Previous Section Index Home Page

24 May 2007 : Column 1399W—continued

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people in London are not in education, employment or training; what steps are being taken to reduce this number; and if he will make a statement. [110609]

Mr. Jim Murphy: I have been asked to reply.

There were 1,076,350 people of working age who were not in employment, education or training in the London Government office region in October to December 2006. The total number of people on out of work benefits in London has fallen by 106,300 since 1997.

Some of these people will have chosen not to be in employment or education. However, for the rest, we have a range of policies on employment and education to provide them with opportunities.

To help us achieve our aim of reaching an 80 per cent. employment rate, we have set ourselves the aspiration of a million fewer people on incapacity benefits in a decade. The Welfare Reform Bill enabling us to achieve this has just passed through Parliament.

We will be rolling out our successful Pathways to Work across the capital in 2008, and will also shortly begin testing our new City Strategy which will focus on those areas where benefit receipt, social exclusion and poverty are most concentrated. Two of the pathfinder areas for the strategy are in London.

International Development

Africa: Electricity

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects the UK is involved in to develop the electricity supply in Africa; and what studies he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on carbon emissions from increasing electricity use in Africa. [138863]

Hilary Benn: At the Gleneagles summit in 2005, the UK secured G8 agreement that the World Bank should lead on establishing a new clean energy investment framework (CEIF), which would operate as part of the international financing system. The aim of this framework is to increase public and private sector investment in cleaner energy in developing countries.

The World Bank’s action plan for the CEIF has three main parts, one of which is to increase energy access in Africa. This includes giving greater attention to Africa’s need for increased electricity generation, transmission and household electrification.

24 May 2007 : Column 1400W

The World Bank is starting discussions with some African governments about how the action plan can be implemented, aimed at improving access by households to modern energy services.

The UK has committed over £15 million to the CEIF so far, including £3 million for technical support in developing the CEIF and supporting discussions in developing countries. We will consider with the World Bank what additional support may be needed in particular countries.

Africa’s energy-related carbon emissions are very small compared to industrialised regions and likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. We have not commissioned or evaluated the carbon emissions from increasing electricity use in Africa, although some data and predictions are compiled by the International Energy Agency.

Africa: Teachers and Doctors

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the average cost is of training (a) local and (b) UK-based (i) teachers and (ii) doctors to work in developing African countries. [138940]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 23 May 2007]: The average costs for training doctors and teachers in Africa are not collected by the main international databases (e.g. UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring report) due to the difficulty in tracking the wide variety of different training programmes and initiatives across Africa as well as poor data quality.

However, the World Health Organization estimated in 2006 that globally, health budgets will have to increase by at least US$10 per person per year by 2025, to educate and pay the salaries of the four million health workers needed in the 57 countries with severe shortages. Most of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the UK Department for Health, the cost of training a doctor to full registration including the first year of working in the NHS is between £200,000 and £250,000. This does not include costs of postgraduate training as this is far highly variable and it is difficult to arrive at a meaningful average.

According to the UK Department for Education and Skills—Training and Development Agency (TDA) the cost of training a teacher in the UK can range from £4,500 to £19,000 with an average cost of approximately £12,000. It should be noted that this average uses the total funds paid by the TDA for an academic year and the total number of registered teachers. The figure is therefore only indicative as there are numerous different routes into teaching within the UK.

Burma: Overseas Aid

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid was allocated to Burma in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07, broken down by main budget heading; and what conditions were attached to such aid. [138509]

24 May 2007 : Column 1401W

Mr. Thomas: In 2005-06 DFID aid to Burma was £6.4 million, of which:

2006-07 official figures are not yet available. The budget for DFID aid to Burma was £8.0 million, of which:

DFID has recently approved a programme of £3 million over three years specifically to support work on democratic change at the local level. The programme will start during 2007-08.

The conditions which European Union member states have agreed to apply to their aid is defined by the European Union Common Position, Article 3, which states that:

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Overseas Aid

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid the Government gave directly to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in each of the last 10 years. [138910]

Hilary Benn: The Government provided debt relief to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) every year between 1996-97 and 2005-06, as shown in the following table.

24 May 2007 : Column 1402W
Debt relief from the British Government to the Government of the DRC





















In the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06, the Department for International Development (DFID) provided financial aid of £500,000 per year to the DRC Ministry of Plan for the preparation of the Government of the DRC’s poverty reduction strategy. In 2006-07, DFID committed £324,225 of financial aid to the DRC Ministry of Plan to enable it to carry out a demographic and health survey.

