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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 30 April 2007

International Development


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when a Minister from his Department last visited Bolivia. [134145]

Mr. Thomas: The former Secretary of State for International Development, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Clare Short) visited Bolivia in August 1999.

Colombia: Refugees

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution the UK Government has made to the UN High Commission for Refugees in response to its appeal for funds in connection with Colombia; and if he will make a statement. [134594]

Mr. Thomas: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Appeal 2007 is currently under review by donors. In 2006, the UK Government provided £27,536,000 to the UNHCR global appeal. DFID’s contribution was £25,863,000. There were also contributions from the Home Office (£1,214,000) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (£459,000). DFID’s contribution was split into £15,920,000 un-earmarked and £9,943,000 earmarked. It is not possible to say how much of the contributions went specifically to Colombia.

DFID contributes to the European Commission’s humanitarian assistance programme for victims of internal conflict in Colombia through its 18 per cent. contribution to the EC. The EC will be providing €12 million humanitarian aid in 2007, to support people who are displaced as a result of the longstanding internal conflict in Colombia. The funds will be distributed by humanitarian NGOs and the UNHCR.

Departments: Paper

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by his Department was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. [134059]

Mr. Thomas: All of the A4 size photocopying paper used in the Department for International Development in the last three years was of 100 per cent. recycled content. In 2004-05 and until approximately midway into 2005-06 a very small proportion (less than 0.5 per
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cent. of our total paper) of virgin A3 size paper was used. In the later part of 2005-06 that too became 100 per cent. recycled.

DFID does not hold the data regarding paper for printed publications centrally, and due to disproportionate cost we cannot supply this information. However, DFID routinely requires that the designers and printers under contract to produce DFID publications source paper that has a minimum of 75 per cent. recycled content.

Departments: Public Expenditure

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost was of establishing his Department. [134184]

Hilary Benn: When established, the Department for International Development took over the functions, staff and premises of the Overseas Development Administration. There was no cost to public funds associated with this transfer of functions. To establish detailed figures for other set up costs such as changes in stationery and additional ministerial offices would involve disproportionate costs but these would not have been significant. The running costs outturn for DFID in 1997-98 was 2.4 per cent. lower than the outturn for 1996-97.

Nigeria: Overseas Aid

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what additional aid he plans to make available for the Independent Electoral Commission in Nigeria to deal with the additional workload since the election in that country. [134523]

Hilary Benn: It is too early to make any significant decision on how DFID’s programme in Nigeria should be adjusted in response to the elections. Due to the problems encountered, additional elections were being held in many parts of the country on 28 April. Currently all sides are reflecting upon the electoral process and the results as these are returned.

However, we are also reviewing our support for the electoral process, including our support to Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission (INEC). DFID provided £2.5 million of support to a Joint Donor Basket Fund managed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The other donors are the European Union and Canadian CIDA. The majority of the joint funding was notionally allocated to INEC. But INEC has consistently turned down donor offers of technical support, so spending has been lower than anticipated.

Given the events of the last three weeks, the UNDP are now doing a stock-take on our joint support to INEC. We are expecting proposals early this week on how we can best wrap-up our existing programme of support for INEC. After this, there will also be a review of lessons and a priority for the coming few months will be to reach a consensus in Nigeria on how best INEC can be supported in future. In addition, we will be undertaking joint analysis on the wider aspects of political governance which need to be addressed in order for the 2011 elections to be an improvement on those of 2007.

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Palestinians: Sanctions

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of banking sanctions on conditions of life in the Palestinian territories; and if he will make a statement. [134526]

Hilary Benn: Since Hamas formed a Palestinian Government in March 2006, international banks dealing with the Palestinian Authority (PA) have risked litigation under US anti-terrorism laws. One result of this has been that the PA’s single treasury account has been frozen. This has undermined important progress made over recent years to improve public financial accountability and control.

Although this situation has made it harder to transfer money to the PA, the PA has been able to continue spending the limited funds it has available. DFID and other donors have also continued and increased aid to help meet the basic needs of Palestinians through other channels. For example, European Union (community and member states) aid is estimated to have increased by 27 per cent. in 2007, compared with 2006. This has partially offset the impact on Palestinian livelihoods of Israel's decision to withhold clearance revenues due to the PA.

DFID is providing technical assistance to the Palestinian Monetary Authority to help ensure that Palestinian banks are able to meet international standards for tackling terrorist financing and money laundering.

Sudan: Dams

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the government of Sudan on the issue of the Hamdab Dam and what account is taken of its impact on the local Amri people. [134243]

Hilary Benn: The UK is concerned by the Government of Sudan’s plans to forcibly relocate local communities in the River Nile State by the end of 2007 because of the Hamdab Dam project. Strong protests from local tribes led to an agreement on 1 June 2006, for the state Government and local people to work together to resolve the issue. But the subsequent displacement of 2,200 families without prior warning suggests the Government are reneging on this commitment.

British embassy officials in Khartoum have met representatives of the local people affected by the project. The UN Mission in Sudan’s (UNMIS) Human Rights Unit, on behalf of the international community, is following the situation closely. We raised the plight of those affected by the Hamdab Dam project at a meeting of UNMIS and international partners on 26 April.

Sudan: Overseas Aid

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian aid he expects to be provided to the Darfur region of Sudan and eastern Chad in the next six months; and if he will make a statement. [134143]

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Hilary Benn: Total donor intentions are difficult to estimate. In 2006, the UN’s humanitarian appeal for Darfur was 79 per cent. funded, it is expected that similar levels will be forthcoming this year. DFID’s contribution is largely through the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), to which we contributed £40 million in 2007, accounting for approximately 60 per cent. of the total. This supports critical needs throughout Sudan. DFID also expect to spend around £15 million over the next year in Darfur through direct grants to humanitarian non-governmental organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In the case of Chad, the UN’s current annual appeal of £89 million is 40 per cent. funded. The UN is about to supplement this with an additional appeal to support the recent increase in internal displacement. DFID is providing £5 million to humanitarian operations in Chad this year, a rise of £1 million from last year.

We will continue to monitor overall funding for Darfur and Chad and support the UN in lobbying other donors to make substantial and timely contributions.

House of Commons Commission

Departments: Paper

David Simpson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by the House was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. [134041]

Nick Harvey: Sufficient data to provide the information in the form requested are not available. The House seeks to use the best environmental option for the paper it uses, compatible with the needs of each of its areas of business. I will write to the hon. Member about the specifications of paper provided to Members and used for photocopying and printed publications.


Average Earnings

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average hourly pay was of the (a) (i) lowest and (ii) highest decile, (b) (i) lowest and (ii) highest quartile and (c) highest duo-decile of working age people in employment in each year since 1997. [135064]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 30 April 2007:

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Gross hourly earnings for all employee( 1) Jobs—UK
10( th) 25( th) 75( th) 90( th) 95( th)











































2004 excl.






2004 inc.(2)


















(1) Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence.
(2) In 2004 additional supplementary surveys were introduced to improve the coverage of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. Figures are presented both excluding and including the additional surveys for comparison purposes.
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the chief executive of the Tax Credit Office to reply to the hon. Member for Totnes’ letters of (a) 11 December 2006 and (b) 22 February 2007 on the case of Mr. and Mrs. Langford of Queen Elizabeth Drive, Paignton. [134387]

Mr. Timms: HMRC have sent a reply to the hon. Member and have apologised to him for the delay in replying.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 22 March 2007 (PO Ref: 1/48650/2007). [134607]

Ed Balls [holding answer 27 April 2007]: I hope to be in a position to do so very shortly.

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