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Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will list the meetings between Ministers from her Department and outside interest groups which took place between 1st January and 31st March. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on changes in the point of arrival for military fatalities from overseas and the implications for the Coroners Service; what plans she has to allocate further resources to the relevant coroner in the event that the point of arrival for military fatalities from overseas is changed (a) temporarily and (b) permanently; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: I have had discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence about military inquests but decisions about the repatriation of military fatalities are for him. The bodies of service personnel will now arrive at RAF Lyneham which is within the jurisdiction of the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner. It is expected that he will transfer the majority of inquests to the place where the funeral is to be held. I will continue to regularly review progress regarding these inquests.
David Simpson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what measures are in place to limit the amount of money spent on alcohol for hospitality purposes by her Department. 
These sources are supplemented by DCA internal policy on regularity and propriety forming part of the departmental Finance Manual that applies to all staff. This requires that hospitality be appropriate to the circumstances and states that it is not appropriate for public money to be used for staff functions such as leaving parties.
a modest amount of table wine can be provided with the (conference) meal. However, the amount and frequency should be tightly controlled. The cost of the wine should form part of the consideration of the overall cost of the event.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are in place to limit the amount of money spent on alcohol for hospitality purposes by hiss Department. 
Hilary Benn: DFIDs Staff Handbook contains detailed guidance on official entertainment including expenditure on alcohol. Financial control is largely managed through delegation to Heads of Department who are responsible for their respective budgets. Further controls are exercised through sample spot checks of expenditure undertaken by DFIDs Accounts Group.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the long-term effects of the sewage situation in Gaza following the flooding of Um Al Nasser on 27 March. 
Of 158 houses in the Um Al Nasser village that have been assessed, some 95 need minor repairs, three are in need of major repairs and six houses will have to be completely rehabilitated. The Palestinian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation are currently working on an assessment of the long-term health effects of the flooding.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations have been made to the Israeli Government to ensure that access is granted to those involved in the task of building new Gaza sewage plants. 
Hilary Benn: The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and the World Bank met with the Government of Israel on 28 March. Following this, the Israeli Government agreed to provide free access to the area, to facilitate the import of necessary equipment, and to provide technicians. The UK has made no representations to the Israeli Government on this issue.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the UK is offering towards international efforts to build new treatment plants to prevent future sewage floodings in Gaza. 
Hilary Benn: The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and the World Bank have been leading a joint donor project to provide more sewerage facilities since 2004. This comprises three phases. Phase One will reduce the risk of imminent flooding into residential areas; Phase Two will create additional capacity through building a larger pumping station; and Phase Three involves building a new treatment plant.
The PWA already has funds available for Phase One, which it aims to complete in June 2007. The World Bank, France, Sweden, Belgium and the European Commission have contributed to Phases Two and Three of this project. The European Commission has contributed around €6 million, of which the UK pays a 17 per cent. share (just over €1 million). The UK is not contributing direct financial assistance to the project. DFID has been encouraging those donors directly involved to move forward as quickly as possible, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's budget for HIV/AIDS was spent on tuberculosis/HIV collaborative activities in each year between 2003 and 2006. 
|Table 1: DFID bilateral expenditure on HIV-AIDS 2003-04 to 2005-06|
The level of detail available on our central systems does not allow us to systematically capture the amount of expenditure on HIV/TB collaborative activities. However, DFID is able to separately identify spending on communicable disease control, of which spending on TB-related activities is a part. Table 2 shows estimates of DFIDs bilateral expenditure, excluding poverty reduction budget support (PRBS) on communicable disease control over the same period. This table only includes directly targeted support and excludes other expenditure which will have an impact on TB such as broader support to strengthen health systems.
|Table 2: Direct DFID bilateral expenditure on communicable diseases 2003-04 to 2005-06|
DFID recognises that the efforts against HIV and TB are inextricably linked. TB incidence rates have at least doubled in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last 15 years. 50 per cent. of TB deaths are of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) in Africa (7 per cent. in south East Asia). TB/HIV co-infection is now the
central and most worrying feature of the epidemic. The two diseases must be considered together. The biggest challenge to integration in resource limited settings is human resources. TB diagnosis is also difficult in PLWHA, and TB and HIV drug interactions make treatment very complex. New TB diagnostic tools are needed.
