Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Scotland Office submitted its views on the de-coupling of the Scottish local government elections and the Scottish Parliament elections to the Scottish Executive. 
David Cairns: The decision to decouple the Scottish local government elections from the Scottish Parliament elections is a matter for the Scottish Executive. In his statement to the House on 23 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated he would welcome such a decision.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations the Scotland Office made to the then Department for Constitutional Affairs on the timetable for the enactment of the Electoral Administration Act 2006. 
David Cairns: The Electoral Administration Bill received Royal Assent on 11 July 2006, almost 10 months before the Scottish elections in May 2007. As a member of the ministerial team taking the Bill through, I was fully aware of the timetable for enactment.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the legislation sub-group of his Department's 2007 elections steering group was consulted on the proposed ballot paper for the Scottish Parliament elections. 
David Cairns: Neither the 2007 elections steering group nor its legislation sub-group were established by the Scotland Office. The elections steering group was chaired by the Scottish Executive. The steering group's legislation sub-group was chaired by the Scottish Executive when the local government legislation was under discussion and the Scotland Office when the Scottish Parliament legislation was under discussion. The sub-group was consulted directly on the proposed ballot paper for the Scottish Parliament election at a meeting of the sub-group on 10 August 2006.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many of his Department's personnel are in each province of Iraq; what their role is in each province; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID currently has four permanent staff in Baghdad and one in Basra. DFID Baghdad comprises the Head of Office, a Deputy Head, a Programme Officer and an Office Manager. In Basra, the DFID staff member is integrated into the Consulate.
DFID's role in Iraq is to support the government in unlocking its own human and financial resources. To this end, staff in Baghdad oversee three main programmes: economic reform, developing the machinery of government and donor co-ordination of humanitarian relief efforts. The DFID representative in Basra oversees DFID's power and water projects, and economic and governance work through the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of heavily indebted countries at risk from vulture funds actions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: World Bank and International Monetary Fund staff conducted a survey on this issue in May 2007. It identified 11 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) that had been targeted with lawsuits by a total of 46 litigating creditors. In addition, two countries reported being threatened by litigation.
Eight new legal actions were reported since the previous survey in 2006, of which five are against Nicaragua, two against Cameroon, and one against Ethiopia. The HIPCs facing the most litigation cases are Nicaragua, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Uganda, with nine, eight, seven, and six lawsuits respectively.
This information is included in the latest annual joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund status of implementation report on the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The report is available on the World Bank website.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made on ensuring that highly indebted poor countries have access to the legal assistance they need to defend themselves against litigation from vulture funds, with particular reference to the proposals at the African Development Bank to develop a legal assistance facility to help countries facing legal action gain access to technical and legal support; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK welcomes the consideration being given by the African Development Bank to develop a legal assistance facility to help countries
facing creditor litigation. The bank has recently conducted a feasibility study on the establishment of such a facility. We will continue to influence and support the bank in this endeavour and to seek support from other donors for this initiative.
Mr. Thomas: We are working to address this problem in two waysby seeking to prevent debts being sold to vulture funds in the first place and by limiting the damage done by cases already under way. To reduce the risk of debts falling into the hands of vulture funds, we are working with the World Bank to help poor countries buy back their commercial debts at a discount through the Debt Reduction Facility. The debts are then dealt with and cannot be taken through a court. More than $8 billion (approx. £4 billion) of debts have already been cancelled in this way. We are also working with heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) to strengthen their debt management capacity and overall governance.
In cases where poor countries debts are already in the hands of vulture funds, we are working with the African Development Bank and others to ensure that countries have access to legal advice to help them fight these cases. The strong defence that the Government of Zambia mounted recently, for example, reduced its liability by around $40 million (approx. £20 million). It was the first defence case of this kind that has been even partially successful.
The UK will also continue to raise this issue internationally. At the recent annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, G7 Finance Ministers agreed to examine whether additional steps can be taken to address this problem.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department has given to non-governmental organisation offices working with street children in Guatemala in the last 12 months. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how much his Department spent on private contractors providing protection services in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2003; 
DFID engages private security companies for security of our staff in high threat environments. ArmorGroup, Control Risks Group (CRG), and Kroll
have provided mobile security for DFID staff, consultants and static guarding for our compounds in Iraq and Afghanistan.
|Cost to DFID (£ million)|
|(1 )DFID contract. (2 )Not yet available.|
The Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) Iraq Strategy also has significant programme spend on Police/Prison reformelements of police capacity building programme contracted to ArmorGroup who utilise both CRG and military (escorts) to provide security for their personnel.
In Afghanistan, DFID has awarded a number of contracts to ArmorGroup for armed protection of the main DFID office and residential compounds. These contracts also provide close protection (armed bodyguards) to staff when travelling to locations in Afghanistan deemed medium/high risk, and defensive driving training to our locally employed drivers. The value of these contracts from June 2004 to December 2006 was £3,217,691. Since January 2007, DFID's security needs have been met through a contract issued by the FCO, and the total DFID contribution to this contract this financial year was £949,567 by June 2007.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's aid programme for Jamaica was in the most recent period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were prosecuted for selling alcohol to minors in (a) Hertfordshire and (b) Dacorum in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Coaker: The information requested on persons proceeded against for selling alcohol to persons under 18 years in each of the last five years in Hertfordshire is provided in the attached table. Information on prosecutions in Dacorum is not available as the data is not held at that level of detail.
In addition to court proceedings, the offence of sale of alcohol to a person under 18 can attract a penalty notice for disorder (PND). The offence was added to the PND scheme on 1 November 2004. No PNDs were issued in Hertfordshire in November and December 2004 and three were issued in 2005. Data for 2006 will be available in November 2007.
The results of the national Tackling Underage Sales Enforcement Campaign (TUSAC), during which 2,683 premises were targeted by police and trading standards officers during a 10-week campaign between 4 May and 13 July 2007, show that in nearly 9,000 test purchase operations children were only able to obtain alcohol in 14.7 per cent. of cases.
Whereas earlier enforcement campaigns were conducted on a random sample of premises, good and bad, this campaign targeted premises known to problematic. A further reduction in the failure rate is therefore particularly encouraging.
|Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for selling alcohol to underage customers, Hertfordshire police force area 2001-05( 1,2,3)|
|Proceeded against||Found guilty|
|(1) These data are provided on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Covers the offences: Selling etc. intoxicating liquor to person under 18 for consumption on the premises under the Licensing Act 1964 s. 169 A and B as added by Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000 s.1, Wholesaler selling intoxicating liquor to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 1964 s.181 A(1) as added by Licensing Act 1988 s.17, Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 146 and Allowing Sale of alcohol to a person under 18 under the Licensing Act 2003 s. 147. Sections 146 and 147 of the 2003 Licensing Act only came into effect from 24 November 2005, so data prior to 2005 are not available.
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
RDSCourt proceedings databaseOffice for Criminal Justice ReformMinistry of Justice
In addition, the Home Office has established a review group, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular (quarterly), formal and audited review.
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