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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 10 January 2008

Women and Equality

Equal Pay

Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether an equal pay audit has been conducted for the Women and Equality Unit. [170572]

Barbara Follett [holding answer 3 December 2007]: The Women and Equality Unit ceased to exist on 26 July this year when the formation of the Government Equalities Office (GEO) was announced. However, the GEO did not become a new Department until the transfer of functions order went through on 12 October this year.

As a result, the GEO will be conducting its first equal pay audit in 2008.

The Women and Equality Unit (WEU) was not a stand alone Department so no separate equal pay audit was ever conducted for it. The WEU was located successively within the Department for Social Security (as the Women’s Unit), the Cabinet Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department for Communities and Local Government. An equal pay audit was conducted by the Cabinet Office using spring 2002 data. This review is likely to have included WEU staff in the Cabinet Office at that time, although this can not be confirmed as the review does not specify units or individuals. The Department for Communities and Local Government is currently conducting an equal pay review using June 2007 pay data, and this will include WEU staff paid by that Department at that time.

Forced Marriage Unit

Mrs. May: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many alleged incidents of forced marriage have been reported to the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit in each year since its establishment. [174506]

Barbara Follett: The Forced Marriage Unit was established in 2005 as the Government’s one stop shop for dealing with forced marriage casework, policy and projects.

The Forced Marriage Unit receives 5,000 inquiries and handles approximately 300 cases a year. Subject to concerns about maintaining confidentiality, a new system to capture data on cases will be implemented next year.


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International Development

Bangladesh: Overseas Aid

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 469, on Bangladesh: overseas aid, what the estimated end of year financial position is for each country where his Department is active according to the latest expenditure forecast; and if he will make a statement. [175724]

Mr. Thomas: Indicative budgets for country programmes for 2007-08 were published in the Department for International Development's 2007 Annual Report published in May 2007 [HC 514]. We are planning to fully spend the budget allocations.

Lesotho: Overseas Aid

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has received on the Lesotho Highlands Water project. [175728]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government provided support to the Lesotho Highlands Water programme in 1987 and to the Highland Water scheme (Phase I and II) and the Lesotho Delegation of the Highlands Water Commission from 1999 to January 2005. Funding was mainly in the form of engineering technical assistance.

There have been no other interventions by the UK, nor have we received any representations since then.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has supported in Lesotho in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [175729]

Mr. Thomas: The UK bilateral programme to Lesotho is approximately £5 million.

We have co-ordinated closely with the UN in Maseru in response to the current drought. DFID provided £500,000 through UNICEF to ensure people have access to clean water. We are also the largest donor to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which has allocated US $4.74 million to the humanitarian response.

The European Union's ninth European Development Framework (EDF 9) provided funds of €104 million to Lesotho between 2002 and 2007. DFID's imputed share of this is approximately 17 per cent. The key areas covered were: water and sanitation, road transport, macro-economic support and capacity building, HIV and AIDS, trade and regional integration.

The following table shows projects that DFID has supported in the last three years:


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Name of programme Start to E nd dates Sector Funds (£000)

Lesotho Revenue Authority: Phase 1

March 2002 to March 2006

Governance

3,200

Lesotho Justice Sector Development Programme

August 2003 to November 2007

Justice

2,100

Lesotho Textile Project

February 2004 to February 2009

Trade

1,500

Lesotho Priority Support Programme: Job Creation/Food Security

April 2004 to May 2009

Trade Food Security

1,900

Lesotho Poverty Reduction Strategy Foundation Programme

September 2004 to November 2008

Governance Public Financial Management

5,000

Support to Civil Society

Donor Harmonisation

Poverty Monitoring

Lesotho Priority Support Programme: HIV&AIDS Programme

November 2004 to May 2009

Health/HIV

1,800

Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight Aids

January 2005 to March 2007

Health/HIV

300

Support to Vulnerable Rural Households in Lesotho (FAO)

November 2005 to August 2006

Food Security

350

Lesotho Revenue Authority: Phase 2

September 2006 to March 2009

Governance

2,930

Potato Culture Project

February 2007 to September 2008

Science and Technology

55

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (UNICEF)

October 2007 to March 2008

Humanitarian

500


Overseas Aid: Disease Control

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of his Department's bilateral spending is directed towards (a) tuberculosis and (b) tuberculosis/HIV; whether the UK's strategy on HIV and AIDS for 2008 to 2012 will include a specific target on tuberculosis/HIV co-infection reduction; and what steps he plans to take to support an integrated response to tuberculosis and HIV in other countries. [177743]

Mr. Malik: DFID bilateral expenditure on HIV and AIDS activities in 2006-07 was £348 million and bilateral expenditure targeting communicable disease control, including tuberculosis, was £79 million. There is additional DFID spending on poverty reduction budget support and health system strengthening which help address all major causes of ill health, including TB and HIV. We are unable to systematically capture the amount spent on HIV/TB collaborative activities.

