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15 Jan 2008 : Column 1111W—continued

This year, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is also writing to 18 countries encouraging them to join the IWC for the greater protection of whales. In the coming weeks, Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts will deliver the updated version of the leaflet ‘Protecting Whales—A Global Responsibility’ to host Governments and lobby to support the UK’s position. FCO posts are aware of the need to watch for indications that countries, including some mentioned in the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 195W, may join the IWC and adopt a pro-whaling stance. Posts in the relevant capitals are briefed, supplied with copies of our publication and engage in discussion with their counterparts on whaling at every appropriate opportunity. Such countries are left in no doubt as to the importance that the UK attaches to whale conservation.

As a result of the correspondence over lobbying mentioned by my predecessor in his answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 195W prior to the 2007 Annual IWC Meeting in Anchorage, the UK and its like-minded allies managed to recruit six countries into the IWC, so that the pro-whaling majority in that organisation was overturned. In a further response to UK lobbying efforts, several other countries have indicated willingness to support our opposition to Japanese whaling and to join the IWC in time for this year’s annual meeting in Santiago, Chile in June.

Whales: Japan

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are
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being taken to secure a complete ban on whaling by the Japanese Government. [177712]

Jonathan Shaw: The UK Government have consistently voiced its opposition to Japanese “scientific” whaling. Most recently, on 8 January, I called in the Deputy Ambassador from the Japanese Embassy in London to express the UK’s outrage, and urge Japan to end its slaughter of whales.

On 21 December 2007, the UK, along with 29 other countries, took part in a demarché to the Japanese Government calling on Japan to

White Fish: Conservation

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to introduce measures to improve bass conservation and bass stocks; and if he will make a statement. [177620]

Jonathan Shaw: Scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea in 2004 suggested that the bass stock is fished sustainably. Last year I announced a review of bass nursery areas and inshore netting restrictions with a view to providing additional protection for stocks of bass. The first step will be to engage with stakeholders to agree how and when to take this work forward collaboratively this year.

International Development

Afghanistan: Drugs

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total expenditure on promoting alternative livelihoods to the drugs trade in Afghanistan was in each year since 2001. [177538]

Mr. Malik: Prior to 2003-04 much of DFID funding in Afghanistan focused on humanitarian assistance. By March 2007 DFID had spent £91.5 million on supporting alternative livelihoods to the drugs trade since 2001.

£
Financial year Amount in GBP

2001-02

144,079

2002-03

36,699

2003-04

5,205,33

2004-05

7,350,806

2005-06

44,072,886

2006-07

34,460,725


Afghanistan: International Assistance

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total expenditure on reconstruction and aid for Afghanistan was in each year since 2001. [177543]

Mr. Malik: Details of the UK's bilateral assistance and imputed multilateral assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 are laid out in the following tables.


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Table 1: UK total bilateral gross public expenditure on development 2001-02 to 2006-07
£000
Afghanistan

2001-02

50,027

2002-03

76,018

2003-04

99,595

2004-05

98,959

2005-06

126,949

2006-07

123,011


Table 2: Imputed UK share of multilateral official development assistance (ODA) 2001 to 2005
£000
Afghanistan

2001

7,064

2002

23,300

2003

36,789

2004

27,676

2005

39,864


Departmental Pay

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1255W, on departmental pay, how many of those earning over £100,000 were employed (a) as special advisers and (b) in a political role in each year since 1997. [177176]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the number of special advisers in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 November 2007, Official Report, 147-151WS.

Information on the numbers and costs of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and this information will be available in the Library of the House.

Ethiopia: Foreign Exchange

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2007, Official Report, columns 414-5W, on Ethiopia: foreign exchange, what the (a) exchange rate obtained, (b) value of commission paid, (c) name of the exchange institution or bank used and (d) purpose of the transaction was of DFID Ethiopia's currency exchanges of (i) 27 July 2007 and (ii) 8 October 2007. [177170]

Mr. Thomas: (a) The exchange rates obtained were (i) 18.4789 Birr = £1 and (ii) 18.3706 Birr = £1 respectively.

(b) The value of commission paid was (i) £626.57 and (ii) £625.00 respectively.

(c) The transactions were made through the international banking division of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.

(d) Both transactions were made to fund payments in local currency.


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Sudan

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1624W, on Sudan, what proportion of the grant aid given by his Department to the UN high commission for refugees was spent upon that organisation's priority areas of vaccination and veterinary care in co-operation with the Chadian government's livestock delegation and promoting the breeding of smaller animals (sheep and poultry) better suited to vulnerable refugees living in camps. [177438]

Mr. Thomas: In 2007, DFID gave the Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) £2 million to support their operations in Chad. Our contribution was to their overall appeal rather than to specific parts of their programme. Under the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative, we do not require separate reporting for DFID against each activity and it is not therefore possible to determine DFID support to this particular aspect of their programme. In total, however, the livestock component of UNHCR's programme was around £400,000 in 2007.

Tanzania: Overseas Investment

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008 to question 166007, what steps he has taken, in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following his briefing by the UK High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam on 26 and 27 November 2007, in relation to the case of Mr. Stewart Middleton and Ms Sarah Hermitage. [179148]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I raised the case with the President of Tanzania on 27 November 2007. Our high commissioner subsequently followed up that conversation with the Tanzanian Chief Secretary, who undertook to look into the matter with the relevant authorities. The Chief Secretary confirmed that it was his Government's intention that the issue should be justly and expeditiously resolved.

