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Mr. Douglas Alexander: Five DFID staff were based in Kuwait in early 2003 and were involved in civil/military liaison and co-ordination with UN agencies. From April 2003, all DFID personnel moved to either Baghdad or Basra.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to help achieve the targets of the Microcredit Summit Campaign to ensure that 175 million of the world's poorest families, especially women, are receiving credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the end of 2015. 
Mr. Thomas: DFID regards microcredit as part of a broader strategy to promote financial sectors that are stronger and more inclusive of the needs of poor people, including women. The UK's 2006 White Paper on International Development commits us to tackle the barriers that prevent poor people from gaining access to markets and financial services, and supporting microfinance initiatives, particularly in partnership with banks and regulators.
DFID currently supports 58 financial sector initiatives, which include microcredit and business development services, in 25 countries. By May 2007, DFID had contributed approximately £180 million to financial sector programmes. A further £140 million has already been committed to support existing programmes in future years.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) reviews, (b) consultations and (c) task forces his Department is (i) responsible for and (ii) scheduled to initiate; on what date each (A) started and (B) is expected to be completed; and what the purpose is of each. 
When drawing up its country assistance plans and other policies, DFID uses various means of consultation, including using working groups and formal written consultations to engage with local, regional and UK stakeholders. These often include partner governments, local and UK civil society, other donors, international agencies, academia and other UK Government Departments.
Mr. Thomas: Under the programme Promoting Information and Voice for Transparency on Elections' DFID is funding the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to provide a number of seminars to newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) in Sierra Leone. On 19 and 20 November, a cross-party delegation of UK MPs delivered the first seminar on Becoming an Effective MP. A further two seminars, on the role of MPs in Opposition and the role of MPs in Government, will be delivered in January/February 2008.
In addition, under the first phase of a new Parliamentary Strengthening Programme', delivered through the National Democratic Institute (NDI), DFID is supporting a co-ordinated induction programme for new MPs in the Sierra Leone Parliament. This includes an assessment of the existing capacity/needs of MPs, development of a Members' Directory and training on the representative responsibilities of MPs.
Support to specific Parliamentary Committees is also planned. This will include assistance to the Public Accounts Committee to effectively scrutinise public accounts on the basis of the Auditor General's reports. If Parliament requests, DFID may fund a further phase of this parliamentary strengthening programme'.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Advanced biofuel production processes, including so-called second generation biofuels, offer the potential to deliver very high levels of greenhouse gas savings from the transport sector in a highly sustainable way. This is principally because they may allow liquid transport fuels to be produced efficiently from a much wider range of sources than is possible today (including wood, agricultural residues and the organic fraction of municipal waste).
Many of these processes are proven at laboratory scale, and a number of demonstration projects are up and running in various parts of the world. There remains considerable uncertainty, however, as to whether, and if so when, they will become viable at commercial scale.
European Union Heads of Government have made clear that future biofuel targets (including the 10 per cent. by 2020 target agreed at the March 2007 European Council) should be conditional on second generation biofuels becoming commercially available. This is to ensure that these targets can be delivered in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
The UK Government are aiming to incentivise the development of advanced biofuels under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. Further details of how this might be done are set out in a policy paper which is available via the Department's website at:
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (2) what estimate she has made of the proportion of the contribution to Crossrail to be made by London business identified in the pre-Budget report which will be made by (a) the Corporation of London, (b) the Canary Wharf Group and (c) BAA; 
(3) what her Department's responsibilities are regarding the oversight of the construction of Crossrail; what responsibilities she is delegating to the Mayor of London; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has submitted annual returns on energy usage and road mileage to the Sustainable Development Commission. The following represents those figures in the form of carbon emissions.
|Carbon emissions (kgC)|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department and its agencies have spent on Christmas (a) cards, (b) parties and (c) decorations in each of the last five years. 
|(1) No data.|
1. Vehicle and Operator Services Agency was formed in 2003.
2. Government Car and Despatch Agency became an agency of the Department in 2005
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