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29 Nov 2005 : Column 359W—continued

St. Helena

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the (a) costs and (b) total investment that will be forthcoming from (i) the Department for International Development, (ii) other UK Government Departments, (iii) the EU, (iv) private companies and (v) other sources for the proposed redevelopment of the island of St.Helena. [32181]

Mr. Thomas: There are no plans to redevelop St. Helena. Last March, however, I announced proposals to build an airport and establish air services for the island by or around 2010. The commitment was subject to satisfactory contract bids and a rigorous environmental impact assessment. The project budget has not been made public, as to do so might prejudice competition for the airport design, build and operate" contract. The cost of the airport will be additional to DFID's regular support for St. Helena, currently running at some £14 million per annum.

St. Helena is also eligible for support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Good Governance" and Economic Diversification" programmes, plus a Governor's Delegated Fund" and a joint DFID/FCO Overseas Territories Environmental Programme. Disbursements from those sources are expected to total around £250,000 this year. Funds currently available to St. Helena from the European Union total over £9 million, all of which St. Helena hopes to utilise over the next few years for improvements to its wharf facilities.

No private sector funding is envisaged for the airport. All private sector interest in St. Helena, however, will be welcome and considered on an equal footing. We are currently helping St. Helena to review its tourism and inward investment policies, following the decision to build an airport. The aim is for agreed policy to guide investment, and not vice versa.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been allocated for the construction of an airstrip on St.Helena. [33131]

Mr. Thomas: Our estimates have not been published, as to do so could commercially prejudice current procurement processes.
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Water and Sanitation (Funding)

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 475W, on water and sanitation (funding), how many additional child diarrhoeal deaths he expects to occur if progress towards the Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa continues at the rate of progress between 1990 and 2002. [32616]

Hilary Benn: Calculating the number of diarrhoea! deaths attributable to inadequate sanitation is not an easy task. Most of them occur in the homes of the poor in remote villages and ramshackle shanty-towns, without the knowledge of health care workers. Most can be attributed to multiple contributory causes including malnutrition, malaria, the aftermath of measles and contaminated water, as well as poor sanitation.

Roughly the same number of people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to water supply (266 million) as lack sanitation (242 million); indeed, many people lack both.

The best available calculation is by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which estimates that 747,500 deaths a year in sub-Saharan Africa could be attributed to deficient water, sanitation and hygiene. The vast majority (99 per cent.) of these are deaths from diarrhoea, and nearly 90 per cent. of those who die are children less than five-years-old. This gives a figure of some 650,000 child diarrhoeal deaths a year due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

Looking to the future, if progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is not accelerated we can expect the number of deaths to decrease very slightly each year, but at this rate we estimate that in 2092 34 per cent. of the population would still lack access to basic sanitation.


Freedom of Information

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Leader of the House how many Freedom of Information applications his Office has received; how many have taken more than 20 days to process; and how many of these gave rise to complaints about the time taken. [31216]

Mr. Hoon: The Office of the Leader of the House has received nine Freedom of Information applications from 1 January to 30 June 2005. None has taken more than 20 days to process. The applications are included under the Privy Council Office's statistics published in the Department for Constitutional Affairs quarterly bulletin.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs is committed to publishing quarterly updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcomes of requests. The bulletin for the second quarter was published on 30 September 2005 and can be found on the DCA website at and in the Libraries of both Houses. The next bulletin will be published before Christmas, while an annual report will be published in early 2006.
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Brixham Council

Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) following the affirmative referendum on the creation of a Brixham town council, if he will establish such a council in 2006; [32165]

(2) pursuant to the answer to parliamentary question 30167, if he will set out the consultation that has to take place to create a new town council in Brixham following an affirmative referendum; what other processes are required; and for what reasons these steps will take six to nine months. [32166]

Mr. Woolas: No proposals to establish a town council in Brixham have been received by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and if such proposals were received in view of the time scale given in the answers to the hon. Member on 9 November 2005, Official Report, columns 495–96W and 21 November 2005, Official Report, column 1701W, it is unlikely that one could be established in time for elections for new parish and town councils in May 2006.

Depending on the issues that proposals for new parish arrangements may raise the consultation that needs to take place is with local authorities, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's lawyers, Ministers and other stakeholders such as the Ordnance Survey and the Electoral Commission.

Before recommendations are made to Ministers, the processes required need to ensure that each recommendation contained in the review complies with the legislation and that they meet the underlying criteria that a parish needs to reflect the identities and interests of local communities, and that it secures effective and convenient local government.

The reasons these steps take six to nine months are that these cases are dealt with in rotation; that reviews raise complex and technical issues—some reviews make only one or two boundary changes, others are district wide recommending many boundary changes, some of these with consequential changes to electoral arrangements. In addition, maps need to be commissioned showing the proposed boundary changes; and we need to consult for up to six weeks on the content of the draft order that will implement new parish arrangements.

Council Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 386W, on council tax, what sanctions are available to Valuation Office Agency representatives against householders who refuse to admit valuation inspectors who have given written advance notice of their request to make a council tax valuation inspection. [33207]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member on 24 November 2005, Official Report, column 2240W.
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Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of spending by (a) Derbyshire county council, (b) Derbyshire Dales district council and (c) Amber Valley borough council has been financed from council tax in each of the years since 1 January 1996. [32720]

Mr. Woolas: The percentage of revenue expenditure by Derbyshire county council, Derbyshire Dales district council and Amber Valley borough council that has been financed from council tax in each financial year since 1996–97 is tabled as follows:

Derbyshire county councilDerbyshire Dales district councilAmber Valley borough council

The data are as reported by local authorities and are taken from revenue summary (RS) returns for 1996–97 to 2003–04, and revenue account budget (RA) returns for 2004–05 and 2005–06.

The definition of council expenditure used here is that expenditure funded from aggregate external finance (AEF), council tax and authorities' reserves.

Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changes in the method of reporting the information. In particular, the outturn data for 1996–97 to 2002–03 have been calculated on a non-FRS (financial reporting standard) 17 basis while the outturn data for 2003–04 has been calculated on an FRS 17 basis. The budget data for 2004–05 and 2005–06 are a mix of FRS 17 and non-FRS 17. This is because for their 2004–05 and 2005–06 budget forms local authorities, after consultation, were given the option to complete their forms either on a non-FRS 17 basis or on an FRS 17 basis. Hence, figures for different years may not be directly comparable.

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