The UK's updated strategy on HIV and AIDS will include addressing TB/HIV co-infection. DFID strongly supports an integrated response to TB and HIV. We support this through a range of different channels including our support to international organisations and partnerships, such as the Global Fund to Fight
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AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Health Organisation, UNAIDS, the Stop TB Partnership and funding research into HIV/TB co-infection.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he plans to take to facilitate the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria reaching its target size of US$ 8 billion by 2010. [177744]

Mr. Malik: At the Global Fund Executive Board in April 2007, members acknowledged that the size of the fund would increase, dependent on high quality demand from countries and improved performance of the fund itself. Three scenarios of future demand had been prepared by the Secretariat, the highest one assuming that demand would rise more than fourfold by 2010, and that $8 billion per annum would be needed to support these new proposals and continue with existing programmes (representing $18 billion for the period 2008-10). The G8 noted the projected demands and pledged to work with the other donors to replenish the fund, and to provide long-term predictable funding based on ambitious but realistic demand driven targets.

Donor pledges and Secretariat projections now total $9.7 billion for the period 2008-10. This is a highly significant increase in resources, which allows the fund to support a substantial expansion of all ongoing programmes, and all of the new proposals which have been recommended by the Technical Review Panel, while still leaving over $750 million available for future proposals. Thus all the high quality demand for financing the current round of proposals has been met.

But the UK's own pledge goes beyond this. The UK has made an unprecedented long-term commitment over the eight years up to 2015, of up to £1 billion. Within this framework we announced a commitment of £360 million over the three year replenishment period, of which £30 million is subject to demand and results. This 20 per cent. increase in our commitment means that we have maintained our share of the total replenishment at about 7.5 per cent. In addition, we also pledged a further £640 million from 2011-15, providing the global fund is receiving good quality demand, continues to perform well and is demonstrating sustainable impact.

World Bank: Loans

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on (a) acceptable and (b) unacceptable conditionality for lending in relation to World Bank lending policy; and if he will make a statement. [175723]

Mr. Thomas: World Bank conditionality for lending must be in line with the Bank’s policy. In 2004, the Bank abolished its use of prescriptive conditionality—the practice of pushing specific reforms. Following a review in 2005, it adopted the good practice principles on conditionality. These principles stress the importance of country ownership and commit the Bank to ensure that conditions are limited to those critical for the programme’s success and are customised to individual country circumstances. In 2006, the Bank committed to avoiding conditions in sensitive policy areas such as privatisation,
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unless they are critical to the effectiveness of a programme and there is clear evidence of ownership by the developing country government. The UK has made it clear to the World Bank that we expect all lending to respect the commitments it has made in the last few years.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response he has made to the World Bank's review of Conditionality in Development Policy published on 15 November 2007; and if he will make a statement. [175726]

Mr. Thomas: The World Bank's 2007 report on Conditionality in Development Policy Lending incorporates findings from consultations in eight developing countries with governments and other stakeholders. It also draws on external studies and reports.

The report highlights continued improvements in the bank's practice on conditionality. The average number of conditions per bank policy-based operation in low-income countries fell from 32 in 1999 to 12 in 2006 and in 2007. There has also been a reduction in conditions in “sensitive areas” and the number of privatisation conditions is low. The consultations highlighted that the bank's practice has improved in respecting country ownership and increasing opportunities to debate policy options.

The report acknowledges there is room for improvement and makes further recommendations, notably the need to involve local counterparts more fully in policy formulation and analytical work, and the need to strengthen the use of poverty and social impact analysis by bank staff.

The findings of the report and the bank’s commitment to further improve its performance in this area are encouraging. We continue to maintain pressure on the bank to ensure that it fulfils its commitments on the use of conditionality.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Recycling

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recycling scheme is in operation in each building operated by his Department. [176711]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department introduced a new waste management system at its Cockspur Street offices in January 2007. This includes the recycling of paper, cardboard, glass and cans. The scheme is currently being extended to its offices at Tottenham Court Road.

English Language

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on English language classes for staff in the last year for which figures are available. [177433]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In the last year, January 2007 to January 2008, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has spent £0 on English language classes for staff.
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The Department has two staff currently participating in English language classes organised through Learn Direct but no financial costs will accrue.

National Identity Register

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans his Department has to make use of data on the National Identity Register when it is established; and what the estimated cost to his Department of that use is. [174038]

Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department will be working with the Home Office prior to the introduction of the National Identity Scheme to establish how identity information held on the proposed National Identity Register might be used to provide easier access to our services for our customers. It is too early in the process to establish the detailed costs and benefits.

Scotland

Departmental Christmas Cards

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas cards and (b) postage of Christmas cards in 2007. [176911]

David Cairns: The information is as follows:


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