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23 Jan 2008 : Column 2075Wcontinued
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much additional funding he plans to provide to Eastern Area to fund preventative screening in each of the next three years. 
Dawn Primarolo: Sufficient funding will be made available at the national level to deliver our policy commitments on screening. Detailed analytical work is currently under way to develop the plans, including costs. Funding available for different parts of the country will depend on local decisions about the use of primary care trust (PCT) allocations, and national decisions on the use of central budgets. The Department has yet to take decisions on PCT allocations and central budgets for 2009-10 and 2010-11, and these decisions will reflect the developing plans on preventative screening.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates has had with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi on behalf of UK registered companies on disputes over monies owed since 2004. 
Dr. Howells: Our embassy in Abu Dhabi has had no discussions with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi on behalf of UK registered companies on money disputes since 2004.
Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much aid was provided by the UK to Colombia in each of the last five years; and what proportion of that aid was classed as military assistance in each of the last five years. 
Dr. Howells: As the information requested by my hon. Friend will take time to collate, I will write to him once I have the details and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) male and (b) female members of staff in his Department were issued with personal digital assistants in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Information on the gender of those issued with personal digital assistants is not held centrally and could not be collated without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will discuss with Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Council of Europe, the Secretary-Generals proposal on secret detention and detainee transfers, when he meets him on February. 
Dr. Howells: The Human Rights Commissioner will meet my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, who leads on Human Rights issues. We considered carefully the recommendations made by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe when they were issued in June 2006. However, as stated in my written reply to the hon. Member on 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 245W, the Government believe that domestic legislation and international legal instruments already exist to deal satisfactorily with the concerns he has raised. We stand by this statement and believe that there is no need to create new mechanisms such as the Secretary-General proposes. I wrote to the Secretary-General on 23 January 2007 outlining the Governments position in detail.
The Government believe that the best long-term protection against terrorism lies in the defence of our freedoms and values. We remain fully committed to our obligations under international human rights law. We do not render people in breach of our legal obligations and we do not agree with secret detention. The Government oppose any form of deprivation of liberty that amounts to placing a detained person outside the protection of the law.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will encourage the European Commission to raise the issue of recent violence against Christians in Orissa state at the next round of the EU-India human rights dialogue. 
Dr. Howells: Discussions are underway to confirm the date for the next round of the ad hoc EU-India human rights dialogue, following the EU-India summit on 30 November 2007. The UK and EU colleagues will continue to use this and other opportunities to raise human rights concerns with the appropriate Indian authorities.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent progress has been made in multilateral efforts to agree a common and legal definition of conflict resources; what role the Government are playing in this process; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether the Government's policy is to support the Commission for Africa Report recommendations to agree a United Nations endorsed definition of conflict resources; and what progress has been made on the creation of a permanent expert panel within the UN to monitor the links between natural resource extraction and violent conflict and the implementation of sanctions. 
Dr. Howells: While we recognise the strong arguments for an agreed definition of conflict resources, we assess that a definition would not substantially help to address the links between conflict and natural resources. A UN Security Council debate on conflict and natural resources in June 2007 demonstrated the issue's sensitivity for many countries: seeking agreement on a definition in the UN would, in our judgment, prove extremely slow and without guarantee of success.
We are working with other like-minded Governments to develop a more comprehensive strategy to tackle links between natural resources and conflict. This could involve the inclusion of natural resource issues in the mandates of peacekeeping missions; the creation of a permanent centre of expertise within the UN system; and strengthening the role of the Peacebuilding Commission. We will seek a UN Secretary-General's report to assess these options and raise the profile of the issue, and we continue to work cross-Whitehall and with external stakeholders on this matter.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sri Lanka on its decision to withdraw from the ceasefire agreement; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government's position on the abrogation of the 2002 ceasefire agreement by the Sri Lankan Government is clear. Most recently, during a debate in the House on Sri Lanka on 17 January, I called on the Sri Lankan Government to deliver on their commitment to urgently produce a just political solution which satisfies the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans ( Official Report, columns 1183-88).
In his statement of 4 January, my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, expressed the Government's view that there can be no military solution to the Sri Lankan conflict and called on the political parties in Sri Lanka to work together for peace.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he has taken to put the core principles of the civil service in statute. 
Gillian Merron: As set out in the Governance of Britain Green Paper, the Government are committed to taking forward legislation to enshrine the core principles and values of the civil service in law. The legislation will form part of the Constitutional Renewal Bill and will be published in draft for consultation soon.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether an equal pay audit has been conducted by the Womens National Commission. 
