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23 Jan 2006 : Column 1736W—continued

Transformation Fund

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which local authorities have received support from the Transformation Fund since its inception; and how much each has received. [43736]

Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

The Transformation Fund was announced in the 2004–05 pre-Budget report. It will provide £125 million in each of 2006–07 and 2007–08 to invest in the professional development of the child care work force. The fund takes effect from April 2006 and therefore no local authorities have yet received support from it.


Geraldine Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much tax revenue would change as a result of an increase in VAT of (a) 1 per cent., (b) 2 per cent., (c) 3 per cent. and (d) 4 per cent. [44651]

Dawn Primarolo: Effects of illustrative changes in VAT rates are published in Table 6 of the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs, which can be found at taxreadyreckoner_223.pdf and is published annually alongside the pre-Budget report. A hard copy can be found in the House of Commons' Library.

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what items are exempt from VAT. [44652]

Dawn Primarolo: VAT exemption applies to a wide range of goods and services. Among the major categories are certain supplies of, or related to: land; insurance; financial services; postal services; education; health andwelfare; charities; burial and cremation; betting and gaming; admission to certain cultural bodies; and subscriptions to trade unions and professional and public interest bodies.

The full list of supplies of goods and services which are exempt from VAT can be found in schedule 9 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 which is reproduced in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Notice 701/39, 'VAT liability law', which can found on HMRC's website at
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Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2005, Official Report, column 278, on Afghanistan, when he expects the applied research programme to publish its conclusions on alternative livelihoods for poppy-growing Afghan farmers. [42643]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 17 January 2006]: The DFID funded Research in Alternative Livelihoods Fund (RALF), is identifying innovative opportunities that add to the range of options available to rural people in different parts of Afghanistan.

The field research commenced during 2005, and will continue until the end of 2006, Publication and dissemination of the results of that research will take place thereafter. Dissemination outputs will be targeted to local institutions and Afghan research and development agencies, presenting research findings in a readily accessible form.

Although research, especially looking at agricultural commodities, takes time to show results, there are encouraging signs that the projects funded by RALF will translate into practicable recommendations to improve incomes or food security, or provide alternative employment. DFID is planning a mid-term review of this programme in March 2006. The report of this review will be posted on the RALF website

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to provide alternative cash crops for opium producers in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [42997]

Hilary Benn: DFID leads the British Government's efforts to develop alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan. In the financial year of 2005–06, DFID is to spend over £45 million for this purpose. This is an almost tenfold increase on the amount spent in 2003–04. In the financial year of 2006–07, spending is expected to continue at similar levels.

A proportion of this funding will continue to be specifically targeted on improving agricultural opportunities for Afghan farmers. This includes research to help identify, test and implement new crops and technologies. Innovative ways for farmers to make a living are also being pursued. Examples include apricot drying, honey bee keeping, and the introduction of fruit tree nurseries and greenhouses for vegetable production. DFID has also jointly funded, with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a $25 million nationwide programme to increase access by over 500,000 farmers to seeds and fertiliser for alternative crops.

At the same time as developing agricultural opportunities, and in the interests of sustainability, it is important to also develop non-farm alternative livelihoods. DFID will continue to support activities which identify sustainable economic alternatives and social incentives to enable farmers to stop growing poppy.
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Civil Servants (Retirement)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost of the enhanced early retirement scheme for civil servants in his Department and its agencies was in each year from 1997–98 to 2004–05; what the estimated cost is for each year from 2005–06 to 2007–08; and if he will make a statement. [44768]

Mr. Thomas: The cost to The Department for International Development (DFID) of early departures is as follows:
Cost (£)

(7)Estimated costs based on expenditure arising from existing commitments.

Commission for Africa

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms his Department has in place to implement the relevant recommendations of the Commission for Africa. [43812]

Hilary Benn: The Recommendations of the Commission for Africa report have been adopted as Government policy. Many of the recommendations are being taken forward through DFID's bilateral development programmes, through its contributions to multilateral agencies and through joint initiatives with other donor and African partners, such as the recently launched Africa Infrastructure Consortium. Other recommendations are directed at Africa and its leaders, and DFID is encouraging them to take action.

In addition, through its presidency of the G8 in 2005, the UK has built broader commitment to key recommendations, such as increasing aid and debt relief. Progress against these commitments will be monitored, reviewed and reported through a joint action plan, currently being developed.

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the items valued at over £100 that have been reported as stolen from buildings occupied by his Department in the past 12 months. [43437]

Mr. Thomas: The items reported as stolen from DFID buildings over the last year, valued at over £100, are as follows.
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Compaq IPAC pocket PC1
Lamp posts4
Laptop computers6

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what expenditure on (a) buildings and (b) insurance of buildings and staff was by (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) executive agency and (C)other public body for which his Department is responsible in (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, (3) each English region and (4) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06 in each case. [40097]

Hilary Benn: In accordance with Government accounting policy, DFID does not normally insure its buildings or staff. The following figures are for expenditure on its headquarters buildings in UK only.
Financial year£
2005–06 (Forecast)9,450,000

Information on overseas offices is not held centrallyand cannot be obtained without incurring a disproportionate cost.

DFID is not responsible for any other non-departmental public bodies (NDPB)s or agencies, but is responsible for CDC (formerly Commonwealth Development Corporation), a self-financing public corporation, based in London. The relevant figures for CDC are:

2005 (Forecast)262,000308,000
2006 (Budget)271,000340,000

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