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School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost of the school fruit and vegetable scheme has been. [19006]

Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

From 2000–01 to 2004–05, £87.55 million was spent on the school fruit and vegetable scheme, provided by the Department and the new opportunities fund. From April 2005, the Department has committed £43.5 million to fund the scheme in 2005–06.



Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Darfur; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the activities of militia groups on that situation. [22013]

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Hilary Benn: The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains serious. 1.8 million people have been forced toflee their homes and 3.4 million are dependent on humanitarian assistance. Although the latest UN mortality survey shows that the number of deaths hasdecreased significantly, the security situation has deteriorated in recent months with an increase in banditry hampering humanitarian relief operations, particularly in West Darfur. Road access for humanitarian agencies in West Darfur has been cut and the UN has positioned air transport in El Geneina to meet priority humanitarian needs and is confident that essential operations can be maintained. In central Darfur, the upsurge in fighting has seen new waves of localised displacement. Contingency planning for more disruption is underway by the humanitarian agencies and we stand ready to provide additional support if required.

The UN Secretary General's September 2005 report on Darfur states that all parties (SLA, Government, Arab militia) except the JEM initiated violent incidents. The African Union Mission in Sudan is investigating these incidents, and we are encouraging them to carry out a verification mission to identify the locations of all parties to the conflict, including militia groups.

Developing Countries

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to prevent British companies (a) engaging in and (b) assisting corrupt practices in developing countries. [21612]

Hilary Benn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) leads on engaging with British companies overseas. It has developed guidance explaining the effect of part 12 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security (ATCS) Act 2001. This Act gives UK courts jurisdiction over certain offences of bribery and corruption committed overseas by UK companies or nationals and gives UK companies a strong defence against attempts to extort bribes from them. DFID works closely with other UK Government departments, (including the FCO, the Home Office, HM Treasury, the Department for Trade and Industry and the Attorney General's Office) on anti-corruption activities, including raising awareness of the provisions of the ATCS act. We have a productive relationship with the Infrastructure sector Anti-Corruption Forum and the British Consultants and Construction Bureau.

DFID'S bilateral programmes, working with other bilateral and multi-lateral donors, support a range of developing country governance reforms, including procurement reforms. Improving developing country systems reduces the environment for corrupt practice by foreigners and nationals by improving accountability, transparency and effectiveness. In addition, DFID has led in assisting several developing countries to enhance their capacity to prevent and prosecute corruption.

Since untying aid in 2001, DFID make no distinction between British and other companies. DFID's zero tolerance towards corruption is reflected within our standard contractual terms and conditions. From January 2006, procurement by all UK Government Departments will need to take account of the new EU
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procurement directives. These include the mandatory exclusion of suppliers, where contracting authorities are aware that they have been convicted of fraud, corruption and money laundering (Article 45 of the Public Sector Directive). Internally, DFID is also currently preparing guidance to staff to raise awareness of what constitutes bribery and corruption which will relate to the provisions of the ATCS act 2001.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the Department decides how much money to allocate to each developing country; and if he will make a statement. [21948]

Hilary Benn: DFID operates an annual review of budgets that includes deciding how much money to allocate to each developing country. The process involves dialogue at all levels starting with country offices and culminating in approval by DFID's management board and, then, by Ministers.

DFID uses a financial model to generate suggested allocations for bilateral country programmes. The model takes account of both the extent of a country's poverty and the likely effectiveness of aid in reducing its poverty. Vulnerability to economic shocks and the amount of aid which countries are likely to receive from other donors are also considered in deciding on the appropriate level of aid.

In addition to the model's results, the regional divisions responsible for DFID's bilateral country programmes analyse a range of factors when considering allocations. These include the effectiveness of multilateral channels, conflict and reconstruction needs, inequality and social exclusion, our historical engagement and the political environment.

The issue of effective allocation of aid is a broad one, which requires greater co-ordination between all aid donors, since the UK itself provides less than 10 percent. of global aid. We believe faster progress could be made towards the millennium development goals (MDGs) if the world's aid was more systematically allocated to countries most in need of, and best able to use it for poverty reduction. DFID has been urging other donors to focus more of their aid on poor countries and poor people, while recognising that security and conflict prevention have a key role to play. In this regard, DFIDis leading initiatives in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)'s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to promote information sharing on different donors approaches to allocation and to create a DAC watch brief on aid flows to a list of fragile states.

