudsman published a Three Year Strategic Plan in July in which she set out the customer service standards and delivery targets that she and her staff aim to meet or exceed over the next three years. She publishes information about performance against targets in her annual report to Parliament. Her 200405 Annual Report, HC 348, was published on 20 July. Copies of the Three Year Strategic Plan and annual reports are available in the Library.
Mr. Thomas: For information on the use of retread tyres in vehicles provided to the Department by the Government Car and Despatch Agency I refer the hon. Member to the letter of 11 October 2005 which he received from the Chief Executive of the GCDA, reference UIN15087 and UIN15088. Copies of this letter are available in the Library.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many air miles were accrued through departmental ministerial travel in 200405, broken down by Minister; how many were (a) foregone and (b) donated to charity, broken down by charity; and whether air miles accrued by officials were required to be (i) foregone and (ii) given to charity. 
Ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code" and Travel by Ministers". Guidance for Ministers on the use of Air Miles is set out in the Ministerial Code, which makes it clear that air miles should be used only for official
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1041W
purposes or else forgone. If it is impracticable to use the benefits for Government travel, there is no objection to their donation to a charity chosen by the airline. Similar rules apply for officials. We do not maintain a record of air miles earned.
DFID has recently established a pilot scheme with major airlines under which air miles accrued on official travel can be exchanged for earth miles" to fund carbon offset projects to neutralise emissions from air travel. All members of DFID are encouraged to contribute.
Mr. Thomas: DFID has offered no volunteering positions in the last five years under the Next Steps initiative. However, we have long recognised the value of volunteering and the vital contribution that volunteers make in our wider development work. We therefore support a number of civil society organisations who act as volunteer sending agencies as part of the global effort to reduce world poverty.
We also support volunteering activities in other ways. Firstly, through our Volunteering Strategy, we encourage DFID staff at all levels to volunteer to work in their local community by offering one day's paid leave a year. Secondly, we publicise the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) on our website for those members of the public who may have specialist skills that could be of assistance in disaster situations.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) aid and (b) other assistance has been provided to developing countries to support their participation in the forthcoming world trade negotiations. 
Mr. Thomas: There are three main ways in which we have supported and continue to support developing countries in trade negotiations, including the current Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks. First, through assistance to help countries formulate and develop their own trade policies, taking account of their domestic and regional circumstances. Second, by helping countries build their capacity to negotiate these policies with their partners, either regionally or international and thirdly, we help the actual participation of developing countries in trade talks themselves. For example, we have provided countries such as Lesotho and Zambia with the resources they need to secure analysis and expertise in order to help determine their own trade policies.
We have supported regional institutions that in turn support their developing country members in trade analysis and negotiations. For example, through funding trade advisors in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariats and providing resources for the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery, the body that helps Caribbean
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1042W
countries co-ordinate and pursue their negotiating efforts, not just in the WTO but in terms of other agreements such as the Cotonou Economic Partnership Agreements.
We have funded advisory support and resources to the Least Developed Country (LDC) group chaired by Zambia, to develop their position and attendance at the Hong Kong WTO ministerial and with other donors we contribute to a trust fund that will enable Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to attend the forthcoming WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|