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30 Oct 2006 : Column 26Wcontinued
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of the Department's mail is shipped using private companies; and what the cost was over the last 12 months. 
Mr. Thomas: Approximately 60 per cent. of DFIDs mail is sent via a private sector contractor, point-to-point between our two UK offices. The cost of this service for the last financial year was £24,897. All remaining post is sent via the Royal Mail.
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of networks of clinics in developing countries that provide local communities with sexual and reproductive health services on efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID has recently completed a study on the links between sexual and reproductive health and rights and the AIDS response. The study included a review of the experience of programmes to link sexual and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS services. For example a South African NGO, LoveLife, provided youth friendly services for sexual and reproductive health and HIV in combination with a multi-media information campaign aimed at young people. Changes in HIV prevalence and sexual behaviour were tracked through the National Youth Survey. The survey results demonstrated that participation in the programme was associated with decreased odds of HIV infection and increased the odds of young men and women using condoms.
The DFID review concluded that there is emerging consensus, backed up by growing evidence, on the main priorities for developing links between sexual and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS services. The challenge now is to support national governments to scale up the provision of evidence based and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for all vulnerable groups including women and girls, men who have sex with men and sex workers.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which information technology projects are being undertaken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies; what the (i) start date, (ii) original planned completion date, (iii) expected completion date, (iv) originally planned costs and (v) estimated costs are of each; and if he will make a statement. 
Hilary Benn: DFID is currently undertaking three major IT projects.
The contract for the Quest Electronic Document and Records Management project was signed in March 2004. The main rollout was originally estimated to be completed in December 2005. Detailed planning carried out in early 2005 led to a revised target date of March 2006, which was met. The projected supplier base cost at tender was £8.98 million. The projected total supplier cost is now £11.52 million, which includes implementation of a number of options available under the original contract but not included in the base cost.
The contract for the ARIES Finance, Procurement and Reporting System was signed in November 2005. The rollout is estimated to be complete by October 2008. The projected supplier base cost at tender was £11 million. A number of additional cost options are available under the contract. The ARIES project is currently on track to deliver to time and budget.
The HR Transformation project was initiated in March 2005 and has a budget of £6.5 million. It is primarily a business change project but it includes enhancements to the existing HR system and a number of smaller IT enabled components. The planned completion date is the March 2008. The project is currently on track to deliver to time and budget.
DFID has also let a number of small IT related contracts. However, our central records do not distinguish IT contracts, so provision of details for these contracts would incur disproportionate costs.
Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of efforts to assist reconstruction following the earthquake in Pakistan; and what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation, with particular reference to the onset of winter. 
Mr. Thomas: I have recently visited the earthquake affected areas and was able to see first hand the current situation and changes that have taken place one year on from the earthquake. Much progress has already been achieved, including semi-permanent shelters for thousands of affectees and all transitional health and education facilities made functional through the provision of interim structures like pre-fabricated buildings and weather proof tents.
The immediate challenge for the Pakistani Government is the on-coming winter for which, in collaboration with NGOs and donors, they have prepared a comprehensive winter contingency plan. The UK stands by to provide additional assistance if required during this period.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of bilateral assistance on water and sanitation was provided to (a) public, (b) community-based and (c) private schemes in each of the five countries that received the most bilateral assistance from the UK for this sector in 2005-06. 
Hilary Benn: Countries receiving the most bilateral assistance from DFID in the sector:
|2005-06 (£ million)|
DFID works with the UN, governments and others on programmes with a range of factors including public utilities, local civil society and private sector operators. It is difficult to break down country level expenditure to distinguish between public, private and community based support using our standard reporting procedures. DFID hires consultants to produce detailed analysis of its water and sanitation
expenditure. They reported around 95 per cent. of DFIDs bilateral support to the sector was predominantly through governments and not-for-profit or humanitarian agencies in 2003-04. 2005-06 figures are expected by end 2006.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance his Department provides to support knowledge transfer between well-performing public utilities and less well-performing ones in the water and sanitation sectors of developing countries. 
Hilary Benn: DFID committed £1.05 million for 2006-07 to support the World Bank led programme, the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities (IBNET). This measures the performance of water service providers across the world. DFID has recently met with representatives of the UN Secretary Generals Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation who are developing Water Operators Partnerships. These are intended to enable well-performing utilities to support utilities that are struggling to provide adequate water and sanitation services. DFID is considering how it might support this programme.
Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are being taken to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza in the interim period while aid to the Palestinian Authority is withheld. 