Scotland

English Language

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on English language classes for staff in the last year for which figures are available. [177485]

David Cairns: Nothing.

Fuel Poverty

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans his Department has to contribute to the reduction of fuel poverty in Scotland; and what account he has taken of the Scottish House Condition Survey in developing such plans. [177113]

David Cairns: Tackling fuel poverty is a priority for the Government, with DBERR and DEFRA taking lead responsibility. Across the UK we are taking action to ensure the energy market is working effectively, and continuing to tackle poverty through ensuring adequate levels of income. The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy, and subsequent annual progress reports, set out this work.


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In Scotland initiatives relating to the promotion of energy efficiency are devolved, such as the Central Heating programme and Warm Deal. The Scottish Executive therefore contribute to monitoring progress against the UK Strategy. The 5(th) Annual Progress Report, published in December 2007, draws on data from the Scottish House Condition Survey.

Official Engagements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his official engagements were between 1 November and 21 November 2007. [169460]

Des Browne: My official engagements as Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Scotland, throughout the period 1 November to 21 November, included various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland Office. On Thursday 1 November and Friday 2 November I was overseas visiting service personnel serving in Iraq. On Monday 5 November I met HBOS in Scotland. On Tuesday 6 November I attended the State Opening of Parliament. On Wednesday 7 November I hosted the French Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Thursday 8 November I attended the British Torch of Remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey and met National Grid. On Friday 9 November I visited Diageo with my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Gordon Banks). On Saturday 10 November I attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2007 event and, on Sunday 11 November, I attended the Remembrance Ceremony at the Cenotaph. On Monday 12 November I met EU ambassadors in London, hosted by the Portuguese ambassador, before attending the Defence debate in the House of Commons. On Tuesday 13 November I met separately with the National Farmers Union Scotland and Scottish Financial Enterprise. On Wednesday 14 November I attended a Sailor, Soldier, Airmen and Families Association reception. On Thursday 15 November I hosted the Romanian Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Friday 16 November I hosted a reception in Edinburgh for Polish National Day. On Sunday 18 and Monday 19 November I was in Brussels attending a meeting of EU Defence Ministers. On Tuesday 20 November I met The Crown Prince of Bahrain.

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what engagements he has had since 8 October 2007; and what the (a) date, (b) location, (c) time and (d) duration was of each engagement. [170718]

Des Browne [holding answer 3 December 2007]: From Monday 8 October to Tuesday 9 October I was in London where I had various meetings, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the Scotland Office and MOD. On Tuesday 9 October I attended Cabinet, had a telephone conversation with the First Minister of Scotland and attended the Chancellor’s statement on the comprehensive spending review. I had no Scotland Office engagements on Wednesday 10 October, Thursday 11 October or Friday 12 October.

On Saturday 13 October I attended the Scotland v. Ukraine Euro 2008 Qualifier at Hampden Park, Glasgow.
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On Sunday 14 October I attended the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland Futures performance at Glasgow City Halls.

From Monday 15 October to Wednesday 17 October I was in London where I had various meetings, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the Scotland Office and MOD. On Tuesday 16 October I attended Cabinet, and answered Scottish questions at the House of Commons. That evening I attended the Border and Immigration Agency reception in Dover House. On Wednesday 17 October I met the chief executive of Ofgem and that evening I attended the Poppy Scotland reception in Dover House.

From Thursday 18 October to Saturday 20 October I had no Scotland Office engagements. From Monday 22 October to Tuesday 23 October I was in London where I had various meetings, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the Scotland Office and MOD. On Tuesday 23 October I attended Cabinet. That afternoon I delivered a statement on the Gould report in the House of Commons. That evening I attended the CBI reception in Dover House. From Wednesday 24 October to Thursday 25 October I had no Scotland Office engagements.

On Friday 26 October I attended the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce business breakfast. That afternoon I attended the launch of Stagecoach’s bio-diesel coaches in Kilmarnock. From Saturday 27 October to Wednesday 31 October I had no Scotland Office engagements.

My official engagements as Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Scotland, throughout the period 1 November to 21 November, included various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland Office. On Thursday 1 November and Friday 2 November I was overseas visiting service personnel serving in Iraq. On Monday 5 November I met HBOS in Scotland. On Tuesday 6 November I attended the State Opening of Parliament. On Wednesday 7 November I hosted the French Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Thursday 8 November I attended the British Torch of Remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey and met National Grid. On Friday 9 November I visited Diageo with my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Gordon Banks) On Saturday 10 November I attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2007 event and, on Sunday 11 November, I attended the Remembrance Ceremony at the Cenotaph. On Monday 12 November I met EU ambassadors in London, hosted by the Portuguese ambassador, before attending the Defence debate in the House of Commons. On Tuesday 13 November I met separately with the National Farmers Union Scotland and Scottish Financial Enterprise. On Wednesday 14 November I attended a Sailor, Soldier, Airmen and Families Association reception. On Thursday 15 November I hosted the Romanian Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Friday 16 November I hosted a reception in Edinburgh for Polish National Day. On Sunday 18 November and Monday 19 November I was in Brussels attending a meeting of EU Defence Ministers. On Tuesday 20 November I met The Crown Prince of Bahrain.


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