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Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 592W, on training courses, what the expenditure of her Department and its predecessor on AKT Productions was since 2002. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2006, Official Report, column 1877W to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA),
for what purpose the data on the location of social housing was given to the VOA; and in what ways those data are used to contribute to property valuations. 
Mr. Woolas: Data on the location of subsidised housing were obtained to support work that was being undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency to digitise its database of property attribute codes. The data have helped to confirm which properties were built as subsidised housing with a view to ensuring consistency in analysis of open market sales and valuations.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2006, Official Report, column 1600W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), on the Valuation Office Agency, if she will publish the internal guidance and manual used to designate, classify and refine the locality data for the Automated Valuation Model. 
I have been given a role by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister overseeing and co-ordinating Government policy across the full range of domestic policy areas through the Cabinet Committee system, and deputising for him at home and abroad, particularly in relation to China. To support me I have an office which will be called the Deputy Prime Minister's Office. It will be established as a separate Government Department and funded by a Parliamentary Vote for which my Office will apply shortly. My Principal Private Secretary will be the Accounting Officer for the vote. At present, my Office employs 18 staff, including two special advisers. I also receive support and briefing from other Government Departments as necessary according to the issue I am dealing with at the time. Most of the staff employed by my Office are seconded from the Department for Communities and Local Government and their salary costs are met by my Office. My office continues to be based in 26 Whitehall.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the decision by President Hamid
Karzai's cabinet in Afghanistan to re-establish the Department of Vice and Virtue; and if she will make a statement. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Afghan President on the appointment processes for the new Cabinet and Supreme Court with particular reference to the inclusion of women. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed this particular matter with President Karzai. The Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister do however have regular conversations with President Karzai on a range of issues.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what ways the Government works with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to support and enhance the counter-narcotics struggle in Afghanistan. 
Dr. Howells: The UK works very closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on counter narcotics in Afghanistan. We are the biggest single donor to UNODC projects in Afghanistan, contributing £2.2 million in Financial Year 2005-06 to UNODC projects in support of the Afghan government's National Drug Control Strategy. Our contribution this year will be on a similar scale. Afghan-related UNODC projects which the UK supports include: the annual Afghan Opium Survey; the development of a counter narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force of judges, prosecutors and investigators; capacity building for the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan; the establishment of a high-security prison wing in Kabul; Afghan/Iranian border control; precursor chemical control; opium demand reduction; and the establishment of the Central Asian Regional Information and Co-ordination Centre. We work closely with the UNODC to ensure that these projects are managed appropriately and deliver against their objectives.
Dr. Howells: The Taliban derives economic benefits from the drugs trade at the local level. There are longstanding links between the Taliban and traffickers based on personal relationships, tribal loyalties and business interests. They share a common interest in resisting the Afghan government and coalition forces. The Taliban is also attempting to exploit the continued existence of the drugs trade to undermine the central government's authority. In the south, there was evidence earlier this year that the Taliban was encouraging farmers to grow opium poppy and resist Afghan government eradication efforts. The Taliban also received payments from traffickers. However in the north, regional warlords and drug traffickers are more likely to resist the Taliban when this would be in their interests. We continue to assess all links closely and to support Afghan efforts to disrupt these.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure co-operation between (a) her Department, (b) the Ministry of Defence and (c) the Department for International Development in tackling the goals agreed in the London Compact. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Department for International Development (DFID) are working in close co-operation to ensure the Government provide coherent support to the Afghan government as it works with international partners to implement the Afghanistan Compact.
There are regular meetings at ministerial and official level between the three Departments, while FCO, MOD and DFID representatives in Afghanistan co-ordinate efforts to ensure a complementary approach. The deployment of a fully-integrated multi-disciplinary military/civilian mission to Helmand Province demonstrates the importance of a continued cross-government strategy.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in stabilising President Karzai's government since the London Compact; and what successful infrastructure building has taken place in Afghanistan since then. 
Dr. Howells: The UN-led Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) was set up under the Compact to deliver improved co-ordination of the international community's engagement. The JCMB is leading work to strengthen the capacity of Afghan ministries, including the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics and the Ministry of Finance. Critically to this process, the National Assembly has now approved the 25 cabinet ministers put forward by President Karzai and the national budget for 2006-07.
