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DFID's work on growth, jobs and equity helps to access poor people to South Africa's formal economy so that they can benefit from the resources which are already available (in areas such as land, and finance) but from which they are currently excluded. It also helps South Africa translate the growth in its economy into jobs. Secondly, work on HIV/AIDS and vulnerability helps South Africa to tackle its growing HIV/AIDS pandemic, through supporting a range of partners (National and Provincial Governments, civil society groups and the private sector) across a range of activities from prevention, through care, support and treatment to mitigating the impacts of HIV on communities and society. Following the crop failures and resulting hunger which hit Southern Africa in late 2002, and DFID's response of providing more than £150 million in food aid, DFID SA took on a new role of developing a longer term regional response to food insecurity in Southern Africa. Work on this, along with work on social protection issues, has been incorporated into our work on HIV/AIDS, under a broader vulnerability theme. Thirdly, DFID's work on governance, democracy and service delivery helps South Africa deliver quality public services in an equitable way to all citizens. A particular focus has been reform and capacity building of provincial and local government to strengthen their delivery of basic services, including education and health. Our bilateral budget for South Africa in 200607 is £23 million.
DFID is launching a Regional plan for Southern Africa on the 28 February 2006. The Regional plan will tackle cross boundary issues in growth, jobs and equity; resilient livelihoods; and peace/security. Examples of areas where DFID plans to support work under the Regional plan include trans-boundary water management; transport infrastructure; customs border posts; treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in the region.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what baseline figures he is using for assessing progress on his Department's targets to reduce (a) the total number of civil service posts by 170 and (b) the number of in country posts by 124; what progress has been made towards these targets to date; and what the total efficiency savings achieved to date are for these targets. 
Hilary Benn: In December 2005 DFID agreed a revised Efficiency Technical Note which contains baseline figures for all its efficiency targets. The Technical Note is available to the public on DFID's website (http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/efficiency-technical-note.pdf).
The baseline figure for the total number of civil service posts was 1,780 in April 2004, and for in-country posts the baseline was 1,162 in April 2004. However there have been a number of subsequent definitional changes which have increased this initial baseline.
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Hilary Benn: Of the £75 million pledged, £20 million was drawn from DFID's crisis response budget, £30 million from DFID's general reserve, and a further £25 million from the Government's central reserve.
Mr. Plaskitt: Housing benefit is paid to help meet the rental liability on the dwelling that the claimant occupies as their home. Housing benefit rules restrict the amount of rent for which help is available to reasonable levels, taking into account the size of the claimant's household. The determination of reasonable rent takes account of the individual needs and circumstances of the claimant and their household. In general, no account will be taken of those carers for whom the claimant's dwelling is not their home.
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 27 February 2006]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the right hon. Member with the information requested.
|Number of calculations performed||Number of default maintenance decisions||Default maintenance decisions as|
a % of total calculations performed
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) internal and (b) external legal advisers have been consulted by the Child Support Agency since August 2005 over the case of Mr. Edward Saul; what the total cost of this advice has been; and if he will make a statement. 
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) internal and (b) external legal advisers have been consulted by the Child Support Agency since August 2005 over the case of Mr. Edward Saul; what the total cost of this advice was; and if he will make a statement.
|Date as at 31 March:||Planned CSA Staffing (FTE(16))|
We are planning to increase staffing levels in the CSA to support the delivery of the Operational Improvement Plan. Some of the additional posts will be filled by redeploying staff from other parts of the department where staffing levels are reducing.
While our plans do include a temporary increase in CSA staffing, the Agency's headcount target for March 2008 remains unchanged from that already included in the department's wider efficiency plan to reduce departmental staffing levels by 30,000 between March 2004 and March 2008.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of applications were cleared by the Child Support Agency because (a) a maintenance calculation was made and a payment arrangement put in place, (b) good cause was established and (c) the parent with care was subject to a reduced benefit direction, in each quarter of the last five years for which information is available. 
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of applications were cleared by the Child Support Agency because (a) a maintenance calculation was made and a payment arrangement put in place (b) good cause was established and (c) the parent with care was subject to a reduced benefit direction in each quarter over the last five years where the information is available.
The attached table shows the number and proportion of old scheme cases that were cleared due to assessments and reduced benefit decisions (RBDs) between July 2001 and March 2003, and also the breakdown requested for new scheme cases between April and December 2005.
From the available management information, I am not able to say how many old scheme cases were cleared as a result of being identified as claiming good cause, or to provide numbers for the period between April 2003 and March 2005 for the new scheme or for the old scheme from April 2003 to present.
|July to September 2001||October to December 2001||January to March 2002||April to June 2002||July to September 2002||October to December 2002||January to March 2003|
|April to June 2005||July to September 2005||October to December 2005|
|Of which (new scheme only)|
|Calculation and collection schedule||28,000||29,000||32,000|
|Calculation and collection schedule (Percentage)||36||39||38|
|Good Cause (Percentage)||2||2||2|
The attached Table below contains the number of full time equivalent staff in post in the months requested. The figures include fixed-term appointments and temporary staff, but not Northern Ireland staff (who are part of the Northern Ireland Civil Service).
|Full-time equivalent staff (Cabinet Office mandate methodology)||Full-time equivalent staff (ONS methodology)|
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason he has not published the review of the Child Support Agency undertaken by the chief executive and completed in December 2005. 
The Secretary of State has announced a redesign of the child support systemto be led by Sir David Henshaw and an Operational Improvement Plan to improve the Agency's performance. Copies of the terms of reference and Operational Improvement Plan are in the Library and have been made available on the Department's website.
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