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19 Feb 2008 : Column 606W—continued

Rosemary West

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he has taken to establish how photographs of Rosemary West taken in Bronzefield prison came to appear in the 23 January 2008 edition of the Daily Mirror. [185710]

Maria Eagle: The Director of HMP Bronzefield has commissioned an investigation in to the origins of the material in the Daily Mirror on 23 January 2008, and further articles in the Daily Mail and The Sun. The investigation is being conducted by a senior manager at Kalyx who is external to HMP Bronzefield and this is due to be completed by 22 February 2008. A copy of the investigation report will be provided to the regional offender manager for the south east once completed.

Sentencing: Protection of Badgers Act 1992

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were sentenced following successful prosecutions under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 in each year since its entry into force. [186233]

Maria Eagle: The requested information is contained in the following table.

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Number sentenced( 1) for offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, all courts, England and Wales, 1992 to 2006
Number of offenders






























(1) Principal offences basis.
1. The offence of ‘failing to give up a dog for destruction or having custody of a dog while disqualified’ is an offence under the Badger Act (1992) and the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991). It has been included in these figures, although it is not possible to tell which Act was intended when sentencing.
2. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system.
RDS-NOMS, Ministry of Justice.

International Development

Afghanistan: Dams

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contingency plans he has should the Kajaki dam in Afghanistan cease to work. [185252]

Mr. Malik: The Kajaki Dam is currently not working at full capacity and contingency plans are already in place. These include the installation of diesel generator farms in Lashkar Gah, Gereshk, Sangin, Kajaki and Musa Qala for nine months while repairs to the turbines are taking place. Generator farms have already been installed in Lashkar Gah, Sangin and Musa Qala, and are currently being built in Kajaki and Gereshk. A new sub-station for Lashkar Gah will also be installed shortly.

USAID is leading on supporting the Government of Afghanistan in the energy sector in Helmand. They are making electricity generation a priority. The UK plays a key role in providing the security that enables these power supply projects to be implemented.

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many reconstruction projects implemented by the UK provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan were subject to violent attacks in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. [186912]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Records show that violent attacks on reconstruction projects implemented by UK Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan are rare. We are not aware of any such attacks during the UK’s engagement in Mazar-e-Sharif during 2005. Since taking over responsibility for the PRT in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, in May 2006, information from the PRT indicates that none of over 200 Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) implemented has been directly targeted in violent attacks.

However, a number of QIPs have supported the development of Afghan security infrastructure, and we
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are aware that a small number of projects have been affected by attacks. In October 2007 an explosion in Gereshk resulted in four police casualties and five locals being killed. This damaged the walls of a day care centre being constructed as a PRT project, but it is most likely that the target of the attack was the police. In February 2007, another incident involving the Afghan National Police and Taleban resulted in damage to a school in Lashkar Gah.

Afghanistan: Tax Collection

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Afghan Ministry of Finance’s efforts to enhance revenue collection; and what discussions he has had with the Afghan government on the matter. [186863]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: At 8 per cent. of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Afghanistan currently has one of the lowest rates of domestic revenue mobilisation in the world and the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) cannot cover its operating costs. It is essential that domestic revenue collection is prioritised in order to keep the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) and other international aid programmes on track. Along with our American colleagues, we have stressed the importance of this issue to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and we have all discussed with the Afghan government the need to fully and transparently collect existing taxes as well as continue reforms of the tax system to increase the number of tax payers.

Bangladesh: Elections

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance the UK is providing to Bangladesh to assist the electoral process. [186724]

Mr. Malik: The UK is providing the following assistance to Bangladesh for the electoral process:

Bangladesh: Overseas Aid

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what humanitarian programmes are funded by his Department in Bangladesh. [186722]

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Mr. Malik: Total UK aid to Bangladesh in 2007-08 is £116.7 million. This includes just over £10 million of funding for emergency assistance to meet the
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humanitarian needs of people affected by the floods and by Cyclone Sidr in 2007, listed as follows.

