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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 10 May 2006

Leader of the House

Deputy Prime Minister

Peter Luff: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make provision for the Deputy Prime Minister to answer oral questions. [69904]

Mr. Straw: Yes. I have today updated the first oral question rota to reflect ministerial responsibilities of the Deputy Prime Minister, a copy of which is available in the Table Office.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

British Poultry (Japanese Ban)

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Japanese Government following their ban on British poultry products. [68648]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 8 May 2006]: Defra officials continue to liaise with British embassy colleagues in Tokyo, who in turn are in contact with the Japanese authorities about the trade restrictions that were imposed following the recent outbreak of H7N3 in Norfolk.

The Japanese authorities have asked for further information about the nature of the disease, and for details of the remedial action taken. We are doing all we can to have these restrictions lifted as quickly as possible.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Morley and Rothwell (Mr. Colin Challen) of 28 March 2006, Official Report, column 843W, on pollution, what the levels for (a) international aviation and (b) international shipping were in (i) 1990 and (ii) 2004. [68512]

Ian Pearson: Emissions from international aviation and shipping can be estimated from refuelling from bunkers at UK airports and ports (whether by UK or non-UK operators).

Between 1990 and 2004, emissions from aviation fuel use more than doubled whilst emissions from UK
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shipping bunker fuel use fell by about an eighth, although UK operators purchase most of their fuel outside the UK.

International aviation International shipping







Source: Greenhouse gas inventory for aviation and shipping bunkers

Single Farm Payments

David Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints have been received that payments made under the Single Payment scheme to farmers in the East Midlands have been incorrect. [66634]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 27 April 2006]: The Rural Payments Agency does not have data available on a regional or subject basis, as complaints are not administered in this way.

International Development

Arms Supply (Developing Countries)

6. Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on Government policy on supplying arms to developing countries. [69507]

Hilary Benn: The Government believe that all countries are entitled to provide for their own legitimate defence and security needs, including developing countries. All export licence applications are assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, including whether the export would seriously hamper sustainable development in the recipient country.

We do however, need better international regulation of the arms trade. That is why the Government are calling for an arms trade treaty covering all conventional weapons.


7. Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of British aid to Nepal. [69508]

Mr. Thomas: All DFID projects and programmes in Nepal are subject to regular reviews of their effectiveness not least because of the political instability.

I believe our British aid continues to be effective, given the complexities of working in conditions of conflict and political instability.

A further review is now underway to identify the further opportunities for development given the ceasefires and the restoration of Parliament.

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8. Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent progress has been made in respect of developing countries in the Doha round of trade negotiations. [69509]

Mr. Thomas: The WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December made just enough progress to keep the current negotiations on track. The most recent end of April deadline to make further substantial progress has been missed. Pascal Lamy has called for a greater sense of urgency in the talks from all delegations. These talks will now move to a more intensive phase in Geneva.

St. Helena

9. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will visit St. Helena to discuss improvements to its economy. [69511]

Mr. Thomas: I have no current plans to visitSt. Helena. Whenever possible I meet with island councillors and officials visiting the UK and we discuss a wide range of issues. The development of St. Helena's economy remains a priority and was a key factor in last year's decision to build an airport in St. Helena. We are now working closely with the St. Helena Government to develop appropriate policies to facilitate sound and sustainable economic development.


10. Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government are taking to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [69512]

Hilary Benn: The UK has played a leading role in the international community's response to Darfur, including support to the Abuja peace talks. Since 2003, we have contributed £113 million to humanitarian relief and a further £52 million in support of the African Union mission in Darfur. We continue to press our international donor partners to contribute more. We are also actively lobbying the Government of Sudan to allow full and unrestricted access for humanitarian agencies to the displaced and vulnerable people across Darfur.


11. Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on UK aid to Nigeria. [69514]

Hilary Benn: The UK committed £70 million of development assistance to Nigeria in 2005-06. Thiswill rise to £80 million in 2006-07. DFID's assistanceto Nigeria is focussed on supporting the Nigerian Government's own economic growth and poverty reduction strategy; improving governance and the accountability of Government to the Nigerian people; and on contributing directly to improved human development, in the areas
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of health, education and HIV and AIDS. DFID works closely with the Nigerian Government at federal level and in selected states to achieve these aims and also works in close partnership with other donors in Nigeria, particularly the World Bank.


12. Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of Statefor International Development what projects his Department is undertaking to tackle HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and Belize; and if he will make a statement. [69515]

Mr. Thomas: Our spending on HIV/AIDS programmes in the Caribbean will be approximately£3 million over the next three years.