Economic Partnership Agreements

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many economic partnership agreements have been concluded; and with which countries. [22404]

Mr. Thomas: Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are currently being negotiated between the EU and six regional groups of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. No agreements have been signed as yet.
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The timetable for negotiation was set out in the Cotonou Agreement and agreed by all parties in 2000. The timetable is determined by the need to comply with the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) rules. Following a challenge by non-ACP members in the WTO, the EU and the ACP are required to replace their current trading relationship with a new agreement that is WTO compatible. A waiver of the WTO rules has been agreed, but this expires at the end of 2007. EPAs should therefore be signed and in place by 1 January 2008.


Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria the Department uses to assess the quality of governance in the countries in which it works. [21951]

Mr. Thomas: DFID recognises that development and stability can be achieved with very different governance arrangements, as demonstrated by the experience of countries as diverse as Botswana, Chile, Mozambique and Vietnam. What constitutes good governance varies according to the country context. Therefore, DFID does not assess the quality of governance according to a standard set of criteria in the countries in which it works. Instead DFID analyses the quality of governance according to a framework of capabilities: political systems that extend opportunities to poor people; economic management that brings stability and facilitates investment; delivery of policies that benefit the poor; raising revenue and delivering public services; maintenance of safety security and justice; national security; accountability and tackling corruption.

DFID builds effective aid partnerships based on a shared commitment to reducing poverty, respecting human rights and strengthening public financial management and accountability. DFID uses criteria to assess specific elements of governance that underpin these aid partnerships with developing countries.

Within each country partnership, we agree a regular assessment of progress in these three areas to ensure that we are achieving the shared objectives and to inform our dialogue with partner governments. On human rights, for example, we focus on the partner country's own international human rights obligations.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list all the countries in which the Department works, ranked in order of the quality of their governance. [21952]

Mr. Thomas: DFID does not list recipient countries ranked in order of the quality of their governance. This is firstly because there is no agreed appropriate index suitable for all countries. Secondly, ratings depend on the quality of data used and where we are most concerned about the state of governance, data sources are often unreliable and inaccurate.

The UK Government allocates aid to each country on the basis of levels of poverty in that country, and the ability of the partner Government concerned to make good use of aid. In making these judgements, DFID takes into account detailed country level information,
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and assessments made by other institutions, notably the World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA).

A listing of all the countries in which DFID works and the allocation of aid to each are in the 39th Edition of the Statistics on International Development (formerly known as British Aid Statistics), copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Department is taking to use development aid (a) to reward and (b) to create incentives for good government in the developing world. [21953]

Mr. Thomas: DFID encourages improved governance and assists with governance reforms through specific programme activities, aid allocations and use of different ways of delivering aid.

DFID allocates aid to partners on the basis of levels of poverty and their ability to make good use of that aid. Governance is relevant, in that, in general, the higher the standard of governance, the more likely it is that our partners are able to make good use of aid. This is especially true of sound public financial management. The poorer the standards of public financial management, the more control we are likely to wish to retain. If standards of governance are very poor, we may decide not to deliver aid through partner governments but to use alternative channels, such as non-government organisations (NGOs). In these ways, the standard of governance may have an influence on levels of aid and on how that aid is delivered. Recognition of this may provide some incentive to governments in developing countries to improve governance, particularly public financial management.

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Department is taking to use development aid (a) to penalise and (b) to create disincentives for bad Government in the developing world. [21954]

Mr. Thomas: DFID believes that effective aid partnerships are based on shared commitment to reducing poverty, respecting human rights and strengthening public financial management and accountability.

DFID aims to provide appropriate and realistic support. This may include support to Parliaments, national audit offices and other oversight institutions. This helps to strengthen safeguards against bad Government. Where the standard of Government is very poor, aid may be aimed at helping to fulfil core functions, including protecting people from harm, delivering basic public services and providing an economic framework to enable people to support themselves.

The UK Government review of aid conditionally concluded that the UK will consider reducing or interrupting committed aid if:

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Where a partnership breaks down in this way, the UK Government will judge carefully whether to reduce or suspend aid. This judgment will consider the impact for poor people, and for longer-term poverty reduction efforts, of stopping or continuing aid. The judgment will also take into account any other specific circumstances. In all cases the UK will seek to talk the issues through with partner Governments before taking a final decision.

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