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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) consultants and (b) other self-employed persons are working for his Department; and what the cost is estimated to be (i) in 200506 and (ii) in each of the last five years. 
(b) The Department's normal policy is not to directly engage self-employed people. However it does procure the services of individuals with specialist knowledgeoften academicsto inform projects and policy decisions. These individuals are sometimes engaged directly, and at other times are remunerated via the budget for specific projects. Numbers of such individuals are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
(i) and (ii); The Department does not hold central records of the cost of consultants and agency staff as a sub-group of total costs for consultancy, agency and services contracts. The figures could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
[holding answer 14 October 2005]: The Government take the issue of nuisance telephone calls very seriously because of the distress they cause to consumers. The Communications Act 2003 provides powers to the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to take action against silent calls, including the imposition of financial penalties, against persons who cause unnecessary annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety through persistent misuse of an electronic communications network. Ofcom has announced a wide
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range of measures against silent calls and further detailed information is available from: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2005/l0/nr_20051031.
In addition, my Department has issued a consultation document, in which we propose to increase the maximum penalty for persistent misuse of an electronic communications network from £5,000 to £50,000 and a copy will shortly be available from: http://www.dti.gov.uk/industries/telecoms/public_consultations.html.
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is the Government's intention to amend provisions that will remove the upper age limit for entitlement to statutory sick pay in the draft Employment Equality (Age) Regulations which are due to come into force next year.
Meg Munn: Current legislation outlaws race, sex and disability discrimination in the provision of goods and services. The current Equality Bill will extend this protection to cover religion and belief.
We have made clear our intention to provide full rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people as soon as possible. We are considering the case for age discrimination legislation in this area via the current Discrimination Law Review.
24. Vera Baird:
To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with the
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Solicitor-General on the impact of the National Action Plan for Domestic Violence on the number of successful prosecutions for related crimes. 
Meg Munn: As a member of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence, I have regular discussions with the Solicitor General and other Ministers. Since the plan's March launch, prosecutions have risen, but it is early days and the plan outlines commitments to address this issue more fully.
The Government has invested a total £6.9 million into a resource centre to work specifically with employers enabling them to tackle the barriers which prevent girls and women seeing science and technology including engineering as an attractive and rewarding career. Although engineering remains an area of low female participation, the resource centre is working closely with other professional organisations, such as the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Technology Board, to develop strategic approaches to tackle this issue.
Meg Munn: The Government are committed to the promotion of breastfeeding. We are examining women's experiences of feeding in public places through the National Infant Feeding Survey 2005, to inform our thinking in this area.
Female-held FTSE 100 directorships have risen from 5.8 per cent. in 2000 to nearly 10 per cent. in 2004. The Cabinet Minister for Women will later this month be launching the 2005 Female FTSE Report produced by Cranfield university to see what further progress has been made. However, in 2004 17 per cent. of new FTSE 100 board appointments have been women, up from 13 per cent. in 2003 and 10.5 per cent. in 2002. The total number of female directorships in the FTSE 100 was 110, up from 101 the previous year. The number of boards with more than one female member
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has risen from 22 to 29 in 2004. It is disappointing to note that 31 of the FTSE 100 companies are run by men-only boards. Of the new women appointed in 2004, 33 per cent. already had FTSE experience and incoming non-executive directors are also far more likely than the directors they replace to have public or voluntary sector experience.
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development replied to the hon. Member on 29 September in response to his letter of 16 May and his follow-up letter of 29 July. I have placed a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.
Thank you for your letter of 29 July to the Prime Minister enclosing a postcard from your constituent about Tearfund's HIV/AIDS and Children" campaign. I am responding as the Minister who leads on the issues raised.
It is a terrible human catastrophe and presents an unprecedented challenge to the developing world and to the eradication of poverty. The cost in terms of human life and economic burden on national governments, communities and families is enormous. Women and young people, including the rising number of orphans are particularly vulnerable.
The Government is taking action. Last year we published Taking Actionthe UK's strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world", and committed at least £1.5 billion to tackling HIV and AIDS over the next three years. Of this, at least £150 million will go into supporting orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. The UK was one of the first countries to endorse UNICEF's Strategic Framework for the Protection, Care and Support of Orphans and Children Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS".
DFID is working directly with national governments to support the development and implementation of national programmes for the support and care of children affected. In Mozambique we have given funding to help the Government properly track its programmes for orphans and vulnerable children to ensure that aid reaches the children that need it most. In Kenya we are directly supporting community based organisations to help them deliver home based care services, including to children affected by AIDS.
We are investigating the best ways to build systems that provide support to vulnerable children and their families, possibly in the form of monthly child or family allowances. This will simplify the tracking of funds from government budgets to the poorest families. The cash received through these transfers enables families and communities to make their own decisions about the best way to improve their livelihoods and care for their children. Another important area in which we are investing is the health of children living with HIV. For example we have supported trials of a cheap and widely available drug (co-trimoxazole) which have shown that it can halve the death rate for HIV infected children in Africa. We are also supporting a new research programme to assess how to provide antiretroviral treatment for children in resource-constrained settings
Monitoring development expenditure by category, as your campaign highlights, is an area where all of us, the international community, donor organisations and national governments can all do better. DFID has recently introduced a new system to
DFID also believes that monitoring and evaluation are crucial with regards to other financing instruments such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). DFID has funded work specifically to develop the Global Fund's capacity for monitoring and evaluation. We believe that progress is being made, but there is more to do.
We are delighted to be co-hosting with UNICEF, later this year, the Global Partnership Forum on children affected by AIDS. We anticipate that this Forum will examine how funding can better reach community based organisations. Bottlenecks that prevent funding getting to those most in need must be identified and unlocked We see this as a crucial part of the wider efforts at Making the Money Work"a process being led by UNAIDS to ensure greater harmonisation and co-ordination alongside the additional resources now being made available to tackle HIV and AIDS The steps we are taking are a start, but there is much still for all of us to do.
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