There are three key elements to our HIV/AIDS programme:

Environmental Sustainability

13. Ms Celia Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the integration of policies on climate change and environmental sustainability into his Department's work. [69516]

Mr. Thomas: A new Policy Paper "DFID's Approach to the Environment", published in February 2006, describes how we integrate the environment into our work with developing countries and other donors. The main focus is on how environment contributes to poverty reduction in developing countries.


Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the security situation in Afghanistan on the alternative livelihoods programme. [69481]

Hilary Benn: The successful delivery of alternative livelihood programmes is highly dependent on the ability of organisations doing the delivery on the ground being able to operate safely. Security in many parts of Afghanistan is improving, particularly in central, northern and western areas and further progress can be made by strengthening the effectiveness of the Afghan police and criminal justice system. However security remains a particular challenge in the south and east of the country, where the insurgency is most active.

Continuing threats to the safety of Afghan and international staff have meant that some non-governmental organisations and international contractors are finding it increasingly difficult to operate in some parts of the
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country. The majority of DFID's livelihoods programme is channelled through the national priority programmes of the Afghan Government. This helps to reduce some of the security risks by using local contractors, but there have been a number of attacks on implementing partners of these national programmes. Although attacks have increased, so far they have not caused widespread suspension of alternative livelihoods programmes.

Helmand province will be a particularly challenging place in which to deliver programmes that will support the development of alternative livelihoods. DFID is currently designing a large multi-year programme to support rural development in Helmand through the national priority programmes of the Afghan Government. This support will only be successful if implementing partners are willing to work in the province. The UK military deployment to Helmand should help to facilitate a greater Afghan Government presence in the province, and improve the capacity of the police and the Afghan National Army to provide the necessary security for development partners to operate effectively.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding he is making available to assist the humanitarian effort for internally displaced people in (a) Burma and (b) the Karen State; and what funds he has given to non-governmental organisations to monitor these aid efforts. [68655]

Mr. Thomas: Within DFID's programme in Burma, £500,000 has provisionally been allocated in this financial year to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), of which approximately 80 per cent. is attributable to work with conflict-affected populations. In addition, several other projects funded by DFID which provide assistance through local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) (for example, to reduce the incidence of communicable diseases, or to enhance food security) include internally displaced people among their recipients.

All of the funding allocated to NGOs implementing projects on behalf of DFID includes an element for monitoring and evaluation. Various projects (including those of the ICRC and those working to reduce the incidence of communicable diseases or to enhance food security) include Karen State within their coverage, but as their funding is not disaggregated by state, it is not possible to provide specific figures for Karen State.

Education Millennium Goal

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK has made to meeting the millennium development goal on education; and if he will make a statement. [69510]

Hilary Benn: Progress towards the goals of achieving universal primary education and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2015 has been made globally over the past decade, but the pace is too slow.

The Government will spend some £8.5 billion in support of education over the next 10 years. This
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compares to a figure of under £2 billion over the past 10 years. This long-term commitment will provide Governments with predictable funding against which they can prepare ambitious 10 year investment plans to achieve the education goals. DFID will continue to implement its girls education strategy, launched in 2005.

Palestinian Authority

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assurances he is seeking from the Palestinian Authority which would allow the full aid programme to be restored. [69513]

Hilary Benn: On 30 March, the Quartet (comprising the United States, European Union, the United Nations and Russia) noted that the new Palestinian Government had not yet complied with the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel's right to exist and commitment to peace agreements. Without progress against these principles, the UK Government cannot provide support to the Palestinian Cabinet or its Ministries.

Should the Palestinian Government comply with the Quartet's conditions, DFID would resume its support to the Palestinian Authority. Assistance to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) will continue, and the Quartet agreed yesterday that a funding mechanism should be developed to support Palestinian basic needs. DFID is working closely with international partners to take this forward.

Prime Minister

Kyoto Targets

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 8 March 2006, Official Report, column 815W, what the evidential basis was for his statement that the Government will meet their Kyoto targets. [68078]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made on 28 March 2006, Official Report, columns 57-58WS by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mrs. Beckett) on “Climate Change. The UK Programme 2006”.

Education and Skills

Corporate Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions he has accepted corporate hospitality in the last 12 months. [67518]

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Mr. Dhanda: Paragraph 5.28 of the Ministerial Code sets out the rules on the registration of hospitality. All ministerial hospitality is conducted in accordance with this.

Departmental Staff

Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) women and (b) men are employed in the Department; what the average pay was for (i) women and (ii) men in the Department in (A) 1997 and (B) 2006; what women's average pay is as a percentage of men's average pay; and how many (1) women and (2) men the Department employed in each of the last five years, broken down by grade. [67784]

Mr. Dhanda: The Cabinet Office collects and publishes annually statistical information on the Civil Service by Department. The number of (a) women
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and (b) men employed in my Department is available in the Library and on the Civil Service website at:

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