Previous Section Index Home Page

31 Jan 2006 : Column 336W—continued

Millennium Development Goals

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what arrangements have been made by the UK to deliver the commitment made at the Millennium Review Summit of September 2005 to adopt, by 2006, comprehensive national strategies to achieve the millennium development goals. [46588]

Hilary Benn: National strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals must be prepared and adopted by developing countries. The UK is encouraging partner countries to adopt new strategies, or to enhance their current national poverty reduction strategies, to plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We are working with other donors to develop a programme of donor meetings with individual partner countries to agree aid support for these plans.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 337W

Pakistan (Earthquake)

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding has been (a) pledged and (b) delivered by the British Government to assist in the aftermath of the Pakistan earthquake. [45807]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has pledged a total of £58 million (including £1.6 million of the UK share of EC humanitarian funding) to meet relief needs and a further £70 million towards reconstruction. To date, over £52 million out of the £58 million pledged for relief has been committed to United Nations agencies, the Red Cross Movement, non-governmental organisations and DFID direct action. We are continuing to support the relief effort and expect the balance of our pledge to be programmed through relief organisations during the winter months.

The European Commission has pledged €93.6 million (around £63.7 million) to relief and reconstruction. The UK's share of this is around £11 million.

Pan-African Trade

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to encourage pan-African trade. [46529]

Hilary Benn: Many African countries lack the physical, human and institutional capacity to take advantage of either regional or global trade opportunities. Infrastructure, an enabling climate for the private sector and more efficient customs at borders are high priorities for regional trade.

DFID has committed to trebling 'aid for trade' to £100 million by 2010—aid which will be used to build up the country's capacity to trade, develop infrastructure to facilitate trade and provide transitional support as global trade barriers are removed. For example, we have pledged $20 million in support of a new Infrastructure Consortium in Africa to better co-ordinate and target financing for regional infrastructure. We have also pledged $30 million towards an Investment Climate Facility which will help make Africa a better place for business and commerce (e.g. by reforming customs to support regional trade integration). Under the UK presidency, G7 Finance Ministers also endorsed Aid for Trade, calling on the international community to increase its global contribution to $4 billion.

In addition, DFID is helping build the trading capacity of pan-African institutions (such as the African Union-New Partnership for African Development and Regional Economic Communities in southern, east and west Africa). For example, DFID's Regional Trade Facilitation Programme in southern Africa has helped countries to analyse their trading interests so they can participate more effectively in trade negotiations. We are also developing trade programmes in southern Africa to facilitate cross-border trade by establishing One Stop Border Posts.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 338W

Public Information

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total expenditure on information campaigns and advertising was for his Department for each year since 1997. [45802]

Mr. Thomas: The expenditure on information campaigns which is managed by our publicity unit is as follows:

(7) Estimate

The expenditure on advertising, which is principally for recruitment and tenders is only available from 2000; figures prior to 2000 are not available as records were not held centrally prior to this date.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is regarding the Russian Government's new legislation restricting UK non-governmental organisation operations in Russia. [46526]

Mr. Thomas: In 2005, under our EU presidency as well as bilaterally, the UK ambassador and his staff in Moscow, advocated to the Russian Authorities that the non-governmental organisation (NGO) law be implemented in line with the Council of Europe standards. This was also a position supported by other partners. The new legislation comes into effect on 10 April 2006 and DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will be monitoring the situation as the legislation is implemented.

DFID is not providing direct support to any UK NGOs operating in Russia at present. However there are international NGOs working in the North Caucasus that are being funded through DFID and the United Nations.

The international community, including international and Russian NGOs are concerned about the potential impact of the changes introduced in the new NGO law. DFID is concerned that the law is ambiguous and could have a serious impact on the legitimate activity of civil society organisations in Russia.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 339W


Adult Education (Hammersmith and Fulham)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which further education colleges in Hammersmith and Fulham will receive (a) a decrease and (b) an increase in their funding for adult education, not including for basic skills courses, in 2006–07. [45268]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has not yet made allocations to further education (FE) providers for 2006–07. On 21 October I set out the Government's priorities for the learning and skills sector and the impact on funding in 2006–07 and 2007–08, and full details can be found in Priorities for Success" on the LSC's website. Following my Department's grant letter to the LSC, budgets have been allocated to LSC regions, and local LSCs will provide provisional allocations to FE colleges and providers for the 2006–07 academic year by the end of this month. Final agreed budgets are expected to be confirmed in May.

Bullying (Hammersmith and Fulham)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding will be made available to schools in Hammersmith and Fulham for anti-bullying campaigns in 2006–07. [45256]

Jacqui Smith: Ring-fenced funding for anti bullying campaigns is not made available on either a local authority or school by school basis. Rather it is a matter for schools and local authorities to decide how much of their budget they devote to this important work.

Support for anti-bullying work is embedded in the behaviour and attendance strands of the National Strategies which have at least one consultant in place in each local authority. In addition, support is also provided through DfES funded Anti Bullying Alliance co-ordinators in each Government Office region.

At a national level the Department has funded a number of initiatives to tackle bullying. Since 1997 this has included events to disseminate good practice, plus development of guidance and resources for schools. We have supported an award scheme to share and celebrate the excellent work of schools and young people. We have funded the voluntary sector to embed effective practice and offer training and support to schools. We have run public information campaigns encouraging children to 'tell someone' and to support their friends, as well as providing information and support to parents.

Class Sizes

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's target is for the average class size in primary schools. [45450]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 25 January 2006]: There is a statutory requirement on local authorities and schools to limit the size of infant classes for five, six, and seven-year-olds taught by one teacher to 30 or fewer pupils. There is no legal requirement to limit class sizes in any other age group, but since 1997 the average class sizes in primary schools have fallen from 27.5 to 26.2.
31 Jan 2006 : Column 340W

Next Section Index Home Page