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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made by his Department of the impact of tax evasion and tax avoidance on government finances in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID is working with developing country governments and their revenue authorities to improve collection of taxes and customs duties. Increasing tax revenue will increase funding available for essential services such as primary education and primary healthcare.
DFID has not made an assessment of the impact of tax evasion and tax avoidance on developing countries' finances. The high number of businesses not formally registered in many countries is a significant constraint on collecting taxes. DFID is undertaking a study looking at the impact of tax on business which will, among other matters, examine the impact on incentives for businesses to remain in the informal sector.
80 per cent. of taxes in developing countries are collected from formal companies, through VAT, corporate taxes, and taxes on labour. In contrast, the
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collection of personal tax is very small, so the potential for tax avoidance and evasion is less significant in terms of proportion of tax revenue from individuals.
Through work on the investment and regulatory climate facing the private sector, and on building capacity through training in inland revenue and customs offices, DFID is contributing to reducing the avoidance and evasion of taxes in developing countries.
Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the barrier dividing the West Bank from Israel on the Palestinian economy. 
Mr. Thomas: A preliminary analysis of the barrier's route, published by the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in March 2005, identified that some 142,640 acres (10 per cent.) of West Bank land will lie between the completed barrier and the Green Line. This is some of the most fertile land in the West Bank and is currently home to 49,400 Palestinians. Where the Barrier has been constructed, Palestinians face economic hardship from being restricted from or not being able to reach their land to harvest crops, graze animals or earn a living. Residents have also been cut off from schools, universities and specialized medical care by the constructed Barrier.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2679W, on the World Water Forum, by what process national governments will (a) contribute to and (b) sign up to the Ministerial Declaration for the World Water Forum; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Fourth World Water Forum Secretariat have invited all National Governments to contribute to the Ministerial Declaration by participating in inter-governmental negotiating sessions in Geneva over the coming months. EU member states have agreed to provide and co-ordinate appropriate input to these sessions via the Austrian presidency.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2679W, on the World Water Forum, when the inter-governmental negotiating session on the Ministerial Declaration for the World Water Forum will take place; where it will be held; and which governments he expects to attend. 
Mr. Thomas: The first inter-governmental negotiating session on the Ministerial Declaration for the Fourth World Water Forum will be held on Monday the 23rd of January in Geneva. EU member states will provide appropriate co-ordinated input through the Austrian presidency.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2679W, on
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the World Water Forum, whether the UK Government will be attending the inter-governmental negotiating session on the Ministerial Declaration for the World Water Forum; and what his aims and objectives are for UK contributions to the declaration. 
Mr. Thomas: It is likely that environment officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFRA) or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will attend this first negotiating session. However, UK inputs will be co-ordinated through the EU by the Austrian presidency.
The UK has not strongly supported the need for a ministerial statement, following so closely from the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) 13. Our key objective is therefore to work through the EU to ensure that outcomes from the CSD are consolidated in any new negotiated statement.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost to public funds was of (a) adult education and (b) education and training for those aged over 22 years in each year from 199697; what allocation has been made for each year to 200809; and if she will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: In 200102 the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) spent £2,236 million on adult programmes including Further Education, Work Based Learning, Adult and Community Learning and other programmes. This increased to £2,427 million in 200203 and to £2,866 million in 200304. These figures are available from the LSC's published accounts. Figures for adult education for the years prior to 2001 are not comparable as the budget was split between a range of different organisations.
Since 1997 Government funding for further education and training has increased by around £2.5 billion or around 48 per cent. in real terms. In 2004/05 over £1,600 million of further education funding was spent on adults aged over 22. Information for earlier years is not available. The LSC has been allocated £8.5 billion for 200607 and £8.9 billion for 200708 for education and training for adults and young people. Allocations for 200809 have not yet been made.
On 21 October 2005 I set out the Government's priorities for the learning and skills sector and the impact on funding in 200607 and 200708, and full details can be found in 'Priorities for Success' on the LSC's website.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what opportunities are made available by her Department in Kettering constituency to (a) retrain, (b) reskill and (c) educate local adult residents for paid employment. 
The Government's Skills Strategy, 21st Century Skills: Realising Our Potential (July 2003) and Skills: Getting on in business, getting on at work (March 2005), set out our plans for increasing opportunities for adults to develop their skills for paid employment.
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Further to your Parliamentary Question regarding opportunities available in your constituency to retrain, reskill or educate adults for paid employment, I have been asked to be respond with specific information on what provision is offered in Kettering.
Tresham Institute (FE College) is the main provider of training and skills in the town offering a range of full and part time courses at their St Mary's Road and Windmill Avenue campuses. A new £20 million campus (with a £6.93M contribution from the LSC) is due to open in Windmill Avenue in January 2007.
Qualifications include NVQ's and BTEC as well as a wide range of A & AS level subjects and Access to Higher Education courses. At their nearby Corby and Wellingborough sites the college also offers courses in Engineering and Technology, Motor-sport and Motor Vehicle and Construction skills.
Other activities available in Kettering include first step programmes designed to engage more difficult to reach individuals in learning and to facilitate progression to further training and employment. Programmes in this category include Family Learning, Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities and Skills for Life (literacy and numeracy). Courses and events are held at a variety of schools and community venues and are delivered through the Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning Service.
To help individuals locate and choose the appropriate learning opportunities the Nextstep (Information Advice and Guidance) service operates two days a week in the town, currently using the Kettering Centre for the Unemployed premises.
I hope the above information sufficiently answers your question. If you require any further information, please contact our local Executive Director, Richard Greenwood at Learning & Skills Council, Royal Pavilion, Summerhouse Road, Northampton NN3 6BJ (email email@example.com).
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