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21 May 2007 : Column 1027W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 21 May 2007

International Development

Book Aid International: Finance

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reason the Government have not continued to provide funding for Book Aid International beyond 31 March. [137903]

Mr. Thomas: DFID (and formally the Overseas Development Administration) has been providing substantial core funding to Book Aid International (BAI) for over 30 years. In 2004 BAI were made aware that DFID planned for a phased reduction in its support. However to allow BAI time to continue its efforts to diversify its sources of funding, we agreed, exceptionally, to provide further funding amounting to £0.85 million over three years in support of their three-year business plan.

This time-bound grant funding has now come to an end. However, we have in the past few years regularly encouraged BAI to apply for DFID funding that is available to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through our Civil Society Challenge Fund and Partnership Programme Agreements. While we recognise that there is strong competition among NGOs for the resources available we do hope that BAI will apply.

As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor said in his reply to the hon. Member for Ludlow on 10 May 2007, Official Report, columns 287-88, this Government have doubled the amount of money invested in schools, teachers, books and education generally in areas of Africa where BAI operate. We believe that BAI’s knowledge and experience of books provision and library services in Africa after many years of DFID funding will continue to help Governments develop library and information services, and that they will remain an important development partner in the region.

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff funded by the public purse in his Department are classified as people without posts. [137706]

Mr. Thomas: There are six staff within DFID who are currently between postings. All have access to information on available vacancies, and are provided with support to ensure that they obtain a permanent posting as quickly as possible. In the meantime, they will be engaged on short-term, temporary or project work which makes best use of their skills and knowledge, and which reduces the need to use agency staff or consultants.


21 May 2007 : Column 1028W

Departments: Private Finance Initiative

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the total value of private finance initiative projects included in his Department's balance sheet (a) is in 2007 and (b) was in each of the last five years, broken down by project; [137828]

(2) what the value was of annual private finance initiative payments made by his Department from (a) capital and (b) revenue budgets in each of the last five years; [137829]

(3) what value of annual private finance initiative payments by his Department was classified as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable in each of the last five years, broken down by project; [137830]

(4) what value of annual private finance initiative (PFI) payments was (a) to repay capital and (b) expenditure on other parts of each PFI contract in each of the last five years, broken down by project. [137831]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) has had no private finance initiative projects in the last five years.

Food Aid: Children

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage other bilateral and multilateral donors to provide funding for tackling child hunger and malnutrition. [135631]

Mr. Thomas: At the core of DFID’s mission is a commitment to support developing countries to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Action on child hunger and malnutrition is reflected in the first goal. Much current bilateral and multilateral aid will impact positively on child nutrition, investment in education, primary health care, water and sanitation, job creation, and rural livelihoods. DFID multilateral contributions in 2005-06 which impact positively on child nutrition include contributions to the UN Development Programme (UNDP)—£52.7 million, UNICEF—£32.4 million, World Food Programme—£5 million, and to the Food and Agricultural Organisation—£4.8 million.

DFID strongly encourages other donors to fulfil the commitments made at Gleneagles and the UN Millennium summit to provide more aid to achieve the MDGs, including MDG 1 (which includes child hunger and malnutrition).

DFID will issue a new health strategy in June. Part of this strategy will be to carry out a policy review on our approach to child malnutrition.

World Bank

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if the Government will make it their policy to establish an open and merit-based selection process for the President of the World Bank. [138323]

Hilary Benn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 May 2007, Official Report, column 13W.


21 May 2007 : Column 1029W

Transport

Aviation: Compensation

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will reissue the recent guidance on the rules governing compensation for air passengers within the EU, ensuring that the rights of UK passengers are made clearer. [138205]

Gillian Merron: The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) is the body designated under UK law to handle complaints pertaining to Regulation (EC) 261/2004 (“the Regulation”). Guidance for UK passengers on their rights under the regulation is available on the AUC’s website at www.caa.co.uk/auc.

The European Commission has published an updated poster setting out passengers’ rights which will be displayed in airports in due course.

Bus Services: Concessions

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the specifications for the planned standard national concessionary bus travel pass will be compatible with the Oyster and Smartcard systems operated in London. [137748]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 18 May 2007]: Subject to a forthcoming consultation and discussions with suppliers, it is anticipated that we will require the national concessionary bus travel pass for England to be an ITSO compliant smartcard.

In May 2006 the Mayor of London and Secretary of State for Transport agreed that the Oyster network would be made interoperable with ITSO smartcards. A technical solution to achieve this is under development.

Shipping: Radioactive Materials

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what bilateral agreements with (a) other European Union States, (b) Norway and (c) Russia are in place to provide emergency response to an incident in their waters involving a vessel carrying plutonium-based MOX fuel being moved from Sellafield. [137555]

Dr. Ladyman: Companies operating ships used to transport MOX are required to have a shipboard emergency plan which would be activated in the event of an incident. The plan may involve contractual agreements with overseas organisations to provide assistance but are not dependent on the existence of bilateral agreements between the UK government and other states.

Wolverton Station: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who made the decision to reduce the funding available for the upgrade of Wolverton Station from £2 million to £400,000. [138160]

Mr. Tom Harris: The award of financial support to Milton Keynes council, under the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) was not specific as to the
21 May 2007 : Column 1030W
division between the amounts for Milton Keynes Central and Wolverton stations. This was for the local authority to determine, in agreement with Network Rail.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider extending the deadline of 31 March 2008 for the use of the grant for the upgrade of Wolverton Station. [138230]

Mr. Tom Harris: No. One of the specific conditions attached to the award of financial support from the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) was that such assistance must be used by 31 March 2008. This has been consistently made clear throughout the whole process and has been accepted by Milton Keynes council.

Northern Ireland

Departments: Billing

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2007, Official Report, column 890-91W, on Departments: billing, if he will instruct all Northern Ireland departments to maintain a record of discounts (a) offered on bills from suppliers and (b) received. [134894]

Mr. Hain: This matter is now the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Administration.

Prisons: Health Services

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many health care workers were employed at each prison establishment in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years, broken down by type. [136053]

Paul Goggins: Two types of Prison Service staff provide health care functions. Nurse officers who were recruited directly as health care professionals, and health care officers who are discipline prison officers with additional training and specialise in the health care function. Agency staff are used to address shortfalls in staffing levels, but these are not included in the number of staff in post.

The information requested is outlined in the following tables.

Health care staff in post at 31 March 2002
Establishment
Grade Maghaberry Magilligan Hydebank Total

Principal officer

1

0

1

2

Senior officer

6

1

1

8

Officer

50

12

8

70

Pharmacy officer

0

0

0

0

Total

57

13

10

80


21 May 2007 : Column 1031W

Health care staff in post at 31 March 2003
Establishment
Grade Maghaberry Magilligan Hydebank Total

Principal officer

1

0

1

2

Senior officer

7

1

0

8

Officer

44.5

12

9

65.5

Pharmacy officer

1

0

0

1

Total

53.5

13

10

76.5


Health care staff in post at 31 March 2004
Establishment
Grade Maghaberry Magilligan Hydebank Total

Principal officer

1

0

0

1

Senior officer

4

1

1

6

Officer

40.5

13

8

61.5

Pharmacy officer

1

0

0

1

Total

46.5

14

9

69.5


Health care staff in post at 31 March 2005
Establishment
Grade Maghaberry Magilligan Hydebank Total

Principal officer

1

0

0

1

Senior officer

4

1

1

6

Officer

36

12.5

10

58.5

Pharmacy officer

1

0

0

1

Total

42

13.5

11

66.5


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