Hilary Benn: The UK Government are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is caused by the conflict with Israel; an economic downturn due to restrictions on movement and access and the Palestinian Authoritys fiscal crisis, which has meant it has been unable to pay salaries. The fiscal crisis is mainly the result of the withholding of clearance revenues by Israel and a downturn in domestically generated revenues. The suspension of budgetary support by donors has played a less significant role.
The suspension of budgetary support has been necessary following the Hamas-led Governments failure to renounce violence, recognise Israel and sign up to previous peace agreements. However, the international community is doing what it can to address the humanitarian situation. The European Community has increased its aid from €250 million to €340 million this year. UK bilateral aid levels have remained constant at £30 million this financial year.
A Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) has been set up to support Palestinians directly instead of going through the Palestinian Authority. DFID intends to contribute up to £12 million to the TIM and the European Community is contributing €105 million. So far the TIM has delivered 2.6 million litres of fuel to keep water, sanitation and health care facilities running; allowances for over 63,000 Palestinian Government workers; and welfare payments to over 40,000 of the poorest Palestinians.
DFID has provided £15 million this financial year to support Palestinian refugees, through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA). DFID also gives core funding to other UN agencies which are helping to address the humanitarian situation including the World Food Programme and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Furthermore, we have deployed two experts to OCHA to improve its ability to monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza. These experts will help to make sure that aid gets to those who need it the most.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what events were organised by his Department to mark World Poverty Day on 17 October. 
Hilary Benn: DFID supports the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October because it highlights the tremendous support shown by people all over the world for the worlds poor. I marked World Poverty Day by publishing a statement on the DFID website, which featured progress made by DFID and the G8 countries since Gleneagles in fighting world poverty. In the run-up to World Poverty Day we used the DFID website to promote the UN Millennium Campaigns Stand Up Against Poverty initiative. I congratulate them on setting a Guinness World Record: 23.5 million people in more than 100 countries took part in the challenge.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research (a) has been undertaken by and (b) is available to his Department on future projections of the need for airport capacity in Sheffield and South Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Future of Air Transport White Paper sets out the conclusions of the Government on the case for future expansion at airports, following extensive study and consultation. The Government's consultation document on the future demand for regional air services in the north of England preceded the White Paper and informed its content.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2006, Official Report, columns 2264-65W, on Sheffield airport, what assessment the Government have made of the implications for (a) road traffic and (b) public transport of developing the (i) airport at Doncaster and (ii) airport at Sheffield. 
The Future of Air Transport White Paper made clear that the future development of Robin Hood airport Doncaster Sheffield and Sheffield
city airport would need to be determined through the normal regional and local planning processes. Surface access provision will be addressed alongside other planning considerations.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2006, Official Report, columns 2264-65W, on Sheffield airport, what assessment the Government have made of the need for an airport in (a) Sheffield and (b) Doncaster. 
Gillian Merron: The Governments policy on the development of airport capacity in the United Kingdom is contained in The Future of Air Transport White Paper, following extensive study and consultation. The White Paper made clear that the future development of Robin Hood airport Doncaster Sheffield and Sheffield city airport would need to be determined through the normal regional and local planning processes.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2006, Official Report, columns 2264-65W, on Sheffield airport, whether Sheffield and Doncaster airports are owned in whole or in part by the same person. 
Gillian Merron: Robin Hood airport Doncaster Sheffield is owned and operated by Peel Airports Group. Peel Airports and Sheffield Business Park Ltd. are joint owners of Sheffield city airport.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2006, Official Report, columns 2264-65W, on Sheffield airport, whether (a) his Department and (b) legal provisions require the runway at Sheffield airport to be accessible for general aviation. 
Gillian Merron: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for regulating civil airports in the United Kingdom. The CAA is not aware of any legal provisions that prevent access to the runway at Sheffield city airport by general aviation. In licensing Sheffield city airport, the CAA does not confer on any person the right to use the aerodrome without the consent of the licensee.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with transport ministers from other EU member states about problem aviation noise from small airfields. 
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by his Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. 
Gillian Merron: There have been no confirmed security breaches from external sources to databases controlled by the Department for Transport and its agencies in the last five years.
Confirmed breaches committed by staff over this period are:
|Number of breaches||Number of records compromised||Estimate of total number of records accessible|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what properties his Department has (a) owned, (b) rented and (c) occupied at 42-48 Wigmore Street, London, since 1997; for what period each property has been owned, rented or occupied; what the cost to public funds has been of each property; and what the name is of the landlord of properties rented or leased. 
Gillian Merron: The Department was formed in 2002. In the period since then to date we have not owned, leased, rented or occupied any properties at 42-48 Wigmore Street, London.
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