DFID is providing support to help countries strengthen their health systems. In Malawi, we are helping with a £100 million emergency programme over six years, part of which aims to double the number of nurses and triple the number of doctors, and retain them through better pay and conditions, with a salary increase of 50 per cent. We are also providing support directly to strengthen national TB programmes. For example, in China, DFID has allocated £28 million over seven years towards reducing tuberculosis morbidity and mortality through an effective and sustainable national TB control programme focused on the poor. This has involved raising case detection and treatment through directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) based services.
In addition DFID funds a variety of multilateral organisations that contribute to programmes targeting both HIV/AIDS and TB. Most notably we have pledged £359 million to date to support the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), as our principal support for the provision of TB drugs.
Hilary Benn: UN agencies estimate that some 1.9 million Iraqis are currently internally displaced and around 2 million others have fled to neighbouring countries. Statistics broken down by year are unavailable.
We are very concerned about the increase in displacement and rising humanitarian needs resulting from ongoing sectarian violence. DFID continues to support the UN and other humanitarian agencies to assist vulnerable people in Iraq including refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs). So far this year, we have contributed £10 million to support humanitarian agencies working in Iraq and the region, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). This takes our overall humanitarian assistance to Iraq to £125 million since 2003.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to answer the letters of (a) 18 December 2006 and
(b) 19 December 2006 from the hon. Member for Northavon, which were transferred to his Department from HM Treasury on 3 January, on the financing of AIDS treatment around the world. 
Mr. Thomas: Our records show that these letters of 18 and 19 December 2006 from the hon. Member for Northavon were not received in DFID. DFID officials have now obtained copies of these letters and a reply has been issued.
Mr. Thomas: Last year DFID allocated £30 million for our programme in Nepal. Following the Peoples Movement which ended a period of the Kings autocratic rule and reinstated Parliament, we increased our programme to £37 million for the year. For the new financial year we are increasing it further, to £43 million.
I was able to announce this increase during my recent visit to Nepal. I made it clear that £13 million of the new resources should be allocated to the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, to directly assist with implementation of the peace process. Over and above these increases to our regular budget for Nepal, the UK Government have also agreed to provide at least £23.5 in debt relief until 2015 to help Nepal meet its debt service payments to the World Bank.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department is providing assistance to the Ugandan Government to facilitate the maintenance and expansion of safe areas in Northern Uganda. 
Hilary Benn: The peace talks in Juba that have been taking place since July 2006 have resulted in huge improvements in the security situation in northern Uganda. In some areas people are now returning to their homes. In other areas, people are more cautious and still remain in camps. The Government of Uganda and their development partners have agreed that the process of return must be voluntary.
Through our funding to the UN Consolidated Appeal we are helping provide humanitarian assistance both to people still living in displaced camps and those returning home. In the return areas this help includes: the provision of food to bridge the period while crops are being grown; the re-habilitation of water points; support to health services and the provision of protection programmes for women and children.
With resources from the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool, we are also purchasing vehicles and communications equipment for the Uganda Police Force in the north. This is in support of a wider programme that is seeking to reintroduce and strengthen civilian policing both in the camps and the return areas. The absence of civilian police in many part of the north has been identified by communities as a major impediment to better protection, particularly of women and children.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to reply to Question 111209, on his Department's budget for tuberculosis/HIV collaborative activities, tabled by the hon. Member for St. Ives on 22nd January 2007. 
Paddy Tipping: My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations about public petitions and believes that this House has a valuable role to play in looking at such petitions. The Procedure Committee has been examining the subject and has been taking evidence. I understand the Committee is due to report in the near future.
Paddy Tipping: Under the terms of the resolution of the House of 28 March, the Communications Allowance is subject to detailed rules and guidance determined by the Members Estimate Committee. A detailed booklet on the Communications Allowance and the Use of House Stationery, issued by the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of the Serjeant-at-Arms, was placed on the parliamentary intranet on 30 March. Hard copies of the booklet were posted to each Member last week. Relevant claim forms for the Communications Allowance were also posted on the intranet on 30 March and have been included with the booklet being distributed to Members.
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