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27 Mar 2006 : Column 626W—continued


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions were attached to each (a) grant and (b) loan to support investment in water supply and sanitation in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal to which the UK is a contributor. [60941]

Hilary Benn: DFID is not contributing directly to efforts to improve water supply and sanitation in the Kathmandu Valley. The ADB, of which the UK is a shareholder, is co-financing the water supply and sanitation project in Kathmandu Valley along with Japan, Sweden and OPEC.

The donor conditions were the formation of the Water Supply Management Board for Kathmandu Valley and the establishment of the Water Utility
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Operator, a largely Government owned company, assisted and advised by an international management contractor.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether it is his policy to support the privatisation of the water supply service and infrastructure in Nepal. [60942]

Hilary Benn: The DFID policy on privatisation of water supply and infrastructure in Nepal mirrors our global policy. Our aim is to support and encourage more effective and efficient service delivery irrespective of whether those services are delivered publicly or privately, and we respond to requests from our development partners. In Nepal, DFID has not been engaged in privatisation work and has centred its efforts on helping to improve water and sanitation in rural areas with a special focus on services to the poorest and socially excluded.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether development aid provided by his Department to Nepal is conditional on the hiring of UK-based consultants. [61132]

Mr. Thomas: DFID's development assistance to Nepal is not conditional on the hiring of UK-based consultants. UK development assistance globally has been fully untied since April 2001.


Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the Government's partnership with the Rwandan Government on development. [54085]

Hilary Benn: The Governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Rwanda have concluded discussions on their development partnership and havesigned a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect. The new MoU, which was signed on 13 February by representatives of the two Governments, supercedes the previous MoU originally signed in 1999.

The new 10-year arrangement re-affirms and extends the UK's development partnership with Rwanda. The partnership focuses on reducing poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Rwanda, as well as the promotion of peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.

Currently, we allocate bilateral development assistance worth £46 million each year to Rwanda. Subject to Rwanda honouring its commitments under the MoU, the UK expects to maintain bilateral assistance at this level or higher over the next 10 years. Of this, we expect that at least two thirds will be provided as Poverty Reduction Budget Support.

In recent years, the United Kingdom has provided substantial development assistance to Rwanda. There have been good results in the form of impressive development progress, with improvements in the quality of life of Rwanda's people, as well as increased peace and security. It is in the light of this good progress that we have agreed the new MoU as a basis for providing more predictable finance for Rwanda's development.
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The MoU sets out shared objectives as well as specific commitments made by each side and arrangements for monitoring and review. The MoU also specifies circumstances under which the UK's development assistance may be interrupted or reduced. The MoU will be underpinned by a set of specific, monitorable benchmarks, to be agreed with the Government of Rwanda. These will provide a clear basis for monitoring adherence to the MoU as well as tracking the progress of our development partnership with Rwanda, and will provide a basis for continuing dialogue and discussion with the Government of Rwanda.

I have arranged for copies of the document entitled 'Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda' to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Sub-Saharan Africa (Trade)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance and co-ordination is available from his Department to sub-Saharan African Governments who wish to send trade delegations to the UK. [60915]

Hilary Benn: Since 1998 the UK has committed £181 million to trade-related capacity building (TRCB) in developing countries to help developing countries to develop and implement trade policy, participate effectively in trade negotiations and increase exports and imports. Sub-Saharan African Governments of those countries where DFID works, can request assistance for sending trade delegations to the UK from the respective DFID bilateral country programme.


Buses (West Lancashire)

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bus services serving West Lancashire have operated after 7pm in each year since 1997. [61246]

Dr. Ladyman: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) only holds information on bus operators broken down by Traffic Area from 1 April 2003 onwards. Operators within the West Lancashire constituency cannot be differentiated from those in the rest of the North West Traffic Area without disproportionate cost.

Community Transport Initiatives

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to facilitate and encourage the operation of community transport initiatives under section 19 of the Transport Act 1985 relating to the removal of unduly restrictive conditions; and if he will make a statement. [60251]

Dr. Ladyman: Officials have discussed with the Community Transport Association the areas of regulation that they believe are a barrier to the provision
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and expansion of community and voluntary transport. We hope to publish a consultation document outlining proposed changes later this year.

Electric Hybrid Motor Vehicles

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many electric hybrid motor vehicles were registered in (a) London, (b) Scotland and (c) England in each of the last three years. [61161]

Dr. Ladyman: The following table shows the number of electric hybrid motor vehicles that were newly registered in London, Scotland and England from 2003 to 2005 according to the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency database.


Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what emergency coverage is available for vessels in the Irish Channel. [60276]

Dr. Ladyman: Emergency cover for vessels in the Irish Sea is provided by a combination of UK facilities which include:

In accordance with international agreements facilities are also provided through the governments of Ireland and the Isle of Man who work in co-operation with the UK authorities to ensure that the most appropriate assistance will be provided to any vessel in distress within the Irish Sea.

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the number of British seafarers available to provide strategic support at times of national emergency; and if he will make a statement. [60273]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence on 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 2208W, which describes the arrangements to provide strategic support for movements by sea at times of national emergency or on any other occasion. That answer also refers to the Department's monitoring of the numbers of UK seafarers, which is an annual
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analysis that is carried out by London Metropolitan University under a three year contract which is part funded by the Ministry of Defence.

The requirement is to estimate the number of UK seafarers in 2004, 2005 and 2006 in accordance with given seafarer definitions, classifications and characteristics.

The title of the most recent publication is United Kingdom Seafarers Analysis 2004". The report is published in paper form and is also available for download from the Department's website, . The next analysis for the year 2005 is due to be published this spring.

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