No equal pay audit for the Womens National Commission as a separate entity has been conducted, but its staff would be included in any assessment of the commissions funding sponsor, the Government Equalities Office, previously known as the
Women and Equality Unit. I refer the hon. Lady to my answer to PQ 170572 regarding whether an equal pay audit has been conducted for the Women and Equality Unit, and to my answer to PQ 171377 regarding what assessment has been made of the pay gap between male and female staff in the Government Equalities Office. Publishing separate figures relating to the Womens National Commission, which is a small body, may risk identifying individuals.
Mrs. May: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many rape crisis centres there were in each year since 1980. 
Barbara Follett: No published data have been identified which would permit a year on year account of the number of rape crisis centres in England and Wales since 1980.
According to the website of Rape Crisis England and Wales, there are currently 38 affiliated members in England and Wales. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations reports that in 1985 there were 84 rape crisis centres in England and Wales, and that this number reduced to 50 in 1990. Independent research by the End Violence Against Women coalition, and reported in Map of Gaps, found that there are 42 groups associated with Rape Crisis England and Wales, 18 less than there were in 1996.
Mrs. May: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much the Government spent on support for rape crisis centres in each year since 1980. 
Barbara Follett: Total grants from the Victims Fund, administered by the Ministry of Justice, to rape crisis centres, in 2007-08 came to £484,562. In addition, Rape Crisis England and Wales received £75,000 in Home Office funding.
For 2006-07 total grants from the Victims Fund to rape crisis centres, including Rape Crisis England and Wales (also referred to as Rape Crisis Co-ordination Group) were £313,538; for 2005-06 £473,717 and for 2004-05 £199,270.
In both 2007-08 and 2006-07 the Home Office provided £360,000 in funding for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors based in rape crisis centres.
The Rape Crisis Federation, the then umbrella body for rape crisis centres, received central government funding in 2002-03 of £432,000 and in 2001-02 of £406,000. Approximately £500,000 in funding was provided to two rape crisis centres, Southampton and South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, over the period 2000-02.
There is no record of funding prior to this.
The Government are committed to supporting voluntary and community sector organisations. Over 80 per cent. of voluntary and community organisations that receive funding are supported by local funders and the Victims Fund was not established to substitute for this.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contracts his Department has with external consultants; what the total value, including all VAT and disbursements, of these contracts is for the current financial year; how long each contract lasts; and what the forecast total value is of each contract. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The information requested could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
DFID contracts external consultants with technical expertise to deliver development projects and programmes around the world. Consultants undertake humanitarian relief operations, respond to requests from partner governments for advice on complex economic and administrative reforms, and help improve health and education services, all with the objective of reducing poverty and improving the lives of people in developing countries.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what products featuring departmental or Government branding were procured by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Malik: Information on products procured with departmental or Government branding is not held centrally. Publications and other branded products are produced as an integral part of ongoing policy and research, development programme implementation, training, internal communication and work to raise public awareness of international development. It is not possible to answer this question without incurring disproportionate costs.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many posters or displays there are in the offices of his Department and its agencies displaying the names and photographs of Ministers; and what the cost has been of producing such posters or displays in the last five years. 
Mr. Malik: In the UK offices of DFID there is one display of named photographs of former Secretaries of State for International Development in the Palace street offices. This has cost £992 in the last five years. There is no equivalent display in our other UK office, Abercrombie House. There have been no posters produced for use in offices with ministerial names and photographs during this period.
DFID currently has staff in 68 overseas offices. It would incur disproportionate costs to ascertain whether any expense had been incurred during the last five years in producing displays or posters with named photographs of Ministers.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what evaluation the Government have commissioned of the potential contribution of health links to the development of best practice. 
Mr. Malik: No evaluation has yet been commissioned by the Department for International Development or the Department of Health on this topic. We anticipate carrying out an evaluation within the next three months.
There are many positives to be taken from links and twinning, but also concerns about overall effectiveness in some countries. The Crisp report has helpfully identified some areas for the UK to support developing countries in capacity strengthening. The Inter-Ministerial Group on Global Health will shortly issue the Governments response to Lord Crisps report which will outline how the recommendations will be taken forward.
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department contributed to the Export Credits Guarantee Department in 2005-06 to compensate it for claims abandoned in 2005-06. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 21 January 2008]: DFID paid £643,000 to the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) in 2005-06. These payments represent amounts due from countries receiving debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
Countries qualify for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative in two stages: first, they qualify for interim relief from debt service payments due. Later, when countries complete the Initiative, they receive irrevocable debt cancellation.
Debts owed to official creditors, such as ECGD, are dealt with by the Paris Club. ECGD implements decisions taken at the Paris Club, providing debt relief at the levels agreed. In 2005-06, ECGD provided over £1.5 billion of debt relief. DFID meets the costs of additional relief over and above what has been agreed by the Paris Club so that HIPCs receive 100 per cent. debt relief. It is UK policy to provide 100 per cent. debt relief to HIPCs, from the time countries first qualify for the Initiative.
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