Title Description Commitment (£) Duration (months)

UN Emergency Relief and Early Recovery Needs

Provision of immediate emergency relief and enabling vulnerable households and communities in 22 flood districts in Bangladesh recover their food security, shelter and basic social support in the following six months



Cyclone Sidr Relief and Early Recovery Support

Provision of immediate emergency relief and enabling vulnerable people in the most cyclone affected districts in Bangladesh to recover after cyclone Sidr, and reduce their vulnerability to similar disasters in future



Departmental Databases

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what databases are (a) owned and (b) maintained by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [185416]

Mr. Malik: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 2 March 2007, Official Report, column 1552W, to the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Clegg).

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department paid in bonuses to press and communication officers in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) highest and (b) lowest such bonus was in each of those years. [182722]

Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development’s reward arrangements do not allow for the payment of bonuses to staff below the senior civil service. No bonuses have been paid to press and communication officers in any of the last 10 years.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the special advisers employed in his Department since 6th May 1997; and what the (a) start and (b) end date of employment was in each case. [184371]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and numbers 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, columns 147-50WS.

Information on the employment of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and is available in the Library of the House.

Nicaragua: Young Offenders

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will consider financially supporting the construction of separate police holding cells for minors in Bluefields in Eastern Nicaragua as part of his Department's work in Nicaragua. [186199]

Mr. Malik: The Department for International Development (DFID) continues to be concerned about poor prison conditions in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast. In September 2006, DFID provided $14,600 for a seminar in Bluefields to address this problem. The seminar brought together penal reform experts, as well as local, regional and national officials. At that meeting, Bluefield prison authorities committed to a number of actions to improve the health and sanitation conditions of prisoners. This included measures for prisoners who are minors.

DFID does not provide financial support to prison construction. Nevertheless, working in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we will continue to use our good working relationship with authorities in Bluefields to encourage them to improve prison conditions and to specifically construct separate holding cells for minors.

Overseas Aid

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the proportion of his Department’s funding allocated to civil society through the Partnership Programme arrangements will increase in proportion to the overall increase in his Department’s expenditure. [186440]

Mr. Malik: DFID is currently developing detailed plans for allocating its budget over the three year period 2008-09 to 2010-11 following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review announced in October. Individual programme allocations will not be finalised until March 2008.


Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 195W, on whaling, what response his Department made to the letter referred to from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; if he will place a copy of that response in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [186048]

Mr. Thomas: The former Secretary of State, in his response to the letter of 19 January 2006 from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural
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Affairs, on international whaling, offered help where possible, in promoting UK policy on whales with the target countries listed in the letter. He also stated that DFID has limited engagement with countries that are not members of the International Whaling Commission.

A copy of the letter, dated 5 February 2006, has been placed in the Library of the House. DFID officials will continue to remain aware of any critical developments in international whaling that might affect international development issues.


Banks: Fees and Charges

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what processes are available to consumers who wish to reclaim bank penalty charges; and if he will make a statement. [186311]

Angela Eagle: Generally, if consumers believe that they have been wrongly or unfairly charged by their bank, they should raise the issue with their bank in the first instance. If they are not satisfied with the response they obtain, then it is open to them to take a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or to pursue a claim in the Courts.

On the issue of bank charges for unauthorised overdrafts and returned item fees, there is currently a test case before the High Court. This is considering the preliminary legal point of whether such charges are subject to the unfairness test in the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

Until the outcome of this legal action is known, the normal complaint channels have been affected as follows:

Further information can be found on the websites of the Office of Fair Trading ( and the Financial Services Authority (

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Financial Services Authority on a moratorium on consumers reclaiming bank charges. [186350]

Angela Eagle: The Financial Services Authority has given financial institutions a waiver in respect of compliance with time limits for dealing with complaints related to bank charges while a test case on such charges is proceeding in the High Court. The Chancellor has been kept informed about the issues surrounding the waiver. However, responsibility for the waiver is a matter for the FSA, which is independent of Government.

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