This aid provided by DFID directly to the Government of the DRC represents a very small fraction of DFID’s total bilateral aid to the DRC, which totalled £29.2 million in 2004-05 and £58.8 million in 2005-06.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Tree Felling

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Portugal, (b) Germany and (c) Belgium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo held by companies with headquarters based in those countries. [138866]

Hilary Benn: I have not held specific discussions with my counterparts in Portugal, Germany and Belgium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) held by companies with headquarters in those countries. However, DFID is working closely with international partners—including Germany and Belgium—to promote sustainable forest use and reduce deforestation in countries like the DRC.

The German Government have put the reduction of deforestation, to curb carbon emissions, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable forest management, on the agenda for the forthcoming G8 summit. The UK strongly supports this initiative and will play a constructive role in agreeing outcomes at the summit. Earlier this year, the Belgian Government, in collaboration with the UK and other partners, hosted an international conference on the sustainable management of forests in the DRC. At this conference, the UK announced a $500,000 contribution to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to improve forest governance and help promote sustainable forest management in the DRC.

The UK supports the maintenance of the moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions in the DRC and the review that is currently being carried out of the legality of existing concessions. When I met the President of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, in Kinshasa in April 2007, I stressed the importance of forests as a resource for the people of the DRC. I asked whether logging concessions found to be illegal by the Legal Review would be revoked, and President Kabila confirmed that they would.

24 May 2007 : Column 1403W

Departments: Consultants

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the outside (a) agencies and (b) consultancies which are undertaking work commissioned by his Department; and what the (i) purpose and (ii) cost is of each commission. [138455]

Mr. Thomas: A copy of the document entitled “Current Contracts as at May 2007”, which gives details of the agencies and consultants and the current values of contracts issued by the Department for International Development (DFID), has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Details of contracts awarded are published on the DFID website. The contract titles on the report reflect the type of activity carried out. The report does not include low value contracts issued by DFID’s overseas offices, of which there are no consolidated central records. To produce a list of these contracts would incur disproportionate cost.

Developing Countries: Sanitation

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of developing water and sanitation projects in developing countries through the privatisation of those systems. [138544]

Hilary Benn: DFID has funded a number of studies into how private sector participation might support poor people and help them access basic services, all of which draw on extensive external research. These include the study by WELL, the network of resource centres at Loughborough university, into private sector participation and its impact in improving affordable access to water and sanitation for the poor in developing countries.

The track record of the private sector in delivering water in developing countries has been mixed—and it is important that lessons are learnt along the way. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, the failure of private sector water provision led to rioting and the cancellation of the contract with the private provider. In Mozambique, on the other hand, reforms which began in 1994 have ushered in a new era with the introduction of private sector management, cost recovery tariffs and better regulation. A new public-private partnership, whereby assets remain state owned but operations are privately managed, has helped about 70 per cent. of the urban population of Mozambique benefit from better water supply and improved sanitation.

In Senegal, private sector involvement since 1995 has helped about 1.6 million people living in Dakar and secondary cities to gain access to safe water. An innovative public-private partnership has helped make over 140,000 new connections for poor families at subsidized rates, and household water connections reached 76 per cent. of the population by 2006. Senegal’s level of connection to urban water services is now the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Sanitation also improved in urban areas, with 830,000 people getting access to sewerage connections or new toilets and latrines. Our conclusion is to support what works—and what works varies from country to country and region to region.

24 May 2007 : Column 1404W

Through our support of the multi-donor Public Private Initiative Advisory Facility (PPIAF), we helped fund the publication of “Improving Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities in Developing Countries: Drawing the Lessons of the Last Decade of Private Sector Participation and Expanding its Scope”. This draws on lessons from a decade of water projects with private participation. It consolidates the wealth of material available into a comprehensive paper, and provides a basis for building consensus with stakeholders.

However, we agree with the conclusions of the United Nations' recent Human Development Report that the criterion for assessing policy should not be whether it is public or private but what its effect is on the poor. These studies are vitally important, but a blanket approach applied to all assessments does not work because circumstances vary greatly from region to region and country to country and we have to respond to the specifics of each request.

The public sector continues to play the leading role in providing water and sanitation throughout the world. Most of DFID's aid—about 95 per cent. of our bilateral country programme expenditure on water and sanitation—supports the delivery of water and sanitation through governments, and not-for-profit or humanitarian agencies.

Our bilateral support for international private sector participation in the water and sanitation sector has been limited, often focused on helping developing country governments improve regulation for the benefit of poor people. One example where we were asked to help was in Ghana, where we supported a national assessment to examine the regulation of the sector and make recommendations about how services can work better for poor people.

EC Aid

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the effectiveness of money spent through the European Communities Development Programme is (a) monitored and (b) audited; and if he will make a statement. [138928]

Mr. Thomas: The EC development programme includes funding through the European Development Fund, the Development Co-operation Instrument and the European Neighbourhood Instrument. The effectiveness of the development programme is assessed at many levels.

There are four main opportunities to monitor and/or audit the funds:

Next Section Index Home Page