At the London Conference, the Afghan government presented the Interim National Development Strategy: a credible plan for the Afghan government to achieve its commitments under the Compact and to meet its Millennium Development Goals. The UK is the largest bilateral donor to the Afghanistan Reconstruction
Trust Fund (ARTF). Since the ARTF was set up by the Afghan government in 2002, it has funded the construction or repair of rural roads, schools, health clinics and irrigation schemes.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in Afghanistans Department of Finance in collecting taxes and duties as a result of UK help; and what estimate she has made of how much extra the Afghanistan Government has committed to its poverty reduction and growth programme as a result. 
Dr. Howells: Domestic revenues have grown impressively in Afghanistan in recent years, albeit from a low base. In 2002-03 domestic revenues were only US $121 million (3.2 per cent. of GDP) but had risen to US $400 million (5.5 per cent. of GDP) by 2005-06.
The UK has actively supported the Afghan Governments effort to raise revenues, specifically through projects in the Customs and Revenue Departments of the Ministry of Finance. The projects have been successfulvalidated by recent external reviewsin building the capacity of officials in the Ministry of Finance to implement tax policy and administration. This has also been recognised by the Government of Afghanistan, which has asked the UK to act as lead donor in supporting tax reform. The reforms are an Afghan government-led process implemented by Finance Ministry officials.
Poverty-related spending has also increased substantially over recent years. Health spending increased rapidly from US $16 million in 2002-03 to US $45 million in 2005-06. Education spending has increased from US $48 million to US $142 million over the same period. The UK is further assisting the Afghan Government in its prioritising of poverty and growth-related spending through technical assistance to the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance and through our contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.
Dr. Howells: Although Algiers and other major cities have been free of terrorist activity since mid- 2004. small-scale attacks continue elsewhere, especially in rural areas of northern Algeria. Algeria's most active terrorist group is the Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat whose stated aim is to target so-called infidel foreign interests in Algeria. The UK condemns attempts by armed groups to undermine stability and democracy in Algeria.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has paid tribute to President Bouteflika for the changes he has brought about in Algeria since he was elected. The National Charter for Peace and Reconciliation, which was approved in a referendum in September 2005, offers an opportunity to draw a line under the violence of the 1990s.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with whom (a) she has and (b) officials from her Department have discussed the future of Ascension Island since 20 April. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions on the future of Ascension Island since 20 April 2006. Officials in London have met specifically to discuss Ascension Island on the following occasions:
Quarterly round table meeting with the Permanent Joint Headquarters (Ministry of Defence), BBC, VT Merlin, Government Communications Headquarters, Cable and Wireless, Administrator Ascension, UK Base Commander.
The Administrator and UK Base Commander were present at the round table meeting in July, and the Governor visited the Department in July as this coincided with their leave periods in the UK. The Attorney General visited the Department while in the UK on leave. In addition to these meetings in London, the Governor and Administrator hold regular meetings with the Island Council on Ascension Island.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions are scheduled to take place, involving (a) her and (b) officials from her Department regarding Ascension Island; and with whom the discussions will be held. 
Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no meetings scheduled to take place regarding Ascension Island. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, is scheduled to meet with a Councillor from Ascension Island in the margins of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) in November. Officials in London have the following meetings either scheduled or proposed at which Ascension Island may be discussed:
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Government of Bangladesh concerning human rights; and what responses have been received. 
Dr. Howells: We have concerns about human rights in Bangladesh. In particular on the actions of the police in public order situations, the accountability of the Rapid Action Battalion relating to "cross-fire" incidents and growing levels of intolerance towards religious minorities and indigenous groups.
The Government of Bangladesh has assured us of its commitment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all its citizens. We welcome this and together with EU and international partners, continue to monitor human rights issues closely and to encourage the Government of Bangladesh to meet its constitutional and international obligations in this area. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Bangladesh should uphold high standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements are being made for UK observers to be present in Bangladesh during the election period in January 2007. 
Dr. Howells: Our current focus is on EU election monitoring. Our high commission in Dhaka was in close contact with an EU election observation team that visited Bangladesh recently. Should the EU proceed with an election observation mission for the elections due to take place in January 2007, the UK will look to nominate observers.
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