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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 26 October 2005


Operation TELIC (Battle Honour Awards)

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): In June 2005, Her Majesty The Queen graciously approved the award of a Theatre Honour ('Iraq 2003') and the Battle Honour ('Al Basrah') for units of the British Army. Subsequently, individual Regiments and Corps applied to the Army Honours and Distinctions Committee for the award of these honours. Following receipt of the Committee's recommendations, the Executive Committee of the Army Board has sought Her Majesty's gracious approval, and we expect shortly to announce the approval of awards by Regiment and Corps.


Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Liam Byrne): The annual report for 2004 is being published today and copies have been placed in the Library. The report covers research and development work carried out by or on behalf of any Government Department in relation to equipment that might increase the range of activities and independence or well being of disabled people.

The current report places such research in the context of the national service framework for long-term conditions and the green paper on adult social care and outlines the role of assistive technology in making independent living easier for older people and people with disabilities. The report describes the wide range of Government funded projects supporting the development, introduction and evaluation of assistive technology.


AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Gareth Thomas): The Department for International Development (DFID) doubled the UK's funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) at the UK-hosted Replenishment Conference (5–6 September), from £51 million for 2006 and £51 million in 2007 to £100 million for 2006 and £100 million for 2007. The amount raised at the Replenishment Conference was US$ 3.7 billion of US$ 7.0 1 billion that the Global Fund estimated it needs for 2006 and 2007. Our
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contribution amounted to some 10 per cent. of the total US$ 3.7 billion pledged at the Replenishment Conference. We will continue to encourage existing and new donors to contribute further to the Global Fund.

The UK is committed to ensuring that the Global Fund uses the money it receives as effectively as possible and that the global response to AIDS is improved. These key messages were reiterated at the Replenishment Conference in London. The additional UK contribution, which will help the Global Fund to provide a sustainable response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, makes the UK the fourth largest donor overall to the Fund.

The UK will be spending £1.5 billion on tackling HIV and AIDS over the next three years, a large part of which will be spent in Africa. This includes the UK's contribution to the Global Fund and DFID's bilateral programmes, which support prevention, testing, counselling and the care of orphans. The UK accounted for 20 per cent. of all direct bilateral donor commitments to the fight against AIDS in 2004 2 .

In addition the UK is providing an extra £8 million to UNAIDS for financial year 2005–06. This will help UNAIDS to advise countries on how to use their AIDS funding more effectively.

The UK will continue to contribute to international technical agencies that provide support to countries to develop and implement effective national plans to control TB and malaria. We will provide £12.5 million in core funding this year to the World Health Organisation, and have pledged £5 million over three years (2005–06–2007–08) to the Stop TB Partnership. In addition, the UK will provide £1 million to the Roll Back Malaria partnership this year, particularly to help coordinate the supply of mosquito nets and anti-malarial drugs.


Disabled People (Equality)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mrs. Anne McGuire): Yesterday, the Disability Discrimination (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Regulations 2005 (SI 2966) were laid before Parliament. These regulations are made under powers in section 49D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and take forward the Government's commitments, as set out in "Delivering Equality for Disabled People" (Cm 6255) to place prescribed public authorities under specific equality duties.

In my written ministerial statement on 21 July, Official Report, Column 169WS, I listed certain additional public bodies which, following the consultation, the Government intended to place under the duties. Further to those bodies, the Adult Learning Inspectorate, the British Educational Communications
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and Technology Agency, the National College for School Leadership, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Teacher Training Agency will also be subject to the duties, as set out in the regulations.

In "Delivering Equality for Disabled People" the Government said they recognised the special position of schools, and the need to ensure that equality duties applied to schools were effective and proportionate. The regulations ensure that schools are required to publish equality schemes setting out how they will be carrying out their responsibilities to eliminate discrimination, combat harassment and promote greater equality for disabled people. However, in order to enable schools to build their new planning and reporting duties into their existing responsibilities, the regulations clarify that the scheme may form part of another document, and the
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start date for the specific duties as it will apply to primary schools in England, and to all schools in Wales, will be 2007.

The Government have long recognised the importance of clear and accessible statutory guidance in enabling the proper implementation of the public sector duties. Alongside the regulations, we have also laid before Parliament a statutory code of practice prepared by the Disability Rights Commission giving practical guidance to bodies exercising functions in England and Wales, and bodies exercising reserved functions in Scotland. Subject to Parliament's approval, the regulations and the Code will come into force in December this year, giving public bodies a full year to implement their responsibilities before the duties begin to come into force in December 2006.