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Mr. Dhanda: The average ingredient cost for a two course school meal in 2005/06 was 52p in primary schools and 67.2p in secondary schools. These data are taken from the First Annual survey of take up of school meals in England carried out by the School Food Trust. The full survey can be viewed at www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many people owe money to the Student Loans Company, broken down by (a) those due to repay, (b) those with deferred repayments and (c) those not in repayment; 
Bill Rammell: The mortgage-style student loan system started in 1990 and new borrowing in that scheme ceased in 1998. Deferment is the feature of that now-closed mortgage-style loans system that protects borrowers during periods in which their earnings are below the repayment threshold. Loans in the income-contingent repayment scheme that was introduced from 1998 are not deferred: deductions stop automatically if a borrowers income falls below the threshold.
Similarly, arrears in the student loans system almost exclusively apply to the closed mortgage-style system. Arrears denote that a borrower is behind with payments that they are due to have made: this does not arise in repayment of income-contingent loans through the tax system. The number of borrowers in arrears on mortgage-style loans, on which new borrowing ceased in 1998, represents 10 percent. of the total number of people who have borrowed under that scheme. 20 percent. of those in arrears were making repayments, but had not cleared their arrears. Included among the total in arrears at any given time, there are a number of borrowers who will be on the way to deferment status, but who have not yet completed the application process for deferment.
|Income- contingent loans||Mortgage- style loans||Total( 1)|
|(1)Numbers in the total column count each borrower once only, including those borrowers with both types of loan. Therefore the totals are not necessarily the sum of their component parts. (2) Constituent parts may not sum to the totals because borrowers may be counted in more than one category if they have loans in more than one status. Note: Numbers are in thousands. Source: Student Loans Company|
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent discussions she has had with her US counterparts on the effectiveness of counter-narcotics strategies in Afghanistan; and what changes to the coalition strategy are envisaged; 
Margaret Beckett: The UK is the Afghan governments partner nation on counter narcotics. We work closely and have a continuing dialogue with the US, and with the international community as a whole, on how we can best support Afghan efforts to combat the drugs trade. This years substantial increase in planting in Afghanistan is very disappointing and reflects the difficult security situation and limited law enforcement capability in some provinces particularly in the south. But drug control strategies take time and both the UK and the US agree that the Afghan government's National Drug Control Strategy is the right approach to bring about a sustained reduction in the production and trafficking of opium. Last year the US spent US$788 million in support of Afghanistans counter narcotics effort. This assistance is not channelled through the UK. US programmes are primarily directed at law enforcement and justice reform, alternative livelihoods, elimination/eradication, interdiction and public information.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the extent to which the opium produced in Afghanistan could be used in the production of medicines. 
The UK supports and agrees with the Afghan Governments position that licensing opium cultivation for medical use is not a realistic solution to the problems of the opium economy in Afghanistan. There are currently no central government and law enforcement mechanisms in place in Afghanistan to set
up and administer a system of licit cultivation and traffickers would therefore be free to continue to exploit the illicit market. Legitimising opium cultivation would also send out a mixed message to farmers, undermining the effectiveness of the Government of Afghanistans message that drugs are illegal and haram or forbidden under Afghan culture. Licit cultivation of Afghan opium is also unlikely to be viable on an economic basis. According to the International Narcotics Control Board, there is currently a global oversupply in the availability of medicinal opiates.
Dr. Howells: In July 2000, the Taliban imposed a ban on opium poppy cultivation. By July 2001, the tactics they employed had led to a 91 per cent. reduction. This ban was enforced with a combination of fear and bribery, however, and drove up the price of opium so that those with opium stockpiles profited, many of whom colluded with the Taliban Government. Following the fall of the Taliban, President Karzai, with support from the international community, is working hard to extend the central Governments authority across Afghanistan and to rebuild the country's war-damaged infrastructure. He has also made it clear that eliminating opium is vital for Afghanistans future and key to its stability.
However, sustainable drug control strategies take time to deliver, especially when the challenges are as severe as they are in Afghanistan. Although this years 59 per cent. increase (165,000 ha) in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is disappointing, it reflects the difficult security situation and limited law enforcement capability in the south. Elsewhere, in areas where access to governance, security and development has improved, reductions in cultivation achieved last year have been sustained. This is encouraging and shows that the Afghan National Drug Control strategy is the right approach. Progress has also been made in other areas including the passage of vital Counter Narcotics legislation, the conviction of over 200 traffickers and an increase in drugs related seizures.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the agreement covering the United States use of facilities at Diego Garcia allows the US to hold and interrogate non-US and non-UK nationals without notification to the UK Government. 
Dr. Howells: Under the 1966 Exchange of Notes between the US and UK, non-US and non-UK nationals who are not serving members of the US military cannot be detained without notification to the Government.
The US authorities have repeatedly given us assurances that no detainees, prisoners of war or any other persons in this category are being held on Diego Garcia, or have at any time passed in transit through Diego Garcia or its territorial waters or airspace. This was most recently confirmed during the 2006 US/UK Political Military Talks held in London on 17 and 18 October.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have received any reports of the detention and interrogation of (a) non-US and (b) non-UK citizens in British Indian Ocean Territories by agencies of the United States since 11 September 2001. 
Dr. Howells: The US authorities have repeatedly given us assurances that no detainees, prisoners of war or any other persons in this category are being held on Diego Garcia, or have at any time passed in transit through Diego Garcia or its territorial waters or airspace. This was most recently confirmed during the 2006 US/UK Political Military Talks held in London on 17 and 18 October.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many redundancies there were in her Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of such redundancies was in each year; how many temporary staff were employed in each year; and how many staff were seconded by outside organisations to posts within the Department in each year. 
Mr. Hoon: The rules governing redundancies are set out by the Cabinet Office and includes schemes for Compulsory Early Retirement (CER) for officers over 50 and Compulsory Early Severance (CES) for those under 50.
The annual number of junior/middle management officers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who have taken redundancy through the CER or CES schemes for the years 1997 to 2006 are shown in the table and include efficiency restructuring in FCO Services. Costs shown for the years 1997 to 2001 are the total for all early retirements in each of those years. We could not break these figures down further without incurring disproportionate costs. The costs from 2002 to 2006 cover redundancy packages only.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether representations have been made to the Iranian ambassador to London on links between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The United Kingdom continues to be deeply concerned by Irans links with Hezbollah and takes every opportunity to raise this issue with the Iranian Government, most recently on 3 October when the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office met the Iranian ambassador to London.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence is available on the mortality rate in Iraq (a) prior to the invasion in March 2003 and (b) in the period from March 2003 to June 2006; and if she will make a statement. 
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