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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will seek a reduction in the price of the essential medicines for AIDS treatment at the forthcoming G8 Development Ministers meeting; and if he will raise the issue of patent barriers at the meeting. 
Mr. Thomas: We welcome the German G8 Presidency's continued focus on HIV/AIDS including universal access to prevention, treatment and care, and essential medicines for AIDS treatment for all that need it. Development Ministers will include reducing the price of first and second line anti-retrovirals, and intellectual property issues, in their discussions. They will also consider related factors, such as research and development funding and propose a UN stock-take to review countries' universal access plans. A rapid review would strengthen efforts to deliver universal access and help realise our commitment to ensuring that costed, inclusive, sustainable, credible and evidence-based national HIV/AIDS plans are funded as agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS in June 2006.
We are working to encourage G8 partners to support and subscribe to mechanisms to help reduce medicine prices, for example as the UK and France have done by joining the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNITAID), the drug purchase facility. One of the first actions of UNITAID, which started work in September 2006, was to negotiate lower prices for paediatric HIV/AIDS treatment expected to benefit 100,000 children. Through its long-term and predictable funding, UNITAID has an explicit aim to help lower drug prices. We are also working closely with the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to make paediatric AIDS treatments more widely available.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much has been paid to
HSBC to transfer social welfare payments to Palestinian (a) workers, (b) pensioners and (c) welfare recipients; and who has paid the costs of transferring these funds. 
Hilary Benn: The total fees paid so far to HSBC are €2,931,028. Of this €158,823 was for payments to pensioners; €1,910,125 for payments to workers; and €862,080 for payments to social hardship cases. Costs have been paid by each donor contributing to the TIM, proportionate to their contribution. So far the TIM has disbursed a total of €181 million in direct assistance and to support basic services for the Palestinian people.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment the European Commission has undertaken of the operation of the Temporary International Mechanism; how Palestinians were included in this process; and what the conclusions were. 
Hilary Benn: The European Commission and the World Bank have begun work on a review of the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM). This will assess the impact of each of the TIMs three windows as well as its overall impact. Consultation with Palestinians and the international community is expected to take place from April 2007.
So far the TIM has provided €181 million in direct support to the Palestinian people, including financial assistance benefiting an estimated 900,000 people and supplies to keep basic services going, including over 4.6 million litres of fuel for power supplies in Gaza. Increased EU and other donor funding is assessed as the main reason that the decline in the Palestinian economy over the last year has been much less than feared. The TIM has made an important contribution in this regard.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate his Department has made of the annual recurrent costs of maintaining a high level of preparedness among UN agencies. 
United Nations agencies ensure, with support from DFID and others, that they are prepared to lead the humanitarian response to natural disasters and longer term crises caused by conflict. DFID provides institutional and operational funding (which can often include preparedness activities) to UN humanitarian agencies, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Children's Fund, the World Health Organisation, the World Food Programme and the UN High Commission for Refugees. The UN agencies do not have an agreed definition of preparedness
and do not budget for this on a consistent basis. It is not therefore possible to estimate the annual recurrent costs of maintaining a high level of preparedness for UN agencies.
Mr. Thomas: The Secretary of State has had no discussions on whaling with his foreign counterparts. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are the Government lead on national and international issues related to whaling.
Hilary Benn: I am extremely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. About 1 million Zimbabweans are reliant on international food aid as the next harvest approaches. There has been confirmation of almost total crop failure in the southern part of the country. Many Zimbabweans face difficulty buying food because of the terrible economic situation resulting from the appalling policies of their Government. AIDS is also contributing to high mortality rates resulting in over 1.3 million orphans; approximately one in four children.
DFID has spent £33 million in the last financial year to tackle food insecurity and HIV/AIDS. All of our funding in Zimbabwe goes through UN agencies and NGOs. DFID has provided £3 million to support World Food Programmes. We have also provided £30 million for a three year programme to help over a million vulnerable people in rural and urban areas through NGO initiatives. DFID is also providing £5 million to the International Organisation for Migration to help internally displaced people.
David Cairns: The Office of the Advocate-General for Scotland was established on 20 May 1999. The Scotland Office provides corporate services, such as paying invoices and travel claims, to the Office of the Advocate-General. Separate figures are, however, not available for 1999-2000 and 2000-01; thereafter, the figures for the Office of the Advocate-General are:
David Cairns: The Office of the Advocate-General for Scotland was established on 20 May 1999. Staffing figures are published in the Offices Departmental and Annual Reports, copies of which are lodged in the House Library.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his estimate is of the expenditure by the Advocate-Generals Office on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in each year since 1997. 
David Cairns: The Office of the Advocate-General for Scotland was established on 20 May 1999. The Scotland Office provides corporate services, such as the payment of invoices, to the Office of the Advocate-General. Separate figures for newspapers and magazines for each Office are not recorded; and the cost of periodicals is subsumed within the overall library costs, such as the purchase of books. Expenditure by both Offices on newspapers and magazines was:
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its sponsored public bodies has produced on making the award of public contracts conditional on the bidding private sector firms meeting equality or diversity criteria or targets. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department its agencies and sponsored public bodies (The Health and Safety Executive and The Rent Service) will continue to take account of the guidance issued by the Office for Government Commerce (OGC) in relation to awarding of public contracts. OGC has published the guidance note Social Issues in Purchasing which outlines the scope to take account of social considerations such as equality and diversity issues in the procurement process in line with the European procurement rules and the Governments procurement policy based on value for money.
DWP procurement guidance states that potential suppliers should be precluded from bidding for contracts if they are in breach of UK law, this includes equality legislation and unique legislation on disability issues for example sheltered workshops. Contracts require suppliers to meet statutory legal requirements including those in respect of equality and diversity issues and our contracts require suppliers not to discriminate in employment practice.
UK Mail handle approximately 80 million items of DWP second class mail collected from two regional distribution centres and passed into the Royal Mail delivery office network for final mile delivery under down stream access.
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was allocated to training for homeless people in London from resources received from the European Social Fund in each quarter of 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The European Social Fund (ESF) supports employment and training activities. It is increasingly being focused on improving the employment prospects and skills of people who are at a disadvantage in the labour market. However, the England ESF programme and the London regional ESF plan do not break down ESF funds into financial allocations for specific groups such as homeless people. The target for ESF spending in London in 2007 is £77,450,422.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which local authorities he has consulted on his plans to change the housing benefit subsidy for homeless households in temporary accommodation; 
Mr. Plaskitt: Consultation on any aspect of housing benefit (HB) is not undertaken with individual local authorities but via their representative associationsthe Local Government Association, the Association of London Councils, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association.
The large increase in HB expenditure in temporary accommodation was first discussed at a meeting with the Local Authority Associations in August 2006 and there were further discussions with representatives of the associations in November and December 2006 and January 2007.
Three DWP discussion papers were issued and both verbal and written responses were received from the representative associations. Copies of the discussion papers have been placed in the Library and will be published on the DWP website. Subject to third party approval, which we are in the process of obtaining, copies of responses will also be placed in the House of Commons Library and on the DWP website as soon as possible.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was of non-housing revenue account expenditure on homeless households in temporary accommodation in each year since 2002-03. 
|Non-housing revenue account expenditure on homeless households in temporary accommodation (nominal terms )|
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