|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1831W, on policy review, for what reason the Economic Dynamism group did not produce a final report. 
Edward Miliband: The work of the Economic Dynamism strand of the Policy Review, is informing a wide range of Government business including the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, which will be published in the autumn.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answers of (a) 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 543W and (b) 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1831W, on the policy review, if he will make an estimate of the cost of the policy review, separately identifying costs of (A) producing presentations, (B) designing, printing and distributing reports, (C) website costs, (D) consultancy fees and (E) staff time. 
Edward Miliband: External costs of the full Policy Review process, covering six major policy areas, were £93,000 for producing reports, £10,000 for a web site and e-mail alerts, and £90,000 for the deliberative exercise, a total of £193,000. On the cost of presentations and staff time I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 543W.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) for what reasons the Government have recommended the use of real time displays in its proposals for meeting the Energy Services Directive; 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 2 July 2007]: In the Energy White Paper, the Government made clear their view that display devices could give gas and electricity customers information to help them make early reductions in their energy use. At present, information available to the Government suggests that smart meters are not yet cost-effective. We expect this to change, and further activity in respect of smart metering is being undertaken by interested parties to improve understanding of the costs and benefits. In setting out their White Paper proposals on display devices, the Government indicated that they would consult on the implementation of these proposals in the context of its ambitions to see a roll-out of smart meters within 10 years.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions; and what steps he has taken in the last 12 months to encourage more people to make such contributions. 
Paul Goggins: 53 members of staff (2.6 per cent.) are making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs). Pension packs for new entrants, which include information on AVCs, are given to staff as part of the Department's induction process.
Mr. Woodward: My Department carried out a survey of staff travel habits in 2005. Approximately 1,500 staff in Belfast were surveyed, and 11 per cent. said they use public transport to commute to work.
In addition the Government have accepted the main recommendations of the Fraud Review, which include the development and delivery of a national fraud strategy, through the establishment of a National Fraud Strategic Authority and measurement unit. It is envisaged that the national fraud strategy will cover both the public and private sectors.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist farmers in Afghanistan who were once involved in cultivation of opium. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID is implementing a range of programmes to assist farmers who were once involved with cultivation of poppy. Our core approach is to improve access to credit, while improving the range and viability of alternative legal livelihoods.
Alternatives to poppy come not only in the form of different crops. They can often be non-farm activities such as clothes-making and shopkeeping, which is why DFID is supporting the Government of Afghanistans Microfinance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan (MISFA). This programme has provided over £133 million worth of small loans to 364,786 Afghan families to help them invest in their own licit businesses. MISFA operates in 23 provinces, including Helmand. DFID has provided £15 million to MISFA since March 2004. Nearly 75 per cent. of those receiving loans are women.
Overall, DFID has provided £77 million from 2005-07 to support the development of legal rural livelihoods, much of which has been channelled through the Government of Afghanistans own National Priority Programmes.
DFID has given £18 million to the Government of Afghanistans National Rural Access Programme (NRAP), which has built or repaired over 9,000 km of roads so faressential for rural farmers to access markets. So far the programme has generated over 13 million days of labour for Afghans. NRAP operates in all 34 provinces.
DFID has also provided £42.6 million in total for the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) and is providing £10.6 million to roll out NSP in Helmand province (2006-09). NSP is helping elected Community Development Councils (CDCs), representing over 17,000 communities across Afghanistan, identify development priorities in their areas and then receive grants to undertake the work. NSP has funded over 28,000 projects in agriculture, education, health, irrigation, power supply, transport, and water supply. NSP currently operates in all 34 provinces.
Outside the Government of Afghanistan, DFID is funding two projects implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which are supporting villages in Bamyan, Balkh and Herat to make a legal living. The activities they support include poultry and fish rearing, silk production, and carpet weaving. DFID has also provided £3 million to support research into a range of legal livelihoods, including high value crops such as mint and saffron.
Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how UK funds previously directed through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Burma are being allocated since the closure of ICRC offices in Burma. 
Mr. Malik: In 2006 DFID allocated £500,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Burma, approximately two-thirds of which was used to provide humanitarian and protection assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Eastern Burma. All of these funds have been spent and accounted for. The ICRC has not requested further funding. In 2007 DFID is providing support to internally displaced people in Burma through a grant of £400,000 to support community-based groups (mostly Christian and Buddhist networks) working inside Burma who are able to provide humanitarian assistance in the short term to IDPs who would otherwise receive no help. This complements the assistance to IDPs cross-border from Thailand which we also support.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions; and what steps he has taken in the last 12 months to encourage more people to make such contributions. 
Mr. Malik: 225 members of staff in the Department for International Development (12 per cent. of the total number of staff employed by the Department) currently make additional voluntary pension contributions through deductions from their pay.
DFID plans to issue annual benefit statements later in the year, the statements show the pension built up to date, and also a projection of pension on retirement if the member continues in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement provides details of the Civil Service Pensions website where staff can obtain further information, including options for making additional voluntary contributions to boost their pension.
In addition, DFID has a page dedicated to Civil Service Pensions on our intranet site, this contains information on the pension schemes and the aim is to increase awareness of pensions among our staff. As well as useful pension information, the page contains links to the Civil Service Pensions website and various information booklets.
Mr. Malik: In January 2007 almost all children in affected areas apart from the North East are attending school. Attendance in the North and East is now severely affected by the security situation. Almost all families previously in camps now have access to sturdier transitional shelter. Of the families whose homes were affected, 72 per cent. are now back in their own houses following reconstruction and repair work. Over 75 per cent. of people who lost their main source of income have regained some source of income.
Permanent homes are under construction. Prior to the tsunami the public sector normally built only 5,000-6,000 new homes. Only with all public and private sector housing workers performing at full capacity would a 50,000 annual target be reached. According to Sri Lankan Government figures about 98 per cent. of the permanent housing requirement in the south has been fulfilled, although in the east of Sri Lanka there are still significant shortfalls.
The resurgence in the conflict has meant severe access restrictions for delivery partners in the North and East, which was the most affected region. Moving materials and skilled labour has become particularly problematic. Lack of humanitarian space has made it difficult to ensure that assistance is delivered equitably and in a timely manner to affected communities. UK officials will continue to work closely with the Sri Lankan authorities, NGOs and UN. We see progress towards peace and reconciliation as essential to enabling and sustaining post tsunami recovery and broader development in Sri Lanka. We hope that all parties will renew efforts to make progress in this direction.
Mr. Malik: DFID is providing specific support to the Nepal peace process through its bilateral development programme and through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP). In 2006-07 a total of £5.35 million was disbursed in direct support of the peace process. This included financial support to the Peace Trust Fund, the UN mission in Nepal, UNICEF, OCHA and support to ICRC.
The central objective of DFID strategy in Nepal is to work towards a sustainable and inclusive peace. In 2006-07 total DFID bilateral expenditure in Nepal was £42.8 million. This support is making a direct contribution to supporting peace in Nepal.
Ms Harman: Following the recent machinery of Government changes which saw the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons transfer from the Privy Council Office to the Cabinet Office, we are currently unable to provide a substantive answer to this question.
David Simpson: To ask the Leader of the House how many staff in her Office have taken (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in the last 12 months. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|