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Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list her Department's contractual obligations to the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in each of the last 10 years. [39396]

Mr. Morley: Defra has committed funds for Research and Development projects to the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research over the 10 year period in question as follows:
£ million

(1) Provisional

Details of the projects funded, including individual project costings and the final reports from completed projects, are available on the Defra website at: data/Default. asp.

National Flood Forum

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria were taken into account when deciding to discontinue funding of the National Flood Forum; and if she will make a statement. [40753]

Mr. Morley: Defra has policy responsibility for flood risk management in England. The Environment Agency is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England.

I understand the Agency has agreed with the National Flood Forum Board of Directors that their core funding from the Agency will be phased out over a three-year period from December 2004 to ensure the Forum's independence from a single funding source, and allow it to establish a broader funding base. The Agency will continue to provide funding for the Forum on a project by project basis.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to Question 31449, on the EU sugar regime, tabledby the hon. Member for Hendon on 21 November 2005. [40272]

Jim Knight: I replied to the hon. Member on 20 December 2005.
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Research and Development Strategy

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research's role in her Department's research and development strategy. [39337]

Mr. Morley: The Welsh Assembly Government have been consulted in the development of Defra's Evidence and Innovation Strategy; is an assessor on Defra's farming and food Research Priorities Group; and is party to the development of Defra's research funding plans.

Defra procures R and D relevant to agriculture and fisheries at a range of research establishments including the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER). This research is funded to support both Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government policies. The Welsh Assembly Government are a close partner in the formulation of Defra research funding plans at a number of levels ranging from our Department wide Evidence and Innovation Strategies through to statements of policy rationale and scientific objectives for individual R and D programmes.


Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) his Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible and (c) each independent statutory body, organisation and body financially sponsored by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39086]

Hilary Benn: For details of Contracts awarded to DFID since 1997 to assist with International Development, I refer the hon. Member for Angus to the response I gave to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) on 28 November 2005, Official Report, column 55W.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is responsible for financial sponsorship of Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC). They do not however, retain a central record of expenditure on external consultants and to obtain this information would incur a disproportionate cost.

Guatemala (Violence against Women)

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken to help the Guatemalan authorities reduce the incidence of violence against Guatemalan women. [40820]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development is contributing €1 million through its share of the European Commission's (EC) 2004–07 project to strengthen the ability of the Guatemalan Indigenous Women's Ombudsman (Defensoria de la Mujer Indigena) to address the high levels of exclusion
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and violence suffered by poor indigenous rural women. The Ombudsman is part of the Guatemala Presidential Commission of Human Rights.

The UK provides 18 per cent. of the funding of EC programmes to Guatemala.

Pakistan (Earthquake)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what shelters the UK Government is providing for the people of Pakistan following the earthquake there; and what assessment it has made of the adequacy of such shelters for winter temperatures and conditions in the affected region. [40799]

Mr. Thomas [holding answer 9 January 2006]: As a part of DFID's overall response to the Pakistan earthquake, we have provided in-kind assistance in the form of 5,500 winterised tents, as well as plastic sheeting, blankets and ropes which are an integral part of the International Organisation for Migration's (IOM) tent winterisation package. In addition, we are providing financial support as well as staff secondments to the IOM, the lead international agency managing shelter issues, as well as financial support to six non governmental organisations that are implementing shelter programmes. This support is helping relocated North West Frontier and Kashmir populations in camps at lower altitude as well as those villagers living in remote locations above 5,000 feet. It has enabled the construction of temporary warm rooms" made of galvanised iron sheets to assist those affected by the earthquake to survive the Himalayan winter.

DFID has been working actively with a range of donor partners, the Government of Pakistan, as well as beneficiaries, to gauge the appropriateness of the shelter assistance provided. When it became clear that a high proportion of the shelters distributed (excluding the DFID-provided tents) was not winterised, DFID provided an additional £2,000,000 of in-kind assistance to support the activities of the responding international community. We are currently discussing whether additional financial or in-kind support is required. DFID support through the financing of transport aircraft provided by NATO and in-country helicopter operations includes the delivery of shelter materials for the UN and humanitarian agencies.

The tents provided by DFID are fully certified winterised tents with provision for heating by stove. We are content that the additional in-kind support is of appropriate quality and meets UN and/or International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) standards.


Police Service

8. Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect of the 50/50 ruling on the recruitment of suitably qualified Protestants to the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [40309]

Mr. Woodward: Since 2001, the unprecedented level of interest in joining the PSNI, from across the whole community, has reflected the increasing confidence in
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policing in Northern Ireland, and has created an inevitable surplus of suitably qualified candidates for a finite number of posts. I am advised that only 541 suitably qualified non-Catholic candidates, from the first eight campaigns, will be rejected as a result of 50/50. This is less than two percent of all non-Catholic applications.


9. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many kneecappings have been recorded in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [40310]

Mr. Woodward: The PSNI does not record offences separately. I can tell you that in the last five years the number of shootings has more than halved, from 186 in 2001 to 85 last year.

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