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12 July 2007 : Column 1625Wcontinued
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what measures the Government has introduced to ensure repayment of student loans by EU domiciled students. 
Bill Rammell: EU loan repayments will be collected by the Student Loans Company (SLC), which already has experience of recovering loans from UK borrowers who go overseas and from EEA migrant workers who are entitled to loans. All borrowers from September 2006 enter a contract with the SLC which is enforceable under UK law which, under EC regulation 44/2001, can also be enforced by courts in other EU countries.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of the Governance and Transparency Fund is expected to be released in year 1. 
Mr. Malik: The budget for the Governance and Transparency Fund is £100 million over the next five years. The amount of funding released in Year 1 will be dependent on the proposals supported and how quickly successful applicants propose to begin activities.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to announce which organisations were successful in their applications for funding from the Governance and Transparency Fund. 
Mr. Malik: We expect to announce which organisations were successful in their applications for funding from the Governance and Transparency Fund by early December 2007.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many successful applicants there have been for funding from the Governance and Transparency Fund; and how much funding has been awarded to each organisation. 
Mr. Malik: We will not make funding decisions on applications to the Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) until early December 2007. We will publish full details of supported proposals and organisations on the DFID website once we have informed all applicants of our decision.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what decisions have been made about the eligibility for restored EU funding of Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza who were receiving allowances under the Temporary International Mechanisms before 15 June 2007. 
The Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) has recently been extended until the end of September 2007. Allowances for Palestinian
Authority (PA) workers for the month of June were paid during the week commencing 2 July 2007. Workers in both the West Bank and Gaza were paid.
On 18 June, EU Foreign Ministers discussed the resumption of assistance to the PA. They concluded that the EU should urgently pursue options for direct practical and financial assistance. Further TIM payments, targeting the same beneficiaries, will form part of this assistance.
The EU has not yet decided on other means for delivering aid. The UK will press to ensure that any new EU aid meets the needs of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2007 to the hon. Member for Mid-Norfolk (Mr. Simpson), Official Report, columns 184-85W, on Palestinians: international assistance, how many of the 71,000 Palestinian authority employees receiving allowances under the temporary international mechanism received them in (a) Gaza and (b) the West Bank. 
Mr. Malik: Of the 77,000 Palestinian Authority workers and pensioners receiving allowances under the Temporary International Mechanism, about 47,000 live in the West Bank and 30,000 in Gaza.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of UK aid to Somalia is (a) agricultural and (b) medical in nature. 
Mr. Thomas: Provisional total UK bilateral expenditure to Somalia in 2006-07 was £16.6 million. Of this total £0.8 million (4.6 per cent.) went to the health sector. The UK is scaling up its support to the health sector in 2007-08 and has recently committed £2.3 million over two years to increase the number and quality of health workers in Somaliland. There was no direct support to the agricultural sector. Nearly half of the UKs aid budget in 2006-07 went on humanitarian activities (£7.6 million, 45.8 per cent.), a proportion of which may be used for health or agriculture related activities.
The UK also contributes to a range of multilateral organisations that operate in Somalia; these contributions cannot be broken down to sectors.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the long-term support needed for the provision of psychosocial care for victims of torture and sexual violence in Darfur. 
The scale of long-term psychosocial support that will be needed in Darfur is unknown because of the level of ongoing displacement, leading to gender-based violence and other forms of trauma.
However, there will clearly be a need for such support programmes in the future. Fuller assessments of need can only be undertaken when the security situation improves, although until that time immediate response projects will continue.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to support the provision of psychosocial care for victims of torture and sexual violence in Darfur. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK has supported psychosocial care in Darfur through a number of methods. Through our direct support to non-government organisations (NGOs) in Darfur, totalling around £12 million a year, several of our partners run psychosocial support projects for women, particularly through womens centres in the camps for displaced people. Additionally, provision of health care to those in need, including victims of sexual violence, is a central activity of many of our partners work.
DFID is also the leading contributor, contributing £40 million in 2007, to the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), a pioneering fund that allows the UN to allocate resources to the most urgent humanitarian needs across Sudan. The CHF has so far allocated around £600,000 to the UN Population Fund in Darfur in support of victims of gender based violence. In 2007, the CHF has also channelled a further £19 million to Darfur in support of humanitarian activities there.
The UK is playing a prominent role in seeking an end to the abuse of civilians in Darfur, both by calling for a renewed political process and seeking the rapid deployment of a robust joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of UK aid to Thailand goes to pro-democracy groups. 
Mr. Malik: The UK does not provide direct development assistance to Thailand, which is an established Middle Income Country, and has not done so for more than 10 years.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made by international partners in developing a tsunami early warning system in the South Pacific. 
Mr. Malik: The Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG), comprising 30 countries including South Pacific nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, oversees the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS). Kiribati, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau and Vanuatu have applied for membership of ICG.
The ICG relies heavily on the PTWS, which was set up by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration following the 1946 Alaska tsunami. The PTWS was most recently activated following the earthquake off the Solomon Islands in June 2007.
The UK Government are supporting the restoration of old weather, climate and upper air observing equipment in the Pacific Islands with other partners, including New Zealand and the United States. This will improve the accuracy and speed of severe weather warnings and early warning systems. This should lead to a reduction in the number of deaths and damage to property from weather and climate related natural disasters.
More broadly, DFID is working closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) on disaster risk reduction initiatives internationally. This includes setting up the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS), which began operation in July 2006.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many applications for installing a telecommunications mast were (a) granted and (b) refused in each London borough in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2007, Official Report, column 780W, on departmental travel, how many foreign trips have been taken by officials from her Department since 1 April 2007; and to which locations and for what purpose in each case. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Of the 23 journeys overseas undertaken by staff since April 2007 on official business, 21 were to Europe, 1 to the USA and 1 to Kenya. All overseas journeys require the approval of the appropriate deputy director. The purposes of these journeys was to represent the Department and provide expert advice on policy issues.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials in her Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved
in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Officials throughout the Department for Communities and Local Government are involved in a full range of EU business. Those working specifically on EU business in the Regional, Urban and Economic Policy Directorate total 321. This works out at 26 for those working in CLG and around 296 for those administering ERDF in the Government Offices. A breakdown of the figures as requested would incur disproportionate cost.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at her Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The historical numbers of bonuses paid to senior civil servants and the cost of these are given in the following table. The data for 2003 to 2005 refers to our predecessor department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Data are only available for the five years shown in the table.
|Number of bonuses||Cost of bonuses (£)|
In Communities and Local Government, bonus payments are made to individuals whose contribution has a significant impact on the Departments performance across the year. Personal contribution is assessed against a range of factors that include:
Achievement of the Departments Prime Objective which focuses on the way in which our leaders manage and develop our people;
The degree to which business objectives have been met;
Delivery for Ministers;
Demonstration of judgment, leadership and PSG skills;
Effective resource management
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with local authorities in Shropshire on special funding support to tackle the aftermath of the recent floods. 
John Healey: We have been in contact with South Shropshire district council to provide advice and guidance on the procedures to follow to claim emergency financial support through the Bellwin scheme, and are ready to consider any application.
The district council registered their intention to claim on 2 July 2007,
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the running cost was of the Government Office of the South West in each of the last five years. 
John Healey [holding answer 10 July 2007]: The running cost for the Government Office for the South West over the last five years is as follows:
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people work for each of the Government offices for the regions; and what the staff cost is of each in 2007-08. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The number of permanent, fixed term and casual staff working for each Government office for the regions, including those temporarily away from the office on secondment, loan, maternity leave, career break and special leave without pay, in June 2007 was as follows:
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