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Sustainable Development

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is providing to the poorest countries to promote the sustainable development of local growers, farmers, manufacturers and retailers. [27340]

Mr. Thomas: In 2004–05, DFID provided more than £83 million in support to rural livelihoods in low income countries. DFID's forthcoming agriculture policy paper, emphasises DFID's continuing commitment to agriculture as an important component of poverty reducing growth and highlights the following priorities for action: creating policies and procedures that support agriculture; targeting public spending more effectively; tackling market failure; filling the agricultural finance gap; spreading the benefits of new technology; improving access to land and secure property rights and reducing distortions in international agricultural markets.

More generally, DFID is working to support the development of a vibrant private sector in developing countries. Much of our work focuses on support for establishing a sound business environment to enable domestic investors and entrepreneurs to operate productively.

Specific areas of support include assistance to developing countries to simplify and streamline administrative and regulatory frameworks to provide greater incentives and opportunities for small business people to enter the formal economy; support to develop financial systems that provide financial services, including micro-credit to small businesses; support for programmes providing entrepreneurship and basic business skills training to small entrepreneurs, including women and young people; and support for programmes, such as Challenge Funds, that enable small farmers, traders and manufacturers to link up with larger businesses and participate in industry supply chains.
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Water Privatisation Projects

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy not to spend UK aid money on water privatisation projects that result from (a) World Bank and IMF conditions and (b) conditions imposed by other Governments. [20617]

Mr. Thomas: DFID's policy on conditionality sets out how we intend to strike a balance between ensuring aid is used effectively for poverty reduction, strengthening countries leadership of their own development and making aid more predictable. It makes clear that we will use conditions to ensure aid is used effectively, but we will minimise any negative effects of these conditions on partner Government leadership and aid predictability. In particular we will not use conditionality to impose specific policy choices on partner Governments, including in sensitive areas such as privatisation.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are also both committed to the principle of country ownership of reforms. The World Bank's 2005 review of its use of conditionality resulted in five good practice principles for conditionality, the first of which is country ownership. At the annual meetings of the World Bank in September 2005, we successfully pressed for agreement that the Bank would report back next year on the implementation of these principles.

The Paris Declaration re-affirmed donors' views that countries must lead their own development process. DFID strongly supports this approach. Countries should lead their own policy making processes and are free to decide to implement market-based reforms in the water sector. In cases where Governments are committed to reform of the water sector and request our support, we would be ready to consider assistance to ensure policy options are thoroughly considered, and the appropriate regulation is put in place so that affordable services are delivered to poor people. In 2004, of the £93 million DFID spent in country programmes on urban, rural and humanitarian water supply and sanitation services, 95 per cent. was spent through Governments, not for profit or humanitarian agencies. Rather than focussing on who delivers these services we concentrate on ensuring that services are delivered to the poor and that Governments can make informed choices between approaches.

World Trade

Angela Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made under the UK presidency of the EU to ensure that poor countries are represented at the World Trade Organisation talks. [26079]

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 the 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
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internationally 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 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.


Aircraft Leasing Costs

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been of leasing or hiring (a) helicopters and (b) fixed wing aircraft from commercial contractors in each year since 2000. [24579]

Mr. Ingram: The cost of the leasing or hiring of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft from commercial contractors in each year since 2000 is shown in the following table. The data shown have been gathered from centrally held records. A number of other areas within the Ministry of Defence hire or lease aircraft but details of these contracts are not held centrally and could be supplied only at a disproportionate cost.
£ million

Financial yearHelicoptersFixed wing aircraft

In compiling this answer, an error in the calculation of the projected cost for leasing or hiring helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in financial year 2005–06, given in response to a previous parliamentary question of 25 October 2005, Official Report, columns 245–48W, came to light. The cost for financial year 2005–06 is likely to be in the region of £95 million and not as previously reported, £74 million.
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Armed Forces (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on assisting the prosecution of current and former members of the armed forces involved in deaths in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [27320]

Mr. Ingram: In any investigation into a death in Northern Ireland involving current or former members of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence will provide the police with whatever assistance they may properly require.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the role is in Headquarters Northern Ireland of the G2 Historic Investigation Branch; and how many people are employed therein. [27321]

Mr. Ingram: The role of the G2 Historic Information Team (HIT) is to collate information held within Headquarters Northern Ireland (HQNI) in response to requests from Public Inquiries.

The G2 HIT is a joint military/civilian team, consisting of four personnel.

Army Recruitment

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been of British Army recruitment campaigns in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [27171]

Mr. Touhig: Headquarters Recruiting Group, a part of the Army Training and Recruiting Agency, is responsible for marketing recruitment for the Regular and Territorial Army. Marketing costs for the last three Financial Years are detailed in the table, and covered activities including: national advertising, television, radio, response handling, magazines, regional marketing, education and citizenship, national events and exhibitions and Camouflage (Youth programme). Staff costs are excluded.
Financial YearCost of marketing (£ million)

Additional funding was provided to the recruiting operation in 2004–05-to counter the difficult recruiting environment, which grew towards the end of the year. The bulk of the additional expenditure was spent on television advertisements.

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