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Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether headcount restraints on the number of staff in his Department have been applied in the last five years. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: In September 2004, following the publication of the Gershon efficiency review, DFID agreed a headcount trajectory with HM Treasury that would see the numbers of Home Civil Service (HCS) staff reduce from 1,907 in March 2004 to 1,610 by March 2008.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) budget and (b) remit is of each non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department; who the chairman is of each; and to what salary, including bonuses and expenses, each chairman is entitled. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID sponsors two non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). These are the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC) and the Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board (CAHRB). It is also the sponsor department for the CDC Group plc. a public corporation. Details of budget, remit, board membership and board remuneration for each of these bodies are available in the annual reports of CDC and CAHRB and the website of CSC at the links as follows:
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The key achievements for the Department over the last five years are set out in the public service agreements (PSAs) which cover the periods 2001-04, 2003-06 and 2005-08. A detailed assessment of progress against all targets is contained in both the departmental report and the autumn performance report which are published each year. The latest assessment of performance which was published in the 2007 annual report contained a full record of progress against the PSAs for both 2003-06 and 2005-08.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will break down the figures referred to in the answer of 23 October 2007, Official Report, column 223W, on Departments: official hospitality, to provide the amount spent on each function at which hospitality expenses were incurred. 
Mr. Thomas: The total spend on entertainment within administration cost budgets in the last 12 months was £245,500. This represents 0.1 per cent. of the administration budget and 0.005 per cent. of the total net resource provision based on the current year estimates for 2007-08. This figure includes working breakfasts and lunches, refreshments at meetings and official entertainment.
(2) what assessment he has made of those developing countries that are at risk from the effects of climate change; which of those countries he considers to be most at risk; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently launched its fourth assessment report, to which the UK provides financial and scientific support. This concludes that the countries most at risk from climate change are those in the seven mega-deltas in Asia, semi-arid areas of Africa and low-lying coastal urban areas, as well as small-island developing states.
The IPCC also assesses the effects of climate change on people in developing countries. Of greatest concern are predictions of reduced rainfall in already dry areas, leading to a shorter growing season for farmers.
Elsewhere declining glacier cover will affect freshwater availability for more than one-sixth of the world's population.
DFID has undertaken its own climate risk assessments in Bangladesh, China, India, and Kenya. One conclusion is that the early effects of climate change are extremes of drought and rainfall. These are having a direct impact on low-income farmers, and putting people at greater risk from floods and tropical cyclones. DFID is providing £24 million of research funding to the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa programme to better understand these impacts. DFID is also working with the World Bank on producing an index of climate vulnerability.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) if he will make it his policy not to support projects which involve Terminator seed technology; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential effects of Terminator seed technology on food security and the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries. 
On terminator technology (Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTs) the 190 countries which have signed up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) decided in 2000 that products incorporating GURTs should not be approved for field testing or commercial use until appropriate scientific assessments have been carried out and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated. This decision was reaffirmed in 2006 and remains in force. The 2006 decision also called for respect of farmers' rights to seed preservation and for further research on the impacts of GURTs.
DFID adheres to the moratorium and has not therefore commissioned any recent research, nor has DFID conducted any reviews or evaluations of the potential effects of Terminator seed technology on food security and on the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reasons he decided to transfer overseas costs from the administration resource budget to the programme budget. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Costs of programme delivery staff (not including support staff) overseas have been transferred to programme budgets in the comprehensive spending review (CSR) period because DFID and HM Treasury have agreed that they should be regarded as front-line service costs. Under the Treasurys Consolidated Budgeting Guidance (paragraph 4.3) such costs are included in programme rather than administration budgets.
Mr. Thomas: A number of assessments have been made of the merits of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). These include a USAID report: Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan: An Interagency Assessment (June 2006) and a United States Institute of Peace report: The US Experience of PRTs in Afghanistan (Oct 2005). Also in 2005 DFID funded a Kings College review of DFID involvement in PRTs in Afghanistan. The UK assesses the merits of work performed by the UK-led PRT in Helmand, Afghanistan on a regular basis.
PRTs vary in size and composition, and operate differently depending on the security situation. The UK has spent some £8 million implementing over 170 Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) through the PRT in Helmand since July 2006. These projects support the Government of Afghanistan in response to identified local needs, and have supported our efforts in the areas of security, governance, social and economic development, and counter-narcotics.
|Table 1: UK Total gross public expenditure and financial aid 2002-03 to 2006-07, (£ thousand)|
|Total bilateral gross public expenditure (GPEX) to Sierra Leone||Of which: Financial aid to Sierra Leone|
The non-financial aid element of GPEX is made up of technical assistance, humanitarian assistance, debt relief, other DFID bilateral aid and aid from other official UK sources. The imputed share of UK multilateral Official Development Assistance between 2001 and 2005 can be seen in the following table:
|Table 2: Imputed UK Share of Multilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2001-05|
|Sierra Leone (£000)|
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to be able to announce a decision on the construction of an airport on the Island of St Helena; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were registered on council housing waiting lists in each local authority on the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, column 1159W, which two buildings occupied by her Department are not fully accessible to disabled people; and how many people work in each. 
Mr. Dhanda: The two buildings not fully accessible to disabled people are Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London which at this time accommodates approximately 775 people and 2 Victoria Street, Glossop which has an occupation of five.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if she will take steps to implement the proposal that disabled facilities grants should be available to improve access to back gardens and other outside areas; 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 13 November 2007]: We announced in the Housing Green Paper an increase of new affordable housing to at least 70,000 per annum by 2010-11. Of these, 45,000 homes per annum will be for social rent, with a goal to go further in subsequent years to 50,000 new homes for social rent per annum in the next spending review period.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if she will place in the Library copies of responses to the discussion paper on updating standards relating to overcrowded housing; 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department received substantive responses from 42 local authorities, 30 other stakeholder organisations and three individuals. I have placed copies of the responses received in the Library of the House.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials are assisting the Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber in her duties; at what cost to the public purse; and if she will make a statement. 
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